I wrote this blog post about 18 months ago; about a week or so before my son Koan was born. It’s a love letter to my wife and my son.
I’m re-posting it here because I was watching Totoro with Koan the other day and I remembered saying in this post that I could not wait to watch this movie I love with him. We watch this movie almost every day together now… The words we speak, become the reality of our lives…
I’ve never thought about having kids. Ever.
By the time you read this I’ll either be the proud dad of my son Koan Chase Mahler or he will be nonchalantly making his appearance to this beautiful world any day now. I love my son with all my heart. I can’t wait to meet him and hold him in my arms. My heart smiles when I think of him.
So how does one go from not wanting kids ever, to becoming a first time dad any day now?
My simple answers: one moment at a time and desire.
I want that
These three words have changed my life.
Every time I have uttered these words from the depths of my heart without thinking about how and why, things move. Things happen. I change. My heart overcomes my common sense mind and I allow myself to dream about what’s possible.
The day I met my wife Kanako I sensed there was something special about her. Beyond a physical beauty she had an inner radiance. I knew within a few short days I wanted to get to know her better. Within a few short months I knew I wanted to share my life with her.
The first time I ever uttered a word about wanting kids was when Kanako and I were in Kona on the big Island of Hawaii. We had been dating about a year. I flew in from Vancouver and she from Tokyo. Two days into our reunion, she asked me point blank “Gabe (my nickname), do you ever want kids?” Without hesitation I looked at her, smiled and said, “With you, yes, with all my heart and I want a girl and I want to name her Kona.” Our eyes met and we smiled. At that exact moment I realized she was the only woman with whom I would ever consider having kids. Fast forward through two years of living in a 150 square foot apartment in Tokyo, a sunset proposal of marriage on the shores of Kauai, a lovely lounge wedding and finally diving through all my old sorrows to this moment in time, right now…
I want that
I’m 47 and I’m gonna be a first time dad. That freaking excites me! While most people my age are getting more comfortable, pampering themselves and thinking about retirement, I’m going for diapers, a Baby Bjorn and a stroller. I have no idea what to expect. One thing I know is that it’s going to be a ride that rivals anything at Disneyland and he’s going to need a lot from me. I’m ready! People tell me I’ll be tired all the time, I’ll have to work ‘til I’m 80 to raise him, it’s game over for my freedom and last but not least, it’s gonna be hard. I call bullshit on that.
I believe there’s another way. Busy yes, hard only if I make it that way.
I want my life to be lived well, where I love my wife and son and do work I love so I can support them. I want to live different. I know I can because I do, every day. Like everyone, I can fall into worry and doubt. That is until I touch my wife’s belly and say hi to Koan. I realize It’s not about me anymore. It’s all about my wife and son. It’s about my family. With them behind me I am golden. For me “I want that” means I’m living and leaning into my dreams. It means I won’t not do something because it might be hard or unconventional. It’s clear as a bell. Like salmon spawning or birds migrating I’m following my path. Full on. I cannot not do this. It’s in my bones. It’s why Kanako and I met.
Oh, one more thing, remember I told you I wanted a girl named Kona? She’s coming in a couple of years and she’ll be beautiful, just like her mom.
At the end of your life, on your death bed, what might you be remiss that you have not done or left out of your life?
Once you know what that thing is, go do it.
Ghibli Studios.© From Totoro, I can’t wait to watch this with Koan!