Meredith C. Carroll: The baby is coming, and so is football season
Meredith Pro Tem
That’s been the most frequently used phrase around the house lately, much to my husband’s dismay. We’re planning the expansion of our family, and over the past few months, I’ve been quietly speculating about how I envision our life evolving.
Of course, Rick is deeply moved at the spiritual and emotional significance of bringing a new life into the world together. Plus he’s terrifically bright and understands that with a newborn comes many, many sleepless nights. (Although he keeps talking about how much a baby will need and depend upon me in it’s first several months of life ” as if feeding it is the only responsibility involved ” and therefore he’ll somehow be able to fly under the chore radar.)
What he apparently isn’t prepared for, however, is how his sports viewing schedule will be affected. It first occurred to him after the LSU Tigers were victorious in the national championship game in January.
“How thrilling that they won,” I said, “since it was effectively your last season.”
“What are you talking about?” he asked.
“Honey, once we have a baby, do you really think you’ll be spending Saturday afternoons watching college football?”
“But I can just hold the baby during games and we can watch together. Or maybe the games will be during its nap time,” he reasoned.
“I figured Saturday afternoons would be set aside for family time. Preferably outside the house. Besides, I wouldn’t want a baby watching football games or, really, any TV. The only programs I think it should watch are Disney movies like ‘Mary Poppins’ and ‘Peter Pan,’ and even then not until it’s much older.”
The color drained from his face.
It’s not as if I’m trying to tease or scare him. It’s just that we need to brace ourselves for how many sacrifices we’ll be making. Like what our parents did for us. I can’t say with 100 percent certainty, but I’m almost positive that my dad’s first choice of what to do on Saturday mornings wasn’t waking me up against my cranky, sleepy will to drive me to the allergist and then sit around in the waiting room surrounded by other people’s sneezing and wheezing kids for up to an hour until it was my turn to get my shots. And I know my mom had better ways to spend her weekday afternoons than shlepping to hither and yonder to watch me play badly in tennis matches, or waiting around to take me home from play practice and then make me dinner.
In preparation for the blessed event, Rick has been watching every game as if it’ll be his last. Ever. He’s even watching sports and following teams he’s never cared about before, presumably so he can cherish the memories when he’s changing a dirty diaper or running to the store for formula instead of analyzing a crucial fourth quarter or bottom of the ninth play.
I’ll be affected when we have a baby, too, naturally. I’m a bit envious of people who reproduce in their early 20s, because they never really had much time in life to enjoy relaxing so it’s hard for them to miss it. I, on the other hand, have had years to take pleasure in sleeping late, reading quietly in bed and escaping to dinner or drinks with friends with little to no notice and planning. As much as I’m looking forward to having a baby, that leisure time will still be sorely missed.
But what I’m really concerned about is not so much the loss of freedom, but being fully responsible for another living being. Like the family who left their 23-month-old son in the Vancouver airport last week and were utterly surprised when they were alerted in the air that he wasn’t with them and had been found by a security guard near the departure gate. It seems wholly inconceivable that a parent could do that.
But it’s kept me up with worry for the past few nights anyway. That and would social services haul me off if I took a baby to see the “Sex and the City” movie when it opens later this month? You know, theoretically speaking.
The most important thing, though, is that we have a healthy and happy child. I’m sure we’ll figure out the rest and never look back.
Besides, our parents raised us and survived. Although my dad will argue that, first of all, he’s not done raising me, and second, he’s still recovering from the trauma. And, now that I think about it, it might have been just a few years ago that he was finally able to start watching Penn State football games on Saturday afternoons again. Hopefully he won’t mention that the next time he talks to Rick.
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