Let's go back in time a bit, to when I first started writing this:
There is a new kind of fear in my world. And no, to anticipate your first thought, it's not because we have a cheeto-faced man-baby in the Oval Office. Although, that is tangentially connected.
Kristen is pregnant.
There's a bunch of cells in her belly. Cells made of 1/2 of each of us. 6 weeks old and growing, at this point, at nearly an exponential rate.
We 'pulled the goalie' a few months ago. At first, it was fun; all fun and competition. Can we do this? Can we get pregnant? At 49, is my stuff any good? The question wasn't, what would we do "if", but could we. And then, Life intervened, and upped the Challenge Factor. As many of you know, we're both Actors, and since we've had the goalie out of the net, I've been doing regional theatre jobs and Indie films, and she's been on a National Tour. We've only had one really good 'window' in which to try. So hey, we tried. With, well, gusto. And?
I remember they said things. I remember they told me, "It changes everything." "Your life will never be the same." "You'll long for simpler days."
And you know what? I scoffed. I thought to myself, "Yeah, right. I've been a professional Actor in New York City for 24 years. I run my own film company. I can take on anything and survive it." Can you smell the hubris? (Actually me neither, because I'm not sure that hubris has any particular smell - but there it is, baby. Smell or not, there it is.)
KB showed me the 'Yes Plus' - that's what we're calling the positive test, (and yes, I'm including a picture, because a little pee is only the beginning of what we're about to be dealing with)... When I saw this, something entirely new crept in. Something far, far bigger than competition... bigger than the fun of being together and starting a family. Something...unfamiliar.
Not just any fear. Not the fear of being an Actor, a freelancer in a non-freelance world, none of that.
This is a kind of fear I have never known.
I'd been examining it like was some strange alien that landed in our living room. "Huh. Curious. Different." Trying to be objective. Perhaps that will dull the point on this, make it go away. But no, eventually there was a quiet realization, a certain knowing that I'm sure every parent is silently nodding at as they read. This alien - this feeling - will never go away. Ever. It has landed, dropped roots, and, like Yes+, is growing into the very fabric of both of us.
Holy shit. I'm afraid. Is this what being a parent is?
6/9/17. Second trimester.
Here's what I'm learning.
What they DON'T tell you: The word PARENT is synonymous with a constant low-grade fear for the well-being of your child... NO MATTER HOW OLD THEY ARE.
I'm realizing that even after he's born (yes, it's a boy), and we wake up after 16 minutes of sleep to silence wondering if he's still in his crib; even years later, after hearing the crash from the living room where he was playing and wondering if he's tipped a piece of furniture over on himself; even after he has grown and left us, there will still be moments when we wake up in fear, hoping that he's okay. I know, now, that my folks still have this for me, and they're in their seventies.
An entire life is waiting in the wings. But - will this little life survive? Will we make it to tomorrow? Next week? The next trimester? Will this baby be okay, healthy? And if this little life that we pray will join our family is 'perfect', then will it be safe? What kind of world are we bringing a child into, anyway? When I began writing this, the man-baby had just taken the Oath of Office of the Presidency of the United States. And now it's June, and he just pulled the US out of the Paris Climate Accord.
Okay, parents: How do you deal?
'Cause basically I haven't even started yet.