I asked my friend, who recently had a child, how her life had changed. Before she answered, she wanted to know why: was I offering help or was I thinking about having a kid myself? Before I answered, I wanted to know if she asked this because she needed help, if she meant that her partner was not helping enough, and if this was true, it had already answered my initial question—that her life had been changed because her dedication to this new, tiny person she created was much greater than the dedication of the man who had fathered the child, and then I told her, before she said anything in response, that this was my fear all along—not that I would fail to love the child but that my love would be eclipsed by the love a mother has for her child and that no matter what I did it would fall far short of what the mother was able to provide, and that this gap would build resentment between the mother and I, the brunt of which would be shouldered by the child, whose life would be altered by the fact that she grew up in a home where there was a constant jockeying for position versus unconditional love. My friend said, No, I meant I need someone to watch her next Saturday, would you be able to? I made up a flimsy but immediate excuse. We agreed to meet again sometime soon, when she could find time, of which, she said, it was obvious I had too much of, dwelling on ridiculous hypotheticals, and her too little.
I dreamed my dad, who died three years prior, needed a ride. I drove him, dropped him off, and then, on the way home, got hopelessly lost. The next day, I called my dream interpreter. Boy, I said, do I have an easy one for you. She said she was swamped, though, with dreams of dead fathers, and would have to get back to me later in the week.
Sam Price lives in Philadelphia, PA.