Time and “to do” grow short with increasing anticipation.
Six days to go. This weekend saw a flurry of activity. The baby laundry has been done and folded and a going home outfit (or three) have been selected. The car seat is reinstalled. Furniture has been rearranged in anticipation of both baby and visitors. We moved the couch over here, the loveseat over there, then back and then again. In the end we have a lovely arrangement where there is plenty of room for seating and conversations as well as TV watching and baby rocking. We even made a little area by the computer where the baby could be in the rocker swing thing. I think Sara likes this arrangement better because she had more input. Previously things were arranged by me first when I moved in a few weeks before she did, then second when on a whim I decided to change everything around (Note to future Jason: it is a bad idea to change the arrangement of the entire house without consulting Sara, and if you do decide it is a good idea – again it is NOT a good idea – do not announce your idea with either TADA! or “don’t freak out”). We packed and repacked our bags for the hospital. We carted things to the basement storage area and made room for the stroller and general outdoor baby prep on our first floor landing (we live on the second floor, but our entrance has a wonderful closet and hallway and some steep stairs). By we (in terms of carrying heavy things to the basement) I mean me, not for lack of Sara volunteering, but for my “masculine pride” to not let my very pregnant wife carry bags of books down a steep staircase with dubious bannisters. So maybe it had nothing to do with pride, but was really just concern for the overall health of everyone (I could use the exercise). I caught up (mostly) with the laundry and gave the kitty area and litter boxes a bit of a scrubbing. Healthy food was purchased at the grocery (and donuts). We almost bought a watermelon, but instead we just took some pictures with one. At this point the baby is the size of a watermelon. Overall, we have a few things left to do, a few items yet to arrive from the shippers, but in general we are as ready as can be.
Things just getting checked of my list. I am a big list maker. I have notebooks of lists and ideas and thoughts and to do items going back at least 10 years. I like feeling of a tangible written list. I tried to do it with an app on my phone, but it never felt real, and it never got urgent, it was always just something to hide into the background while I go play Bejeweled. So I have notebook. The current notebook is about a year old. Previously my notebooks had been small composition books held together with duct tape binding, but with one previous I graduated to a moleskin notebook. It isn’t that much better, I just sometimes feel cooler whipping out my little “official” looking notebook. The current notebook is almost out of pages. My last pages are the list I keep making for things to do before the baby arrives. It is beat up and worn in just the right way. It started a little warn, as Rio had a bit of a go at it even before I started writing in it. Over the year I’ve made many notes and plans, written thoughts and dreams, and even took a stab at some planning. But mostly it is a continual series of list. Maybe one day I’ll go back through all of them and reconstruct my life through lists. Maybe a novel way to write a memoir, but for now they are just the things that have to get done, some urgent, so long term, but the more things I check off or cross out, the better it feels. So like I said, this weekend many things got checked off the list.
Now just the waiting. This is to me is the weird part. The whole time I’ve been with Sara it has seemed as a wonderful whirlwind, a fantastical frenzy, a happy hurricane. Time passed so slowly until two weeks ago. Perhaps it is my heightened sense of time and place, wanting to remember each moment or maybe it is just the anticipation of the great unknown to come. It isn’t really an unknown, we’re having a baby. Like our parents and their parents and countless other generations have done. It is not rocket science or brain surgery. (As an aside, this is a weird saying to me, because I’ve actually known a number of both brain surgeons and rocket scientist, and even they use their opposite number to convey complexity.) So we wait. We are six days away and the upper window is 16. The baby is coming and she will be here by the end of the month. What are a few more days on the inside, when compared to a lifetime on the outside? So we wait. I just whenever Sara calls me from the other room, I tense up every time my office phone rings. Is it time, are we ready, is it beginning? Yesterday, we took some time to relax. While Sara watched a movie, I sat outside, read, and watched ships pass by on the big Lake. It was a wonderful moment of solitude and reflection amid the turmoil and anticipation. I know enough to know that despite my lists and provisions I’ll never be fully prepared or fully ready, but I also know enough to know that it doesn’t matter. Just do the best I can and keep joyfully awaiting the arrival.