25 July 2012

Today

I've been waiting for you. We've been waiting for you, of course, for months, weeks and weeks and with rampant research, speculation and apprehensive love. But I've been waiting for you too. I've wondered about you most of my life, imagined you in a thousand ways and continually checked in with myself about whether I'm ready for you. I can't wait to meet you. Literally - I'm failing at waiting, which feels awkward as all hell, given that there's close-to-nothing I can do to speed your arrival. And today's the day.

Well. Today isn't actually the day. Not necessarily. I've made a lot of jokes in discussing your arrival - jokes about being punctual and taking after your parents, and jokes about you getting an early start on your teenage rebellion. (Ok, so really: Two jokes. But I've made them many, many times now.) In actuality, today is just another today. I've gone to work. Your mother's working at home - lucky her - and it's a rather beautiful summer day in New York.

Tomorrow they're predicting storms and a heat index of 103°. So we also expect you exactly then.

Here is another line I've laid out a lot with regards to the experience of you: Childbirth is an ongoing lesson in unpredictability. And: ...And probably will for the next eighteen years. As in: "She's making her mom really nauseous tonight...and probably will for the next eighteen years." We've had to learn a lot about flexibility of expectations over the past several months, from when we yelped in surprise upon hearing you were a girl (subliminally and separately, we had decided otherwise) to our uncertainty about how much room we thought we made in the apartment, versus how much stuff we drove up from the baby shower.

So all I can really do is ask. Throw myself on the mercy of my daughter. Please come out soon. I'm dying to meet you.

I've never really considered it before, but I knew I wanted to meet you before I knew much else that I wanted, before even I was aware that I wanted to act. It didn't take me long, either, to realize that I wanted this for myself; not for the expectations of my family or society, for example. So for nearly my entire life, I've pondered you, hoped for you, imagined you. You've been some pretty wild permutations of a person in my mind over the years, let me tell you. That narrows somewhat once you actually find the mother of your child, but I'm certain you'll still surprise us somehow. Like, as in, say, just for example: By starting this entrance-to-the-world thing right on time.

Some things you should know about me up front:
  • I'm bad with planning, math, organized sports, making the bed and colors. (Your mother more than makes up for the first one and the last two, at least.)
  • I'm decent with words, emotions, imagination and organization. (So's your mom, but somehow in almost opposite ways.)
  • I'm the one who cooks. I've no reason to expect this to change within my lifetime.
  • I am a very deep sleeper, and very irrational when I get much fewer than seven hours. So: apologies in advance for my personality during at least the first two years of your life.
  • I'm a performer, try as I might to occasionally fight it. My best hope is that we can take turns as audience for one another.
  • I am, rather by default, rather high-strung - but I have developed numerous feints and coping mechanisms over the years!
  • None of those feints or coping mechanisms are working for me today.
So you can count all that as fair warning. I am sure you will have your fair share of quirks and idiosyncrasies to share. Hopefully you will not have inherited too many of mine ... though actually, go ahead and take the sleeping thing. That's good for all concerned, ultimately.

As my day ticks on, I come more and more to accept the notion that perhaps after all I will not meet you in a matter of hours. You'll learn that as you mature, that awful skill of dampening your hopes and excitement a little at a time to avoid cataclysmic crashes of disappointment. Just remember that the hope is always there, no matter how successful a dampener you may prove to be. The excitement is up to you to protect, so don't get carried away.

Today there's little danger of my over-diluting the excitement. The promise of you is too great, too inevitable. So I'll wait. And you'll arrive. If not today, then the next today.

2 comments:

Karen Cordano said...

May I offer my heartfelt, if cliched, excitement for you? It's a wild, wonderful ride, my friend. It's pure, life-changing magic.

And I hope your lovely wife has a gentle delivery.

Jeff Wills said...

Thanks, Karen. Your example makes it seem very worthwhile indeed, and we really appreciate that last hope!