Alejandro Luis Vilson Rojas and His Dad

But First Him, Always Him

Jose 25 Comments

Alejandro Luis Vilson Rojas and His Dad

For the last four days, I’ve averaged about four hours of consistent sleep, including a a period of 24 hours from Thursday to Friday where I slept nothing. These days have been a haze of semi-consciousness, floating between staring at hospital beds and nurseries and recouping in the disaster area that was my house. Before December 5th, I remember reading a few books (OK two: Kevin Nealon’s Yes, You’re Pregnant But What About Me and Thomas Hill’s What to Expect What Your Wife is Expanding), reading a TON of articles online that answered all the questions Luz had of me that I didn’t know the exact answer to, and hoping to God I didn’t lose too much time with my students in class. Sure, I was nervous about the whole pregnancy, but occupying my mind with other things made the idea of fatherhood a little easier to work around.

After I crossed the 24 hour threshold, my paternal instincts kicked in. I don’t remember reading about the strength and courage it took to go through pregnancy, to be the rock when things seem like they’re falling up and around you, to ask questions that don’t often come in your repertoire, to talk directly to your child in the voice you used while he / she was in the belly (you did talk to your child while in utero, right?), to not take it all personally, to not take it all personally, to not take it all personally, to remember that your manhood will manifest in how the other people in your new family feel, to manage expectations, and to sleep in the small pockets you’re allowed.

Between friend and family management, changing diapers, supplementary feedings, and the plethora of oohs, aahhs, and awws proliferated between the major social media venues, phone calls, texts, and visits, I almost forgot about the simplicity of Alejandro. He doesn’t require much, but what he does require matters. Thus, until I learn those nuances, I’ll have to scale back my online efforts a lot more for the next couple of weeks until we get our relationship in order. I’ll be back in the flow of things for my birthday, but let it be said that I’ve already gotten my birthday gift in a major way. All I need is a chance to better understand this new undertaking while finally putting some of my (clearly loftly) dreams in motion.

But first, him. Always him.

Jose, who gets it …

About Jose Vilson

José Luis Vilson is a math educator, blogger, speaker, and activist. For more of my writing, buy my book This Is Not A Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education, on sale now.

Comments 25

  1. Monise Seward

    Jose y Luz,

    You have no idea how happy and proud I am for and of you two! Yes, parenthood is a strange,interesting, and adventurous journey but I promise: You will both do just fine! Don’t read too many books, let your instincts kick-in a little more so you can truly enjoy the experience!

    Monise

  2. talda

    While I am not a parent, I have had the pleasure of being around lots of babies and my advice is, while trying to wrap your head around the epic responsibility that is parenthood (especially fatherhood – because fathers matter. A lot), try your hardest to be aware of every thing your son does. They grow so fast and they’ll never be that small ever again. Enjoy the next few months because they change in leaps and bounds and look forward to a lifetime of amazingness.

  3. Hugh O'Donnell

    Hey Dad, Trust yourself to do the right thing always.

    Looks like you’re headed in the right direction.

    Lots of love to Alejandro and Luz. You will both be great parents. Follow your heart and you won’t have to over think it (like most of us did to begin with! :) ).

  4. Joan Young (@flourishingkids)

    Congratulations to you. As always, your post evokes emotion inside me; this time, tears well up, reminding me of the incredible joy that motherhood has brought to my life. ( my kids are now grown, 23 and 25!) I so am happy to hear that you are going to unplug here and connect with your beautiful new boy. I wish you all of the best..congratulations to you both on the gift of your son.

  5. msladydeborah

    Jose, your son looks so adorable all wrapped up in your arms!

    Once again, congratulations! I am glad to know that things went well during labor and delivery.
    Get yourself some rest dad. The real work has begun! :-)

  6. Jen

    Babybabybaby!

    Congrats. The most fits of uncontrollable laughter we’ve ever had came in those first few months of babyhood (and sleeplessness). If things seem crazy and undoable, see if you can start to giggle at them, because it really does get you through a lot. Easier after the first 6 weeks, though, those are just a smeary blur of a memory.

    Best advice we were given — take a picture of him crying. It seems like an odd thing to do, but it really was great advice, I love that picture of each of our kids as babies. It brings back more of what it felt like than most of the other pictures combined.

    Beautiful, beautiful baby — best wishes.

  7. Michael Doyle

    Forgive yourself now for all the errors we all make as parents, and thank the universe that children are resilient enough to tolerate human parents.

    Welcome to the club.

    A tiny piece of advice that may come off cynical (but it is not): there may be times when in the fog of sheer exhaustion and the fog of well-meaning folks who say everything is wonderful (and things mostly are, usually), there may be a fraction of a moment when you want to dropkick the center of your universe. You will not, of course, and you may feel the need to perform huge acts of contrition. And you may never, ever feel this way.

    But if you do, know that you have joined a huge tribe of us that have felt that way in moments, too.

    And, finally, remember that no baby ever popped from crying too much.

    (And if you care to strike this comment, I understand completely. But fatherhood, real fatherhood, is one tough, wonderfully tough, journey. You’re a man, so you know this already.)

  8. David B. Cohen

    Wishing you all the best! I remember those first days and weeks, and I don’t recall anyone saying anything that was all that helpful or that really captured the indescribable feelings. I’ll leave it to others to try then, because I wouldn’t know what to say. Maybe, “wow!” Congratulations!

  9. dojo

    Congratulations, he looks amazing :)

    You’ll feel better once you guys get in the ‘groove’, but these days are difficult and exciting at the same time.

  10. Matt Mezger, Sr.

    The Snot Sonnet: The family man, and that’s what its really all about, Jose. We’re only here to help, and also to wish felicitations on you, and yours. May the distant stars emit their props upon them.

  11. Nat V

    This is only the beginning Cuz!! You and Luz will do just fine and like another poster said..don’t read too many books! Take the time to learn who he is and what he likes, wants and needs. Between you and Luz, Alejandro is going to be an amazing little being…I can’t say enough, how happy and proud I am to have all three of you in J and I’s life! Fatherhood is definitely a journey that you will certainly enjoy!! CONGRATS a million times over!!

  12. Hillary

    Congratulations! We have three now and can so remember those first few foggy days. It will change, but not for a little a while. Enjoy! The crazy-iness is feeling and amazing.

  13. Graham Wegner

    Congratulations from down under, Jose. Having two sons of my own who are still very much under my roof and my responsibility every day, I still remember the feeling of the first one born and the knowledge that there is no going back from here, and there will never be another moment in your life where you aren’t putting your kid’s needs above your own. It is very cool, very daunting but everyone will make their own unique way through fatherhood and I completely get where Michael Doyle is coming from because frustration and self doubt are a part of the emotional mix as well as the pride and sheer joy. But, cheers and best wishes, mate.

  14. Philip Cummings

    Congratulations! What a beautifully written post. I” am third (or in my case 6th)” will be your mantra. It’s an amazing responsibility and privilege to be called Dad. I wish you the best. Treasure every moment. Take none of them for granted. The moments, days, and years fly by. Congrats, again.

  15. Kelvin

    Congratulations to the both of you. don’t really have any words of wisdom other than to say let your love guide you.. piece and blessings.

  16. Mitch Mitchell

    Great post, and congratulations. I’m not a parent either, but it looks like you have your priorities in order. Raise him to be strong and happy; that’s all I ever ask parents to do.

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