June 25, 2005

A Cup Of Coffee

It's a little early. I'm sitting here, armed against the morning with a cup of strong coffee. Beth's hopefully asleep again, after a fitful night. The cats are fed - one is in my lap. My eyes are moderately open. The house is quiet but for the purring of said cat in lap, the hum of the air conditioner and the rattle of the keyboard.

Minutes ago, hands on my wife's growing belly, I was repeatedly kicked by my child. I wondered how is it possible my wife is asleep while she has something moving, kicking inside of her? But then I remembered a conversation she and I had a few nights ago, the thrust of which was this - being pregnant, or having kids in general, involves some suspension of disbelief. Or maybe its belief in this case.

Think about it. First you have to decide you want to bring a kid into the world. Despite the awful stuff going on, despite the temptation to become overwhelmed by war and poverty and sickness and the general apathy that seems to run through our society like blood coursing through veins. Perhaps I'm over-dramatic. You have to find the positives and believe me there are plenty of them. There's the love between two people and the kindness of strangers, there are mountains and sunsets and great Russian novels. There's music and ice cream and, well, cats purring in your lap and strong coffee early on a Saturday morning.

Second, there's the actual carrying of the kid inside of you. As much as you try, I don't think you can ever completely get the scene from Alien out of your head. Of course, its cuter and it needs you and one day it'll pop out and be completely and utterly dependent on you. Sure, getting it out will be akin to shoving a potroast up a nostril but somehow it gets done. You paint rooms for this kid. You succumb to cute clothes with soft little bunnies and bears, you secretly pay attention to the TLC baby shows your wife has TiVoed and you really do tear up whenever you see a baby come into the world, get wrapped up and handed to the parents. Yet you freak the fuck out when you realize that that's happening to you, and soon. And you'll be sent home with exactly one baby and zero clues how to handle it. Then, you start thinking that, at some point after the baby has evolved past the exclusive crying/napping/pooping stage, you'll be expected to actually be a parent, stop dropping the F-bomb, dispense wisdom and not cave to this gorgeous creature's every whim.

The house is still quiet. Callie's still purring on my lap. What remains of my coffee is cold. There are five weeks left until I can reasonably expect the silence to be broken by cries from the nursery. And - suspension of disbelief, belief or whatever aside - despite what all that means, the sheer weight of the responsibility, I want nothing more.

Posted by Chris at June 25, 2005 07:35 AM

Gawd, Chris, that was just gorgeous. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us throughout Beth's pregnancy. I know that I am not alone in saying I cannot wait for Bean's safe arrival and to see you guys being parents. Thanks again, truly, for this glimpse.

Posted by: Jen at June 25, 2005 08:29 AM

You make me cry. You make me laugh. You make me think. You are something else :-)

Posted by: JuJu's Mom at June 25, 2005 08:56 AM

And it doesn't change even when you already have a 10 year old pretty good, decent, intelligent kid around already. I've got 10 weeks to go and it feels like forever. Do the five weeks still feel like forever?

Actually, I'm torn between it feeling like forever (the physical side of it) and it not feeling like enough time (the jeez-there's-so-much-to-do-before-the-baby-comes-Have-I-frozen-enough -casseroles-to-get-us-through-the-first-month-itis). And it seems like we're starting all over again with the mega-responsibilities when the 10 year old has become pretty self-sufficient.

Posted by: hr mommy at June 25, 2005 09:04 AM

Oh wow Chris. You guys are gonna be great parents, I just know it. You've got to make sure entries like this are around for the Beanette when she's old enough to read them and appreciate it.

Posted by: Heather at June 25, 2005 09:08 AM

Awww, that was beautiful! I'm sure you & Beth will be GREAT parents. And I'm honored you both let me (okay, and the entire internet :)) read about special moments like that.

Posted by: Sweety at June 25, 2005 09:31 AM

Aw, how sweet are you? Yep, you can feel it, it's getting close. I remember I used to stare into the bassinet and try to picture a baby in there, and then just think, OH MY GOD, a baby will be IN THERE. It's almost surreal. Don't worry, your instincts won't let you down and I honestly don't really know you or Beth but that aside, I'd be willing to bet a large sum that you will both be really awesome parents. Can't wait to welcome you to the club!

Posted by: Kate at June 25, 2005 12:46 PM

Chris, I think you may have just made me reconsider this having children thing. Really.

and damn you for it. I almost teared up. me? tearing up over baby talk? gah. Oh, I love babies, and I can not wait to see the Bean this summer. (We are looking at August - cause July's just too busy) But you mister, make me think, I might just want one of mine own afterall.

Posted by: autumn at June 25, 2005 12:54 PM

Not to take anything away from this beautiful post, but my mother had the pleasure of seeing that scene from Alien - in the theatre - while she was pregnant with me.

She went and sat in the lobby. Dad, being the sensitive and caring man that he is came out to make sure she was ok... once the movie was over.

Posted by: Dawnie at June 25, 2005 01:17 PM

beautiful :) you two are going to make wonderful parents.

Posted by: tiffanie at June 25, 2005 01:37 PM

That was really sweet.

Posted by: Erica at June 25, 2005 02:26 PM

I couldn't agree more Chris. Having a child is wonderful. They will fill you life with joy. They will look up to you to tell them what a flower is, why is the sky blue, and what are those two doggies doing to each other on the lawn.

Seriously, it is a blast and I have a feeling you two are going to be awesome parents, I only wish you could have been mine! Of course that would have had to involve time travel and the whole terminator plot line to work but hey it's my fantasy and I like ti.

Posted by: Jeff A at June 25, 2005 03:53 PM

Good stuff, Chris. I think you are ready. If you could just get Beth in line, you'll be all set.

And philosophy is a good sign at this stage. For me, it came just before the what-the-heck-am-I-doing stage.

Posted by: Jon in Michigan at June 25, 2005 04:36 PM

No need to respond to my question, I think you just answered it. Great writing, it really speaks to the reader and that is why you have such the followship!!!

Posted by: ::c:: at June 25, 2005 04:44 PM

It's a feaky thing isn't it. I don't think you can ever prepare for something so life changing as having a baby. So all you can do, is promise to love her and care for her, and let all else come as it may. You have the love, that's all that's important :-)

Posted by: Nina at June 25, 2005 06:12 PM

There's something that changes inside you when that child comes into the world. Actually, it starts a little earlier than that. But instinct starts taking over, and all those doubts that you had about parenthood? They intensify. But so does this love that you have thats larger than life and somehow has overtaken your entire self until the only thing that's left is the eyes you have for your child and the wife who helped you make her, and the love that's bigger than either one of you for that amazing replication of the best parts of you, and the best parts of her.

It's only later that you find out that the worst parts of both of you were also somehow replicated, and you've got to figure out how to spend the rest of your life stomping them out. THAT, my friend, is the hard part.

Posted by: Queen of Ass at June 25, 2005 07:59 PM

Awwwww Chris - you WILL be a FANTASTIC father! Beth and the beanette are so lucky!
BTW - as I've learned, it could be sooner than 5 weeks - for all you know it could only be a week away.....

Posted by: Marie at June 25, 2005 11:37 PM

Chris, that was beautiful. The bean is a lucky kid.

Posted by: Beanhead at June 25, 2005 11:44 PM

Dude, you are so ready to be a father.

Posted by: Pinky at June 26, 2005 08:54 AM

That was so sweet... I think you might have just made a whole bunch of people want babies!! :)

And like everyone else said, you and Beth will be amazing parents, I'm really excited for you both :)

Posted by: Emily at June 26, 2005 01:54 PM

Lovely post. All the very best to you, your wife and your soon-to-come lil one.

Posted by: IdeaSmith at June 26, 2005 02:16 PM

wow, you two are going to be awesome parents! it'll be a learnign experience, right :)

Posted by: lizabetty at June 26, 2005 03:06 PM

Yep, that's a piece for the baby book. Amazing post!

Posted by: mooalex at June 26, 2005 03:46 PM

Nice entry, Chris. I've been in Chicago all week, so it was fun to come back to a week's worth of Cactus, topped off by this lovely little gem.

Posted by: Heather at June 26, 2005 09:35 PM

Ive said it a million times but its worth repeating. Chris, you are going to be the world's greatest daddy! You truly are an amazing man and together, you and Beth, will be fabulously beautiful parents. Your little Bean is as lucky to have you as you are blessed to have her.

Posted by: Tricia at June 26, 2005 09:36 PM

just chiming in to say, yes, you will be a great dad. I know it's got to be overwhelming, but I'm so excited for you and Beth, to be standing on the edge of all this life-changingness. I have every confidence that the Bean has two of the coolest parents around.

Posted by: samantha at June 27, 2005 12:25 AM

Gee Chris, what wonderful words, not planning on kids myself, but when I start considering it I'll be looking to you for some wise counsel. Take care both of you, well all three of you! Oh and the cats.

Posted by: andy boy at June 27, 2005 03:47 AM

I'm totally not ready to have kids yet, (I'm only 22!!), but you definately gave me something to look for when the time is right...for you to share something so personal with all of us in the internet world, is a privalege, and i personally thank you for letting me be part of it. You are going to be a wonderful father, and Beth the bestest mommy ever! I think you should consider naming the baby "Bean"...it would be perfect!

Posted by: Michelle at June 27, 2005 08:24 AM

That was such a lovely post.

My niece is two weeks old today (June 27). And she's a beauty. I was surprised (S-H-O-C-K-E-D) by how quickly my brother adjusted to being a "dad."

He's always been the lovingly forgetful mildly irresponsible superjock. Niece's mom is a gorgeous supernice Carrie-from-SATC clone.

It was refreshing to spend time with the new family last week and see how well they're getting on.

I have no doubt that you and Beth are going to be fantabulous parents!!!!

Posted by: Mala at June 27, 2005 02:46 PM

aww that was a great entry! i can only hope that suisse will be just as excited and nervous when our time comes.

Posted by: angel at June 27, 2005 04:55 PM

Thank you for making me cry at work - nothing like starting off Monday with mascara running down your face! ;-)

It's the most wonderful thing in the world having those babies... And while I didn't believe it when anyone said it to me, it DOES come naturally. And it's so FING cool.

(Crap. the stopping the "f bomb" thing part isn't going so well...)

Posted by: San Diego Beth at June 27, 2005 07:56 PM

Hey Chris, having been on vaca the past week I am now catching up on all the entries/questions, but I had to comment on this one.... inspiring. I know I'm not ready for parenthood yet, but if I ever am, I hope I handle it as well as you have!

btw, you and beth are totally the exact kind of people who need to be having kids... because they will be COOL and restore some kind of balance to the overly sucky population that we currently have. :)

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