My mornings are filled with coffee and contemplation now. It's too cold to run. A year ago, I wouldn't have said that. A year ago, I was right in the middle of my running renaissance, had a closet stocked with Under Armor Cold Gear, and headed out covered head-to-toe so I could run six miles when it was 20 degrees outside.
Now, less than 365 days later, I sip coffee and wonder if today is the day I'll hold my daughter for the first time.
I've waited on things before, but I always knew what was coming. A trip overseas, my book to debut, a new client - these are all things I have excitedly waited for, but that had some sort of guaranteed date on them.
With a baby, it's different. Sure, we've got a due date. But when you tell the doula what it is and she eyes your wife's stomach suspiciously, you go home and pack a bag.
As a first-time parent, I take comfort in the fact that my parents, my wife's parents, and parents for millions of years have made this work. I saw my college roommate a few weeks ago with his one-month-old daughter. If he can do this - the guy who ate a half a bag of Doritos for dinner while writing Web site code and watching Gladiator on repeat most weekends - maybe I can, too. (No offense, Adam.)
Couple this internal reality with the fact that it's nearly Christmas and I find myself in an existential crisis. I badly want everything put away in a nursery, and when my mother-in-law asks if we're having the baby in a hospital (which we are) on account of us using a midwife and a doula, and I sort of want to reply that no, we'll be using a manger. As I look at porcelain Jesus who sits among a disproportionate Mary and Joseph on my counter, I laugh at myself because at least I'm not wandering the countryside looking for a place to stay. A half-done nursery beats being where you wish you weren't.
A lot changes in a year. Developing companies no longer sounds as important as developing people. Growing ideas takes a back seat to raising a daughter. Standing out online is child's play compared to, well, playing with a child.
Speaking of, whenever it happens, Lindley's arrival will be her first attempt to communicate with us, saying "Ready or not, here we go" to a guy who likes to anticipate on schedule. And from that expectedly unexpected moment, she'll tell us "Ready or not" for the rest of my life.
And while that could cause me to want to strap on the Cold Gear and run until I collapse, I smile assertively and take another sip of coffee. It's the same thing I've said to my parents for nearly 29 years, and what Jesus said to his folks in a dirty barn.
A lot changes in a year. But maybe not a whole lot does over the course of 2,000 of them.