A Letter on My 31st Birthday to (insert name here) on (his/her) 18th Birthday

Happy 18th birthday <insert name here>!

What you’re about to read is a letter from the past. I wrote this on my 31st birthday, October 17th, 2012. In the future, robots probably read letters for you, out loud, in robot voices. If that is the case, please disconnect the robot now, and read this with your own eyes (Or your “mother’s” eyes, according to her side of the family. Whatever.). 18. Wow. I’ve probably already told you 10,000 times how it seems like you were born yesterday, so I’ll spare you that comment here (but seriously, it does seem like you were born yesterday). I’m sure all sorts of exciting things have happened since 2012. The Cubs have probably won the World Series, we’ve probably had a manned mission to Mars, and a female president. You’ re right, that’s ridiculous, the Cubs still haven’t won the series.

I’m writing this because, in 2012, when someone turns 18, they’re given the right to vote. That’s pretty important. So, being old and wise and 31(….I’ll wait for you to stop laughing….ok….good to go now? ok good….) I figured I’d try and explain to you why it’s important to take that responsibility seriously.

First off, I don’t care who you vote for. Seriously. Growing up in this house you probably know by now that we love you, no matter what. Remember that time you <insert embarrassing incident here>? Still love you. Can’t help it. So I don’t care what political stripe you are, but here’s what I do care about:

That you care.

There’s a great poem. I’ve probably read it to you more than once. It’s called the Desiderata. At the heart of it is a message that’s good and important – and that’s that people are worth caring about, worth believing in. It may seem odd that voting is an extension of that message, but it is, because politics isn’t just what you see on TV. It’s not soundbites, or a horserace. No, politics is everything. Everything you do, from the time you get out of bed, is politics. Politics is negotiation, compromise, debate, contemplation, decision making, and everything in between. And, as you know, the things you do throughout the day have a direct impact on you, and others around you. So when you hear people say they don’t like politics, or they don’t care, or that their vote doesn’t matter, they are, to use a bad cliche, judging a book by its cover. The reality is there are good people out there in government working very hard every day to do what they feel is best for the people in this country, this state, this county, this township, this tiny piece of land in the universe that we call home. That brings me to my next point:

Just because what someone thinks is ‘good’ for the country is different than what you think, does not make them a bad person.

I want you to sit and think about your life for a second. How many times has a door been slammed in your face because of your political beliefs? The answer is probably: “never”. How many times has someone with different political beliefs offered you a hand, or otherwise shown you care and compassion? The answer is probably: “a lot”. Like I said, politics is everywhere, so let the conduct in your daily life and the way you treat the people you come into contact with carry over to the way you treat those whom you may not even know; those who are of a different political persuasion. Stand up for what you believe in, and defend those beliefs with all the strength and courage you can muster, but avoid reducing the other person to something less than human. In the same token, avoid people that prey on ignorance with hate and fear. When you hear someone trash the other side(s) based on their color, their creed, their gender – stop listening. They’re not worth your time. You undermine their efforts by refusing them an audience.

This is a country with an amazing story, and its people are its story. Always remember that you are a walking, talking, beautiful American story. The Irish and Scottish blood that courses through your veins saw the Revolution, and stood its ground at Gettysburg during the Civil War. It helped build the oil fields in Pennsylvania. It landed on Utah Beach on D-Day, and fought alongside Patton against the greatest threat this world has ever seen. Your English blood has been here since before the Revolution; it built successful businesses in Rhode Island and had a root beer named after it (!). The French and German blood in your veins settled this area we call home. Farmed it, cultivated it, gave it a name – your grandmother’s maiden name. The Polish blood you carry landed at Ellis island – your great-great-grandparents – and made a life in New Jersey and Michigan. The story continues and you have the pen now, write something amazing.

You’re entering into a period of your life that will be marked by enthusiasm, hope, and idealism. That period will at some point give way in part to cynicism and mistrust. But don’t lose sight of all of that hope, all those dreams. Find balance. Believe in yourself, believe in those around you, and believe in the power of your voice, your vote.

Love,

Dad

P.S.,

In case you forgot:

The Desiderata

Go placidly amidst the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its shams, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy

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Road Trip

It starts innocently enough. You drop a hint here. She drops a hint there. You might mention how you’ve, you know, never really been to Cincinnati. The Children’s Museum in Indianapolis, she says, is apparently second to none. You try to gauge how serious she is about this, measuring the words carefully as they bounce around your eardrums…rest stops…continental breakfast…heated indoor swimming pool. For a moment you have visions of an 8 month old screaming in the carseat for hours on end, a half eaten cheeseburger flying, end over end, between the front seats and landing squarely on the dash, spraying ketchup like a bad horror movie, and hearing the words “I have to pee…really bad” right as you pass the “Next Rest Stop: 75 miles” sign. You recoil in horror, but it’s too late. The seed has been planted. A few weeks go by and that small seed has grown into something just large and unwieldy enough to make you set aside your otherwise firmly planted sense of reason and penchant for low expectations, replacing them with naïveté and delusions of vacation grandeur.

You’re going on a road trip.

A good road trip starts with good planning. This is a very important step. I usually skip it entirely. This is primarily because another essential ingredient of a good road trip is making things exciting, and, really, what’s more exciting than feeling like things could fall apart at any moment?

My wife and I go over the details: the hotel, things to do, things to see, things not to see, places to eat, gas mileage, and the all-important ETD. ETD stands for estimated time of departure. It does not stand for exact time of departure. Exact time of departure is usually calculated as ETD +/- 12 hours. We usually agree to leave early. Really early. Too early. It never happens. If we’re on the road before lunch high-fives are not out of the question.

With an 8 month old in the back, we’re taking it easy on this trip. We’re driving 115 miles. That’s 1 mile, 115 times. We can do this.

We get a surprisingly early start, dish out the high-fives, and make it 3 miles before the first ‘Is that our hotel?’. I look around. I see trees. I see corn. Some clouds. I do not see a hotel.

‘No, that’s not our hotel.’

‘Well, where is our hotel?’

‘It’s in Indianapolis.’

‘….it’s what?’

‘It’s about 100 miles away.’

‘But where is it?’

This conversation will be repeated many times. It wouldn’t be a family road trip if it weren’t. I turn up the radio.

As a parent on a family road trip, there are many roles to play – driver, navigator, snack-giver, radio operator, lane-change-watcher-outer (“car…car…there’s a car…car”), and perhaps most importantly pee-time-calculator. Pee-time-calculation is an art. It combines the disciplines of mathematics, sociology, psychology. How long has it been since they last peed? How far are we from the next suitable exit? What is the average socio-economic status of the citizens residing within, say, three square miles of the next suitable exit? Child A will indicate a need to pee in approximately 20 minutes, whereas Child B is not due for 45. However, as soon as Child A declares an emergency situation Child B will respond in kind, even though Child B will likely not use the facilities upon stopping. This means we’ll be making two stops within 20 minutes of each other. If I can hold Child A off until the 30 minute mark….a dangerous gamble. The only thing crankier than a kid on a long car ride is a kid who pees his pants on a long car ride.

We get to the hotel, and then what I think is the hardest part of the trip begins: forgetting you’re an adult and letting go. It sounds easy. It looks easy in the movies. It’s not easy.

It’s easy to remember being a kid. Not as easy to remember feeling what it’s like to be a kid. I feel a twinge every now and again; something brings it back. A sight, a smell. We pretend like we never really grow up. Like we still embrace that innocence and freedom of five, six, seven. “Kids at heart” we say. But it’s not that simple. I’m a grownup, through and through. Just because I still get excited watching Luke Skywalker blow up the Death Star, doesn’t mean that, even for a second, I could go back.

So, like adults, we discuss things to cram into the day. Racetrack? Museum? Both? The kids have other ideas. One has claimed the king bed as his castle. The sheets pulled up to his chin. He laughs at the way it feels. The other is checking every nook and cranny. She desperately wants to use the hotel phone. I think she might want to call Barbie. Our youngest is crawling, everywhere, fascinated by the texture of the carpet.

“Is this a real hotel?”

“Yes this is a real hotel”

“And we’re spending the night?”

“Yes, we’re spending the night.”

The innocence? The freedom? It’s theirs. And my heart is happy for them.

We have fun in Indianapolis. We catch a concert. We swim in the pool. We overindulge in the continental breakfast. We laugh at each other.

And before we know it we’re boarding the hotel elevator to head home. Our two-year-old is on outside elevator button duty while our five-year-old has graduated to inside elevator button duty. “G…that means Ground Floor”, he says proudly. We pile in the car, buckling seatbelts in what has become an almost ritualistic exercise of click-tug-click-tug.

“Are we going home?”

“Yes.”

“To our house?”

“…Yes.”

And that’s exactly where we end up. Safe and sound.

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How to Boil Water

I’m a horrible cook. Downright terrible. So bad that the lobster screams BEFORE I put it in the boiling water. Some people are born with the ability to do great things in the kitchen. They can take butter, some Italian seasoning, maybe a dash of vinegar, and end up with Filet Mignon. It is a mystery that rivals Stonehenge and the popularity of Justin Bieber. I do not know how they do this. My brother-in-law is one of those people. I am not one of those people.

I would like to be a good cook. In part so that when someone says “these hot dogs are incredible! Who made these?” I can humbly submit that, yes, it was I that made those hot dogs. But the main reason is that I really want to inspire my kids. Inspire them to eat something other than goldfish crackers.

One of our biggest frustrations has been getting our kids to eat well. The psychology of getting a two year old to eat, say, a vegetable is twisted at best. You lie. You make empty promises. I have imitated the behavior of a Chimpanzee to encourage the consumption of broccoli. I am only mildly ashamed of this. My daughter, for instance, loves ham. But she doesn’t think that she loves ham, she thinks that she loves turkey. So we don’t call ham ham, we call ham turkey. And she eats the ham because we call it turkey, but will not eat the turkey, because it, after all, is not ham but turkey. Do you see where I’m going with this? Do you see how quickly something as mundane as lunch can spiral into some strange psychological ballet where foods become anthropomorphic (dancing macaroni!) and utensils suddenly spring to life as airplanes/space shuttles/buses/trains/weapons of mass food destruction?  Yes, weapons of mass food destruction. I like to break it down like this. Let’s say there are 6 ounces of green beans on a child’s plate. The laws of parenting physics show that when the child applies force to the beans, using his or her fork/spoon, 2 ounces of green beans will end up on the wall and 6 ounces of green beans will end up on the floor. This means that the child will consume -2 ounces of green beans. Despite this routine negative consumption of all things healthy, the child will continue to grow at an alarming rate.

Now don’t get me wrong, my wife is an amazing cook. She’s also an amazing baker. People talk about her cakes in hushed, reverential tones. “Did Sarah make that cake?”is a whisper often heard at parties and get-togethers. No one wants to be too loud and let the cat out of the bag lest someone, in a fit of crazed sugar-fix-needing madness, grab the cake and run for the door. It’s happened before. The results weren’t pretty. And my wife tries really, really hard to get our kids to eat well. She reads books, and follows the blogs of Wisteria-lane-like women whose rosy-cheeked children eat their broccoli without protest. It’s a pack of Photoshopped lies in my opinion. Pictures of kids eating arugula? Nice try. Someone went crazy with the crop and paste.

Maybe one day I’ll put Bobby Flay to shame on ‘Throwdown’, or make Mario Batali cry on ‘Iron Chef’ (secret ingredient: hog dogs!). Probably not, though. Honestly, I’d be happier just getting my kids to eat something green other than green icing on a sugar cookie. Until then we’ll just have to make due with the dancing macaroni, the spoon that doubles as a 757, and the ham masquerading as turkey. Oh, and the brownies my wife made that have diced broccoli mixed into them (sinister!).

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Emma

There’s nothing quite like seeing your wife on an operating table to remind you that our lease on this life isn’t permanent, and that having a baby is serious business.

I’d done my best to repress all of those feelings in the weeks leading up to the birth. They were there though, to be sure, floating around in the back of my head. Bits of medical jargon that all really meant the same not-so-good-very-bad thing; terms memorized after two previous c-sections. “The most dangerous part of the surgery is the drive to the hospital”, the doctors say. They’re probably right, but it doesn’t feel right. Perhaps it’s the familiarity of driving a car that makes it seem so harmless when compared to regional anesthesia and abdominal surgery.

Our firstborn was an emergency c-section. Not the doctors-and-nurses-rushing-into-the-OR flavor emergency c-section, but technically any failed labor that results in a c-section is termed an emergency c-section. It certainly felt like an emergency to me. My son’s head was too big, so he wasn’t going anywhere. Each contraction put more and more pressure on him and the umbilical cord and his heart rate would plummet. So into the OR we went, and in a flurry of activity out came my son. I learned something very important during the whole exercise: for the majority of the scary bits, I was a panicky mess. Not externally. It’s not like I was running around hyperventilating. But inside, I was freaking out. What struck me leading up to and during the surgery, was that the people with the really hard jobs, namely removing a human being from inside another human being, weren’t freaking out. The nurses, anesthesiologist, and doctors were all extremely calm. This, to them, seemed like child’s play. At least their demeanor indicated as much. There was small talk in the OR. A radio played easy listening hits, it might have been James Taylor, I can’t remember. Were they pulling a splinter out of her finger or doing a c-section? It was hard to tell. And so I learned to let them set the tone. If they’re not running around yelling stuff like you hear on “ER” (‘Get some pressure on that! I need 100cc’s of who-knows-what-erol, STAT!”), then I’m not going to panic.

Since numero uno was a c-section, the rest of the brood have been scheduled c-sections. A scheduled birth is weird enough; a scheduled c-section is even weirder since there’s no labor. It’s like going to the store for a baby. There’s none of the accurate, however clichéd, screaming and yelling and pushing and the inevitable ‘why did you do this to me!’ from the mom-to-be that you see in the movies. You go from zero to baby pretty quick; from hospital registration to ‘it’s a girl!’ took about 2 hours and 15 minutes. The actual procedure took about 10 minutes.

I can’t really describe what it’s like to see your child born. I’m sure it’s different for everyone. I’ve seen it happen three times, and the feelings have been pretty consistent in each case. My heart has raced each time, palpably. And you know that look you get when something confuses the hell out of you? I’m pretty sure that’s been the look on my face each time I’ve seen my kid held up into the world for the first time by the doctor. It’s there because the whole thing is miraculous. I know there’s science behind it. I know there’s medicine behind it. But every time I see this newborn and realize that a couple of fragile, fallible, flawed creatures were involved in creating something that amazing and perfect I can’t help but find it miraculous. And that puts the confused look on my face, because nothing else I’m ever involved in turns out so perfectly. If I dedicated the rest of my life to something, anything, I would never be able to create alone something as beautiful and perfect as that kid – and that kid only took 9 months. So it’s a miracle. My two cents.

So the incredible and calm doctors and nurses handled my wife with care, and they took little Emma and made her cry (the good kind), and they checked her fingers and toes, and weighed her and measured her. They commented on her hair, her skinny little legs. “Whose nose does she have?” they asked. Emma’s nose. And they wrapped her up like a little burrito, picked her up, and handed her to me.

“Here you go, dad”

And I fell in love.

Emma Claire

Nov. 8th, 1:17 PM

6 lbs. 13 oz.

19.5 inches



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PJs

The force is strong with this one.

Anna insisted on wearing Ryan’s LEGO Star Wars pajamas. By insisted I mean demanded in a very emotional way. Why did she want to wear them? And I quote:

“…They’re beautiful.”

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Fall

Everyone loves fall, or so it seems. Everyday I hear someone comment on how they love that it’s getting cooler, or how they can’t wait to bust out that cardigan, or how it’s so beautiful when the leaves change. It is beautiful. I love fall too. Our fascination with and love for the fall is a little strange. It is, after all, concerned with that which most of the human race is terrified of; namely death and dying. The leaves turn and shrivel. The grass that was the bane of our Saturday yard-cutting existence browns and retreats into the soil. The garden that only a few months ago was turning out more freaking butternut squash than even God would know what to do with is a dry patch with shriveled vines. We don’t go into mourning, though. We celebrate. We roast marshmallows and watch our breath float into the air like steam from a steam engine. We drink seasonal beer. We dress up as something scarier than ourselves (which is to say something really, really scary) and ask strangers for candy. And in southern Indiana, we have Harvest Homecoming.

It’s difficult to describe Harvest Homecoming to someone who’s never been to Harvest Homecoming, and even more difficult to describe it to someone who’s never been to southern Indiana. It is a festival of sorts: part state fair, part carnival, all crazy. It is at once a marketplace full of incredible food, most of it sinfully awful for your health (deep fried Snickers bars? More, please.) and an open air Wal-Mart. Scratch that. An open air Wal-Mart at 2am.

We decided, in our infinite parental wisdom, to drag the kids out to Harvest Homecoming last night. It’d been a long week, and I’ve been out of town for the better part of two weeks, so this seemed like a great way to get out of the house and go have some fun. Plus, I was jones’n for a deep fried something, anything. Just pick something up and throw it in a deep fryer, I’ll eat it. So we piled into the car and set out for New Albany. It seems to be a common theme at events like this that martial law is the law of the land. There are no more traffic laws or laws governing how pedestrians are supposed to behave, etc. I saw a guy with a beer and a shotgun which may have been perfectly legal but certainly didn’t seem appropriate. It’s every man, woman, child for themselves. Parking seems to be the worst. When you’re competing for a parking spot you have to give the guy in the other car the crazy eyes. You know, the ones that say “take this parking spot and I’ll jump out of this car, rip your side mirrors off and bust your windows with my forehead”. I have perfected this look.

We manage to find a decent parking spot.

We walk down the sidewalk with constant reminders to the kids about the importance of holding hands, paying attention, holding hands, not talking to strangers, holding hands etc. I think aloud “why do we do this to ourselves?” We walk into a mob of people with two little ones in tow. Anna is at the helm of the stroller, doing her best to point and direct us to “the games”. Ryan asks repeatedly, “why are we walking?” Is this rhetorical? I don’t know. I make a typical half-focused parent comment along the lines of “we’re walking so we can get there”. Where is there? I have no idea, basically wherever the fried stuff is. There are booths lined with crap. Lots of crap. Find some junk in your basement? Go sell it at Harvest Homecoming. It’s gotten dark and the lights on the food trailers cast a glow over the mildly inebriated crowd. Those that are farther gone stumble a little and repeat ‘sorry’ as they pass by. Southern hospitality at its finest. We go for the food first. We take care of the kids quickly with some hot dogs and french fries. Anna, who certainly has the most developed, if not strange, palette in the group, takes the hot dog out of the bun and throws the bun to the concrete in feigned disgust. “I don’t like that one” she says. Oh boy. As the kids eat I set out on a mission to find the two of us something to clog our arteries with, but to my dismay it seems that everyone in southern Indiana has decided to clog their arteries tonight. Lines for fried chicken, pork tenderloin, fried God-knows-what stretch down the streets. The kids are finishing up. Waiting in line for 30 minutes while my 8 months pregnant wife keeps a handle on the little gremlins in the middle of a giant mob of people is not going to go over well. The fried stuff will have to wait.

We walk the streets and try to find some games for the kids. We come across Ryan’s favorite: it’s a trailer that is setup like a racetrack. There are a half-dozen remote control stock cars and for 3 bucks you can race 10 laps. Ryan picks car #14. I help him race around the turns and we do pretty well, 2rd place behind #18. Ryan isn’t happy though, he wanted to win, and he yells as much as step away. He tears up a little as I talk about how it’s important that we had fun and that winning isn’t everything. He looks at me and tells me that his least favorite number is now 18. Fair enough.

After a few hours we’re ready to call it quits. The crowd has gotten rowdier and the kids are starting to drag. We make our way back to the car. Though it seemed a bust, the kids are crying that they don’t want to leave, which, for the little gremlins, is the best indicator of a good time. I figure if we can get them kicking and screaming as we walk out, the night’s a success.

As for the fried Snickers bar, I’ll be back. And I’m eating two.

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Babies

Babies are miracles. Let me rephrase that: having a baby is a miracle. It’s impressive that a cluster of cells grows into a bundle of joy and smelly diapers over the course of nine months, but the real miracle is pregnancy, namely, surviving it. I know I wouldn’t.

My wife is pregnant. This is her third go-round with the stork. She is as tough as nails.

I watched a series about Navy SEALs once. It followed these perfectly fit human specimens through weeks of grueling training. Pushups, situps, running, more pushups, carrying logs around, swimming, diving, shooting stuff, blowing stuff up, more pushups. I’d never say this to a Navy SEAL (because he could kill me with one of his knuckles while blindfolded, upside down, and asleep) but they got nothing on a pregnant woman.

I can’t relate to being pregnant; not at all. So I’m not even going to try. I’m just going to write about pregnancy as a spectator. I’m basically an embedded journalist here. She does all the fighting and I run around with a camera and a notepad.

It all starts calmly enough. Usually there’s some suspicion. You try not to get too excited. You look at each other across the breakfast table and say things like “these Honey Nut Cheerios are better than I remember” or “wow, it really is Wednesday, isn’t it?” But you both know what you’re really saying. You’re saying “You’re/I’m pregnant aren’t you/I?” And so the testing begins. The tests are like little Magic 8 Balls. You stare at them and wait for an answer. The first few tend to come back with a “Reply hazy, try again” but if you’ve hit the jackpot the 8 ball says “It is decidedly so”. And so there’s laughing and crying and phone calls. A lot of people will say things like “I can’t believe it!” when you call them, which always seemed funny to me. I mean, if I had called and said “we just bought a pet tiger and are going to start our own traveling magic show!” I could understand them saying “I can’t believe it!” but a baby never really seemed to be in the realm of the unexpected. The reality begins to sink in soon after the phone call stage; you start shifting from the fantasy world where visions of cute little babies in receiving blankets dance in your head to reality where there will soon be more bills to pay, more milk to buy, and less sleep to be had. And then the puking starts.

The first trimester is a roller coaster. You will find yourself thinking things like “who are you and what have you done with my wife?” There’s nausea, discomfort, exhaustion, mood swings. You’ll wonder how what she’s eating is even remotely palatable. What she wants from you, her sweet husband, more than anything in the world, is for you to leave her alone. She is tired. She is cranky. She is pregnant.

Then, like an angel descending from pregnancy heaven, the second trimester arrives. Things calm down and stabilize a little bit. She starts to feel like she is among the living again. She looks beautiful. Her belly grows. She worries about fitting into a dress. You think she’s crazy for not seeing how gorgeous she is. You talk about names. You’ll see the baby on a computer screen in the doctor’s office and, no matter how many times you’ve seen it before, your eyes well up and you say ‘wow’. You’ll feel the baby kick and punch and twist. You have the occasional moment of thinking ‘holy crap there’s a baby in there!’ You look at paint colors.

Then comes the third trimester. The home stretch. The baby is big and getting a lot bigger at an alarming rate. She slows down. There is no such thing as easy movement. Everything takes effort. Rolling from one side to another seems to take an eternity. When the baby kicks, sometimes you’re certain it’s going to be like that scene in Alien where the alien just comes flying out of the guy’s body. Looking at her stomach, you can discern knees and elbows with ease. You wish there was something you could do to make it all better. But you’re just the embedded journalist. So you sit there with your camera and your notepad and you rub her back and offer up sound bites of encouragement like “only 8 more weeks, honey” while she battles with the pain and the swelling. A lot of help you are.

And then, seemingly in a flash, you’ve reached the end of the road. Sounds like a poor choice of words, but it is the end of the road; the end of one journey and the start of another. You’ll walk out of that hospital and strap that baby into the car seat. You’ll pull away, both hands on the wheel, driving slowly, carefully. You’ll look in the rearview mirror, at the miracle in the back seat, and think “we did it”. But, truth is, you didn’t do jack. That woman sitting next to you? She’s the hero. She gets the ticker tape parade for this one. And don’t you ever forget that.

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