The secondary Extenuating Circumstances
Attention! Due to extenuating circumstances, the following things must occur within three hours, so as to drive to another state and become parents immediately: verify there really is a baby and not husband playing the most ill-advised practical joke of the millennium, get fingerprinted for the third time this calendar year, call everyone we know and freak the hell out, ask sister what babies need to survive in a hotel room, throw up. Also, someone should probably do something about the cat.
Nope. Husband not suddenly evil, he is stating the real truth. A baby has been born in [STATE REDACTED BECAUSE PRIVACY AND IT SEEMS LIKE WE’RE IN A REAL-LIFE SPY NOVEL WHICH IS COOL]. It’s a little boy, and he….what? What is he? You remember having the conversation but don’t remember any of the contents? No, you were freaked out. I totally understand. We need to be in the car in three hours. Oh God, I have to call the entire world. I mean, just family. But anyhow.
Tears. Tears and tears and more tears as we explain the good new and sudden departure. My sister screams “I’m leaving work! I’m in the parking lot right now! I’m going to Target!” This is definitely good news, as the sum of our baby equipment is defined thusly: we have a teething ring my nephew used twice in 2012. Naturally we didn’t stockpile a cradle, bottles, anything like that. First of all, we were told that people are chosen while the birth mom is still pregnant. Secondly, imagine the thing you want most in the world. Now imagine everybody else has it. An Oscar, a Super Bowl ring, a flat stomach, whatever. The entire population of your town has one, and there you sit with your Super Bowl-ringless thumb up your nose. Would you keep a room full of footballs or a full-length red carpet gown laying around? You would not. Or maybe you would. I don’t know how you live your life. I wouldn’t, is the salient point.
We run to get fingerprinted. We return to find our brother-in-law installing a car seat. Where did he come from? He has a job. He doesn’t have an extra car seat just hanging out in the trunk in case of emergencies. Yet there he is! Brilliant. Sister shows up with a bag of things babies need. I recognize half of them. Swaddling blankets? Uh, ok. I thought you basically did that once, when the baby is presented to you, and then that’s pretty much over. A variety of things you stick in orifices (the baby’s, not mine) and then we bolt down the world’s quickest lunch before leaving. On my way out the door, I hear my sister on the phone saying “oh God! Yeah, sorry. I should have mentioned I’m not coming back to work today.”
Drive. Pumping for more information about the baby. My husband keeps saying he can’t remember, but with some prodding it turns out he knows at least a little. It’s a boy! He’s healthy! He’s Mexican-American! He has a height and weight but no idea what they are! He’s at a hospital we can’t remember the name of! Everything gets an exclamation point because holy shit we’re going to be parents!!!!!!!!!!
It is the world’s longest/shortest drive. I throw up twice I’m so nervous. I realize I never called anyone at work, or cancelled appointments, or anything of consequence in the real world. I could not, on a literal rather than metaphoric level, care less. We arrive at the hospital and wait for the social worker.
Things happened. People were met. The wishes of the birth family were respected as far as possible in terms of contact, things of that sort. I try harder than I ever have in my entire life to do things exactly as another woman wishes. If her wish was for the adoptive family to receive the baby in a gold-plated canoe while a brass band plays national anthem of Azerbaijan then by God, it would be so.
But it wasn’t. It was me, and my husband, standing in a hospital room with our social worker, as they wheeled in a 7 lb, 2 oz baby boy. There were probably nurses, or workers, or somebody else in there as well. Hell, maybe there was a brass band. I honestly don’t remember. There were two crying cynics who never dared to believe this was happening, and they were holding the world’s single most wanted child.
Other things may have happened, but frankly, they just weren’t very fucking important.
Tune in next time for custodial farce, Wal-Mart at midnight two days before Christmas, and how it takes two people who teach for a living to diaper an infant.