I’m going to cut straight to the chase: the last five months of my life have been an absolute blur. As most of you may know, my wife and I welcomed our baby girl, Catherine, into the world on Friday, September 13th. Not more than a (sleepless) week later did we find out that I was going to be changing positions within my organization. This change would require a move to a new city an hour away. As if having a baby and being new parents wasn’t enough, my wife (Natalie) and I were going to have to contend with moving, prospecting a new house, finding her a job in our new location, all while balancing the workload that we already had… and lest we forget that Catherine would be along for the ride the whole time…
Well, fast forward five months and here I sit: in my kitchen (my office in the basement is far too cold with this crazy Midwest winter that we’ve been having) haggardly typing an article on how being a father has impacted my gaming life. I have no distractions; since Natalie has not yet found employment in Jefferson City, she and Catherine have been spending their weeks at my mother-in-law’s house in Sedalia so that they don’t have to commute every day. Needless to say: my life has changed drastically in the last five months.
Now that you have a bit of context, I can tell you about my gaming habits as of late. I haven’t been playing much. Early-on, when Catherine was first born, she and Natalie needed a lot of assistance. I think that society does a good job of hiding just how much work is involved in responsibly taking care of a new mother and child in the first few weeks of recovery. Recovery is a key word there. Mothers may have that “baby glow” during pregnancy, but after that baby comes… well, let’s just say that they are probably glad that everyone is staring at the child all of the time. That’s not to say that my wife hasn’t gotten more beautiful since the day that I met her (which is especially true the first time that I saw the two of my girls together), but having a baby is tough on a mom.
So, while I anticipated getting quite a bit of gaming in during recovery, I did not. Honestly though: I didn’t think of it like that. I was so enraptured by my baby girl, stressed about moving and tying-up loose ends with my old position that I didn’t have the time to think about it.
After the move I thought that things would settle down a bit and that I might get close to my old gaming habits… That’s when Catherine started to do more than cry, poop, and sleep. She could now look around and wave her arms and legs. She smiled and stared at everything and everyone. This meant more maintenance and Natalie and I had to work hard to share the new work-load. While I would get a few minutes of gaming logged here and there, this was certainly not a time in my life where I could pick up Fallout 3 and feel even the least bit satisfied of my accomplishments.
Fast-forward through the hectic holidays, the traveling, the diaper-changing, the new developments, a cold, an ear infection, and several “wonder weeks” (apparently this is a thing, look it up!) and here I am now. Catherine can finally semi-competently grab things and stick them in her mouth. Two days ago she rolled-over for the first time. I heard her giggle for the first time a little over a week ago… she’s developing a sense of humor. With these developments also comes several sleepless nights for mommy and daddy but many joyful experiences to remember and, hopefully, capture on video and in pictures.
Perhaps it has dawned on you already, perhaps it has not: this article is not about gaming. It’s about life. How my life has changed (for the better in most aspects) and what my life consists of. Sure, video games are still a part of my life and they are a beloved hobby of mine. Sure, I get some gaming time in when Catherine is sleeping in her Baby Bjorn (again fathers: look it up!). That being said: between taking care of Catherine, helping Natalie, working, editing for Geeks With Wives, being on its podcast, and life in general, gaming has taken a back seat.
And that’s okay. Because becoming a father to Catherine and adding to my little family with Natalie has been one of the biggest, if not the biggest, joys in my life.
It may be tough now, but I have to say that I am incredibly excited for the future! I can’t wait to share video games with Catherine. I imagine hours of laughing and fun as I raise my very own “Player 2.” I plan to start her out on the classics and then we can work our way up to the newer stuff. I know that this is still quite a bit in the distance, but I’m in no hurry. Until the time that she can pick up a controller and push buttons for a purpose, I’ll just sit back and enjoy the little things that she does every day that continue to amaze her mom and me.