What Is Love?

I’ve been asked a bunch what I’ve found most surprising about being a new dad. My wife, Greeley, and I have talked about this a lot as well. I’m thinking about it right now – on a flight and looking through some family pictures on my laptop – and the answer is actually really easy (and I think shared by a lot of parents – at least I know that both Greeley and I feel this way). The love you feel for your child is completely overwhelming – and for me the intensity of it was unexpected. Seriously – it’s totally different from anything I’ve ever experienced. I love my wife very much and in a way that is different from and more intense than I feel about anyone else. But the love you feel for your child is truly transformational.

It’s amazing to bring a life into the world – one that is completely dependant on you for a time. Human babies are probably the least capable of taking care of themselves than any other species.  And nature’s way of making sure that you do a good job of it is to fill you with immediate and strong emotion towards your baby (and incidentally seems to make young babies look a lot like their dads when they are very young; which, very amusingly, according to my father-in-law is “how they used to do things before Morry Pauvich was around to do talk shows with paternity tests”).  Well – I’m here to say that it works!

  • As a future father struggling with (but resigned to) the concept of having my current life wrecked by a child, I am very much comforted by what you – and many other recent fathers I’ve talked to – have to say about fatherhood. And I look forward to changing the “wrecked” above with “blessed”!

  • As I wrote a bit of advice to another new father, you’re old life is over, welcome to your new life.
    As my kids get a little bigger, and start exerting their will on their surroundings, I’m finding the unconditional love I have in the face of their faults is a good thing to ponder, and even work on nurturing in my relationship with my wife.
    Each of my boys so far (another one is due this week), have looked exactly like my baby pictures; and as they grow, they still look like cuttings off the old weed. The common joke in our family is, “well, at least we know who the father is …”