At thirty-six weeks, I’m feeling a little miffed that we’re taught our whole lives that you’re pregnant for nine months and then you have a baby. Why does no one tell you it’s actually forty weeks, and that when you are fully nine months pregnant, you’ll still have a very long, uncomfortable month to go? At least I’m getting prepped for the constant feedings that are about to come since my bladder wakes me up at midnight, two and four a.m. like clockwork, screaming for attention. I’m thinking about wearing diapers or hooking up a pee bag instead of hauling myself to the bathroom so frequently. When I come back to bed, I toss and turn from one side to the other, dragging a pillow with me to prop between my knees and under my giant belly to find a comfortable position, which never stays that way for more than ten minutes or so. This makes any form of snuggling a challenge. My poor husband is starting to suffer.
Which brings me to the reason for this post, an ode to him. While I’ve been bonding with the baby beating me up from the inside, he’s been watching his wife get steadily larger, clumsier, more uncomfortable, and unable to do a lot of things we used to enjoy doing together, without any real way to participate. Yes, he can feel Little Man kicking, but even that seems to have lots its luster and he’d be much more excited about a decent night’s sleep or a trip to the local dive bar. So, I’ve been trying to plan as many things now that Big Man and I can enjoy which we won’t be able to later, because let’s face it, we’re only going to get more limited in our activity from here on out.
So we’ve been going to lots of nice restaurants, movies (a challenge for me given the aforementioned bladder and comfort issues, but hey, we don’t have to get a babysitter), and local events. Last night, we went to a show at Cobb’s Comedy Club called “Afterbirth“. It’s performed by a bunch of authors who wrote essays about how parenthood has changed their lives (There’s a book. It’s funny.), and since Big Man loves listening to stories on This American Life, I thought it would be good for a laugh, and especially about things that have suddenly become pertinent to our lives – breastfeeding, circumcision, sex after parenthood, etc. And we did laugh. A lot. Dan Bucatinsky cracked us up with “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Three-Way”. Ayelet Waldman made me glad for the first time I’m not having a girl with her essay about Halloween and how girls fall into the sexy kitten/devil/witch or the cereal box costume category (see her reading a clip from it here). We laughed, I cried, it was great.
But Big Man was sullen afterward. Very quiet. Too quiet.
“What’s up?” I asked, having a hunch the silence was about local author Rodes Fishburne’s essay. It was all about feeling like he’d been bumped to second place upon the arrival of his son. Given it was one of only two essays from a (straight) man’s perspective, I guess it made sense that it would resonate with my Big Man.
“I don’t want to get bumped,” he said. And my heart broke for him. He’s enjoyed being the apple of my eye for seven-plus years and his biggest fear about this baby is that I won’t worship and adore him any more, that there won’t be room enough in my heart for the both of them. Right now, it’s impossible for me to imagine that. My love for him has grown exponentially in relation to the growth of my belly. As I’ve ballooned, my adoration for my co-creator has swollen so big that sometimes I can’t even look at him without tearing up in disbelief at my luckiness to have found a man who is my #1 most favorite person in the world to be with, and I get to be with him all the time. And somehow he’s stuck by me through good times and bad, emotional turmoil, and even now while I’m looking like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. And he’s going to be an amazing father. How could he possibly be bumped by a screaming crying pooping blob?
Famous last words uttered by many a couple, I’m sure. But I appreciate his honesty in expressing his fear, and I intend to make sure I uphold his position of favor. I hope when Little Man finally shows up, it won’t seem at all like a competition, that they will fall into two entirely separate, not mutually exclusive, categories, kind of like figure skating has pairs and solo divisions. Big Man will always be my favorite gold-medal partner for the couples skate, while we can cheer together on the sidelines for Little Man in his dance alone on the ice. Ok, maybe that’s too girly of an analogy.
Let me speak Big Man’s language. Maybe it will be like how he loves a good steak, and far and away the best steak he’s ever had is at Jocko’s. He’s driven 10 hours in one day with a bunch of guys just for that steak. But he also loves sushi. He would never even compare the two. They do not cancel each other out. This is going to be hard for me to say, given that I don’t eat red meat, but he will hopefully understand what I mean:
Big Man, you are my Jocko’s steak. Gold-medal meat. No one has or ever will come close to my love for your many juicy qualities. We will both enjoy Little Man, on a thoroughly mutual sushi-loving level, but you will always be my #1 hunk of flesh. Always.