The Sacred and Profanity
When I write, I rarely know the destination, but my last post about pregnancy got kind of serious so I thought it’d be fun to document some things that have made us smile and laugh.
It’s been a hard few weeks. To say our move to the South Loop has gone smoothly would be an egregious lie. There has been nothing funny about it and I shall leave it at that.
For the last six months Jamie, my wife, and I have been holding our proverbial breaths waiting for the arrival of our baby girl. Continuing life as we know it while preparing for her arrival has made 2015 a very stressful year. On top of being pregnant, Jamie is starting a new job, we are moving, and my architectural photography business is as busy as could be. These are all wonderful happenings of course. They say when it rains it pours; but for us it has been the flip. When the sun shines, it shines bright, hot, searing. I am not complaining, but I am trying to avoid an ulcer.
“Yes – I’m pregnant.”
“It’s a girl.”
“Due early September.”
“I guess you can touch my stomach.”
There you have it.
As the man of the house, I feel urged to protect wife and baby. It may be antiquated but the feeling is real. I have tried to shield Jamie and baby from the stresses we’ve been facing the past few months but it’s often futile. Jamie has her own life and her own stress. I try to spearhead the list of to-do’s that we’d usually collaborate on. No matter my efforts I continuously fall short. Jamie’s tears, however seldom, are an unpleasant reminder that life can be tough and try as I may, my shoulders too weak. Life is hard, but it’s also wonderful. Jamie reminds me of that often. She reminds me we are a team and we are in this together. I remind Jamie not to take it all so serious even when I cannot heed my own advice.
Fortunately for us we’ve had a lot of laughs on this journey. I don’t recall them all and certainly can’t place them in chronological order, but the first memory contradicts both. When Jamie and I found out we were pregnant we were very excited to share our news, but waited for confirmation from a doctor. Finally armed with an ultrasound photo, Jamie was ready to tell her mother. She took out her shiny phone and held it to her mother’s face. Her mom stared at the photo. Blinking. Then her eyes lit up as though she knew. She did not.
“Who’s pregnant? Your [sister’s] pregnant?” she markedly asked.
“No!” Jamie exclaimed, “I’m pregnant!”
Jamie, in disbelief at her moms reaction, reeled from her mom’s guess and burst into laughter.
Similarly, I too have been miffed. Already, by none other than my yet-born daughter. She taunts me so. One of the great joys in my life for the past weeks has been feeling her kick. It immediately brings a smile to my face. It reminds me she’s in there. She wants to say hello. She wants to explore. It’s so innate. Jamie will tell me when she’s moving. I get excited, get up from the computer, and go to her. Like clockwork, I put my hand on the belly and she stops. She must know I love it. I can picture her in the womb snickering as she makes her papa wait. Impatiently I might add. What a tease. Both Jamie and baby sneer. It’s wonderful, the three of us sharing a moment, a laugh.
Humor helps us weather aforementioned weather. It brings levity to our current excessively serious and strenuous lives. Jamie has two laughs. One standard, “…that’s kind of funny,” laugh. The second is an uncontrolled, uninhibited barrage of laughter that brings tears. I live for the second. It brings great joy. I imagine our baby girl sharing in mother’s moment of delirious happiness. That moment when all stresses abate. I believe mother and unborn baby to be in sync. I picture our baby girl smiling when her mother is laughing uncontrollably. Jamie and I have always welcomed humor in our lives. Who wouldn’t? People who hate puppies perhaps.
New parents tell us to enjoy the moments as they pass so quickly. I don’t think I’m unique in that I remember the good times, the laughs, and the ups more easily than the downs. It’s a blessing. I recall our laughter after seeing four pregnancy tests on the kitchen counter. I remember Jamie waking in the morning and sharing her dream about drinking a beer. We laugh. Jamie recounts stories of sneaking to the bar to get a soda-water with a lime in an effort to keep the pregnancy a secret. We laugh. A bum on the street saying to Jamie, “…hi little momma!” We laugh. Jamie removing her hair tie so she can undo her pants. We laugh. Her Fred Flinstone-esque swollen feet. We laugh. Jamie worrying about the shape of her belly button. I laugh.
We are doing our best to navigate major changes; only a fraction of which are listed. Humor provides lubrication as we move through time. I even humor myself. That’s actually not unusual. I think I’m more funny than I really am. Fortunately, Jamie thinks I’m funny (sometimes) – so I usually have an audience of one. When the two of us were trying to choose a name we went through a LOT. A lot, lot. We went through them like – diapers, or so I’ve been told. Between the two of us, I was shocked at how many people we didn’t like. How many poor associations we had with simple, common, quality names. One of us would say a name and the other would immediately veto because some girl we, “knew in school was,” mean. Was trashy. Was ugly. Was dumb. Was butch. Was blonde. Whatever the affliction, disposition, malady, as if there were truly any, we couldn’t get past them. Our baby girl will be flawless, right? Our foul delusion was not lost. Our baby girl will likely be dark haired; how could we possibly give her a blonde name? We again, laughed. Blonde? Apparently, names have hair. Additionally, we’re not going to tell you the name. It’s for us to decide and only us. Check your opinion at the door.
The dummy at our CPR class did not have hair. Jamie and I took the class as recommended by our physician. It’s scary to think the training would ever be necessary and we were there to take it serious. But somehow, the more serious life gets the more I desire to make the heavy, light. I snapped this picture and sent it to my culpable friends. The text read, “Do I gotta be the asshole to say it?” I guess I do. The responses read, “Is there anything off limits??” I guess not.
Why So Serious?
Kids say the darnedest things and I’m looking forward to that. When you’re pregnant, adults say dubious things as well. “Were you trying?” they ask. Do you really want to know if we’re just having sex because we wanted a baby? Life was getting too easy. Were we horny and didn’t understand how babies are made? How about, “What if your baby is gay?” Let me be clear, pending sexuality is not something you think about or have time to think about. Health, yeah, sexual preference, no. Also, dear adults, keep your, “You shouldn’t be doing _____,” opinions to yourself. We are educated, grown ass adults. If we want advice, we’ll ask for it. Then there’s the ever classic, verbal, slap in the face, “You look tired.” Bite your tongue, my wife is busy turning food into a human. If she is tired, which she IS, now she’s tired and self conscious. Thanks.
Pregnancy is broken into three sections called trimesters. However, it’d make just as much sense to call them SICK, KICKING, and GET THIS THING OUT. Each trimester brings it’s own concerns. The baby feels low, is that okay? The baby hasn’t kicked today. Is that okay? My feet are SO swollen, is that okay? She’s pressing on my bladder, is that okay? We are only two months away from D-Day. Delivery Day. Something tells me we are going to need our sense of humor even more when our baby girl comes. We will be tired; the question is, will we be slap-happy tired or I’m going to cry tired? We’ll find out. Either way, we’ll find a way to smile.