I believe that my wife is getting fatter.
Now, this isn’t a belief, so much as a reality. She is getting fatter, I swear it – every week, little by little, her belly gets a bit bigger. Her shirts are starting to ride up and I can see the line of stomach skin peeking out from underneath. None of her pants fit her any more. She has trouble buttoning her coat.
People are always asking me if I’m excited, if I’m ready, if I’m nervous. They clasp their hands and bend at the knees when they ask. These people want me to lie, I think. They want me to tell them what color the nursery is going to be, what kind of car seat – the one that clicks into the stroller for convenience or the one that is a Fort Knox of safety – I will be buying. More than anything, they ask what I think about the whole thing, and I have to answer in generalities, circumnavigating in some Cortezian route, the way to the answer: I have no idea what it’s like to have a baby, so I have no idea if I am any of those things that they so desperately want me to be.
It’s not that I don’t think about this little person. I think about the baby a lot. I’ve tried to focus, especially, on what I want this unknown, unnamed being to know – what values I want him or her (we’re not finding out) to hold dear. I have decided that I want my child to show respect, to be honest and ethical, to deal not in money but in kindness and service. Apparently I’m setting the bar a little high – I’ve just described The Mahatma.
I’ve taken to treasuring this time – this interlude, as my wife gets fatter, her stomach looking more and more like a balloon about to burst. When that explosion does occur I know my life will be forever changed. I’m not so naïve that I don’t recognize that fact. I know that money will be tight, that playing drums at 10 PM will no longer be a viable option, that a Friday night is about to look a lot different. But I also know that I am about to be in love, and that love will be like no other I have known. I guess I lied earlier. I am excited. I am excited to watch a person who might be a little like me, and might be a little like her, grow. I’m excited to see first steps, to get big hugs from little hands; I am excited to teach and to learn. I truly believe that I have no idea what I am in for, but that I will learn on the job, and hell, I’ll be pretty damn good at it.
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