Monday, September 22, 2014

Anticipating Fred

It's 7:14 am Bristol time as I type this, which means that it's 6:14 am in Wisconsin, where my sister lives. I'm thinking about her pretty much to the exclusion of everything else, wondering what she's doing right this very moment, because, this morning, her son Fred will be born.

Like his older brother Louie (these are my blog names for my nephews: Huey, Dewey, Louie, and Fred. No, those are not their real names. Sheesh.), Fred's coming into the world via c-section, so we've known his birthday for weeks now. I don't actually know what time my sister is going into the hospital, so I don't know what time to expect the phone call, or text, or whatever, that I pray will tell me that Fred is safely into our world.

Some things you can't understand until you've done them. Having a baby is certainly not rare--look around, so many humans--but it's inexplicable. It changes you forever. The morning I went into labor with our firstborn, my husband drove me through these ink-black frosted streets, and every time I saw another car I looked for a glimpse of the person inside. For all of those people, I thought, this was just an ordinary day, but for me and my husband, it was extraordinary. It seemed poignant somehow--everyone else driving off to work, ho hum, when this enormous miracle was just about to occur.

We close our eyes to miracles. We forget how astonishing the world can be. I saw a cookie cake on cakewrecks.com recently (if you're bored of LOLcats but want a laugh, try cakewrecks) that read, "Look! We made a human with our genitals!" and I laughed and laughed, not so much because it was funny, but because the truth of it was so absurd. How can this all work? How can we not be amazed, every day, that it does?

I'll see a photo of Fred today, and in less than two weeks I'll be able to hold him. The other day I tried to tell my son how much I looked forward to holding a tiny baby again, to counting all Fred's fingers and toes, to smell that wonderful sweet spot at the back of his neck. My son, a bit alarmed, thought I was wanting another baby myself. No, that's not it, I told him. I had my babies; I loved my babies. Further babies at this point would be along the lines of a miracle. But so were the first two, and so is Fred, and I can't wait to meet him and revel in his improbably perfect self.