Thursday, December 20, 2012

"Becoming Dad" by Kelly Crull

Becoming Dad: a True Story of One Man's Transformation from Clueless Husband to Involved and Nurturing Father  The Book

I first met Kelly during our years in Europe.  Our conversations often turned to writing.  In fact, Kelly is the person who got me writing this blog.  I was sure it was a silly idea, but he and Mary Demuth finally convinced me to give it a try.  I have to say I'm thankful they did.  I've really enjoyed it.

If there are new or expectant dads in your life, this is written especially for them.  What started as a blog called Spain Dad, is captured here in a collection of nugget-sized reflections, short enough to digest in the snatches of time that a new baby leaves you.  With self-deprecating humor and a keen eye, Kelly's observations cover everything from the awkwardness of being the only male in the waiting room at the OB/GYN's office, (Note to men, that's code for Obstetrician/Gynecologist and, yes, that means a woman's doctor,) to finding a way through the confusion of a million opinions on "the best way" to raise a child.

Once Kelly and April became pregnant, our conversations often turned to babies and raising kids.  Our 4 kids are carefully (!) spread over a 12 year span and the constant commotion in our home didn't dissuade them.  They are now the parents of 3 young expats, embracing a life that spans continents with Spain as home base.  What I've observed in the Crulls is a calm warmth and confidence based on love and the commitment to find the way that feels right for their family.

The book is divided into three sections: Pregnancy, Baby and Toddler.  A young dad friend of mine said he found the Pregnancy section most helpful.  In fact, his wife said he read it voraciously, laughing with recognition and relief.  His observation was that the next two sections were good portraits of Kelly's journey with baby, but less captivating for him, personally.  So, if you're expecting a clinical "How To" book, this is not that.  True to title, this is one man's story and what it offers is the opportunity for you to glean and gain as you enjoy.

I like that this is a personal account.  Kelly says, "I had no idea a baby in a womb could have so much control over how we spend our time."  "Making a baby takes all 9 months.  It's a hobby in its own right."  The time toll is something that often shocks a newly expectant dad so this is fair warning.  In the delivery room, Kelly feels superfluous and wonders about his place.  One of my favorite moments is when Kelly understands...

"You're doing a great job," I whispered in her ear.  And that's when it clicked.  The job of everyone else in the room was to make sure April delivered a healthy baby, but mine was to be April's husband.  The baby was the last step.  I wouldn't be a dad until the very end.  In the mean time, I was a husband, and that was the one thing that separated me from the rest of these people.  I was the only person in the room who actually knew this woman.  It mattered less what I did, and more who I was."

Later, he allows us in on conversations between the two of them regarding how their relationship has changed and what they might do to nurture their own love.  Like I said, it's a personal peek into the process.

Disclaimer: I was honored to find references to Byron and me in a few spots throughout the book.  Kelly's nice words about our family are not the reason I'm highlighting his book today.

New dads, enjoy!   Find it Here.

1 comment:

Nelly said...

So proud of Kelly! And I agree with you about the Crull's quiet warmth.

Also, now must count Kelly as my grandfather in the blogoshpere, if his encouragements begat your blog, which begat my blog.

That makes you my blog-o-mummy!