All hail the power of tough love. Except I don't know who you were, and I don't know if that was love or frustration or what. Don't know how long you've been reading either, so maybe the whole "Alan doesn't know HOW to be a friend" thing may have escaped you. As a result, there's a nice little bubble of self-doubt and general malaise churning in my belly. But mission accomplished just the same.
I left last night at about 9:30pm to see what the parameters of friendship should look like. The late start was due to me getting the call at 4:30pm, then going home instead of the gym to blog the confusion out of my forebrain, then actually going to the gym, then returning home where my e-mail delivered to me a swift kick in the pants, via the comment from my last entry. So, like any child who's been spanked, I complied in a daze. I gassed up the car, withdrew money, and hit the road.
When I arrived at 11:00pm, all my friend's family had gone home already. There was a serene, nigh-holy hush over the maternity ward. My friend's wife, he explained to me on the way via these newfangled contraptions they call cellphones, had delivered their child by c-section at 8:41pm prior, and the familial fanfare had ended already. By the time I got there, newMom and newDad were worn out. But also, by the time I got there, the nurses had the baby ready to be presented to her newParents. By the time I got there, newMom was cradling her child for the first time.
Whoops. Here come the waterworks. I didn't do this last night, might I add. I did very well. Both with the new family and alone with My Friend The Doctor at the ddiner afterwards. But now I'm just looking back in amazement that I got to be a part of something so incredibly intimate. Just him and her and the other little her. For the first time.
How do the babies know that they should be so relaxed and content? How did my friend's newDaughter know that there was no safer place on earth than nestled in her newMother's arms just then? How did she know that My Friend The Doctor would kill anyone with his bare hands, including me just then, to protect her? I mean, I know I've heard it said before, but how did SHE know? She'd only been breathing air for 4 hours! But she rested there so peacefully and so securely, like nothing ever in the world could possibly harm her, or ever would.
Wouldn't that be just wonderful?
Somebody Else must have told her that it was going to be alright, and that these parents will be good ones, and "...that crazy looking little black one in the corner? With the goofy grin on his face, behind your Dad, staring at you like you just landed from Mars? Yeah, he loves you too. And he doesn't even know what love is. So maybe you could teach him as you get to know him a little better. Pass on to him a little bit of what your parents and both sets of your grandparents, and all your four uncles and your aunt will give you."
So among the people on Planet Earth (if you exclude hospital staff) who get to find out that her skin is softer than the ripest peach, I was number three. My Friend The Doctor and His Wife were number two and number one, respectively.
That's all right then.