Sunday, March 9, 2014

First Comes Love...

You know the familiar adage:

First comes love…
Then comes marriage…
Then comes Jessica and Barry pushing a baby carriage.

Or actually a Chicco Cortina KeyFit 30 Travel System.

Yes, we are with child. As in Jessica is pregnant. As in due mid-July. As in Abraham is my new Bible hero. As in: I’m learning they don’t make strollers like they used to. Thank goodness.

And yes, it is a bit of a surprise. Though it is not an oops, nor complete surprise.

Being that we were theoretical potential parents, we had planned to have “the conversation” last May on the subject of family. That month, however, was crazy on many levels, so crazy that even Jessica, who was leaning more toward family at the moment than I, had said, “We can’t even think about that right now.”

We never had that conversation.

And now we don’t have to.

This is, what I like to say, historic.

Parenthood is something that neither Jessica nor I, in our pre “Jessica and Barry” era, thought we would experience. With a career spiraling upward and no husband on the horizon, Jessica had not only dismissed parenthood, but also marriage. And because chemo and cancer had taken its toll on Dana, I had plowed through the emotion of not being a dad. And I was fine with that.

And now, if you run the numbers, I will be a 70-year old dad at his kid’s high school graduation.

Rock on. I am fine with that, too. (Even though I might joke that I’m not; a man’s got to get some mileage out of life situations.)

We learned this past November, by way of a stick (and confirmed by a second stick the next day) that we were pregnant. It was a few weeks later when we first heard the words from an OB/GYN nurse, by way of a urine sample, “Yep, you’re pregnant,” that it sank in a little deeper. Actually “freaked us out a bit” might be more descriptive. We’ve come to understand the reason for a nine-month gestation period. It’s not only for the baby. It’s also for the parents-elect. But as we look toward a July 15 due date we feel we are way ahead of the curve in progressing from a bit freaked out to full-on embracing.

We rolled the news out to our close friends and families over the Christmas season.  My parents broke out in the most spontaneous tears I’ve ever seen. Jessica’s family, which has welcomed several babies to the fold over the past few years, is equally as elatedlots of tears and hugs. Over the past few weeks we have begun our public rollout.

Aside from a couple of performance engagements just after the due date that Jessica has had to step away from, we plan for her singing to keep right on clicking along. In fact, she will be singing Micaela in Bizet’s Carmen with the Cincinnati Opera in June. Thankfully we have great examples and role models for blending parenthood with a fulfilling operatic career.

They say a baby changes everything and I feel I’ve caught a few glimpses of that, even in simple things like working the word “trimester” into everyday speak. As we’ve begun to think about baby paraphernalia I took my first solo foray into baby retail land at Target a few days ago. I found myself wondering the most basic questions, like: So is baby gear in the same section as “maternity”? I think just the act of posing the question in my mind slightly panicked me in that, I asked for help from the first person I saw with a badge, who happened to be a staff person from the hospital hitting Target on her way home from work. I think she registered my panic, and was very helpful.

When I finally did step into the baby gear section (which wasn’t in the “maternity” section) I had what can only be described as an out of body experience. This can’t be me!

But it is me. And it’s us. And it’s a blessing.

And it’s a boy.