The day my son Ethan was born was the happiest day of my life. They say that everything changes the first time you hold your child, but never could I have imagined just how deep and profound my love for another human being could be.
But just as you can’t anticipate the emotions you experience when you have your first child, so you can never fully prepare for the challenges of being a parent. Soon after we brought Ethan home from the hospital, something unusual began to happen—something that I don’t remember reading about in the parenting books. Whenever I would look into his little, precious eyes, I’d receive terrifying visions of car crashes that hadn’t happened yet. It’s something that still happens to this day, and my wife and I are both very concerned and very afraid.
The first time it happened, I was looking at my sons eyes and I saw our next-door neighbor, Michael, being T-boned by a pickup in a busy intersection. Having slept very little since my wife went into labor, I chalked it up to a hallucination brought on by sleep deprivation. But then, three days later, we got a call: Michael had been in an accident, and he was in the hospital with broken bones and a collapsed lung, among other complications.
I assumed it must’ve just been a disturbing coincidence. But then it happened again. The following week, I gazed into Ethan’s eyes and saw a semi truck veer into oncoming traffic, obliterating a Hyundai against a guardrail. Three days later, I opened the newspaper to find the same carnage I’d envisioned. The driver of the truck had dozed off behind the wheel, and now the woman in the Hyundai was dead.
I gazed into Ethan’s eyes and saw a semi truck veer into oncoming traffic, obliterating a Hyundai against a guardrail. Three days later, I opened the newspaper to find the same carnage I’d envisioned.
How was this happening? Was I somehow subconsciously precipitating this carnage? Or, worse, was Ethan? Or was this just one of the many little hurdles that every father experiences?
Two weeks and four car accidents later, I still haven’t found the answers. This morning, while playing peek-a-boo with Ethan, I received my most unsettling vision yet. I saw me. But I wasn’t driving. I was standing helplessly and screaming in front of a brick wall as a car—its make, model, and occupant indecipherable through the headlights’ glare—hurtled full speed in my direction. The vision was interrupted by the sound of Ethan laughing, his tiny limbs wriggling wildly with glee. Two drops of red splashed onto his chest, and I realized my nose was bleeding.
What in the world is going on? Am I doing something wrong?
Being a daddy is the best job in the world, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. But I’m starting to understand that there’s a lot more to raising a child than just being a provider and a role model. It’s about making dozens of little thankless sacrifices every single day, and putting your own needs and frustrations aside in order to keep everything together. It’s about not knowing all the right answers, but forging ahead regardless, even if it means you might get murdered by a car—a car that very well may be piloted by the malevolent spirit of the very child you’ve committed your life to nurturing. It’s not easy, but it’s a job I’m happy to do. And hopefully one day I’ll look into Ethan’s eyes and see not supernatural visions of catastrophe, but rather supernatural visions of gratitude—visions that, in their own strange, incomprehensibly paranormal way, simply say, “I love you, Dad.”