Thursday, November 12, 2009


There were two significant things today amidst the usual daily cacophony.

First, L went to the doctor to check out the baby, our little man. And it turns out that a GIRL. It's a Girl! Not a Boy! This news left us both reeling. How did they miss this information? Are they using a sonogram or a dowsing rod? What year is this? It's very weird how you can spend a month imagining a very particular life for yourself with the utmost certainty that those ideas will be realized. For some reason the most vivid thing I could imagine was introducing my kid to other people, saying, "this is my son, X," as a shy toddler hid behind my legs. This was the vignette that gave life to otherwise abstract ideas of fatherhood, identity, and devotion. And now I am reworking those ideas, those scenarios, to wrap my mind around the idea of a daughter. It's surprising how quickly the track shifts. Worries about autism give way to questions about how girls pee. It seems as if life is now cast in a different yet more revealing light. From our little man to our sweet girl, the way it was before we even knew it. Our girl.

Second, today we were approved to sign a new lease on a three-bedroom apartment in Morningside Heights, right on the edge of Manhattanville. The apartment is on the top floor of a pre-war six-story elevator building. The rooms are large and flooded with light, with pleasantly warped hardwood floors and crisp white paint over the walls and moldings. The kitchen is large, although a little dated. L and I both realized that this was a good apartment as soon as we entered. The price was fantastic and it's right by the 125th stop on the 1 train, an easy 20 minutes from my office. It's farther north than we expected, and I worry about some of those ramifications, but now we've got it and we have a new home waiting for us. We'll be moving in around the middle of December.

So today has been a day of change. We knew these changes were coming, that this would be a season of transition. In a few weeks we will be taking our stuff and our lives and the new idea of our daughter to a new home, the place where she will enter this world and experience some love and solace and security. I feel very aware that we are entering a new stage in our lives. I can see how these last few years -- our years in the village, years of walking to the bookstore and the gym, years of idleness and books and wealth and thought -- are giving way to something else: possibly something more grounded, more tightly woven. Days of looking out over the roofs of Morningside Heights, wandering with our daughter through Riverside Park, singing her songs she can't understand yet. Teaching a new person empathy and kindness.

There is so much excitement to bear, but there are also fears and doubts. Change requires endings and beginnings, and I've never been able to face an ending without some measure of doubt and nostalgia for the places left behind. Today seemed like a a prophecy, and it left us exhausted.


The Taylor Three said...

well, I certainly didn't see that one coming! Little girls are the best.

Jessie said...

Wow, this takes me back to Henry's birth -- a surprise boy!And look how wonderfully that turned out. But you must be feeling a little "whiplash".