I only get to say "On this day" this particular day every four years.
It was on this day 8 years ago that Maxfield decided it was time to start his entrance into this world. I remember so much and so little from that day.
February 29th 2004 was the due date. It was also the first nice day of that winter. The sun was shining and it was in the low 60’s. Being that we were pent up for most of the winter Lauren and I decided to enjoy the weather by going for a walk around the neighborhood. We left our house hoping to suck up as much sun as possible. It was about 2:30 in the afternoon.
As we left the house we saw all of our neighbors out in their yards also enjoying the weather. We said “hello” to Gary and Julie and other neighbors and all of their kids. I think Rick and his wife, who I can never remember her name, were also out with their kids. They were all standing on Julie’s yard, across the street from our house, watching their kids play. We said we would be back shortly to chat.
Lauren and I turned the corner and were talking about how nice it was outside. Yes it was her due date and we were talking about the weather. We were walking at a slow pace because Lauren was big in the belly. We made it halfway up the block when Lauren grabbed my arm and said, “Oh my God!”
“What?” I replied thinking that maybe she forgot to turn off the Television.
She did not say anything she just kept giggling. A peculiar giggle.
“Did your water just break?” I asked.
“Yeah. And I’m wearing white pants.” she replied. Her eyes went wide with excitement and embarrassmentt.
“What? Do you feel okay? Let’s head home.”
I was too excited. She was worried about her pants.
“Give me a second.” She said as she was inspecting herself.
In my mind I was going through all the things I learned in birthing class. “I have to get her a new COAT. I need to time her breathing. Hell I don’t own a watch. Maybe we can stop at the mall on the way to the hospital to get a watch. I need to get her bags to the car. What did we forget? I have to call my mom and tell her we cannot make it to her Oscar party.” These were only some of my thoughts.
We shuffled back down the block and did our best to sneak past the neighbors across the street. As we approached our house Rose and Paul, the neighbors to our left, pulled up in into the driveway. Rose yelled out, “Hey guys! Don’t go in yet. Sabina wants to say hi.” Sabina was Rose and Paul’s 3-year-old daughter.
Lauren turned to me and through gritted teeth said, “I’m going inside. You can explain.”
We just waved and entered the house. Lauren called the doctor while she changed her clothes. I remember from the class that the baby has to be delivered within 24 hours of the water breaking to reduce the risk of …of….something or other. I knew we were going to be at the hospital for the next few days. Holy crap! I was going to be a dad within 24 hours.
Lauren was not experiencing any labor pains and took her time getting herself together. Once she was ready, I grabbed her suitcase and took it to the car. I would come back to escort her. As I walked out with the suitcase Julie looked over with a puzzling look. Rose, Sabina and Paul were now standing across the street.
“I think it is time.” I yelled over to the gaggle of people gathered on the sidewalk.
“Really?” someone said.
I went back to the house and did a mental check of everything before I was ready to escort Lauren to the car. As I stepped onto the walkway, Rose and Julie came over and asked if we needed anything. I said no.
“I can’t believe this happening.” Rose said.
“I know.” Replied Julie. “It is so exciting that we are here to witness this.”
I went back in the house and told Lauren about the gathering in front of Julie’s house. She mentioned how awkward it was to be going through this with everyone watching. We left the house. The people across the street were talking louder and louder and pointing to us. Lauren and I didn’t really know what to say. We got into the car nodding and smiling. As we pulled down the street all the neighbors gathered on the sidewalk and started cheering and clapping. I compare it to the end of the move Brubaker, when Robert Redford leaves the prison or to the end of Wizard of OZ when the balloon is about to take off and all the munchkins are waving and cheering. Maxfield would not be born until March 1st, but his entrance was already starting in a very surreal way.
* I originally posted this story in 2006.