This past week I flew back home to celebrate the birth of my third nephew, Jerome Francis the Third. As always, the moment I held that tiny baby in my arms a flood of emotions overcame my entire body. I couldn’t believe that this little life was partly created by my brother. When my sister gave birth it felt normal – she was my older sister, I had seen how motherly she could be, but this? This was different.
My older brother; the little boy who got chicken pox at the same time as me, the little boy who loved Power Rangers and Pokémon, the boy who told me my breath smelled bad and my arms were too long for my body, the annoying teenager who hated when I asked to hang out with him, the guy who sober drove me around when we went to college together, is now a father.
He was now in charge of raising a human being.
How is time allowed to move this fast?
I will never truly understand what a father must go through the first time their child is handed to them but I can just picture my brother standing in the hospital room melting at the site of this human life he had a part in creating.
The mom has spent the last nine months with this little baby. Dad doesn’t have that bond that we as women get to experience.
When a baby is born we spend so much time focusing on the mom and how her transition is. I know I am 100% guilty of this. How can I help her get more sleep, keep her house clean, change the diapers, make her dinner, etc. All to often we forget to check in on dad. We glance over the fact that he too has just welcomed this little newborn into the world, forever changing his life. We forget to remind ourselves that dad is usually the first to go back to work, the first to have to say goodbye to his precious baby in the morning, watching the hours tick by at the office until he can get back home to see that little baby before bed.
So I set out to make sure that my brother knew I would be there for him just as much as I was there for his wife. If he didn’t feel like coming home and doing the dishes because he would rather spend time holding his son, I would be there to unload that dishwasher. If he wanted a companion on his walk with baby Rome because his wife wanted a little bit of alone time, you better believe I was going on that walk. If he was desperate for some caffeine but just didn’t have the energy to get it himself, you guessed it, I’m already out the door and on my way to some caffeine.
Over the last few days I have watched my brother transition into fatherhood flawlessly. The way he looks at his son, the way he protects him, talks to him, loves on him, is a special kind of love that I have never before witnessed from my brother. His eyes light up when he sees little baby Rome yawn, his smile grows so wide his eyes start to squint when he watches him stretch his tiny body, and his heart explodes when those little eyes stare back at him.
Becoming a parent is something I have yet to experience for myself but getting to witness these changes through my siblings is a such beautiful gift. My time at home with them is so rare but I cherish every second spent with each and every one of them.