The Odd thing is I don’t wish for Cole’s younger days because Joe and I used them up. We enjoyed almost every minute of the baby days, followed by enjoying every minute of his toddler days, followed by enjoying every minute of the grade school days, and now having a teen entering high school is just pretty darn cool. We have always been fond of saying, “Parenting just gets better and better,” because, without a doubt, that has been our experience, and a trend I expect to continue.
Ever since I could remember, I wanted to be a mom. I knew I would make a good mom. I was less sure about being a wife, which may be why I never perfected my cooking skills. I was sure (or was it my mother who was always sure?) I would end up with one little girl who would play with my Barbies, love the American Girl store, and only want to dress in Oilily clothes. One of the Oddest moments of my life was when I was told that I was pregnant with a little boy. A boy? What in the world would I do with a boy? The second Oddest moment was when I told Joe, and he said, “A boy? Really? What in the world will we do with a little boy?” The third Oddest moment was when my mom said, not missing a beat, “Oh, a grandson! A grandson! I always wanted a grandson!” A boy.
Joe did not attend my doctor’s appointments, meet my midwife, go with me for my amniocentesis, or attend Lamaze with me. I was excited about the whole process of having a baby. Joe was getting used to the idea of having a baby. Joe’s lack of involvement in my pregnancy did not bother me. In fact, I was rather relived. It was kind of nice having Cole to myself during that time. We would “be three” soon enough, and I did not have any doubts that Joe would be passionate about fatherhood. None.
The only thing Joe learned during my pregnancy about birthing babies was the one thing he shared over and over again long after Cole was born: If you have the baby before you reach the hospital, don’t cut the umbilical cord. Does it surprise you that this one fact made him an expert on birthing babies? I would not even have shared this with you, but as I type, Joe keeps nudging me, “Tell them about cutting the cord!” Happy, Joe?
Cole was seven days late. I considered my midwife’s suggestion of a spoonful of castor oil after the first day of Joe’s Jack Nicholson marathon leading up to Cole’s birth. Joe brought home a stack of Jack Nicholson movies from the movie store, and the marathon began. The worst part was when Joe stopped and rewound each movie just a bit, to catch certain pieces of dialogue again and again and again.
A Few Good Men: “You can’t handle the truth!”
Cuckoo’s Nest: “But I tried, didn’t I? God damn it, at least I did that!”
I pulled out the castor oil, and poured it onto the spoon. One sniff and I thought, “Oh, surely I can handle more Jack Nicholson …”
Easy Rider: “Oh, yeah, they’re gonna talk to you, and talk to you, and talk to you about individual freedom. But they see a free individual? It’s gonna scare ’em.”
Prizzi’s Honor: “How can I live with this? I gotta do something about it. I gotta straighten it out. Do I ice her? Do I marry her? Which one of these?”
Finally, out of sheer desperation, as we listened to Jack say, “You make me want to be a better man,” for the 6th or 7th time, I whispered the midwife’s second suggestion into Joe’s ear and had his full attention. I was in labor 12 hours later.
Truthfully, I expected Cole to make his arrival saying, “Do I ice her? Do I marry her? Which one of these?”
On March 7th Cole was born. Joe cut Cole’s umbilical cord.
One night, not too long before Joe died, I walked by Cole’s room to see Joe standing by Cole’s sky bed. Cole was sleeping soundly. I asked him if something was wrong, and he said, “No, I am just watching him. I want to make sure I don’t miss a single moment.” Cole is turning 14, and the only thing that has changed is the direction of his dad’s gaze.
Glad you were in my Odd neighborhood. Feel free to drop by any time. Odd Loves Company and odd loves you and you and you!! I would love to hear from you in the comment section of this blog, or on Facebook or Twitter!