There are no showers for you. No special clothes to distinguish the responsibility you carry. No one opening doors, offering you their seat on the bus, or hefting your packages to the car.
You have chores. A room to paint. Furniture to buy. Shelves to put up. Tasks and errands and lists.
You are the lighthouse. The night light.
The steady beam that keeps everything running smoothly and soothingly as you ride the mood swings and feed the cravings and you feel the earth begin to tremble underneath your feet.
At first, you simply play the part. Act as if you know. Try to comprehend. Well meaning friends warn of life changes ahead and you nod and smile on cue. The truth of it all lies only in the light in her eyes.
Then, one night, one lazy ordinary night, stretched out on the sofa in front of the TV, she places your hand across her stomach and waits. Under your hand, your baby moves. Your. Baby. Moves.
You move too. Closer to the secret, yet a mystery at best.
The pace quickens. You start to think of how your life will change and what you will need, and what you will miss, and what you may never have again. So you adjust. You shift in your seat. You narrow your focus. But your eyes never leave her face, as she is your travel guide for this part of the journey, and she is pointing the way.
You hear the heartbeat. You attend the classes. You study the ultrasound. You put a name to the blurry little face. Yet it all seems slightly out of reach.
As the final weeks approach, she stands in front of the mirror, the outline of her rounded belly before you, and for the first time, you believe. That this part you have played, these steps you have taken together, will lead to your son. Your little boy.
The child within you, the one that never leaves, smiles.
You ready your heart.
To make room.
Hold and cuddle and be tender together in these precious moments before you must learn to share in the sandbox all over again.
There are no special celebrations for the father-to-be.
Just goofy T-shirts and elbow nudges and dumber jokes.
But I promise you, that as night follows day, the gift you are about to receive, and the love you are about to give, will come when you hold him in your arms, and say, for the very first time, face-to-face...
I'm your Dad.
Your first Father's Day is straight ahead.
...Just before eyes closed and the coming of sleep...
...on the journey from HERE to THERE...
Chapter 4: A Left Turn On Main