The days are long, but the years are short

Published 1:15 pm Tuesday, June 21, 2016

With Father’s Day right around the corner, I’ve found myself reflecting a good bit on the past year.

This time last year, my wife and I were busy preparing for the arrival of our daughter.

She threw us a curve and came a day early. She’s had us on our toes ever since — me more so than my wife, who is a natural when it comes to all things parenting.

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I am, on the other hand, a work in progress.

When Olivia made her arrival into this great big world, I had previously had very little hands on experience with a tiny human.

When friends or family members would have a baby, I’d admire him or her from afar, but I made sure to keep my distance. After all, those things were breakable, or so I thought.

I’ve learned a lot since then.

First, I learned that I can in fact change a diaper without also having to clean up whatever I might have eaten in the last couple of hours, although there have been some close calls.

I’ve learned that I can function on far less sleep than I thought. Not once in a sleep-deprived state have I wandered out of the house with no pants. You’re all welcome.

I’ve learned the sharpest object on the face of the planet is a baby’s fingernail. Like diamonds, they can cut right through glass and certainly any flesh they come in contact with.

I’ve learned to stay off Google. It took just one sleepless night to learn this little gem. I don’t even remember what I Googled, but I remember the result. Those few precious hours of sleep you get with a newborn vanished. I laid in bed all night considering the horrible illnesses Olivia may have had based on my quick Internet diagnosis.

I’ve learned that the Boy Scouts showed infinite wisdom when they made “Be prepared” their motto. Think you’ve packed enough diapers for that short trip to the mall? Pack two more. Is one extra outfit enough? Go ahead and grab another. On second thought, grab one for yourself too. Baby puke doesn’t smell so good. Surely two pacifiers is enough, right? Think again, smart guy. Pacifiers, like socks in the dryer, vanish into thin air. That’s no big deal until you have a small human shrieking at the top of her lungs and nothing will fix the problem except a pacifier. Invest in dozens. Stash them in strategic locations.

Most of all,  I’ve learned that babies don’t keep. One minute you’re staring at them through the hospital nursery window as they get their first bath, and the next you are dodging flying bath toys as you attempt to wash their hair.

The days are long, but the years are short.

Happy Father’s Day to all of the fathers out there.