Lindsay is getting some well deserved sleep on this classic autumn day. Not much longer now and other than an iron deficiency, she’s doing great. I’d like to take a moment to express my love and admiration for my wife. She’s been a trooper for the last nine months. I couldn’t even imagine what her body has been going through.
She’s ready. Past ready.
We’re both looking forward to meeting our little girl. What will she look like? Well, once the initial wrinkly stage is over. What will her temperament be like? One thing I know for sure is that she will be wonderful. And she’ll have the most amazing mom in the world.
So, I just wanted to say to my beautiful wife, Lindsay. Thank you.
There will be a couple of people my daughter will not get the opportunity to meet. Two people very important to me. I speak of my parents, who have both been deceased for close to twenty years now. In fact, there are many people in my life now that never got to meet them, most significantly, my wife, Lindsay. She has heard many stories about my parents, especially when my siblings and I get together, and has seen quite a few old photos of them, but that’s not the same. One can understand a person a little more when you meet their parents; when you can observe the dynamic between parent and child.
My daughter will have grandparents, Lindsay’s folks, who are wonderful, kind people, who will shower her with love that only a grandparent can. But it makes me sad that my parents aren’t around to do the same. The sadness, in part, stems from the fact that they don’t get to see how wonderful my life is now.
It wasn’t always this way. I put them through a fair share of concern and worry. It took me many years to get my act together and I’d like them to see the result. They weren’t perfect. No parent is. You’re going to make mistakes and recognizing that is important. My hope is to act from love, kindness and compassion. To help guide my daughter to find serenity and joy in whatever way she can. To be prepared for missteps, hopefully learn from them, and move on, undaunted.
These are the things my parents gave me. Yes, they made their share of mistakes, and regrettable choices, but, I weathered the storm and when I look back, I always felt loved, unconditionally. They allowed me to follow my dreams no matter where that took me. And for that I thank them.
Last night reminded me of a large deficiency in my life. I can’t drive. Nearly Fifty years of age and as helpless as my unborn daughter behind the wheel of a car.
We went to the hospital last night, as a precaution, because Lindsay’s feet and ankles swelled up rather suddenly, and after trying to diagnose online, could be preeclampsia, especially since one leg was swelling larger than the other, we concluded that it would be better to be safe than sorry. Problem is, I can’t drive, so my wife, uncomfortably swollen feet and all, had to drive us to the hospital. I felt like a failure.
After some tests, she was cleared of any problems. Just elevate her feet, keep drinking lots of water, and try to stay cool. Relief.
This inability to drive has never been an issue before. I have always had jobs close to home, within a couple of miles, and walked. Or have gotten rides when convenient. In the past, I’ve lived in cities where public transportation was good, so that usually took care of the longer hauls. I’m convinced that all the walking has kept me fit, in both body and mind. But I’ve never had anyone dependent on my ability to drive a car.
With three months left until the birth I have to get a driver’s license. I attempt this with some trepidation. Having gone this long without one I admit to some fear. It seems so foreign to me. A kind of phobia has developed. The fear, I have to say, is for everyone else on the road.
Have to be careful that any possible nicknames derived from said name will not be embarrassing or cruel It should sound good with the surname. My surname. LiVigni. Which is italian, so we are leaning that way. We are also resisting the temptation to pile on a bunch of names. That strikes me as showy. Two should be enough. First and middle. One would be fine, I suppose. I never use my middle name. Although that middle initial gets its fair share of use on forms and applications. I barely know the last names of people, let alone their middle names. It seems superfluous. Like the appendix. It’s there, but doesn’t get any attention until it causes trouble. Little Johnny Doe is fine till he breaks something then he’s suddenly John Henry Doe.
But a middle name she will have. Vita. It means life. It was also my grandmother’s name. My father’s mother. I wasn’t particularly close with her. Hardly knew her. But she was the grandmother I wasn’t afraid of and Vita sounds good with the last name. One of my nieces has it for a middle name already. I suggested it to my brother at the time because I never thought I would need to name a child. Well, that’s changed.
We have the first name narrowed down to a few choices. I’m not going to mention them because everyone has an opinion and we don’t want that to cloud our choice. But we are open to ideas. (Fill in the blank) Vita LiVigni.
And don’t suggest Lampshade. That one has been crossed off the list
That blue plus sign glaring up at me from the piss stick lying on top of the toilet tank. I was too focused on the business at hand for it too even register. It was like so much of the debris that finds itself on the back of the toilet. Then, with my free hand, I tentatively lifted the stick to inspect closer. This is a joke, I thought. My wife is quite clever and she has figured out a way to rig this instrument. We sometimes play pranks on one another, though they usually involve jumping out from hidden locations. This was more elaborate and I had to hand it to her. Well done.
Finished and zipped up I entered the living room for the requisite “Gotcha!”. She was on the sofa, nonchalantly watching television. Ok. I’ll play along, I thought, and held the stick up, a look of questioning on my face. Her eyes wide and a slight smile, not a “ha ha” smile, but a “uh oh” smile, and a barely detectable nod.
“Is this…,” I paused, unable to finish.
“Real?” She finished. “Yes.” She said with conviction.
Silence. Disbelief. Shock.
And some quick math. This happened in February. I was turning 49 in May. The child would be born before the end of the year. I would be 50 years old before our child turns one.
More disbelief and shock.
Now, 20 weeks into the pregnancy, the shock diminished, and reality setting in, I’ve decided to share my reflections on becoming a first time father.