So... yeah... it's been a year since I've written anything here. Not for the lack of anything to write, more that I'm really bad at keeping up a writing habit. But, with what's happened over the last week, I really can't keep that up anymore.
On Monday, June 3rd, 2013 at 0957h EDT(UTC-0400), Kyla Nerice Gerlach, my daughter, was born to my wife and I. She weighed 7 pounds 14 ounces, was 57 cm tall from head to toe, and was (and still is) our beautiful sea nymph.
Having a daughter is... well, it's interesting, mostly. Don't get me wrong, it's amazing, it's hilarious, it's touching, it's all those things, but I think it's interesting most of all. For example, when Kyla first came into the world, she just stared at Alexandra for a long time. She was mesmerized by her Mom's face. She doesn't focus on anything else in the world around her at all, but Mom is captivating. Given that the V1 and V2 visual cortices are not fully developed in newborns, I can't rationalize that it's visual recognition that's happening, but man does it look like it.
Newborns live by their own rules, and like a game of Mao, you have to figure the rules out on your own. At this young age, you're not going to change their rules, all you can do is mold your schedule around them. So far, we're doing pretty good. For example, as I write this I've got Kyla in her car seat (which she loves, go figure) and my wife is in bed. She'll be up again in about 15-20 minutes, which is when I'll head to bed. Gotta finish this post and load the dishwasher before then.
Some people have said that having your first kid is this life-changing moment. I'm not finding that. I'm not a drastically different person than the one I was on Sunday. I know those changes will come over time, but it's been a bit less from an emotional perspective than what I expected. Being someone on anti-depressants, sometimes I wonder if there's something I'm missing as a result of the drugs.
But then I think about how we change as people. I am, in every sense I can think of, a completely different person than I was ten years ago. I wrote crappy code, I was naive about so many things, I didn't have the same handle on my life that I do now. Also, most of the molecules that were in my body then aren't in my body now. Thinking about "self" as a temporally-relevant concept has helped me a lot. Yeah, past-Eric did some stupid stuff, but that was past-Eric. I'm not past-Eric, I'm Eric.
The point I'm getting to is that every day we do wake up as a different person, and though I may not feel the effects of Kyla in my life today, there's been a small inflection in the direction of my life that will alter the makeup of many small changes over time, so future Eric will be a different person than he would have been had Kyla not been born. I think that's what people mean when they say it was a "life-changing moment" in retrospect. One light-year out, a half a degree change in trajectory makes a big difference.
Kyla is stirring. I'm running out of time. Better get to that dishwasher.