This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 42; the forty-second edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. The theme for the month is "COLOR"
Have you ever wondered if fatherhood had a color, what it would be? I have. That's what I like to do - come up with meaningless associations and try to make sense of them. I think the color of fatherhood certainly starts off as heart red for most of us. Heart red because for a man, making the decision to raise a child is the ultimate expression of his love for and commitment to his life partner. And to those of us to whom fatherhood happens without planning, to those lucky, macho, virile few: a bright passionate crimson it is!
Then as the doctor breaks the news to us, that heart red color takes on various shades of orange that represent our hopes and dreams. And perhaps even a little hint of dark conceit. Conceit that leads us to believe that we undoubtedly will be better at this than our own fathers. As the pregnancy progresses, so does the color of fatherhood: from the cool logical blue when we read books about fatherhood, naively believing that this stuff could be taught, to the murky brown when our partner's changing moods put us in an eternally confused state. After about forty weeks of muddling through these various colors, the big day arrives. Its the day when she goes into labor for real. Not that Braxton Hicks business that was invented just to mess with your head. When she goes into labor for real my friends, the color of fatherhood is the color of pure and unadulterated panic. On that day it doesn't matter how many pounds you can bench press or how many laps you can run. Because on that day when you are scared witless and shitless, she is going to prove to you that she is way more courageous, strong and resilient than you will ever be. Now, some of us do the goofiest things as we try to mask our plight. Yours truly here decided to shave at the last moment, while his wife waited with bags in her hand and labor pains in her belly. Why you ask? Well, seeing the color of sheer panic convinced me that I needed to appear very presentable to the labor room nurse (who happened to be a male nurse) to ensure the best possible care for mother and baby. As to what happened next, let's just say I lived to tell the story.
From the moment the baby is born until she is potty trained, the color of fatherhood is blood-shot-eye-red from all the sleepless nights along with a generous and I mean generous ... helping of the color of soiled diapers. Then as she enters pre-school, fatherhood takes on the color of guilt and self-doubt. This is the stage when you begin to question yourself constantly: "Am I giving her the right education? Am I exposing her to all possible opportunities of learning, while keeping her healthy and happy? Have I ensured that she is in good company?" This agonizing mind game that you play with yourself perhaps continues until she leaves for college. But along the way you realize that as a father, your job is to play the supporting role as best as possible. And that many times this just means staying out of mom's way. You also learn that fathers can be like sunscreen. Sunscreen can provide protection and care while being mostly invisible. Yet, the kids are not always comfortable with it. Occasionally, they think of it as the yucky stuff that needs to tolerated in exchange for a fun day at the beach, while their mother often wonders if she could have found something stronger.
However, through all of this, there is one color that fatherhood has always had. But you never saw it because it was the invisible color of your tears. From celebrating your child's accomplishments which start at being born healthy, to sharing her pain during setbacks that start at her first cold, it all brings up a lump in your throat, a knot in your stomach and tears to your eyes. You can't help it whether you are a tough guy or a metrosexual one. You can hide it, mask it but you can't escape that visceral, primordial, overpowering, mammalian reaction to your kids that is hardwired into you. So the one constant color of fatherhood is ultimately the color of salt water that makes up your tears - the same as the color of the oceans from which all life sprang forth. And hence it naturally follows that the same invisible color must be ... must also be ... The Color of Love.