Dependence Day

When we found out we were pregnant, I was terrified.

I was so scared of having a child. All I could see were potential disasters.

What if we go broke?

What if I’m a terrible father, or husband?

What if we stop doing things we enjoy, and grow to resent each other?

What if something unexpected happens and this blows up?

These worries consumed my mind for a solid three months.

I believe pregnancy lasts nine months, because you need at least six months to come to grips with the fact that, hey, this kid is *really* coming.

Eventually, my overblown worrying downshifted to “practical stress.” I was still nervous, but I accepted it and we prepared together.

Andrea patiently waited for me to emotionally catch up with her, as she’d already lapped me about ten times. She was so on top of the ball, it made things easy.

And then, this week, our daughter was born.

Every congratulatory remark that I’d dismissed for months hit me all at once. Every cliche I’d ever heard about becoming a dad suddenly felt right.

I cried the first time she fell asleep on my chest. I felt so foolish and blissfully overjoyed at the same time.

I was wrong. Thank god, I was wrong!

How many years I spent seeking “success,” that roundabout path that’s supposed to lead to more love. I didn’t realize I’d already arrived. I’d won the lottery, and I’d been scared of the paycheck.

We have a family. My wife is so loving, it’s a miracle. Our daughter needs us. What a privilege to take care of each other!

Today, it’s a relief to feel independence slip away. I need them to keep me from spinning off the rails, like every man does when he’s on his own. They need me to just be there.

This is our dependence day.

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Charlie Hoehn is the author of Play It Away, Play for a Living and Recession Proof Graduate. His work has been featured on NPR's TED Radio Hour, Forbes, Fast Company, and Harvard Business Review. Previously, he was the Director of Special Projects for Tim Ferriss. Currently, he is the Head of Video at Book In A Box. He lives with his wife and daughter in Austin, Texas.

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