In 2010 this little girl came into my life. I began fatherhood at the age of 43. This is roughly 16 years over the average for men in the United States. I became a father later in life on purpose.
Growing up with so little and being a bit overly self-reflective, I was cautious about forming a relationship with someone else when I was lacking so much confidence in myself. Higher Education built a confidence in me social class had previously taken away. When I was working on my Doctoral degree, I met the woman that later became my wife. We clicked from the outset. I felt at ease in being myself with her immediately. In other relationships I always held back parts of me but, not this one. My education instilled in me a new perspective of worth. With it, I finally became comfortable in my own skin.
My wife and I purposely chose not to start a family immediately. Instead, we waited until we hit major career milestones. For me that was getting tenure and for my wife that was completing her licensure in professional counseling. We both came from meager backgrounds and so we were always careful to keep our lifestyle within our professional budget.
I remember almost exactly when I knew when I was ready and wanting children. It was late evening on a cold but setting sunset sky. My wife and I were at my sister-in-law’s house, and I was watching my niece and nephew playing joyously with their new Christmas presents. I flashed back to that time in my life. It was a brief happy few Christmas years when my parents were still together. My parents were together for eight years of my life. I reflected on how these would be precious memories for Kyle and Katie, how their parents were making memories for them. I envied that.
Tara and I began trying for a kid. It didn’t immediately happen like one might expect. After about a year with no luck, we each got checked out. Things were fine. Eventually we got pregnant, but we miscarried early on. About a year later we got pregnant again but, after only confirming a few days earlier, Tara suffered a tubal pregnancy. At that point we were done. I joked that the average cost of raising a child to the age of eighteen was $243,000. We should give up on the idea of having a child, and consider the savings…money in the bank for see the world together.
We came to this conclusion in Maui during our 10th wedding anniversary. We saw all these people walking around with strollers and I thought what a bunch of damn breeders. Funny story. Our first night there we were woke up suddenly at 5 o’clock. I thought good god don’t people realize the time difference here? It was my sister-in-law checking to see if we were okay. Apparently there was a major earthquake in Chile and the Hawaiian Islands were now under a Tsunami warning. I thought she was crazy and stepped out on to the balcony to hear the sirens going off. We were told that all guest were to be above the 4th floor after 10am. We lucked out we were on the tenth floor. That was February 27th. Our daughter Keira was born 9 months to the day.
I was a nervous expectant father, probably less of the emotional support variety. I was too afraid to become so invested, we had already had two previous miscarriages. I was nevertheless distracted as my Mother was dying of stage 4 lung cancer. She was aware we were expecting. By the time of her passing, we were further along than we had ever been. Keira’s arrival helped me navigate my grief and remain productive. Over time she has changed my whole outlook on the universe and my place in it. I wanted to pass on the opportunities that I never had to another soul. I waited for her…my little muse.