When you’re 23, you look at life through a Celestron NexStar pointed towards the sky.
“When I’m 30, I want to be there,” you say, as you gaze at Deneb, perhaps 7,000 light-years away. You point the scope toward some fainter star, perhaps Alnilam in the belt of Orion
“And when I’m forty, I’ll be there,” you say. You point the telescope towards an indistinct bit of interstellar fuzz, their components no longer distinguishable as individual stars.
“At fifty, that’s where I’ll be.”
You plan. You work. You burn all your matches. You light all your candles.
Yet on the day your child is born, a Dad-lens replaces your telescope.
Where once you focused on the heavens, the Dad-lens takes over your life and all your focus now turns to the tiny human in your arms. Your greatest moments are no longer the deals you made and the goods you sold and the stuff you’ve accumulated. Your greatest moments now belong to an envoy to the future that you helped create. From now forward, you look at life through the Dad-lens.
When Aaron was in utero, the obstetrician thought an amniocentesis might be a good idea.
“Oh, and while we’re at it, would you like to know the sex of your child?” she asked.
“Sure, why not?” we answered.
Several days later, the phone rang.
“Hi, this is Dr. OB-GYN’s office. I have the results of the amnio for you. Doctor says everything looks great. Oh, and the results say your child is XY. You have a little girl.”
“Hey, that’s great news. Thanks. Hey, wait a sec – XY is a boy. But you said girl. Which is it?”
“Oh, my. That’s right. Lemme go ask Doctor. Be right back.”
In those 90 seconds, my little girl had become potty trained, gone off to kindergarten, withstood the trauma of middle school, scored the winning goal, made the honor roll, left for college, and now, I was weeping as I walked a beautiful woman who happened to be my daughter down the aisle to a charming, witty, handsome man at the altar.
“Mr. Stanley?” It was the OB-GYN’s medical assistant back on the line.
“Yes?” I said, still weeping a little. If I’d been on hold any longer, I’d have been cuddling with my first grandchild.
“Doctor says you’re right. You have a son.”
In that moment, through my Dad-lens, I created an entire world. In that moment, I’d been granted an extra thirty years of life. I lived George Bailey’s Wonderful Life and I didn’t even have to fall into the Bedford Falls High School swimming pool.