Tonight I am thankful for my unborn child’s decision to continue cooking for what we hope will be seven more weeks. We had a false alarm this afternoon, which sent us to the hospital for about three hours, but in the end, it amounted to nothing.
Obviously I want the baby to be born as close to full term as possible, but this week would have been especially annoying. I start my vacation tomorrow, and my plans for the week include a few rounds of golf, a movie, a Moth performance (providing my name is chosen from the hat), an evening at the theater with David Sedaris, and a weekend book retreat in Vermont that Elysha and I have been looking forward to for a long time.
I also have to make a trip to New York City to record an interview for use on the audio version of my upcoming novel, and we hope to accomplish a lot in terms of getting the house ready for the new baby this week.
Oh, and I have a novel to finish, too.
An early appearance by this baby would have ruined our plans entirely given me reason to be annoyed with our newborn rather than overcome by joy and excitement.
And that would have been just the beginning.
My annoyance and irritation with the baby’s poor timing would have inevitably led to an essay or blog post about the lack of joy that I was feeling based upon the circumstances of the birth, and this in turn would have almost certainly led to people judging me for my selfishness and self-centeredness.
“You should just be happy that Mom and baby are happy and healthy, you jerk!” self-righteous (albeit correct) readers comment, probably with multiple exclamation points (the sure sign of a Neanderthal).
As I tend to do with criticism of this nature, I would have then embraced the criticism, draping myself in it like a gold medal Olympian with a flag, because while it might cast me in a negative light, it would also be criticism based upon an honest reaction and genuine emotions, and I have a tendency to defend these qualities above all others. Authenticity is a quality that I prize above almost all others. Be honest and be true in all things is advice that I will pass onto my daughter when she is old enough to pretend to ignore me. When I find myself expressing honest, unpopular, and even possibly craven ideas, I always assume that there are many others who feel or have felt the same way but have resisted expressing as much in fear of criticism.
In these circumstance, I foolishly choose to carry the torch of honestly and openness for them.
More than once, this has led to several daggers jammed into my back, often stuck there by cowards who are unwilling to identify themselves.
Quite a spiral of events, all beginning with a premature birth.
So tonight I am grateful to my unborn progeny for making the right decision and staying inside Mommy where he or she belongs. It preserved my busy week of vacation and increased his or her chances of meeting a joyous and excited father when he or she is eventually born.