Five weeks from today Baby Ian will arrive. The anticipation of his arrival
has been very similar to that of counting down the days of Elliott’s birth. I
was thinking about it as Elliott and I walked this morning and I concluded that
the nine month experience of preparing for a baby is very similar to going
through a hurricane. I rode out Hurricanes Fran and Bertha along the North
Carolina Coast, so this is an educated comparison.
When it appears imminent that a hurricane will hit your area, the National
Hurricane Center issues a hurricane warning. I liken this to Katie’s
declaration that “we’re going to have a baby”. When you first hear the warning
and you realize that a hurricane is but a mere dot in a vast ocean of water, and
though all signs point to you sitting on the receiving end of its chosen path,
the distance the storm has to travel to strike your small parcel of the overall
Atlantic coastline, well, you casually accept the reality of it all.
Then you get that first ultrasound. And like the first brilliant and
forceful satellite pictures of an approaching category “pick the number”
hurricane, nonchalance is suddenly inappropriate. You begin to batten down the
hatches. You move bedrooms around. You hunt for babysitters. You see which
clothes you might have kept from a previous hurricane, understanding that living
along the coast the possibility of another storm never really goes away without
the intervention of science. Oh, and speaking of previous hurricanes, you
inform your son who loves his nearly two year old solo act that he will soon
perform on a stage built for two, and now you have the makings of two hurricanes
sharing the Atlantic at the same time.
As the storm approaches, the winds begin to subtly increase. Loose items
blow around the yard, old shingles flap on the roof. Katie was working in Ian’s
room yesterday putting some finishing touches on it. As part of our continued
effort to warm Elliott to the concept of brotherhood, Katie asked Elliott where
baby Ian was going to sleep. With a look that said he was half put out having
to answer that question and another half concerned that the mother of his
arriving brother didn’t know the answer to that question, he pointed at the
crib. His old crib. He didn’t say another word about it. The winds die down
as the eye of the storm rides overhead.
With five weeks to go, I think that is where we are, in the eye. It is that
peaceful time when you realize that the first blow of the storm is over, the
part that truly awakens you to the reality of it all. It also momentarily
tricks you into believing it is smooth sailing from here, but there is always
that back side of the storm. We know that five weeks from today, another wave
of excitement, Hurricane Ian, will bluster his way into our lives. Elliott’s
birth proved you can never gauge the magnitude of the storm until it hits. You
can only prepare yourself a little bit each day, which is exactly what we are
I suppose it is odd to compare the coming of a hurricane with the arrival of
your son. For me though, it isn’t a terrible stretch. I’ve always liked
extreme weather – even looked forward to it. I wish it didn’t destroy so many
lives and homes when it came to town, because otherwise, the force of Mother
Nature would be something to totally admire. It is a force, a miracle, the
magnitude of which really only has one rival, the birth of a child.
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