Silly Crazy Love

Posted: September 23rd, 2006 | Author: | Filed under: Friends and Strangers, Husbandry, Miss Kate | No Comments »

Last Saturday we went to our friend Barb’s 40th birthday party. Barb was my old roommate Maureen’s friend from college. So, essentially the first flat I moved into in SF–the requisite Victorian flat that you move into with people you don’t know because you’re young and idealistic and have just pulled up your East Coast roots to live in sunny California–that flat used to be occupied by three friends who all went to UC Santa Barbara. So Barb was one of the apartment’s occupants before I was.

By the time I’d made it to Vicksburg Street, Barb was off gallivanting in Australia with her then BF, now hubbie. And one of the other three gals, Laurie, was off in Africa doing relief nursing work and meeting the man she’d eventually marry. Which left Maureen to look for two total strangers to shack up with. Those strangers turned out to be Shelley and me.

Anyway, those UCSB gals are a tight crew. Not unlike any group of best girlfriends really, though they have seen each other through particularly thick and thin times. And, God bless ‘em, they always make a great showing at parties. So, unbeknownst to the birthday girl, Maureen flew in from Boston and Laurie from Canada to take part in the festivities.

A considerable amount has changed in our lives since Maureen and I shared a phone. She ended up marrying a fine lad from Rhode Island who I never knew from growing up, but who I met in SF and introduced her to. And now she has four–yes 4–kids with said Rhode Islanduh [sic], and lives in domestic bliss in The Land of the Bad Accent.

So we were talking about being parents and Maureen beat me to the comment that I most often make about the revelation of parenthood, which was “Having kids makes you realize just how much your parents love you.” Word to that, sister.

My father is in the Professional Proud Parents Hall of Fame, and he certainly isn’t totally bereft of things to be proud of, but in many cases he’s just crazed with delusional paternal satisfaction. My old college roommate used to love it about Fred. “Aw Kris,” she’d say, imitating his deep voice. “You brushed your teeth this morning! I’m so damn proud of you!” (And I wonder why I need Mark to praise me when I clean the bathroom…)

But now, having Kate, I totally get it. The girl hits her hand in the bath water to splash and I act as if she’s won the Nobel Peace Prize. I too have foolish over-inflated pride. And don’t even dare to tell me it’s for no good reason.

The thing that Maureen said that totally cracked me up was, “All those times growing up when your parents told you how beautiful you were–they really thought it!” Hilarious.

I actually did ask Mark one night if he thought that maybe Kate wasn’t cute but we were so blind with love that we thought so. Unsurprisingly he said he thought she really was cute. I guess it’s something we’ll never know. (Don’t crazy people never think they’re crazy, which is the first symptom of insanity?) Whatever the case, I think Mark and I are destined to live out our days going with our hunch that Kate is sweet, brilliant, and beautiful. It’s annoying I know, but we try our best to keep it under wraps.

So, last year on this day I was clutching the side of a hot tub (more like a tepid tub) moaning my way through contractions. I was about 11 1/2 hours into active labor (but who’s counting?) and was at a particularly “active” juncture. I remember from the strange planet I was on that I saw Yeshi, my midwife, who was reading something or filling out some forms. And Sarah, my doula, who I also saw as if through a gauzy veil, was mopping my brow and reminding me to breathe. And Mark, of course, was right there with me and earnest and excited and supportive and kept telling me what a great job I was doing and how I was amazing and strong and beautiful.

About a half-hour from now was when, after an internal exam, I was told that I hadn’t progressed really at all. That all those intense contractions crashing in on me less than a minute apart had really gotten me nowhere closer to having that baby in my arms. And so I decided to toss my drug-free birthing plans out the window and get an epidural. If after 12 hours I was in the same place, how long would it take and how hard would it be to actually get somewhere?

Suffice it to say that by this time tomorrow, a year ago, Mark and I had taken up temporary residence in a hospital room with a baby we had no idea how very much we would come to crazy over-the-top love love love and be proud of in ways that no doubt seem foolish to anyone else (but really they just don’t get it).

So Kate, I tell you this on the eve of your first birthday. I know your father and I must seem out of our minds at times, but we really do think you’re beautiful. We really do think you are better than him. We really do think a family vacation would be a fun way for us all to spend some time. Someday you may experience all this yourself, and then you might not think we’re so crazy after all.

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