The fluctuations of impending parenthood are great and many, but I believe the final fluctuation is upon me. I began this journey in utter terror that everything I loved about my current existence would be traded for a pink human larvae. I was informed by more than one person, that this would not be the case, and now that we are a month away from this journey’s end, I find that I want to stop hearing about the experiences of others, and gaze upon this new existence for myself.
I bring this up again, even though I’m sure you guys are tired of hearing about it, because we had our baby shower this weekend. It was a lovely and relaxed affair put on by two of my favorite people, Rick and Kimberly Destree. They did an excellent job of putting everything together, and it truly was a coed party; which means great food, drinks, a wonderful pirate theme, and no baby shower games. We had a great time. And through the afternoon, I was able to visit with several people whom I haven’t seen in months and years. People who now have children of there own. It was like I was being wheeled through tableaus of “Things yet to come”. Frank conversations about marriages, sleep deprivation, and withering free time were the overarching themes of the evening. These short monologues were delivered to me by those with hollow eyes, while holding smaller versions of themselves. Some of these people had turned their golem progeny loose on house and yard, in hopes that they would busy themselves with others of their kind, while the taller humans might frighten me with stories of their own expeditions into the abyss. There was also queso and beer.
The whole experience is truly uncanny in its layers and themes. You meet different kinds of parents and children on your journey, all of whom offer their expertise with the same beginning line, “Are you ready for this?” You find yourself crafting mental images of the best/worst case scenarios from what you see around you. Friends and strangers alike craft parenting policy on a daily basis, based entirely around their strengths and weaknesses. All of this, and you have no idea what it will really be like until you are there. I have seen those who have wandered into the cave in search of riches return with exactly what they expected. I have seen others emerge from the experience with something completely different. At this point, I just want to wander into the cave myself. I want to peer into the darkness and commune with the spectral creature who lives there*. I want to pull the sword from the stone and be able to wield it, or be destroyed by it. More than anything, I want an idea of what my schedule will be like** so I can stop being spooked by those on the other side of this.
Okay ramblers. Let’s get ramblin’.
*This metaphor is borrowed from the excellent Neil Gaiman, Eddie Campbell illustrated novelette “The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains” If you like old fashioned stories with endings you have to think about, please pick this up and read it in a single sitting.
**Yes, yes I know. Feedings every two hours. Baby crying…all that. I know. I want to get a feel for how to navigate that. I want to adapt.