March 21 05:52 AM

Fathers string together family unit

June 13, 2007
Enough time has passed in the relationship between my college kid and his antiquated mother that his attempts to teach me how to use the Internet is actually (and finally) working. While he was away at school, we didn't even keep it as I wasn't the one who used it. Now that he's home for the summer, (and newly employed, busying up the time of day he had been heading on over to The Daily Grind with his laptop to use the high-speed connection available there). Anyway, he's so spoiled by the connection he has at college that he makes ours sound like the Pony Express, but he did reinstate it so all of us would at least have some kind of Internet access.

I have now had a couple of lessons, and not once did he say, nor did his tone of voice imply, the after-high school, pre-college attitude of "Oh, Moooom! I already tooold you that threeee times!"

It seemed appropriate that for my first forage into the world of Googling all by myself I would use it to find material for this Father's Day column—especially in view of the fact that my ink cartridge is dry—which means that after I have gathered the material I can email the finished product to Catherine instead of bringing her a paper copy.

So, here goes.

I found an article which was adapted from 'The Pocket Idiot's Guide to Being an Expectant Father.' In the article, Joe Kelly explains to you first-time dads-to-be that your baby's relationship with Mom is from the inside out, giving her a definite edge on relationship-building with the baby. Sure, Dad, you can look at those ultrasound images, which have actually become quite sophisticated, or watch during topography. You can sometimes feel the baby kick or hiccup, if you're at the right place at the right time. And, to be sure, things have changed dramatically from when the neighborhood midwife or country doc would come to the house, bark orders for a supply of hot water, and then banish Dad from the house 'til the delivery was all over.

Today, most dads are welcome to be birthing coaches; many are right there for the first glimpse and that heart-tugging first cry, the whole experience of which is by most accounts a mix of excruciating and exhilarating. But, bottom line, the relationship is somewhat filtered, and from the outside from the get-go.

Even after the child is born, the mom is generally chief nurturer, whose job description is to eventually distance herself far enough to allow the child room to develop. Dad's challenge, on the other hand, is to come in close enough to be able to establish a bond.

But, first-time Dad-to-be, here's something Joe Kelly didn't say. Seems to me that in the natural order of things, if you cherish your wife, energizing her to nurture the child living inside her, a bond of love will be established which will sustain your little family. And that's why you're the one on the outside looking in. You're strung together with the make-up (and job description) to be the protector-to encircle the both of them.

Castle Creek
03 - 21 - 19
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