Abandon Text!

W. H. Auden once said: "Poems are not finished; they are abandoned." I have been abandoning writing projects for many years, since only the pressure of deadline and high expectations ever got me to finish, or even start, anything of merit. This blog is an attempt to create a more consistent, self-directed writing habit. Hopefully a direction and voice will emerge.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Baby Watch

My usual writing time got preempted by a phone call at 1:30 am. "Heather says this is the real deal. No hurry, but could you come over?"
Oh. Yeah. Sister-in-law. Pregnancy. We were on call. Right.
"We'll scramble the jets," I said, squinting at the clock again. I pull clothes on over my pajamas, hoping against hope that the kids will be asleep and I can just crash at their house. I try to strike a balance between being awake enough to look supportive and happy, and sleepy enough to go right back to sleep as soon as convenient. There is a part of my brain saying chirpy enthusiastic things to me about a new life coming into the world, and how important this day will be to their family, etc. etc. but it evoked nothing in me at that moment. The emotional centers had already rolled over and gone back to sleep.

Fifteen minutes later I'm lying in someone else's bed, listening to a baby monitor with someone else's kids snoring. It felt a little disorienting. I settle into light sleep, but the monitor rattles with coughs from time to time and my parental habits keep twitching. Finally one of the boys, the younger, pushes his way into the room and walks business-like to other side of the bed. His head appears above a mountain of blankets and body pillows. "Where's Mommy?"

I explain that Mommy and Daddy have gone to have the baby, and they called in Uncle G to be with them tonight. The little guy didn't even miss a beat; he burrowed into the covers, curled up next to me, coughed a few times, and fell asleep. For the first time that night, I smiled a real smile.

Older brother Mason came next -- he a few more questions but was still cool with everything, and he feel asleep in the big bed too. A few hours later, another rousing phone call: Beth, the boys grandmother, was at the door, arriving from Wilmington. "It's Izzie," I told Mason, and he frowned. "I'm sad because I wanted it to be Mom," he said, and he shlumped back into bed.

I slept. I dreamed I had bought the house I was sleeping in, and now it was raining and great gushing leaks were coming in everwhere. One pipe was throwing off so much water the kids were playing in it like it was a sprinkler. I woke to see Bill coming into the room; he told me the doctors had sent them home again, and he was going to crash in the other room.

I sleep in; no five o'clock writing time for me. By 7 pm the kids are waking up, ready to seek out Izzie now that their brains are revitalized. Bill looked wasted. Yeah, I remember now, how exhausting that was, to be rushing around in the middle of the night, waiting for a baby to come. I take my leave of them. By the time I get home it's feeling more like a weird dream, the kind that makes your waking life feel odd.

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