Untitled. Or, a Work in Progress.

P1000158

So this thing, uh, happened.

The wife is pregnant. Baby pizza is due in July. We’re both excited and terrified. Well, the wife just wants a churro—no, a soft pretzel—no, pancakes. LIKE RIGHT NOW. And I’m enjoying laughing at her random cravings, although it’s really more of a nervous laughter.

We started the journey over a year ago. As a writer, I’ve often thought about how I’d write about this, turning these little anecdotes over and over in my head. At first, I was naive. I imagined it would take a few tries (okay, one try), and soon I’d be on midnight pickle runs to the grocery store, bringing back all of the hilarious stories from the various lost souls and expecting dads you might find there. I’d call this part of the story Late Nights in the Condiments Aisle.

John Lennon sang, “life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” It didn’t work after a few tries. Or several months. We fought. We cried. We decided to take time off and maybe go to fertility testing. This is what I talked about with my mother the last time I spoke with her on the phone. Her answer was easy. Prayer.

“I’ve prayed this family through everything,” she said with her dry sense of humor, but she also completely meant it. She believed she had a direct line to God.

Then the next part of the story happened. That night, my mom got sick. Over the next few days, her health rapidly deteriorated. She was rushed to the hospital. Her brain swelled. She became delirious. She slipped into a coma. On the last day I saw her conscious, we were all in her hospital room – me, the wife, my dad and aunt. My mother asked who was pregnant in the room.

“Somebody in here is pregnant. Who is it?” she asked.

As far as we knew, nobody was pregnant. We laughed because there was nothing else we could do.

A few days later, the wife took a pregnancy test. In previous months, we had waited and squinted at the tests, only to be given nothing but cruel stark-whiteness. This time, a second pink line appeared easily and instantly.

When God starts talking to you, you listen. I’ve heard people say that, but I thought it was just people talking to themselves. This pregnancy was clearly a sign. It meant something. At first we thought it meant my mom was going to get better – that she’d have something to hold on and fight for. It wasn’t for her. It never was. It was for us.

My mother died. I’d often read about the midlife crisis one experiences when losing a parent. But now I myself was going to be a parent. I wasn’t going to have time for a midlife crisis, and besides I’m not old enough for one.

That’s another thing one of the Beatles sang. Life goes on.

I don’t presume to know the rest of the story. I’m halfway convinced I’ll end up raising the next Charlie Manson, who will one day be laughing maniacally from prison as they read this, thinking about how stupidly sentimental I was.

So look kid, baby Manson, sonogram blob, thing that has been making your mother barf from “the smell of the refrigerator,” (even though I have literally been sticking my entire head in the refrigerator and inhaling, and can make out no discernible smell): I was excited. I was so excited. You were more than a gift to me. You were a lifeline.

Once, I remember asking my mother if it was even worth it. It’s all such a big risk, even before it starts. Getting through nine months of pregnancy seems terrifying – and I’m not even the one doing it. Then you have this kid, this vulnerable thing that’s dependent on you. And you’re stuck with it, like it or not, and whether it likes you or not. You’ve got to raise it. You’ve got to give up a part of yourself. Bad, scary things can happen. They do every day.

“How do you know it’s worth it to take the risk?” I asked my mother.

“It’s worth it,” she said firmly, like I was stupid for asking a stupid question. I thought but yeah, she has the benefit of hindsight. After all, my sister and I turned out fine. Fine enough.

But she’s right. Life is always worth the risk of living it. You’ve got to keep yourself open to it. I’m not saying go skydiving or some crazy shit (and I’m especially saying that to you, future kid), but take your chances, wherever they may lie for you.

I’m saying this having no freaking clue how mine are going to turn out. All I’ve seen so far are some tadpole-looking legs kicking on the sonogram screen. (Update: I originally wrote this piece at 9 weeks, and since then they have evolved into chicken legs.) You guys, it’s worth it.

PS: The single-serving cups of Velveeta Shells & Cheese ARE NOT THE SAME as the boxed variety. I repeat, THEY ARE NOT SAME. They should put a damn sign up in the aisle warning us lost souls on those midnight runs.

PPS: I have no idea what I’m doing. I hope you’ll be joining me on the next eighteen years of this blog as I attempt to hilariously figure it out.

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27 responses to “Untitled. Or, a Work in Progress.

  1. Congratulations!! My friend introduced me to your blog back in the summer, and I have been a big fan since then. I am so very sorry about your mother’s passing, but so excited for the new life in your family. I am actually pregnant and due in July too! It’s our first too, so my husband is learning all kinds of things about the right kind of seltzer water and mac and cheese. We raise our (cheesy!) forks to you!

  2. Congratulations to you both!! You mom was right (duh), kids are worth it. It may feel abstract now, but soon enough it will be your kid. Not only will you and your kid like each other, but you will do anything for this small human. It’s pretty great.

  3. Congratulations. Tell your wife the super-power smelling ability is going to stick around for a few months after the baby is born and to invest in a gas mask. I’m not sure why no one has invented a pregnancy gas mask yet.

  4. Congratulations dude! Very cool news :)

  5. Congrats! We’re also expecting as well, but a few months ahead. My wife could smell sneezes before pregnancy, so imagine what how fine tuned her olfactory glands became during. I’m glad someone I follow will be going through the same amazing, terrifying, wonderful, gross, beautiful ordeal. So congrats again and I wish the three of you well!

  6. The big question: Are you going to share your toys?

  7. Congratulations!!

  8. Congrats on the good news! And also sorry you had to find out about Velveeta Shells & Cheese the hard way!

  9. Congrats, Pizza! I’m going to go ahead and believe that while your mom may have been delirious when she asked who was pregnant, she totally knew her future grandchild was there. Moms have a 6th sense about those things.

    • Thanks. I included that detail because a part of me believes that as well. And also because I’m still mentally working through SO MUCH that happened in about 2 months.

  10. Congratulations! Baby Pizza is in wonderful hands. He/she will love the Ninja Turtles and be the envy of every kid in preschool. Enjoy every minute; it goes by so quickly.

  11. Oh wow, congratulations, Pizza!

  12. I am so sorry to read of your mother’s passing. Losing what seemed to be such a strong figure head in your life must have been horrible. But I am glad to see that we are alike in the sense that we relay on humor and faith to conquer any situation. Big fan of your writing, keep laughing.

  13. Congratulations Surfing Pizza on the good news.

  14. Congratulations! Best wishes for a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.

  15. Congrats man! My little one is just over 4 months old, and she was worth everything we went through. My wife and I tried to conceive for around 2 years before we went for fertility testing. There are sacrifices to be made, and you learn everything as you go. I often thought just like you did, about the things that can happen. But once your baby comes into this world, all you can think about is them at that moment, and every other moment you will share with them. It’s been a great ride thus far, and I am loving all of the new things that happen each day.

    PS- Even though she is only a little more than 4 months old, she seems to like hockey, football, Ninja Turtles and Star Wars already. Yep, definitely my kid! :)

  16. What a wonderful gift from your mother. I’ve been following your blog for awhile, with laughter and tears, and I’m so happy for you guys. It also took me (and my husband) awhile to get pregnant, so I know the feeling of expecting nothing – expecting one line – and then, miraculously…there are two lines there. Amazing. Heartfelt, heartfelt congratulations to you both.
    (PS. My now-15-month-old has all of those socks, and they are great – durable and elastic and cute. Perfect for toddlers. And from the Target $1 to boot! Right?)

  17. So sorry to hear about your mother. And good lick on the journey into parenthood. Been watching my best friend start down that road for the better part of the last two years. All I can say it for all the junk that comes with bringing a kid into the world, there is all sorts of amazingly awesome stuff to balance it out.

  18. Ah – nice work, Pizza – and congratulations!

    It’s very nice, it’s a lingering smile, that your mom already knew you kids were pregnant without having to be told :-)

  19. Thank you for this, Pizza. I’ve been following you for several years, and not looked in for awhile. But tonight I thought, what is the Pizza up to…?

    And even though I’m thirty-five but don’t have kids and both my parents are still alive…somehow this was what I needed tonight.
    Your mom is still alive because YOU are alive and because your new little personal pan pizza is soon to enter the world. And that’s awesome.

    Don’t give up your love of ‘childish’ things. He/she doesn’t necessarily need all the newfangled stuff anyway; our toys took some effort and imagination to render them awesome, and we’re better able to put ourselves in the shoes of others and solve problems because of our imaginations honed to a sharp edge on toys of dubious provenance that only had three points of articulation and no backstory but what you could give them.

    Congratulations and Happy New Year, in all the best senses of the phrase!

  20. Congratulations! I look forward to hearing about Baby Pizza!

  21. Congrats Pizza dude. I don’t know you, but I’ve read all of your posts, so I feel safe in saying that I think you will make an excellent father. Best of luck in the coming months. I can’t wait to read about all of the adventures.

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