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Hard to believe it has almost been 4 months since Molly was born! I’ve been returning to this post repeatedly but never sure even where to begin, so will for now just post a few thoughts. Any attempt at describing this experience has been nearly impossible, parenthood really is beyond words. From my last post and all of my apprehension about becoming a parent, to the first months raising our daughter have been just…amazing. From the joy of watching her birth to the first night in the hospital with her to bringing her home and trying to keep up learning everything there is to know to watching her change and grow and learn and change every day, it both seems like it has happened so fast, and yet we simultaneously can’t really imagine a time before having her in our life.

The first weeks were a struggle of course with all the challenges of having a baby compounded by the continuous lack of sleep, but every day is getting better. We’re extremely grateful as she’s now only up once or twice a night to feed, even her having a bit of a cold at the moment is only a little setback – her sniffles are heartbreaking but adorable, thankfully she seems to be taking it pretty well, she’s still very cheerful, between sneezes.

This may actually be the most I’ve written since she was born, with so much happening it really has seemed to take words away. We’ve been slowly able to build a new kind of normal together though, it’s only been in the last few weeks I’ve really gotten back into reading – finally, finally read Margaret Atwood’s Maddaddam, now reading through the trilogy again. Molly is becoming stronger and more portable every day too, last month Sarah was able to take her place at the city’s LACH committee again, while I watched Molly in her stroller at the back. We’re looking forward to getting out and introducing her to everyone in the Pints & Politics community, it still seems hard to imagine introducing her to all the great people we know and all the places we like to be when she’s older and able to really take it all in, so much to look forward to!

I say this every time I write and then there is a massive gap between posts, but…I hope that this will mark a return to writing. There has been so much to write about both locally and around the world, will aim to be here much more often.

stand by

After months of not writing, I realize how much I’ve been thinking about it, yet not knowing where to start.

There has been so much to think and write about, including the London 2014 election heating up, and the stunning PQ defeat in Quebec last night. It’s not that I’ve lost my passion for politics or our city, but it seems like preparing and then waiting has consumed all of my mind and attention.

The winter (despite the weather) has gone fast for us, and I’m astounded to find us now waiting day to day for our baby to be born. We’ll be at 39 weeks tomorrow, Sarah is now off work and I’m on stand-by with mine to let them know the moment I’ll be gone to start the last part of the journey, and our new life with our child.

The nursery is ready, the hospital bags are packed…all there is to do is wait.

The strange thing is, even in our sleep-deprived state with a new baby, I think it will be a tremendous relief from this, and I hope that even as so much changes it will help us begin a new life with new routines as well as returning to parts of our lives that have been on hold. Every time I write I seem to re-affirm my desire to kick-start my writing again, but once again I hope to get back into writing in the weeks ahead (though the coherence level may go down at least for some time).

I look forward to re-connecting with the London #ldnont community, even though it may be digitally, at least for the first little while. There is always a wealth of things to think and write about, as I’ve returned to typing here I look forward to getting back into the habit.

Maitland

This morning in church, our pastor Sheldon announced that he had accepted a position with a major church in Mississauga, which he will be starting in December. He somewhat tearfully told us that after 25 years of service to First Baptist London, he feels this new challenge and adventure is his calling and next step. This was not entirely unexpected with all the major changes happening this fall already in the church, as we launch Maitland Street Church with the associate pastor Dave next month. This revelation has got me thinking this afternoon of just everything changing/shifting in my life and the city this fall, including…

  • The new church: As we transition from services at First Baptist to Maitland Street, everyone moving to the new church will be taking on stronger leadership, administrative and community roles as we try to see our vision realized of a relevant, community service-driven church in London. I and the rest of the launch team will continue working together to find roles/niches we fit into, and to find ways we can collectively make it happen.
  • Personal challenges of church: I continue find myself working between desire to use my time and resources in the church to connect the congregation and community (nearby as well as London as a whole) even as I struggle with times of deep scepticism and doubt in the (global) church and my faith. I find this deepening as I think about my future child, how exactly to teach them in all things, and perhaps especially in faith when mine is so…fragile? Shakeable? I’m not sure if I am more doubtful than others, my suspicion is that most everyone has times like these, but we tend not to talk about them. But speaking of…
  • Baby on the way: Sarah’s progressing pregnancy and the growth of our child is of course forefront in my mind, though I am still feeling all the feels in all kinds of ways, perhaps most especially confusion as I am still unable to talk to many people about it. Our parents have been wonderful listening to all our thoughts and questions through this, and we’re increasingly anxious (as are they!) to share our news with the rest of our friends and family. In some ways I think it will be scary because it will make everything all the more real, but more than anything it will I think be a wonderful relief to be able to share our news, and freely talk about it. We’re coming up quickly to the 12 week mark and Sarah’s ultrasound, after that we will let everyone know…honestly, can’t wait!
  • Community events/obligations: As the summer fades, community associations and service groups are gearing up for another year ahead. The Argyle Community Association and Strengthening Neighbourhoods Argyle are celebrating all of the summer events (especially everything under the Discover Argyle umbrella) while looking ahead to what this fall has in store. As well as looking at bringing the two groups together into one unified body, Strengthening Argyle is moving ahead to fulfill its mandate to create and present to Council an action plan for the community. As well, Barry and I as the communications team are looking at how to best move forward with all of our social media and communication tools (website, Facebook, Twitter etc.), which I’m hoping will make our work much more effective, as well as efficient. This is something I really want to be a part of, but have been finding is already taking up more time than I can manage, so I am hoping that in investing this time now, we may after be able to spread the word of all the great things happening in Argyle and across the city much more efficiently.
  • Business: It’s both been a hard and gratifying experience to start my own business drafting, though it has been a struggle with varying degrees of work/pay and managing all my different life priorities while balancing work projects through times of both too little and too much to do. I hope that as I approach the third anniversary that I have it more under control and managed, and hope that I will be able to re-connect with many things I feel I have neglected as I’ve worked on this.
  • Online course: Tomorrow I start an online community development course that I’m hoping will inform and shape my understanding of community and strategies we can employ in London to better serve our individual communities, as well as create stronger/more efficient connections between the different communities in our city, and beyond.
  • Budget 2014: Although it seems in many ways that the last budget cycle is only just over, it really is that time of year again. Although the final city budget deliberations and decisions won’t be concluded until the spring, in the fall Council will set the goals/targets that staff will be expected to fulfill as they shape the budget for next year, and start public consultations into what citizens’ priorities are. In many ways this time tests the resolve of Council and the numerous city departments as they must make tough decisions as to exactly how much money they will request and what services to maintain, expand or contract. This is also a test of London citizens and their priorities/expectations, which may only be the start of…
  • Election 2014: This is still the somewhat early stages in some ways, but really, the election is only little more than a year away. This would be the first local election I’ve closely followed/been very aware of the contenders and issues, and am very interested and excited to follow the process with at least somewhat familiarity of the situation, although the actual election season cycle will be new to me. About a year from the election seems to be when candidates start to declare their intent to run, as yet there doesn’t seem to be major opposition against the mayor, I think many are waiting anxiously to see who might step up, especially with all of the issues/scandals plaguing Mayor Fontana’s first term. I also hope to both follow/write extensively about the election and participate in campaigning, though as of yet for who/in what capacity is still completely in the air. This of course may be overly ambitious with our baby expected in April when things will likely be really heating up, but I will push to do as much as possible in this critical time.

As I write this I think of everything I regret having to set aside as I’ve worked out all of these things happening, most especially friends I haven’t seen in far too long. I haven’t been out to Pints & Politics (one of the highlights of the month!) since the spring, and deeply miss all of the community there. I really hope that as these different parts of life somehow come together, I’m able to connect again with everyone, especially before next spring and our baby arrives.

After that I’m excited to see where our new little person will fit into all of these responsibilities. It will be fun to have a little one to take with us to Argyle events, to show off at community events. I’m sure they won’t be the only person to sleep in the gallery during city hall council meetings, though being an infant is a pretty good excuse. I’m excited that they’ll grow up in so many different communities of amazing people, and can’t help but hope they can absorb the energy of helping others and working for the good of the community from a young age. I’m grateful that this boom in my work is coming at the best time (before the wee Gibson arrives), and that we have a strong family support network.

panic about babies

Sarah and I started to try to conceive, and after a test in mid-August found that she’s pregnant!

So I’m very excited. And very, very nervous.

We’ve been married almost 4 years, and I’ve resisted the idea of being a parent for a long time, mostly through anxiety of all of the massive challenges of parenting, and plunging into the great unknown. We’ve both wanted to be financially prepared, and fairly well grounded in our work. While I’m still working from home contracting, we’re about as stable as we can be, and being in our late 20’s we thought it was a good time to start trying.

So I was technically mentally prepared when we started trying, but I’m discovering that no one is truly ready, perhaps especially for fathers. I’m trying my best to learn as much as I can before now and the due date (will likely be mid-April)…the hard part is parenting books are a sure-fire way to raise my blood pressure, but thankfully Sarah bought several (including the one above) that are a terrific combination of hilarious and informative.

The biggest thing is, I’m feeling all the feels. All. The. Feels.

Without being able to tell many people about it…

We’ve told our parents (though not first, our bosses were the first to know to give them as much of a heads-up as possible, followed by the Cheese Poet…because Sarah is on a sudden unpasteurized cheese hiatus), and am very glad to be able to share our joy/excitement/nervousness with them, but we’re also looking forward to being able to tell everyone else. We’ll aim to tell everyone by around the week 12-14 mark, but it’ll be tough to wait until October!

The strange thing is feeling so much, but not being able to even really place what the feelings are. I’m really looking forward to being able to share our news, and to talk to others about it, and ask for thoughts, experiences and advice. Some of the things rolling around seem to be:

  • Accepting that I’m entering a new stage of life, and to really face that I’m getting older, moving from being a young man only responsible ultimately for myself to a father jointly responsible for our child. I’ve heard that a man often doesn’t truly become a father until he holds his child, and all parents feel they won’t know what to do…but I often feel like I’m in over my head, I can only trust that when the time comes we’ll manage.
  • A new appreciation of all my parents did for me. I know this will only grow as we take care of our new child and see how much hard work and dedication it takes…
  • Concern for Sarah’s health, and for the baby. Concerned knowing that it’s not safe yet to assume the baby can be carried to term as Sarah is only about 7-8 weeks pregnant right now, so feeling like it isn’t really real, and yet incredibly real at the same time. Waiting with trepidation for when the baby is further along and more fully developed.
  • Strange sense that life is getting both smaller and bigger. I know that in the short term our life will shrink as we focus on caring for our new baby, but also have the sense that this new adventure will help expand my perspective and hopefully see the world through fresh eyes.
  • Being aware that we’re bringing a new person into the world, without knowing what they will be like at all. Sarah keeps reminding me that they’ll love us as their parents, and we’ll raise them sharing our interests with them, but it’s okay if they don’t share them, they’ll develop their own.
  • The sense that all of this is impossibly big, I don’t even know where to begin or what to think. I’ve been very preoccupied, and haven’t known what to write about. It feels strange as I write this to know that I won’t publish this for another month, but am glad to at least get these thoughts out in some way, and look forward to sharing them as well as writing more once we’ve been able to announce that we’re expecting.
  • Feeling a weird kind of stasis, in that our world has changed though everything around us goes on much like it has before, heightened by the fact we can’t yet tell many people that our life has changed.
  • I’m sure every parent goes through this, but I feel that since we knew Sarah is pregnant I have been following the news particularly closely, and as I watch things like the looming threat of military action/invasion of Syria, I wonder about the world we’re bringing a child into. I’ve often thought of resource shortages, overcrowding, mass starvation in a world of 7+ billion people and wondered about the morality of bringing another person into the world, but my hope is that our child may be someone that contributes greatly to the world, even as I still try to find what it is I can do with my life to make my existence worthwhile and meaningful.
  • All of this forces me to face and examine my life in a way I haven’t before. I feel as if my life, my priorities and goals are in a new light, in a good way. In many ways, I’ve lived contributing in ways I am glad of but without any long plans or aspirations, I hope that this may be prioritize and shape my life with new vision and direction, and make the best use of the time I have left.
  • I fear that I will be less physically/mental available for the next while, and hope to make the most of the fall and winter to spend time with friends and family. We’re entering an especially busy time as community associations and City Council start in earnest again, and we move into the Budget 2014 and Municipal Election 2014 year. Though I may not be physically available as much after the spring next year, I am hoping that I can continue to follow everything happening, and keep in touch with everyone involved, and to keep writing through the process.

I am trying my best to see this as a new adventure, and look forward to being able to share it with everyone!