Monday, December 14, 2009

Backstory, Part 2

(Part 1 is here)

We still wanted to have a child, so we turned to an adoption agency. We went through a battery of screenings, home visits and interviews, had friends and family vouch for us, and after almost eight months we were in the pool of prospective parents. Now we could get matched with a pregnant woman and get to know her and be ready, or we could get a call at 4 a.m. from a hospital saying someone had delivered and immediately put their baby up for adoption and did we want the child? It was exciting and terrifying. Most importantly, we were extremely OK with what was going on. I couldn't think of a more noble endeavor than giving care and love to a child who desperately needs it, who’s been dealt a tough hand before he or she is even drawing unassisted breath.

Then, The Wife went on a business trip to Portland, Oregon. She felt funny--a familiar funny--so she went to the drugstore and got a pregnancy test. When she called me, I was flopped on the couch watching television and wondering if a third glass of wine would be worth the extra fuzziness the next morning. I was stunned, to say the least. Now that we'd given up, moved on, accepted all that and were happy about it, we were pregnant again? Questions and doubts flooded my mind, but I pushed them aside for the rest of the evening. That third glass was the sweetest wine I've ever tasted.

We walked on eggshells for weeks, flat-out refusing to get our hopes too high. Or, in my case at least, refusing to publicly acknowledge that hopes were high. The miscarriage the year before was devastating, and the notion that we were headed toward more heartache like that was frightening. This felt different, though. Felt good. I felt like we were going to be OK, for no other reason than I just felt it. Maybe the storybook ending appealed to the writer in me. The cynic in me was exhausted, that's for sure. We embarked on what would end up being a perfect pregnancy (perfect in the everything-went-fine sense--The Wife surely didn't think two solid months of 24/7 morning sickness was 'perfect') that led to the birth of the beautiful NJ last August.

An impossibly soft teddy bear sits perched over NJ's crib. It was in The Wife's hotel room in Portland, overpriced and superfluous but Right There on the bed. Kids probably scream and cry until their parents agree to buy these stuffed animals, as the hotel manager rubs his hands together deviously downstairs in the lobby. The Wife slept with the bear after finding out she was pregnant, and brought it home for the child. The bear doesn't have a name. NJ will name him (her?) one day when she learns the story of How She Came to Be.

That, in brief, is our story. To me it's the most important story in the world. I know I run the risk of boring people to death with tales of how Damn Special my child is, but I can't help it because I know--I lived--the backstory. I know that everyone has a backstory. And it's amazing to me that even though each one is different, it's just as important and dear to those storytellers as mine is to me, as ours is to us. A bazillion histories, all the same but all wonderfully unique. That's just about the most beautiful thing I can imagine.

Well, except for this:


  1. Nice story, Bob. Now open a can of Hormel chili and feed your daughter,'K?

  2. And, to be clear, I will never forget having Jake nestled on my chest, just an hour old, sleeping the sleep of the absolutely innocent.

  3. Whew, I was just about to call you a heartless old bastard.