Van Chronicles – Chapter 9

Did I tell you about my baby?

Mind you, I didn’t have much time for religion in those days. Van wasn’t leading me down any religious paths. Life was too busy with practical matters, like babies, for me to be doing much religioning. I’d been holding out on having babies for a long time. I had the idea that it wouldn’t be right to bring children into a world that wasn’t all that attractive a place. Very bleeding heart. I worked under that assumption for years, right up until the day I turned to Dennis and said that if we were going to do this having babies thing, we should get started. It didn’t sound like my biological clock, but at thirty-one, maybe there was a bit of ticking going on. Dennis was keen; he had always wanted children – however many I wanted, that was good for him. Having none had been cool with him; but having some was more cool.

I was willing to start with one. I hadn’t really thought much further on the subject other than I knew I didn’t want a “goodnight Jason, goodnight Mary-Ellen, goodnight Jim-Bob, goodnight Erin, goodnight John-Boy” Walton-sized family. But one was good, and we’d see what happened after that.

The night my son, Sean, was born, the two of us were down in the nursery, which was at the end of the maternity ward at the hospital. The prevailing idea at this hospital was that new mothers needed their rest, lord knew when we were going to get any again. The only way to do that was to segregate the newborns from the mothers in one big 24/7 play-date in the nursery. So that night I wandered down the hall to see how the party was going. There was a fair bit of crying going on – amazing that babies could sleep with all that noise going on. My son was one of the noisemakers, and my heart went out to him, hoping that he didn’t cry too often or too long when I wasn’t there.

I picked him up and walked over to the window and we both looked out at the night sky, perhaps me more focused on it than he, and I started babbling away at him about nothing and everything, and then, I could hear the music being piped into the nursery – it was Debbie Boone singing “You Light Up My Life,” and I started singing along with her, trying to impart the wisdom of Ms. Boone to my one-day-old. Not even – twenty-hour-old. What a shock to his system that must have been to have this woman dripping tears and choking out it can’t be wrong when it feels so right, ’cause you, you light up my life. When the last notes faded away, my first thought was thank the good lord Sean would never be able to repeat to anyone what had just happened. This was definitely a moment to keep on the QT. My second thought was, if I was doing crazy stuff like blubbering a Debbie Boone song now, who knew what kind of crazy I was going to get years down the road. It didn’t seem fair to foist all that on one child’s shoulders. At least with a sibling, the two of them could console and commiserate with each other. That’s when I decided we better have one more, simply for their own preservation.

And so we had two.

 

continued …

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