Three Months to a Whole New You

We have a baby.

Those of you that have kids know that this is pretty much complete and sufficient explanation for where the heck I’ve been for the last six months. Those of you who don’t have kids, well, just trust me on this.

His name is Alan Thomas, after my grandfathers and my father, named a good strong name carried by WWII veterans, by leaders of men, by the men who taught me by example what it is to be a man, so named to honor our shared ancestry as he carries our lineage to the future. No pressure, kid. But I’m sure you’ll do fine.

He’s an amazing little thing. He’s three months old now, and not yet able to sit up, but he’s healthy and happy.

It somehow still boggles my mind that I’m a father. Fathers? Aren’t they adults? Big strong men who drink beer and watch football and lift heavy things and talk in short sentences about weighty matters? Is that me? Guess it must be. Sure don’t feel that grown-up, but I have a job and a wife and a dog and cats and a house and a mortgage and car payments, and now I have a son, too. I keep wondering who he’s going to be like, keep hoping I have something in common with him, which is a hard thing to divine when he mostly squeaks and squirms and hasn’t yet learned how to hold a spoon, much less why you’d want to.

There also was quite a lot happening around the holidays, with relatives aplenty osmotically seeping from the woodwork, but let’s face it, the real devourer of time was little Alan. Poor guy knows nothing yet, a blank canvas waiting to be painted, and needs constant care and attention. I owe my wife and our mothers a debt of gratitude for their constant caregiving that I’ll likely never be able to repay. Which is not to say I haven’t changed my share of diapers too: But while I go off to the office and earn money to keep a roof over our heads, my wife is at home struggling through the harder job by far.

I daresay someday Alan will read this journal entry, and I wonder what the future him will think of the past me. Did I do a good job? Did I fail hard? The one thing I can say for certain right now is that I will try my best. The future you will live in, kiddo, will be the best one I can make for you. I’m far from perfect, and there will be things I can’t do, but everything I can do, I will. There are toys in your room that you don’t yet know how to play with, but I will try to show you the towers you can build to the heavens. There are books in your house that you don’t yet know how to read, but I will try to take you to their distant kingdoms. There are wonders in your world that you have not yet dared to imagine, but I will try to show you them. I can’t promise, future you, that I will succeed; but I can promise that I will try to give you the best chance I can to choose your life, choose your future, and become whoever you are truly destined to be.

Your Daddy’s a writer. Not, perhaps, a very good one, but he writes, and he waxes eloquent at times, and at other times he waxes less eloquent and a little too long. Like now. But in your Daddy’s writing, you might get to know him a little better than you do through his spoken words. I don’t know how much you’ll like him once you know him, but he’s not a bad guy, I swear.

Those of you who follow such things will be pleased to know I have spent some time on the Smile Programming Language: We have a passably working interpreter for it now, and some good documentation. It’s not ready for public consumption yet, but it’s way past the vaporware stage. Baby’s First Programming Language will be Daddy’s Language, because it’s going to change the way a lot of us think about programming, for the better. I need to write a proper article here soon explaining why Smile is worth the fifteen years of hard computer science language research that went into it. But I can say the people I’ve shown it to are really, really excited by it.

I can also say there’s another completely unrelated Secret Project in the works that’s all shiny and special and will make a lot of people very happy, but I can’t tell you anything more.

And so, that’s a lot of what I’ve done over the last many months: Work, wife, baby, family, not necessarily in that order. It keeps me busy, keeps me grounded, keeps the future in motion. I’ve never been so busy, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.