On this last day of 2010, my thoughts drift back to the previous 364 days of an absolutely amazing year.
Erin and I rang in 2010 in Chandler, Arizona with our friends Aaron, Carrie and Jordan (five years old) Schmidt, whom we hadn’t seen since our wedding in June 2008. Continue reading
“Did your wife get ugly?” the hair stylist asked.
“No! She’s beautiful!” I replied.
“It’s a boy. Girls steal your beauty.”
Everyone has an opinion – yet only one person knows – if it’s a boy or a girl. And that person isn’t one of us. The ultrasound technician at Palisades Medical Center knows. The envelope, sealed and stapled shut, knows. But neither the technician nor the paper envelope are talking.
Baby’s arrival is getting closer by the day. As of this past Monday, he/she is technically at term. It can be at any time.
“Are you ready?” is a question bouncing around in my bean lately. In many ways, I am as ready as I think I can be. The nursery is built, the crib is assembled, the baby clothes are hanging in the newly-built closet. The to-do list has dwindled considerably. True, we don’t yet have life insurance. I still need to complete the edits on our wills. But if baby decides to arrive today, we have all we need physically to care for him/her. But while we are waiting for this arrival, perhaps the hardest part so far is getting ready emotionally and mentally.
It’s a scary thing this impending fatherhood. I’m 35 and set in my ways. I like my routine. I like the freedom of meeting the work pals for happy hour at the Faculty Club. I like the option of planning Momofuku Fried Chicken dinners, or impromptu oyster nights. This will soon all change, I know. I feel like a dick typing this. I certainly don’t mean to sound like I’m regretful. I feel selfish. But this is where my mind goes. I know for a fact that our lives with change dramatically, yet the reality of this change is unclear to me right now. It’s a great unknown and I’m scared. Until I meet this child and it looks up at me – and despite the pointy bulges in Erin’s belly and the epic hiccups like those baby had this morning – it’s all an abstract.
So, I wait. And I wonder. While we wait, we field opinions and guesses on boy or girl.
Even the ferry guy Cosmo has one: “So anyway, it’s a boy!” He, like everyone else, has a 50/50 shot at being right.
At the week 22 mark, I posted a note on Facebook with some of my thoughts at the time on the issue of becoming a dad. I pledged in that note that I would try to write a blog post at regular intervals about the experience as something of a historical record. Not surprisingly, I’ve been lax in my blogging. With some additional thoughts pouding at the inside surface of my bean, it’s time to write another. I have no idea if the following will make any sense to anyone else. But the thought purge is useful.
The BIG DAY is getting closer. At Erin’s last OB appointment, the doctor informed us that if “labor started now, we won’t stop it.” Obviously, that means our baby is fully formed and ready to live in the big, bad outside world. The rest of his/her time in the womb is fine-tuning systems and gaining weight.
On the outside, I am calm in the face of this extraordinary change that Erin and I are about to experience. On the inside, it’s a different story. My head is filled with thoughts on the changes ahead. For the first time in my life, I have the occasional heart palpitation – little flutters and skipped beats, usually in bed at night – that belie my external calm. I know it’s nothing serious, but I guess I’m more stressed than even I think I am.
Those who know me personally know how much – and for how long – I look forward to becoming a father. I’ve long dreamed of watching Phillies/Eagles games with my little boy/little girl in my arms or on my knee. I’ve recently daydreamed of playing whiffle ball in the yard or pushing a swing in Elysian Park. The mere thought of watching my son or daughter reel in his or her first sunfish is bringing tears to my eyes as I type this. Not to be crass, but this is a big fucking deal.
Some things have surprised me with this process. I never realized before we were expecting how much one has to contemplate his own death when a new child is coming into the world. Life insurance and the writing of wills become extremely important. Even though I’m happily married, I’ve never had another human being completely dependent upon me. Come September – or sooner – I will. The issue of religion is a challenging one, also. I grew up going to church – attending Sunday School and Vacation Bible School at the Mennonite Chapel early in life – and later attending services at the Methodist church. It was a part of my upbringing and certainly contributed to my moral development. As an adult, however, I am ambivalent about religion. I was a professional church-goer for much of my adult life. Church was a job. I was paid to sing and read a magazine during the sermon. What’s more, so much of the stuff that I disagree with politically – the bigotry of the religious right against gays, particularly – is propagated by churches. I guess at this point in my life, I would classify myself as an agnostic. I do sincerely hope there this a God and a Heaven, but I admittedly have doubts. How can I teach my child something I don’t necessarily believe in? Then again, how can my child form their own opinions about religion – as both Erin and I did – without going in the first place? Clearly, I’m still grappling with this.
I’m sure we’ll find our way.
In the mean time, I have some social events to plan before the new baby arrives. There will be a Phillies game against the Mets. There will be post-rehearsal drinks with Rod and the boys. As a very wise Alan stated previously, there will be beer. And soon I’ll be a dad.
That still blows my mind.
I’m trying something new.
A few of my more industrious friends send an “end of the year” letter in which they recall the triumphs, tribulations and mundanity of their personal years. Some of these, I’ll admit, are incredibly boring; others are rather enlightening. Having never written one myself, I figured this is as good a year as any to try to write my own. Follow me over the fold for “2008 – A Year in Review.” Continue reading
This is an absolutely fascinating exchange between Jon Stewart – one of the most thoughtful, articulate entertainers of our day – and Mike Huckabee.
The gay marriage issue, as evidenced by this conversation, boils down to the wrongly-held belief that being gay is a choice.
Check it out:
Keith Olbermann – in his unique style – gave an impassioned Special Comment on the passage of the hideous Proposition 8 in California that amended the California constitution to ban gay marriage.
Well done, Mr. Olbermann.
I live in the New York City area, so I really don’t know too many conservatives. I am gleefully surrounded by liberals who think very much like I do.
But one place I’ve encountered conservative vitriol is the wonder that is Facebook. One now-ex friend on FB – we’ll call him E – and I had some rather spirited discussions during this election season. I received the following message from him late last night:
You’re the stupid asshole who is blinded by his hatred of Bush and the Republicans. You and the rest of America drank the Kool Aid. The man has no experiene. I’ve been an assistant soccer for as long as he’s been in the Senate. I’m not qualifeid to be the National team coach and he isn’t qualified to be president. Just like Biden said, our country will face an international crisis in the 1st six months of his presidency because nobody his afraid of him bedause he is gutless. He has spoken on 3 different occassions about his muslim faith, standing by the Muslims and defending Palestine but each time he was misunderstood. Give me a fucking break. He is friends with known terrorist and anarchist Bill Ayres. He wants socialist health care. He wants to tax small business and give the money to the poor. That’s Marxist. He wants to limit what the press can say (the media who kissed his ass). Government controlled press is communism. When you have your freedoms curbed, it will be your own damn fault. Of course all the stuff I said will be ignored by you. A brick wall has more common senses. Obama won’t last 8 years. He kill the country long before then
I actually laughed out loud at the “freedoms curbed” line. Wasn’t it the Bush Administration – and the REPUBLICANS – that pushed the Patriot Act? The idiocy seems to know no bounds.
Oh, what a night!
Barack Obama will be the 44th President of the United States…and I couldn’t be happier.
My beloved Philadelphia Phillies are “World FUCKING Champions!!!”