When my wife told me she was pregnant, I got that stomach-churning sensation that hits you on a plunging roller coaster. I was excited, yes, but... oh my God. Parenting was for, well, parents.
So here I stand, bug-eyed and sweating buckets like some poorly-drawn cartoon character, the question marks floating in the air around my head while I try to prepare myself for the complete care and responsibility of another living being besides my cat. I'm responsible for making sure this little human doesn't grow up and turn into a complete monster. If the child turns out a social moron-- my fault. If the babe can't find Luxembourg on the map, blame me for not providing a better education. They'll need therapy, and of course that will be on my head too. So many opportunities for wrong turns!
I remember the day my father sat me down and awkwardly told me about the birds and the bees; it was perhaps the most excruciating and embarrassing half hour of both our lives. I can't do that to another human being.
Maybe I'm getting a little ahead of myself here. I can do this, I say; I'll be a great father. My child will be reared a well-rounded, educated, upstanding citizen of the world, and he or she won't hate me.
And then I imagine the baby, still safe within the confines of my wife's belly, suddenly opening an alarmed eye as the thought enters his or her mind: "What if my dad just can't hack it?