One month ago tomorrow, I became a father. It's becoming hard now to remember my state of mind before I dreamed of this time of my life. I can remember being younger and not worrying about such things, or being fearful of the entire concept of parenthood. In truth, I believe I have wanted to become a father now longer than I haven't. Now that it's happened, my feelings are many, but one thing is for sure. My life has changed forever, and I feel as though I have achieved a great thing.
Alexander Edward Hitchens was born on January 14, 2011. For those keeping track, that's a whole month earlier than his scheduled due date. It seems he had a profound effect on his mother's blood pressure, and rather than risk some serious medical side effects of waiting we decided to induce labor. When labor didn't progress quickly enough and Tianna's blood pressure reached dangerous levels, the choice was clear. He was born by Caesarian section at 3:15 in the afternoon, and just like that, the three of us became a family.
Can I just say for a moment that there seems to be some intangible, structural mental state that kicks in when you go from being a married couple to a family? I can't really describe it any better than that. All I can say is that I started to think about certain things with a new mandate, a new framework. I was now sharing the responsibility for a new life, which meant I was able to make new demands on the world. I wouldn't be surprised if it were biological. It may sound arrogant, but it felt like a genuine superiority complex, but different somehow.
Biology, as it turns out, wasn't only at work within me. Lex's early birth, while completely necessary, was not without its complications. He spent the better part of his first week alive inside a neonatal intensive care unit. In that time, he defeated every single estimated recovery time they set out for him, so while his first week was touch and go, he never gave us many opportunities to doubt his survival ability. He came home with us and we began the work so many have started before.
We named him Alexander Edward. The source of Alexander, other than the obvious traditional implications, comes from Tianna's mother's side of the family as a last name that would no longer carry forward. We both liked it so much as a first name that it seemed like a good combination. Edward comes from me and my father. His middle name is Edwards, and mine is Edward. I saw the opportunity to solidify a tradition, and so that's exactly what we did (plus it didn't hurt that the names sound pretty awesome together). They are strong, proud names and we think they'll serve him well.
So, other than a name and some brief history, what can I say about my son? I preface the following with the reminder that I'm describing a one month old, but here goes anyway. He has striking eyes. We're not even sure what color they are yet, but they are dark and interesting. He recognizes our voices. It's strange. Someone else might be holding him across a room and he'll be asleep or fussing, and if he hears Tianna or me start talking his eyes will open and he'll stop what he's doing. It's really a trip. He has a distinct personality. He's not all smiles, but he's got an easygoing way about him when he's awake and not upset about something. It's exciting to see him change every day before our eyes.
I find myself now thinking about goals differently. Even my motivation for getting out of bed in the morning for work is different. I now live for us, for this family. My family.
Welcome, Alexander. We love you.