As most of you know by now, I have the most beautiful 10 week old daughter on the face of the planet. Ever. My wife will tell you that she has only been equaled on two other occasions, in the history of mankind. I’m a very proud, embarrassingly overbearing poppa. I can’t imagine ever not wanting her.
BUT, before I met her mother, I was QUITE adamant that I’d never have kids. And I stuck to my guns for a long time. Friends, family, strangers, anyone who may accidentally overhear your discussion, would always give the unwanted opinion of “oh, you GOTTA have kids! You just don’t know what you’re missing if you don’t have kids! Life isn’t worth living without kids”! Ugh. I HATED that. I actually still hate it. Mainly because…..I didn’t ask. Being successful in my career was more than satisfying. However, as it turned out, their unwanted comments turned out to be true.
What my issues ultimately came right down to was, that I was/am completely terrified of kids. I didn’t know how to talk to them. I didn’t know what to do with them. My basic knowledge of children was,
1) They’re loud
2) They’re dirty
3) They’re dirty.
And for those of you that don’t know me, I grew up on a ranch, way out in the country and am no stranger to getting dirty. I do, however, have a rather large hang up on “people germs”. So when I say they’re “dirty”, I’m actually referring to boogers and snot and farts and pee and gross kid stuff like that.
Anyhoo… Even though it was a little later than most people get it, I got that “itch”. That feeling. When you look at a little girl sitting on her daddy’s shoulders as they walk around. When you see that little boy and his dad playing catch in the yard. “I think I want that”. Wait, what did I just say???? “I think I want to be a dad”. Holy crap. I started to hyperventilate just at the thought of it. So when I told April that I thought that maybe, I kinda, sorta, wanted to, maybe, talk about having a baby, sorta…..I’m not sure she knew what to say in return. So we didn’t really “try”, cuz that was just too much for me. We are “trying” to have a baby. No way Jose. Couldn’t say it. We just didn’t NOT try. Months came and went, and nothing. We didn’t really talk about it. I’d taken my new job in Texas and the girls were still in Oklahoma finishing up their school year. One morning, April had been acting really funny.
She was being pretty quiet (texts and phone) and I kept asking what was wrong, to which she replied “nothing”. Ok…..something’s definitely wrong and I wasn’t going to stop until I knew. I also had a pretty important meeting that day. I had to do a presentation to our CEO, CFO, VP, and to a boardroom full of others. The meeting was fairly long and boring and I was still slyly texting her trying to find out what the problem was. Finally, she’d had enough of my nagging, and texted the attached picture to me. In my meeting. With the CEO. And 30 others. OOO. MMM. GGG. OH LAWD JESUS, IT’S A FAHR! Temporary insanity is a real thing, you guys. I had an out of body experience. I heard nothing. My brain just went into a constant state of white noise. Stunned. Shocked. I had no brain activity. Only a blank stare.
I’M LOSING MY MIND, y’all. My heart is racing at a rate that cannot be healthy. My hands are shaking. I’ve got goosebumps and I’m sweating. Still not paying the least bit of attention to the board meeting. That’s when I hear, “you wanna go ahead and give your opinion on this, Stoney”? WHAT?! Is this a practical joke? Are there hidden cameras in the room? Surely they aren’t talking to me right now. But I look up, with what I can only assume is the dazed and confused look of Forest Gump being asked to do applied mathematics. I have NO IDEA what they are talking about. I don’t even know what SUBJECT we are talking about. I’m lost. I’m frazzled. I’m white as a ghost. And now, I’m on the SPOT. 30 sets of eyes bearing down on me. Unforgiving stares. It’s a defining moment in my life, and I don’t know what to say. Finally….I see some friendly eyes. Wait, I recognize this person. Oh yes, I know him! He’s my friend! I’m begging him with my eyes, ‘please help me’! He understands, and asks the question again! Oh thank you sweet Jesus. And it’s a question, even in my temporary mental state, that I can answer, albeit, stuttering and in run-on sentences. “I think I pulled it off”. I look around the room to semi-satisfied faces. Heads are nodding. “Hey, this Stamper guys really got it going on”. I DID IT! I didn’t get fired!
I look back down at my phone, still on the picture that had caused my near death experience….and then it starts over again. I’m going to have a BABY! We made a human person! With our genitals. How crazy is that?! Holy crap. I need to tell somebody. Anybody. I need to hug April. She’s 6 hrs away! An innumerable amount of questions and fears are running through my head. At the same time. And then I hear it again…..”Stoney, why don’t you go ahead and do your presentation to the group”. I’d be lying if I told you that I remembered any part of that speech to the group. I have no idea what I said. I’m going to assume that I sped through at a pretty quick rate, but other than that….nothing. At the completion of the meeting, the CFO, who happens to be my friend, said “dude….what the hell was that all about”? All I could do was show him the picture. He smiled from ear to ear and offered his congratulations.
That day…..although I can’t remember many things that were said, I will NEVER forget the sequence of events that led up to the greatest thing that I have ever had the opportunity to do. Be a daddy. But do your baby daddy a favor, and don’t rock his world until AFTER his presentation. He’ll appreciate it.