We've all heard about the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Here are my Seven Wonders of Parenthood... as discovered and stumbled over on my trepidatious expeditions as an ordinary dad.
1. TEMPLE OF OVULATION ORGIES
There's an ancient, mystical skill women possess for divining the best times for conception, and when couples decide to get pregnant, the female of the species can undergo a monthly transformation into a determined sexual creature with a seemingly insatiable appetite for the male. It's prime time for jeans to drop and genes to join, so get plenty of rest, eat your oysters, saddle up, and get ready for the randy ride of life. "Excuse me dear, could you wear something in a Lady Gaga?"
2. THE COLOSSUS of BIRTH
Lobbying for an easy job during the birth of our first child, I mentioned casually to our labor nurse that when the time came, "wouldn't it be best for me to hold my wife's hand, up by her head, you know, to help with her breathing?" A no-nonsense veteran of such cowardly scams, she replied, "There're two of us, and she has two legs. You're grabbing one of them!" No cigars handed out in the waiting room for me... I witnessed firsthand and up close the vivid sights, chaos and indelible wonder of birth... and afterbirth. I'm continuing therapy to regain my libido.
3. PYRAMID of WILDLIFE
I've marveled at the endless shapes, coloration, texture, and aromatic variations of mammalian excrement while analyzing them for clues about health, diet, and the true cause of diaper leakage all over the "good" sofa's cushions.
4. STATUE of the MOTHER LODE
I've witnessed firsthand the jaw-dropping beauty and sex appeal (yes!) of the pregnant mom who, bursting with healthy hormones, radiates health, happiness and harmony. I've also seen the post-partum, sleep-deprived female parent snoring away, strapped to a whirring motorized breast-milking apparatus. I've not just seen this... but photographed it.... valuable enough, I'll wager, to trade some day for a weekend in Las Vegas.
5. HANGING GARDENS of LOST WORLDS
I've explored hidden, off-the-normal-path places such as underneath park swings and slides... eaten on peanut-and-milk-product-free picnic tables... gotten my legs stuck in tiny amusement park rides... been introduced to obscure creatures such as Elmo and Selena Gomez... and searched for hours seeking the dark, never-before-used department store freight elevators that are safer for baby strollers than the dangerously entangling escalators.
6. MAUSOLEUM of the PARADOX of TIME
Parental time can whiz by or stand agonizingly still. One day you're feeding them baby food and suddenly you're shelling out for video games. On the other hand, time stops and sluggish seconds plod forward in agonizingly slow motion when you're bent over, back aching, unsuccessfully trying to strap your squirming, screaming youngster into a car seat designed by de Sade. Welcome to the landscape of melting clocks.
7. LIGHTHOUSE of METAMORPHOSES
Back in the mists of early matrimony, I eagerly purchased tickets for an evening's concert and dining entertainment... for two. Then, through the alchemy of paternity, I was transmogrified into a sleepwalking zombie, wiping baby puke off my face, searching through endless aisles of all-night drug stores for arcana such as gripe water, Pedialyte and Aquaphor. I was utterly and permanently transformed, struck through the heart, by the sound of my children's giggles. Over a decade later, their laughter and tears and fears still fill me with the courage and energy to soldier on. They viscerally connect me in new ways to my old past, our entangled futures and dreams, and a deeper understanding of the universal human condition. The entertainment now plays daily at home.
SHARE YOUR OWN WONDERS
Let's get interactive! If you have your own favorite Wonders of Parenthood, please consider posting them in the Comments section at the end of this column. It takes only a moment to sign up to leave your thoughts... Huffington Post makes it easy... and your observations may just prove Wonder-ful to others. I know you have them. I urge you to share them. Thank you.