In two months, my rugby team will play a game in Jakarta, and I'm currently debating whether or not to join. From Manila, it's not a huge trip - I'd probably be gone for two nights, tops. And the total cost won't be too dear, either. So why the issue? Mainly because in two months, my baby will be 2/3rds grown. By then he or she will be kicking & wriggling around, and Megan will most likely be getting quite large & uncomfortable.
But it's not just that - we've scheduled our 'babymoon' just prior. An idyllic island getaway over the Easter break, solely to relax & unwind away from Manila for a few days. I've also got to jet off to the UK for some time in July (6 weeks before the due date) to appear as best man at my best mate's wedding. So I'm going to be away for a bit, at a pretty crucial time. Do I want to be away for more of it? Megan will also be travelling quite a lot, soon, so the time we have to spend together will become more & more sparse as time marches on.
I can see both sides of the fence before me now. On one side, my rugby mates: taunting me, tempting me with their promises of good times & on-field glory. On the other, my partner & unborn child: waiting for me, hoping I'll be there to cook dinner, to give her a back rub when she's aching.
I can also see a pitchfork-wielding mob of maddened mothers, condemning me with their stares, saying "why are you even thinking about this?"
If I did give up this time now, would I regret it later? If I didn't, would I regret that I'd lost opportunities before the baby was born? And where is the line drawn - after my commitments to the wedding, is everything over after that? Or is it possible to still take part in things post birth? And does this make up for the time lost pre birth?
Fortunately there's one bloke on the team who set an amazing example last year when his second child was born. He and his wife would be social up until she was set to pop, but then they disappeared for a while. The next time we saw him was when he turned up for a game in Cebu, with seconds to spare, pulled on his boots & ran on the field. He played an amazing game and again, within seconds of the final whistle being blown, was away with his wife & newborn. It was amazing, like Batman: swooping in & saving the day before disappearing in a puff of smoke. He kept up his obligation to his family, while still remaining a massive part of the team.
Can I be that guy? How do I strike the balance between a new family without losing touch with the outside world? Is that even a realistic goal, or is it just expected that new parents vanish into some void for a few weeks? Is there an answer, or is that some rite of passage that everyone has to struggle through?
Either way, I hope there's champagne & cigars at the end of it.