There the baby was, in the womb. A little leg kicked, then kicked again. The mother on the right side of the bed laughed as they all looked at the gray hued pictures, mesmerized. "Just watch when you are changing his diaper. He's going to kick that leg." The girl lay back on the table. Watching the screen along with the two older women and the young woman conducting the ultra-sound. "You just never get tired of it." She said as one woman pointed to the four chambers of the baby's heart. The room was warm and after a short time, felt stifling. The late arriving mother crossed the small space and sat down in a chair. Talking with the girl's mother and the girl. She was the baby's other grandmother.
The other occupant had vacated the room with her baby and smoking family sometime during my sleep. Mother was also gone. The nurse walked in. "What is that sound?" I asked.."Its a baby" the nurse answered. "Oh my gosh.." and I groaned opening my eyes and asking to see our, as yet, un-named baby. She brought him in. He had been the kitten wailing sound. "He has quite a set of lungs." she said.."Yeah," and it must have been said with a smile while requesting that the bassinet remain at bedside. He remained in the room with me, sleeping at my side while I dozed. Chuck had been Pookie until named and Ray had been Beau. Dylan was just "baby". Baby-doll, baby-toots. baby. We were horrible about choosing names. None of the boys were named prior to leaving the hospital. Chuck was going to be Winston Charles, but ended up as Charles Elliott. William had been a name I liked for Ray but his dad insisted on "Ray" and "Billy Ray" just would not fly, so we chose Benjamin Ray for him. Now with a third boy in three years..Everything I suggested Paul poo-pooed until one evening, when it was dark outside and the boys and I were in the house and he was in his "shop" I remember carrying a piece of paper down to him with a list of names that I liked. "Circle the ones you like." I said through the haze of smoke. Noel and Dylan were two that he liked so three weeks after his birth he became Noel Dylan. He still dislikes the first name of Noel and goes by Dylan.
After his birth; did I stay in the hospital for two days? three? I returned home and made a bed on the couch, his crib sat in the bay window of the living room. Ray would toddle over to the rocker where we sat and smack Dylan (as yet un-named) on the head. I would take his tiny hand and calmly tell him that whacking his brother was not something to do.
In all the pictures taken following Dylan's birth the boys look adorable. We all look slightly confused. Their dad looks nervously happy and I look exhausted. Three boys in three years and all in diapers.
Their dad, my ex, has always been a good father. He has had his failings but if nothing else can be said about him, the fact of the matter is that he is a good dad and for the first week following Dylan's birth he stayed home and helped with the boys before beating a hasty retreat back to campus. Suffice to say, he loves his boys, encourages them in their schoolwork and disciplines them when needed. He was forty one going into parenthood. Perhaps if I had taken it a bit slower. Spaced the boys out a bit more. Perhaps...things would have worked out differently. For twelve years following the divorce, in my heart I would wait, hoping that something would change. We would talk on the phone. Hang out from time to time. Take camping trips together. Following the divorce we saw counselors. None helped. Why?
Dylan was eleven months old when the divorce was finalized. Do any of the boys remember their parents being married?...
It goes on, that is, life. You get through things that you think will break you. The sun rises, it sets. There are good days and bad. The geese visit or they don't. The house sells or it won't. The cats continue to lay on the floors, in chairs and on beds in patches of sunshine, of light. And outdoors the spring has returned. The trees are in bloom. The grass greens and soon it will be summer and another child will graduate from high school. They grow too quickly. The time is gone too fast. Pictures and diaries are all that remain, and memories. But soon too, even these will be gone.
People ask, "Where are you going to move?.."...to which I respond, "I don't know"..as usual, I don't know....
"Whatever is has already been and what will be has been before; and God will call the past to account." Ecclesiastes 3:15