Grit Blogs > Backyard Baers

The Volatile Evolution Into a Family Man

Benjamin BaerIf you pay any attention to this blog, than you’re well aware that my wife and I recently became parents (about 4 months ago) to the prettiest little girl I’ve ever seen.  And these first four months have been interesting to say the least. We’ve experienced the sleepless nights, family members jumping over one another to visit (which is a good thing … I think),  the occasional uncontrollable crying for no reason at all, plenty of catastrophic diapers, the baby’s first trip out into the public, and I could go on and on. We just experienced something I had been waiting on, and dreading, but with it, came a kind-of-sudden realization that things are not as they were, and it’s a good thing.

Recently, we received that call from the daycare, you know the one, “Your baby is sick, and you need to get her outta here!” I knew it was inevitable that our daughter was going to get sick, and once she started daycare, I knew it was just around the corner. Everyone’s baby comes down with a bug or something at some point, and, ya know, those things get passed around left and right at daycares/schools. We had a good run going. We had made it four months of no illnesses, no fevers, no emergency trips to the pediatrician, all had been well. Then it came … the cell phone rings and ‘Daycare’ pops up on the display, and you start to brace yourself for whatever reason they’re calling for in the middle of the day. I answer the phone to learn our daughter has vomited three times and isn’t eating; and they need us to come pick her up. Far from the worst-case scenario in that situation, but nonetheless, something I hadn’t been looking forward to. I called my wife, who was across the mountain and just started a new job, she offered to make an appointment with the pediatrician, but was going to be unable to help that afternoon. And at that time, it was as if I had just seen the dad-signal outside of my office window, and I knew, it was time to step up and take care of business, daughter needs her daddy.

My wife immediately called to make an emergency pediatrician visit, which she did so well, the appointment was in 40 minutes, and I still had to wrap things up at work, get to my vehicle, drive to the daycare to pick up that sick girl, then drive in the exact opposite direction to the doctor's. I got out of the office, did some speed walking to my vehicle (which I am really good at, sometimes, when walking up stairs, I will just skip one step entirely and not even realize it) and then some NASCAR racing to get to the daycare, grabbed the baby, made certain to avoid that one teacher that always wants to give me the extra details on her dirty diapers (I get it, lady, my daughter has very stinky diapers, I don’t know what to tell ya).

We made it to the doctor just in time to be 30 minutes late, and the receptionist gave me that look, “Ya know your appointment was half an hour ago?” In my most apologetic manner, I told her, “Yes, ma'am, I’m aware, so sorry, next time I’ll be an hour early.” My sincerest apology must have done something, because we were actually seen by the doctor right away … pretty sure it was the first time ever that I went to a doctor appointment and had no wait whatsoever. The doctor did her examination just to find that everything looked good. It’s kinda annoying, when a doctor can’t find anything wrong, you expect them to find something, and provide a solution; but at the same time you breathe that sigh of relief knowing the doctor did her check, and everything looked good. I spent the rest of the day force-feeding our baby pedialyte/milk and taking care of her the way I thought my wife, or my mother, would. It was the first time ever that I spent a whole day taking care of our daughter on my own.

When I started this blog, it was meant to be about our journey becoming more self-sufficient, and completing the many projects I have in mind, and eventually, I’ll get back to that, but lately it’s been more about family, and the adventures that have come along with it. That night, after order had been restored, and our baby girl was resting peacefully, I sat at my desk, enjoying a cold brew, trying to relax, thinking about this crazy journey called life, and the path it has led me down.

Once upon a time, I was a selfish guy; I cared about myself and my bank account, I made all my decisions based on what I wanted, could not have cared less how it affected anyone else, and I thought I had it pretty darn good. Having a family was the furthest thing from my mind. And now, here I am, playing the role of the family man, looking out for a child who is completely dependent on me. And every single decision I make now, regardless of how big or small, has to encompass how it will affect my wife and child. Now, I know, I do have it pretty good, but for reasons completely different from what I thought 10 years ago. It’s truly amazing how we evolve, and begin to appreciate a whole new set of priorities over time.

Well, if you’ll excuse me, Mother Nature dropped 17 inches of snow on us the other day, so this Florida boy needs to go figure out how to work this snow shovel.

Our sick daughter getting some love from her daddy.

Our sick daughter getting some love from her daddy.