Thursday, April 08, 2010

The Judges' Save

The first night at home with A was kind of rough.  There were three of us sleeping in that room, my wife and me in the bed and our baby in the co-sleeper beside us.  Now I had two faces to seek, two breaths to listen for.  We were ready to leap up in response to her cries, and we spent the whole night lurching violently into wakefulness whenever she pierced our sleep.  L had it worse than me, obviously, but I was up with her changing diapers and offering my sincere if groggy moral support.  Yet when I returned to bed my mind would start scraping against grim thoughts: worries about my daughter and her health, doubts in our (my) ability to raise her right, numberless questions I can't answer.  It seems like having a kid opens up new depths of love in your life, but that intense love is equally matched by worry.  I was thankful when the sun came up and we could rejoin the day, banishing our doubts to the night and leaving behind fitful dreams of babies' cries.  

The second night at home was better.  We knew what to expect and L mercifully let me sleep through a few rounds.  The funny part, though, occurred earlier.  During the entire period of A's existence -- that is, since Monday -- I have been surprisingly unemotional about all of the joyful ruptures in our old life.  Last night we were watching the results show on "American Idol," and according to their rules, when someone gets the lowest number of votes, they can perform one last time and the judges have the opportunity -- which they may use at their discretion and may only apply once during the entire season -- to reinstate that person in the competition.  This is called "the Judges' Save."

Well, last night, soul singer contestant Michael Lynche, who I really like, got the lowest number of votes.  He had one last chance to perform for the judges in the hopes of winning the Judges' Save, so Michael Lynche started singing "This Woman's Work," a song that I have loved for a long time, a song about pregnancy and and childbirth and womanhood and love and devotion and commitment, and I was sitting there listening to it, and I watched the judges conferring among themselves in the foreground of the screen, and then I started thinking about the Oprah Winfrey interview with Tracy Morgan that we had watched a little earlier, where she said that every man has a dream for his family, and then Michael Lynche was finishing his song, filling every single breath with all the passion and desire he could muster as his wife bawled in the front row, and then the song was over, and the judges were whispering, and Ryan Seacrest silenced the crowd, and Michael Lynche stood there like some testament to fatherhood itself, and then the judges bantered, and then they said -- Michael Lynche had won the Judges' Save!  He was still in the competition!  The audience erupted.  And at that point, dear reader, I lost my shit and started to cry.  I hadn't shed a single tear since A was born, and now here I was crying all over the place on the couch next to L.  We started laughing immediately.  "What am I doing?"  I said, pointing at my face.  "Why the heck am I crying?"  I said.  But I was still crying.

"He got the Judges' Save," I said through my tears and snot.  "I'm so happy he got the Judges' Save."


HankLacy said...

It's the daughters that do that to you, MKD. They grab an entirely new dimension of your heart.

SMS said...