Written Story by Anonymous

Socrates said, “The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” While Covid may not have been old when my daughter was born in late December of 2019, I certainly wanted to build a new foundation for my partner and I’d daughter. We had tried for years to conceive and in the spring of 2019, when the positive result appeared, I was overjoyed! My partner is an amazing woman and simply the greatest mother, my daughter and I are both so fortunate to have her in our lives. Knowing that she and I get the joy of preparing to bring into the world our greatest joy was a gift beyond measure. And boy did that time go fast!

The Sunday morning that my partner’s water broke was a whirlwind of movement to get to the hospital as quickly as possible. You see, our daughter was born 3 weeks early and we hadn’t yet prepared for her as much as we should have. While my partner is a very forward-thinking individual, I tend to focus on the present and worry about the details later. Let’s just say that I am so, so glad that my partner had a bag packed for herself and we had a crib (even if the mattress for the crib wasn’t being delivered until Monday). We drove to the hospital through a small rainstorm, but we made it safely and got checked in, ready to see our daughter.

My partner was induced and delivered our daughter within the same day. Look, I have seen tough people, having worked on several trail crews doing manual labor such as literally wrestling holders into the perfect position for a stone step (my partner has done this work as well, I’m proud to say), but no one could have handled the pain of being induced to deliver in such a small amount of time as my partner. To say I felt a little useless and a whole lot confused wouldn’t be a wholly invalid statement. But I tried to help how I could and my partner, the real champ, delivered our little girl into the world at 9 PM on the day she checked into the hospital. I will never forget hearing our daughter’s first cry or the warmth in my heart seeing my partner holding our wonderful child.

Our parents came to the hospital, along with my partner’s brother, and we all were so happy to welcome our little bundle of joy into a world of opportunity and love. While navigating a whole new world of parenthood in our hospital room, there was change brewing. Our daughter was placed onto a 2-hour feeding schedule to help gain weight as she was born early and needed to gain weight before being discharged. While I will do whatever I have to do make sure our daughter is provided for and I heard about sleep disruption with a new child, it was hard. Through the joys of navigating becoming first time parents, I realized just how little I would not do or change to give our daughter the life she deserved.

Nearing the end of our hospital stay we were watching CNN. This was early January 2020 and not more than a few days earlier we were celebrating the new year with my partner’s parents and brother while my daughter slept on her mother’s chest. But it was hard to be joyful, or optimistic, when witnessing people being forcefully quarantined into their homes in Wuhan, China. Change was happening and, even thousands of miles away, it seemed like uncertain times were upon us. It was frightening to say the least but, optimistic to a fault, I thought that whatever was happening in Wuhan would not come to Coos County in Oregon…

Well to say I am wrong is about like saying the surface of the sun is a bit warm. I expected life to change when I became a father. Maybe I will get less sleep, cut back on my gaming time, and be prepared to listen to some catchy kid songs if come to learn to enjoy (hopefully). But what I ended up with was a world where millions would die from a virus that spread globally within months. It was NOT what I wanted for my daughter.

During the Covid-19 pandemic many people experienced changes that radically altered their perceived future, their careers, their financial stability, and dashed away many hopes and dreams. While I cannot say that I had the worst of it by any stretch, before our daughter finally received her Covid-19 vaccine we had moved towns, I lost my job as a sole supporter to my family, began counseling services, and experienced the frustration of seeing my daughter grow up in a world in which my partner and I had to restrict seeing family and friends to ensure the health of our daughter. I understand I am not unique or alone in those situations but there was not exactly a handbook for this.

There were many parts of the pandemic that actually provided me with what I would never have dreamed of having before. I have worked completely remotely since my daughter was born, and if I can help it at all I will try in all of my power to keep it that way. The chance to be home with my family during the day was such an amazing experience. It has not been easy, especially when I was doing direct practice for a while, but my current job in a whole new field has been both challenging and rewarding. That change HAS been a silver lining from the changes caused by Covid-19.

Change is the only constant in this world. While I knew that well before Covid, perhaps it had shown me just how easy it is for society to radically change. So, as Socrates said, perhaps it is best to stop fighting the old and to instead pursue what I DO want for my future. The pandemic has shown me I want to be the best father I can, the best partner I can, and to be brave enough to fall. But more importantly the bravery to get up after falling. It hit me hard, really hard, when I lost my job. I went to school for that job, and it felt like sand slipping through my hand and floating in the wind while I was frozen in fear…

But that did not stop me. I continued to search for change, to search for good. What inspired that change was my daughter. No matter what I will do, I need to do to ensure she gets EVERYTHING she needs to have a happy life. I am sure almost every parent would say the same.  Becoming a parent was a change. Witnessing and living through the pandemic was a change. Those two events happened so closely together it is difficult to say which affected me the most. But I don’t have to choose which one did impact me, that is in the old. What matters now is the new.

A new life with love, life, and the opportunity to see my family thrive. To see my daughter go to pre-school and work towards becoming the veterinarian she says she will become. My wife will find a job she loves and be close to her family. And through it all I will continue to support them. My new change is to live my life for them because they are my life. I know that is cliché but I can’t help it. All I want is my loved ones to be happy, healthy, and to pursue the new that they are meant to pursue.