Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Three years

You know what always makes me think of my wife? That line from Beyonce's song "Upgrade U" where she says, "It's very seldom that you're blessed to find your equal." Indeed. But I definitely lucked out with L.

Happy anniversary, love.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Inside the fortress of solitude

I haven't said very much this weekend. L went down to Florida to see her grandma, so I've been on my own since yesterday afternoon. I have taken this time to briefly withdraw -- from the world, into myself. I feel like I needed time to regroup. Today I only left the house to go to the farmers market, and then again to eat lunch and read "The Power Broker," and finally I went on a walk around the block a couple of hours ago. I have spent a lot of time reading and watching television. I watched "Sophie's Choice" and "The Contender." I thought a lot about writing, which I've put on the backburner after a couple of daunting weeks at work. I've been listening to a lot of music, too, and when John Mayer's song "Home Life" came on, I felt that strange feeling of nostalgia that music can provoke. It is almost palpable, like drunkenness, like feeling something rolling over your shoulders and consuming you. Hearing that song made me think of how much my life has changed in three years, made me think about how I live and what I have now. It was one of those nights where I was just shuffling through all the music on my ipod, rediscovering old stuff and cobbling together a strange and rich medley of stuff, enough to put me in a reflective mood.

Throughout the day I wondered if I should call somebody up or try to meet anyone for a meal or a drink, but I decided not to. Not to mention that the list of potential invitees now seems pathetically small. It was a beautiful day and I felt bad for not running or spending more time outside, but it was enough to run my errands and feel the breeze coming inside, through the plants and the herb garden perched on the fire escape. I didn't even shower today. But that was my choice, and I figure tomorrow when L comes back I can get all spruced up and be sociable. Today it felt good to dig in.

Also, last night I went to an intermediate hip hop class and really got my ass handed to me. It was pretty tough, intricate stuff and I realized I was out of my league about twenty minutes in. There were only a handful of us in there. Two of the other people had clothing with dance studios' names on them, which was a bad sign. Somebody else was some high school prodigy who had learned choreography from our teacher's DVDs. And there I was in my running t-shirt and sneaks, knowing this may have been a mistake. The teacher, who is a pretty accomplished dude, taught really quickly and didn't break things into eight counts. Instead everything tracked the lyrics of the song, so it was tough to place it within the music. Once I realized that he was really hitting the bass notes, things made more sense. By the end of the class I was about 70% there, I would say. It was fun but also very trying. He was calling me out at times during the class, telling me to not think too much and get stuck in my head. There were moments when I would feel those first hot pangs of stress and panic and embarrassment, and I tried to push it as far away as I could. Beneath the immediate knowledge that you alone are very conspicuously not doing something correctly is a deeper and more gnawing realization that you are not as good as you think you are, Mr. Hot Stuff. It was not fun in those moments. And frankly, if I want to feel bad about myself and get yelled at, I just show up at work. No need to extend that into my...hip hop life, as it were.

Maybe that class is what set me on this course for the last twenty-four hours. Quietness, minimal talking, books and the tv, a few strangled verses of old nostalgic songs. Yet for one day it's enough.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Telling my parents

My parents were in town this past weekend, and we got to tell them the great news. After two really long, stressful weeks at work, I was so excited to see them and tell them. The idea of that moment kept pulling me through.

My parents and L were waiting for me at their hotel on Washington Square. We spent a few minutes visiting and checking out the room, and then we started meandering through the park on our way to dinner. We were going over to Stand for some burgers. It was turning into a very nice evening -- the heat had broken, the sky was a watery bluish pink, and people were strolling all around. We pointed out some of the renovations made to Washington Square lately, the wide boulevards and colorful flower beds and wrought iron fences and lightposts. We were just talking about work stuff, nothing major, just visiting with each other. We were over by the south side of the fountain, watching the jets shooting up, standing in a little circle. I had made eye contact with L and she gave me the go-ahead.

"Guess what?" I said. My parents looked at me expectantly. I looked at my mom and then at my dad as I said, "Lillian's pregnant!"

There was a real moment of silence then, as what I was saying settled in with them. Then it was all hugs and good cheer. L said later that she saw my dad tear up as soon as I said it, but there was a real moment of astonishment there. They were so excited. "Oh, this is so special!" Dad said. "How could you not tell me?!" Mom said. It was such an exciting thing. Mom said later she thought that maybe we were getting a dog. She started crying a little bit out of happiness, and told us how much we would love our child. She said Kelsey's and my cheeks used to turn red because she would just kiss us so much. "You will not believe how much you love that child, you will kill for your child, you will kill for your child," Mom said in a way that was funny and only a little weird.

I'm smiling even now as I write this. Dad said we must have planned this, to tell them this news in such a perfect setting -- in the middle of Washington Square under a clear pink sky on a great July evening -- but we really didn't. Telling them cast the rest of the weekend in this great glow of love and excitement. My parents said they would be talking about this for a long time that night. Mom insisted on calling her friend Jill to share the news immediately ("I'm going to be a grandmother!"). It was so wonderful to feel such love and support from them. I had this strange fear that they wouldn't be excited -- that they would think it was too soon, or that we were too young or not established enough or too indebted or something -- and even though I knew those fears weren't rational, it was nice to have them dashed anyway.

Telling my parents was different from telling friends. Like marriage, having a baby is a significant event in the life of an entire family, not just the immediate participants. It was nice to add another circle of love around the little one.

Collect $200

Every week we are getting emails from that talk about the baby's development, its size, and other issues that will pop up. Every week there is some tidbit about how wives can get their stupid, lazy husbands involved. These are tips for women married to comically inept men, and the suggestions are all hilariously inane in their own right. "Invite your husband to come to the doctor's appoint with you." "See if your husband would like to think of some questions that he'd like to ask." Who are these people? The other fun thing is this "Quote of the Week" feature, which highlights some twitterish lines from some random pregnant woman somewhere on the internet. They tend to be depressing. "What's happening to me? I feel sick all the time. It's like my scalp is on fire" -- Jenny, from Buttock, Iowa.

The really exciting thing, though, is that by the time you figure out you're pregnant, it's already week 4. (True, pregnancy is something like an 80-week process, but it's nice to not start all the way at square one.) It feels really good to dive in with a few weeks under your belt, like in Monopoly when you collect $200 just for passing Go. We're really moving now.

Currently, at the six week mark, Little Blabe is about a quarter of an inch in size. This is a real measurable quantity! No longer comparing the baby to seeds! L.B. also has dark spots on its head that will turn into eyes, which seems weird, and its heart is beating furiously quick - something like 100-160 beats per minute. Our little lentil bean.