THE SONIC BOOMER
My dad’s 85th birthday wasn’t the only reason we packed up and headed out to Wisconsin last week — my daughter had an announcement to make.
You guessed it, she’s expecting again.
Jen always tries to be creative with her announcements — at least the important ones. When she got her fourth patent, I found the plaque lying in a pool of opened mail on the dining room table. But another kid, that’s big.
So she bought little Skippy a shirt emblazoned with the words, “Super Big Brother.” It had a cape attached so, innocently and without protest, he wore it.
When we showed up at my parents’ door, Skippy in his cape and Jen in a big jacket, there was the usual mayhem that screams, “We’re so glad to see you!” I feel sorry for people who seldom experience this mayhem because it is so loving and special. You know you’re home when you’re embraced by a screeching mob. Skippy was toddling in and around and through the big people’s legs and everyone was admiring him and laughing over the cape, but no one really noticed what his shirt said until things calmed down.
Then there was laughing, hugging mayhem all over again.
I loved it. I soaked it up. I would put it in a fancy perfume bottle and take little sniffs of it now and then, if I could. The joy of life. The appreciation for the mystery of it all.
And, from my perspective, I loved having all that joy and appreciation sent my daughter’s way because she, of course, is the one down in the trenches while the rest of us are back at the canteen toasting each other and getting tipsy.
She has it rough. Jen (wisely, I think) waited until she was in her 30s to have children, making hers a high-risk pregnancy. She goes to the doctor often to be weighed and measured and poked and prodded. Every morning she herself (and I wince to even say it), has to inject a needle full of something into her stomach. I can’t even be in the same room with her when she does it. “Watch out for its head!” I shriek as I run out.
“I’m nowhere near its head,” she replies calmly, with a wisdom I will never know.
She is also gaining weight and feeling bloated and experiencing mood swings that take a happy day and smash it into the ground. The whole nine months are invasive and time-consuming — and knowing what to expect this time is small comfort.
She had just lost the last bit of extra poundage she’d put on due to Skippy, and now it’s back. She has packed up her nice clothes again. She can’t clean out her closet because she has no idea what size she’ll be from month to month. She can’t go shopping because she already has maternity clothes and doesn’t want to spend money on more. She can’t drink alcohol or tea or coffee. She can’t eat chocolate. She can’t dance all night in heels. Yet it’s a choice she made, so she’s willing to do whatever it takes to have the healthiest baby ever. But it’s no fun; it’s work.
That’s in addition to her other work — the 40-hour-a-week job where she has to excuse herself from meetings to use the bathroom, come in late due to doctor’s appointments and worry about slipping down the corporate ladder because Mother Nature is tugging at her ankles.
She never complains; I don’t know why. If it was me, I’d sound like a piece of paper stuck in an automotive a/c duct. In a car that never shuts off… for nine months straight. With everyone I ever knew packed in around me — you know, for support.
I would need that.
So while Jen was in Wisconsin, she was treated like royalty — hugged and kissed and coddled and not allowed to lift so much as a gallon of milk. We constantly told her how proud of her we were, how happy, how excited.
We couldn’t bottle it like fancy perfume, but we are available at a moment’s notice for hugs on demand for the next six months. I hope they help.