Mourning your past self, the man you no longer are, or no longer can be because now you’re a dad is a very healthy thing to do. If you don’t do it, you’ll be carrying around the frustration, sense of longing and loss that will creep out into your interactions with the people you love most. The people who you chose to bring into this world and who love you unconditionally.
For me, this poem talks to that transition far better than I ever could.
Men at forty
Learn to close softly
The doors to rooms they will not be
Coming back to.
At rest on a stair landing,
They feel it
Moving beneath them now like the deck of a ship,
Though the swell is gentle.
And deep in mirrors
The face of the boy as he practices trying
His father’s tie there in secret
And the face of that father,
Still warm with the mystery of lather.
They are more fathers than sons themselves now.
Something is filling them, something
That is like the twilight sound
Of the crickets, immense,
Filling the woods at the foot of the slope
Behind their mortgaged houses.
Donald Justice 1967