One of the many things I love about my neighborhood is the population of Sensitive New Age Guys who live here. I don’t know why, but dads are more conspicuously involved in childcare here than in most places in the US. (St. Andrew’s is an exception). All over San Simon park, fathers play with their toddlers, walk kids to school, address or ignore tantrums.
There’s one SNAG father we see all the time. His baby must have been born just before we got here. In late August, this father was wild-eyed with exhaustion, wild-haired and stubbly, with a tiny infant snuggled deep, invisible in a Moby Wrap. By the fall, we could hear the crying as the dad did the colicky baby dance familiar to parents all over the world. As the coldest, wettest winter on record set in, I saw these folks less often but every time I did they looked more and more human, settled, peaceful, cheerful. The dad and the baby, both.
I passed them today and suddenly this is a real baby — sitting straight up, staring all around, looking like someone who can crawl, roll, eat, vocalize, influence his world.
A baby changes out of all recognition in seventh months. A parent does, too. I looked in awe this morning, remembering six years ago when I started scaling the vertiginous learning curve of parenthood.
I don’t even know the names of this baby and this first-time father, but they and we have lived and walked in the same park for the same seven months. For them, it has been one of the most intense times of life. Of course nothing compares to that, but we also have been learning, growing, stumbling, crying, pulling ourselves together, exploring our world. We are different than we were in August, too.