Saturday, November 22, 2008

Living the Liminal Lifestyle 2.0

I know that, in my last entry, I promised that the next post would be after the babies arrival. But, allow me to prove myself a liar here for a second, since in the last couple of days, I've been thinking more about this point in Sarah and mine's life, and feel it warrants a least one more entry.

Way back at the beginning of this blog, in those heady days before we left on our trip, Sarah wrote an entry called Living the Liminal Lifestyle in which she endeavored to briefly capture the feeling one has when they are about to depart on a new adventure or chapter in their life... or rather, that feeling you get when you are in that brief period of life where you are wedged between two chapters in life. That point where one chapter has closed, or is rapidly closing, but before the next great chapter begins.

And, that entry keeps coming back to me now, because that's where we are again today.

Tomorrow is Sarah's due date. Tomorrow is the day that, if everything goes according to schedule, Sarah and I are going to become parents. We are going to move from being a couple, to a a trio. A family. Now, much like world travel, pregnancy rarely goes "according to schedule." In fact, with only about 4% of babies actually born on their due date, pregnancy schedules seems to be worked out by those same people who set up the timetables for trains in India. Still, that date looms large.

Yesterday, Sarah and I were out running errands, and had several people ask her "oh, when's your due date?" And, when Sarah announced that it was on Sunday, you could see their eyes grow wide, as they made some stammering comment to the effect of "Wow, and you're still out doing things? You look so relaxed!"

The comments like that are compliments of course, and we smile and feel proud of ourselves. Proud and grateful of how easy a pregnancy Sarah's had. And, how even two days before her due date, how much poise she still has. And how relaxed and cheerful we are as a couple. But, it does beg the question: How should we feel?

People have been asking us for weeks now: "Are you excited? Are you nervous?" And, honestly, we are both. And, at this point, I'd also argue we are "eager." Eager to move on to the next step in our lives. Eager to meet the little person that has been growing within Sarah for the last nine months. Like our trip, eager to get started on the adventure.

But, at the same point, its interesting how easily we distract ourselves. That's not to say we are ignoring the babies eminent arrival, but instead we focus on the little details, to keep from being overwhelmed by the big picture. Focus on painting little animal cartoons to hang in the babies room. Focus on starting a new quilt. Focus on the never ending "to do" list. Focus on cleaning the house. You hear a lot about the "nesting instinct" and how it's a sign the baby is coming soon. But, it might also just be a coping strategy. A way to avoid looking at the big picture.

Because the big picture is BIG.

Bolded with capital letters big. Quaking eyes, clenched throat, pounding heart, sweaty palm, tidal wave of emotions big. And while that I'm sure that Sarah and I will be swimming in those emotions during her labor and after the babies birth; and while we like to dip our toes in it even now, to see how it feels, it's scary. Good scary. Amazing, I-can't-believe-how-wonderful-this-world-is-and-now-we-are-bringing-someone-into-it scary. We are bringing someone new into the world.

The little person that is sitting in her belly right now is coming out soon. We anticipate it, and joke about it ("OK, baby, time to come out now! I know you are squished in there, and there's more room out here!"), and its pretty incredible. This little person will feel confusion and fear, but also unconditional love and joy. His or her relationship with us will grown and become that wonderful, complex lattice of love, friendship, respect and, yes, even frustration that Sarah and I share with our own parents. He or she will play games and hear stories that will capture their imagination. See and learn things that challenge and intrigue them. He or she will grow and discover how strong they really are. Make friendships. Have their heart broken but also fall in love with another little boy or girl who may not even born yet themselves. All of this lies ahead of him or her. And, for each thing that I speculate about, each future I imagine for our coming child, I am sure there are a million that I haven't even thought of. A million curve balls and surprises, good and bad, that I can never even imagine.

But, that's life. That's what we are creating and giving to our child.

And, that's the thing. If nothing else, I hope that our child will enjoy and marvel in his or her life. That he or she will embrace this world in all its wonder and complexity. That they will see and do things that move them. And that, ultimately, their life will be happy and fulfilled. If nothing else I want the little baby in Sarah's belly to be happy. Have good life.

I know that my life has been wonderful so far. And, I predict it is only going to get better in the coming days (lack of sleep aside). Life is an amazing thing. A challenging thing but also something to be embraced.

All the baby needs to do now is come out and embrace it. And we will be here for it.


Sorry, maybe I'm dipping my toe in that pool of emotion I mentioned earlier. It's potent stuff, if maybe a bit cliched. And, now that I've sent a message out into the interweb, asking my still-unborn child to embrace life, I think it's probably time to distract myself a little bit. There are animal paintings to finish. But, I will say one final thing:

I love Sarah. And I love my parents. I love my brother and his wife. I love all my family, and Sarah's too. I love my circle of friends, and I'm grateful for you all. I read something recently where the author argued that people don't say "thank you" enough, and I think he had a point. So, I'm going to jump the gun on next weeks holiday (since I might be busy anyhow) and say: Thank you. You've helped make my world a wonderful place, and I look forward to introducing mine and Sarah's child to it.



eddybles said...

Wiping the tears from my eyes, I am so happy for your child. Happy for them because they are going to given, at the very moment of their arrival, the incredible gift of two amazing parents. This child is fortunate indeed. I am thinking of all three of you and wishing for you nothing but the very best.

Rick said...

The reason this comment is so late incoming is every time I read it I was stricken with a strange swelling in my chest and something kept getting stuck in my throat. I was so knocked out by your wonderful sentiments for life! For your baby-to-be, your wife, family and friends. Your baby can't help but embrace life and prosper as you two have.