Final Grades

I guess the strangest thing about the experience of this birth--about the experience of finally being a father--is that everything didn't change. I'm still the same person I was before, only now I have another responsibility and another source of happiness.
  But it's still me here. Part of me expected that, at the moment my son was born, I would become him and start over again as a baby. That didn't happen. I'm still here, the same as I was a moment before. Which is not to say I'm a static person--I'm changing all the time. But I expected there to be something momentous, something life-shattering, about William's birthday.
  And there was and there wasn't. I think that, like most truly profound things, the changes are subtle and far-reaching. And from where I sit now, the changes are almost invisible. So, while I intellectually feel that an important thing has happened, deep down I still feel like the same old me living the same old life.
  Only now I've got someone new to share it with.

The writing of this book has been a lot of fun. I learned a lot as I went along and have often been tempted to go back and rewrite parts of it given the new knowledge I possess. I have resisted this temptation entirely, though, because I want to keep this book as a sort of journal. I think it works that way.
  As I went along, for example, I found out that the instrument with the crank the doctor used on my wife is called a speculum. I still think anything with a crank should be kept far away from medicine, but there you go. I also found out what a heel spur is, and that the name ``Ute'' is a female name in German, and that it's a pretty name in that language. I found out what awful nickname little Isaac Randall's family chose to inflict upon him: Ike. And I thought Izzy was bad.
  I also got a lot of electronic mail as this book progressed. The number of people who related to this story of mine--from places as far away as New Delhi and Japan and Israel--surprised me. The extent to which other couples identified with our experiences was, to me, incredible. And the outpouring of mail I got when I failed to update the page for a month after the baby's due date was nothing short of phenomenal.
  Thank you to everyone who wrote and everyone who read.
  And, while I'm here, let me thank my wonderful wife Dawn, without whom there would be no book, and without whose willingness to let me write all manner of embarrassing things about her this book would have been a lot less interesting.
  I hope everyone will join me in my next book, tentatively titled I'm Still Working on This Dad Thing. Best wishes.

 Chris Rywalt
 June, 1997
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