If I could take my heart out of my chest and put it on display it would look like a train table in the middle of my living room. It would look like tears melted away with kisses and a soft hand on a rising and falling chest at 2 AM just to make sure. It would look like slow dances with legs koala-ed around my waist and silly dancing that lives up to the phrase "dance like nobody is watching."
But my heart and I, we have a long history together. It loved fiercely for three decades on this earth - parents and friends, exes, my wife. It felt loss and heartbreak, joy and abandon. It existed in a world without Mac. And that's one of the weirdest parts about parenthood. The realization that there were moments in time, important ones, in which part of you had yet to exist.
And I don't mean that in the "what did we do before kids?" kind of way. We did plenty of things before kids. Our hearts were full and sometimes empty. We had relationships. And we continue to nourish those and build new ones. We are whole people outside of our children. But there's this really strange moment that comes when you realize that you've only known your child for one minute, or one day, or one year, or one decade, and yet it's hard to fathom a world in which he doesn't exist.
Or maybe he did. Maybe I always knew him. Maybe long before growing him in my belly he was growing in my heart. And long before meeting me, my wife was growing him in her heart, and his father was as well. Maybe he was just waiting for the exact right moment to come into our world and make it complete.
This is the tangled part of parenthood that nobody can explain to you. The shifting of timelines into wavy paths and roundabout circles. The lack of distinction of life before and life after because hearts don't follow sensibly marked routes.
Parenting this child has made me love in ways I never imagined possible. It has turned my world upside down and back again. But there is one thing I know for sure - if I could take my heart out of my chest and put it on display for you to see, it would look like this: