As of this moment I am eagerly awaiting fatherhood, and with Julie three days overdue, the anticipation is mounting. As I was thinking about our current situation—awaiting our baby’s arrival—I realized that anticipation, even in expectation of good things, can be a frustrating emotion. At times happiness and excitement are unavoidable as we realize the inevitable arrival of our first child. Other times, however, impatience and annoyance at the fact we’re still waiting sets the tone for our anticipation (countless questions—“Is the baby here yet?”—are excellent for this!). Sometimes I just wish anticipation was a more consistent experience.
I think the frustration (besides the fact the baby isn’t here yet!) is due in part to the unknown nature of what we are anticipating. Is it a boy? Or a girl? Are we going be good parents? Oh, and will the baby look as good as us ;)! If we knew precisely what we were anticipating (like if Julie had planned a C-section 9 months ago like countless celebrities), chances are the frustration of positive and negative emotions that accompany our anticipation would decline immeasurably.
I think this mystery of anticipation extends beyond expectant parenthood to reveal our experience in much of life’s major milestones. The fact is, life is full of anticipating the unknowns, where no matter how prepared we are, the events of our lives are beyond our control. As frustrating as waiting can be, my past experience tells me that what were once unknowns are often the most valuable parts of my life. Things beyond my ability to control act as gifts which I can treasure instead of possessions I arrogantly possess. So as I excitedly and impatiently anticipate the gift of our child, I wouldn’t have it any other way.