Several months before the economy tanked–and Mervyn’s went bankrupt–Jill and I had the pleasure of shopping at Mervyn’s for children’s clothes. We’d been unable to stroll down the children’s aisle ourselves for the last seven or so years because we’d been unable to have children. Picking out fun clothes for our friends Richard Harrill and Katie Jamieson brought us joy. Actually, we bought the clothes for their daughter Rosie since Richard and Katie are adults and wouldn’t fit into them.
Richard and Katie graciously put us up at their flat in Budapest. We took an opportunity to visit them in Hungary after a business trip to France. Usually staying at someone’s flat while a child runs around the place building skyscrapers, tossing cell phones on the floor repeatedly, and talking about the dragon in the toilet acts as a kind of contraceptive. It actually had the reverse effect on us and now Jill is pregnant. As we await our twin boys, likely to be more than twice as destructive as a single child, we take a bit of courage from knowing others have paved the way. For thousands of years. Actually, for the entire existence of our species.
Recently, a large bag of children’s clothes suddenly appeared in my office. I knew it was coming. After all you can’t keep a child naked for it’s entire life. It’s down right embarrassing at about twenty-three years old. Maybe sooner. My coworker EJ Smith left me a bag of clothes for a newborn since his son Colin, at the wee age of 3 months, is well on his way to being a tight end for the Crimson Tide. Jill giggled with glee as she sorted out the cute little outfits on the coffee table.
Only a day or two later, a box arrived from Baltimore. Having had a long day that got even longer, I didn’t open the box right away. Jill hovered over me waiting for me to open the box from my dear friend Caroline Harmon. Jill showed tremendous patience in not opening the box since it was really addressed to me. She asked, she waited. She walked around the box looking at it. Wondering about it. The computer screen beamed at me while Jill’s eyes drooped and finally she went to bed.
In the morning, Jill woke to tiny, itsy bitsy clothes neatly stacked in small piles on the coffee table. Wrapped in colorful ribbons and yarn, they were labelled according to their age category. It was almost as if little elves had decided to move into our house in the middle of the night and left their clothes out. No, I didn’t suddenly find the energy to arrange children’s clothes at midnight. Though I’m sure I’ll have to once the boys arrive. Caroline, with tremendous kindness and organization, welcomed us into parenthood with a generous and enthusiastic gift.
The reality of becoming a parent comes into greater focus each day. Perhaps, only to surprise us later with blurred vision as we live in a sleep deprived state for months on end. As Jill and I thumb through lists of stuff to get, things to do, and appointments to keep in the remaining weeks, we realize we can’t do it alone. The responsibility of being a parent is huge. Luckily, we already know that we don’t have to face it alone.