Friday, March 28, 2008

Happy Birthday Evey!

8 years goes by too fast. She was so beautiful and alert on that March afternoon when she came into our lives. Jon was scared out of his mind, having never held or seen a newborn.

He wrote about it for a class a couple years ago. Even though it reveals things that some might not know about us, I love the way he writes and so...
Embracing the Great Unknown

The dimly lit interior of the hospital room seemed incredibly claustrophobic with one more person in it. The noonday sun was choked off with clouds seemingly leaving me with no escape. Confrontation seemed inevitable. As I turned to look at the occupants of the small, mechanical bed, my palms began to sweat and I could feel my heart beating faster from where it sat in my throat. A young woman in the bed, haggard looking with long, unkempt brown hair straggling down past her shoulders, was smiling through the fatigue at me. Her tear filled brown eyes shifted from me to the little bundle she gently cradled in her arms. My mind reeled, trying to think of any excuse just to leave. I still could not believe this was happening. I recalled, vividly, the day nine months earlier when my entire world was thrown into the dismal chaotic abyss with those few fateful words.

The sun was shining though the thousands of leaves on the many long limbed elms bordering the sidewalk. Sweat ran down into my eyes as I completed the final leg of my circuit around campus. The hum of the bearings in my inline skates complimented the melodious chorus of bird songs. My first week of class was coming off without a hitch. I was finally out of the house and living on my own, able to go where I wanted and to do what I loved. Music still filled my head from choir and dance classes earlier that day. The only thing that put any sort of a damper on the day was the smell. The odor of a hundred thousand black and white cows filled the town every minute of every day. It made such an impression on people that when passing cow farms elsewhere, many people were heard to say, “Smells like Greeley!” But on such a day as that day, it was hard to focus on something as trivial.
After cooling down, I ascended the five flights of stairs to my dorm room. As I opened the large cedar door and peered into the spacious living room, I realized that my three roommates were not present, which made it that much easier for me to relax. A scant ten minutes had passed after I stretched out on the long leather couch, preparing to watch a movie when the phone rang. The voice that greeted my ears was melodious and quite sexy sounding.
“Hey babe! Watcha doin’?”
“Just chillin’, getting’ ready to watch the greatest film of all time.”
“How many times are you going to watch that stupid movie?”
“STUPID?! I’ll have you know this movie has changed the lives of thousands of people, and if you’d care to come up and watch it with me, I’ll show you why.”
“Alright,” she said with a giggle, “I'll be up in a minute.”
While waiting for my girlfriend to walk through the door, I took a moment to think about our complex relationship. We met in fifth grade when we were in Student Council together, but we never spoke. In high school, we found ourselves in a select singing group together, and things progressed quickly from there. We had been dating for three years now and were only planning to continue dating until our college choices took us apart. A knock at the door snapped my thoughts back to the present. The door swung open and I found myself studying the three S’s intently: short, slim, and seductive. Her soft brown hair fell in layers over her shoulders. Her gorgeous brown eyes were sparkling like stars on a moonless night. Her low-cut red t-shirt and tight Levi jeans made me shake my head to make sure I was not hallucinating. As she strutted into the room, she smiled at me. I rose to greet and kiss her and I realized it would have been easier to stay sitting, as she barely came up to my shoulders. We sat snuggling on the couch for a few minutes when I reached for the remote to start the movie. Her hand stopped mine halfway through the motion.
“We need to talk,” she said.
“Fine. We can talk through the movie.”
Her face became stern and serious. “No, really. There’s something I need to tell you and it would be best if there wasn’t anything else going on.”
“Oh my God!” I said with as much seriousness as I could muster, “Your cat died, I’m so sorry.”
The impact of her fist on my arm left me with the startling realization that this was a lot more serious than the death of her cat. I put my humor in check and slid to the far side of the couch so I could look her in the eye.
“I wish there was a way to lead into this. Like I could let you down easy, but I can’t . . . so . . . I’m pregnant.”

It felt like I had been slapped so hard that my brain spilled out of my head. I could not understand anything that was going on. That “P” word sounded familiar, but, I could not wrap my head around the meaning of it. I screwed up my face as if the motion would bring enlightenment. When realization slowly sank in, I felt the building begin to shake. The sun went black and I felt myself falling. The entire world truly felt as if it were collapsing around me. The overwhelming smell of Greeley invaded my nostrils and filled my very soul. I could hear my lifestyle, my goals, and my very self break into a million pieces like a pane of glass hitting hard concrete. I began to look around for something to hold on to, for someone to help me up. That’s when I realized that she was still there and talking to me. I shook my head and forced myself to hear what she was saying.
“. . . you okay? Are you still alive?”
“Uh . . .” was the only thing I managed to say.
“ I know, this is huge. Take your time and think long and hard about this. I don’t want to pressure you into doing anything you don’t want to do. Just let me know when you come up with something more tangible than: ‘Uh...’ okay? I’m sorry to just drop this on you and leave, but, I gotta get to class.”
A half hour later, I noticed she had left and I had been sitting in silence. I decided that I needed to talk this through with someone, so I called my best friend. When he arrived, I sat him down and told him all that had happened.
“Uh . . .” was all he said. After much stunned silence we decided to consult the only doctor we knew and trusted: Dr. Jack Daniels.
In the middle of the following day, as the glaring sun burned bright enough to damage my corneas, I lay in a stupor thinking to myself that I was not by any means ready to raise a child. I was still a child, too caught up in my own youthful desires to be able to handle any type of responsibility. After another few hours of recovery, my mind was returned to a state in which I could safely contemplate my crisis.
I felt that I needed the advice of a parent, so I called mine. I adopted my girlfriend’s method of not trying to break it to them easy.
“Hi dad! You’re gonna be a grandpa.”
Some say silence is golden, I say silence is devastating. I sat on the phone for a full minute and a half before I heard:
“Maybe you should talk to your mother.” In retrospect, I should have realized my dad would have responded like this. My mother, however, would definitely be able to help me. She had always been a pillar of caring and support in my times of need. Always ready to tell me things were going to work out and, more often than not, tell me what she thought I should do. Her response was succinct, to the point, and not what I expected to hear at all.
“We’re very disappointed in you.”
“So much for parental advice” I thought to myself as I hung up the phone. “Looks like I’ll have to find the answers for myself.”
Answers, I came to find out, were very hard to come by. Especially when you are looking for a specific answer that goes against who you are. In the end, fear became my constant friend. Uncertainty became my roommate. But the values that my parents had drilled into my head for all those years, values that I thought I had turned my back on, took hold. They led me, kicking and screaming, toward my future. Toward that fateful moment, when my life would be irrevocably changed.

I took an agonizing step towards the bed in which lay my future. The room stretched out until a mile separated me from my destination. My forehead broke out into a cold sweat and I forced myself to swallow the bile that had risen to my mouth. When I finally arrived, I grasped the cold handles that encased the bed. I forced a smile as I peered down on my brand new daughter. Gently, I pushed aside the soft, woolen blanket covering her chubby, pink face. Just as I was about to retract my hand, five tiny little fingers suddenly shot out and grabbed one of my own. In that moment the entire world once again disappeared, with one exception; she was there. For those precious seconds, as her infant hand closed tightly around my finger, there existed only us. She opened her tiny jewel-like eyes and peered deep into mine. Awareness came crashing over me like a tidal wave. A moment before, I wasn’t ready for anything. Now, I made myself ready. I put away all my childish preconceptions and, in that instant, made myself a man capable of bearing this heavy burden. I was still scared of the future, but she made me see that no matter what happened, I had the most worthwhile reason to see it through.

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