Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The boy in the bubble

I wanted to believe in a bubble. It wasn’t the financial or technical bubble for I have seen those both burst, but rather a personal protective bubble. I wanted to believe that you couldn’t be let go of your job four weeks before your kid arrives, that there is some bend in the universe that would protect you, and that a company that talks about being a family would understand the need when you were starting your own.

I was wrong.

Silicon Valley might be developing the newest society in the world, but is steals from one of the oldest. There is a culture of cannibalism; the place eats its old and infirmed. Innovation requires speed. Every technology will ultimately be replaced so the faster you can build a new one the more life you can give it at the start. And in order to be fast you need to cut those who can’t keep up, those who go with their wife to the doctor to discuss a c-section, those that want a few weeks off for paternity.

My kid arrives tomorrow.

I want a bubble around us to protect us from the scary world. I want our own healthy air, our own blankets for naps, our own quiet place.

The short weeks since I parted with the company have been spent power nesting. We have skateboard tape on our stairs, stickers on our walls, and cushy surfaces everywhere for changing or sleeping. We made a will and made sure the brakes of the car are up to date. We have read books and attended classes. We have slept in and exercised. We wait.

The job loss stings, but I am very lucky. My father built a bubble around me. We live in one of his houses and I get insurance through him. The c section will be paid for. I will get a chance to help my wife, to be the errand guy, to be the co changer, to feel my kid rest on me, and to spend a little moment outside the river of tech.

I keep getting asked whether I am ready to be a dad, and I don’t think there is a good answer. I know I have no concept of what it takes, and I also know that people in my position haven’t had a clue for millions of years and at least some of them came out okay. I know that I will make a ton of mistakes and that I can’t protect or provide everything. There isn’t a bubble.

What I do have is time. Perhaps not full power parenting time - I am going to need to keep slivers for my sanity and certainly nights away when I can date my wife. I want to spend time so that I get to know who my son is and will be. That I can figure out what makes him laugh, to find out what makes him passionate, and to help him as best I can. At times we will disagree, he will push my limits, or I will be harsher that I should be. It is highly likely a decade and a half from now he will think I am incredibly lame (and a good chance that he thinks that of my humor by the time he turns 4). But I hope later he will recognize the love and hope I want to pour into him.

I know I appreciate how much I received, how much I was helped. There isn’t enough I can do to honor my dad., but the best I can do is to name my son after the man who has meant the most to me.

These are the days of miracle and wonder.

And don't cry baby, don't cry.