I’m no Nostradamus but I’ve been known to predict a lot of futures. I have called breakups, home runs, reality TV show results, the next song to come on the radio, you know, the important stuff. In my college days my best friend and I had an award that we called the “prophet of the day.” If you were to open my imaginary trophy case, behind all of the body building trophies you would find hundreds of bright blue Prophet of the Day ribbons.
My wife has 12 years of evidence for my uncanny ability to predict. So when I declared that my son would be born on June 30th, 11 days before the due date, she began to believe me. A lesson for all of us: expectations matter. If there are any dads-to-be out there one piece of advice, NEVER PREDICT THAT THE BABY IS COMING EARLY! It’s like a judge giving a verdict of “40-years in prison but that there miiiiiight be a chance you will be able to go home after 20.”
This unmet expectation has brought Taryn and I disappointment. But the disappointment has given us an opportunity to embrace our last days together. The last four days, as the sun has risen and shone through our sheer covered windows, I yawn and then proclaim “this is going to be a great last day together as just us!” After an eye role and a brief moment of sadness that our son did not magically fall out while she was sleeping, Taryn smiles and agrees.
Then over a cup of coffee and a bowl of Greek yogurt we then plan how we want to spend our last day together. In the last four days we have had our last nice dinner, our last dance, our last trip to church, our last how-did-we-spend-$300-at-Target trip, and our last trip across the Golden Gate Bridge. While there is no guarantee that any of these things were factually our lasts I am finding a lot of value in all of these micro-endings.
I’m certain you have been in a meeting where the first point on the agenda seems to come and go, but inevitably someone brings it up again just minutes before the meeting concludes. Why does that always happen? Not everyone had ended. Or maybe you are in a marriage or dating relationship where one of your mistakes always seems to be brought up even though you were certain “forgive and forget” had been muttered. Unended endings are everywhere and they always return. Put another way, we always return to our unfinished business.
I know plenty of fathers who refer to the last days before their child’s birth as their “last moments of freedom.” I’m not so sure about those dudes. These are not my last moments of freedom, but it is the end of Taryn and I’s 12 years as just us. And in order to fully embrace a new beginning (the arrival of our future TV singing competition winning son) we must fully embrace this ending.
I predict it would serve us all well to create more finish lines, better goodbye parties, and bigger send offs. It would do us some good to remember closing the back cover of a book, turning off the lights, or walking off stage. Because at the end of each ending is a new beginning. And I would hate to miss the beauty of something new because I have not finished what I foolishly perceive has ended.