A friend and colleague of mine sat down after a busy day of teaching to share some news. She wanted me to be among the first to know that she was pregnant. This was especially nice to hear, since there aren't a lot of people to whom I would immediately ascribe the epithet "mom." She is one of those.
We talked about the tricky first trimester, in which the physical realities of carrying a burgeoning life is still so foreign and many of the physical and emotional swings of this phenomena are felt to their fullest extent. She suggested that she might start her own blog, featuring "things I have thrown up." I suggested it might be best as a photo essay. Perhaps with before and after pictures.
Then the conversation turned to the revelation portion: When to tell anyone that this miracle was taking place. She didn't want to lead anyone on. She didn't want to get anyone's hopes up. Her own, I ventured. And then it became a matter of no surprise. After twelve weeks, it becomes a little more academic. Now you're on the ride and you're starting to mark off weeks and days. And you can start shopping and painting and making decisions that could alter the rest of that life that has only just begun.
And there is still all that poop to worry about. Months and months of it. Someone else's.
Which is where I started to remember the time I spent at a changing table, wrangling the Diaper Genie, and making things fresh but only for a moment. I tried to explain that all that mess is just a part of the package: a package that has so much else to offer that the poop is anecdotal. A widely discussed and repeated anecdote, but anecdote just the same.
The chance to share the tiniest moments with this person that is all your fault is a double-edged sword. The dull side is the responsibility. The worry. The anticipation. The sharp edge is the one that cuts through all that fret and leaves laughter and tears in its wake. Photos that will never capture the whole moment but serve as signposts to the place from whence they came. The opportunity to be one the party planning committee for all those birthdays? Priceless.
I was surprised how much of a contact joy high I carried with me after this announcement. Reminders of when my wife and I had a baby, and how he grew. A pretty amazing trick, with stories to last a lifetime.