Life with a baby Mama…
Spending the in Flint, Michigan where the cooler temperatures are extremely refreshing. It won’t be long until it is an ice box up here. But those Michiganders seem to be happy.
I have been thinking about doing some more story times for a few weeks. This week we will remember back to a period of time between rotations. When we last left off, it was early December 2003. We returned home and my wife and I tried to return to a normal routine. The only problem was that she was pregnant with our first child. There is nothing normal when a baby is on the way and the husband is spending extended periods of time away. It was tough on both of us for a number of reasons but it wasn’t anything more than facing the realization that we were bringing a new life into the world.
The first morning after returning, I was up early. Normally I am a sleep until noon kind of guy but flipping my body clock upside down and back again mixes everything up. So it was well before the sun came up and I went downstairs to make some breakfast for both of us. I do try to be a good husband from time to time. Turning on the television, I was surprised to read the headlines. Saddam Hussein had been captured hiding in his spider hole north of Tikrit. I was relieved and hopeful that things would be winding down but I also knew that Iraq was not the picture of a stable nation. Knowing that the attacks on us flying into and out of all the airports were increasing, I was not hopeful. Unfortunately Saddam’s seizure did not make things better. But it was nice to eat breakfast in bed with Donetta and watch the news reports that morning.
The unspoken rule when someone is an expectant dad is that everyone makes every attempt to get them some additional time at home. The sarcastic phrase that everyone who is deployed and expecting gets to know and love goes like this: “You can be at the conception or the birth. Only the mom is guaranteed both.” The schedulers were great about working with me. I was able to move up a rotation so that I would be home for the birth. Later we found out that there would be a drawl down of forces and I was able to be de-activated which guaranteed that I was able to be at both. During the fifty or so days at home, I was able to go to all of the doctor appointments with my wife and was there during the ultrasound that told us we were having a girl. It was a very emotional moment for us.
But it wasn’t all roses and sunshine. One night sitting on the couch watching television a Wendy’s commercial came on. Donetta was having one of those cravings and she said something like “I think I want a cheeseburger with extra pickles.” I just sat there waiting for a final answer when she became irritated.
“Are you going to get it!”
“Yes, when you make up your mind.” I replied.
A word of warning to all expectant fathers out there, the phrase “I think” means “go get it now!” We laugh about it now, but at that moment. She did not find the humor in my delay.
Another night, one of her friends called the house and I answered. “Is Donetta around?” the friend asked.
“Yes, but we don’t say it to her face.” I replied.
The friend and I started hysterically laughing. My wife knew we were laughing at something doing with her. Fortunately she saw the humor and we still joke about it today. Another word of warning to the expectant fathers who are want-to-be comedians, it is dangerous to make fun of a pregnant lady’s size.
Donetta said that she wanted a book of baby names so we could get a head start on names. I went out to the local book store and brought back the book that had only 10,000 names. Once again, she was less than pleased. She wanted the biggest book possible and she sent me back out to make a better decision. I came back with the book of every conceivable name combination possible. It had 192,000 names and was the size of an encyclopedia. She was happy. The lesson to be learned here is to never try to limit a expectant mother.
In the middle of winter, we took a few days off and went down to Key West, Florida in search of warmth. It was much warmer than the harsh winter of West Virginia but with highs in the mid-60s, it wasn’t the relief we both wanted. We had a great time walking up and down the city, driving up the Keys and relaxing practicing baby name combinations. One night she was tired and we went in early. She went right to sleep. You all know how I like to sleep in,on this particular morning she kept sleeping and sleeping. My wife is not a lazy person like me. She is an up at dawn person who has a plan for the day even before it begins but this morning, she slept and slept. This was the only time in our marriage that she has out slept me. She slept so much I checked to see if she was still breathing. Later at breakfast at three in the afternoon, I told her how worried I was that something was wrong with her. She said there was something wrong with her, she had a little monster growing inside her body. I envisioned the scene from the movie Alien where the monster popped out of the guys stomach.
Before I left on the next rotation she was well into the nesting phase. The room was painted, he crib was put together, and baby clothes were rolling in. The last thing to go was a new car for Mom and the baby. My wife had a cool, two door, red convertible that was perfect for a hot, sexy Nurse who loves to drive fast with her hair blowing in the wind. It had a back seat that was hardly big enough for our now ten year old daughter. We traded it in for a brand new, four door, mid-sized SUV. We still have it by the way, it is known as the “Silver Car” and I drive it. It has 155,000 miles on the engine and twice that amount of abuse to the back seat from my daughter and her brother. It is a pig pen, it stinks to high heaven but it is paid for. My goal is for my daughter to drive it to school in six years. I am hopeful but not optimistic.
I hope everyone is having a great week. Keep smiling and until next time, keep on rockin.