A Daddy Phones, A Baby Calls, A Grandpa Drives
When your first baby drops her dummy, you sterilize it. When your second baby drops her dummy, you tell the dog: ‘Fetch!’. BL
A couple of posts back I wrote: an amazing family thing happened where, crippled or not, I had to get going …
… from the edge of arrival.
Don’t tell people your problems. Half of them don’t care and the other half are glad! Joe Braysitch
Imagine an older man wallowing in agonised self-pity (I’d probably get more sympathy with man-flu). Every aching part of me justified a late breakfast. I moved, twitched … eased my backside into the chair, probably looking a bit like Dan Biggar preparing for a kick.
I’d just got my left elbow planted, exactly right and almost pain-free, when the phone rang … our son … I put it on speaker.
‘It may have started’ … His mum jerked upright: tuned-in, sharp, ready for action. A dawning crept towards me … ‘it’s probably nothing.’ He didn’t believe it and neither did we.
‘You’re right it’s probably a bit early.’ Granny said – she lied too. He heard a calm voce, I saw a ball of energetic love … Up the rollercoaster we go!
‘It happens, nothing to worry about.’ How calm I sounded. ‘Want us to pop over … just in case?’
‘Yes please, if you’re free.’ Free? Free! Imagine if I’d said I was tied up … Far from an easy-going mother/grandmother beside me, it was like being beside an igniting rocket.
‘We’ll be over soon.’
‘Thanks.’ The quick click of disconnection told us all we needed to know.
Our discussion lasted 30 seconds and ended with a plan. I’d drive. A tornado left to pack an overnight (or three) bag. Aches? What aches?
Edinburgh in my grind
The house was peaceful, the outside door unlocked … hmm unusual. Once inside, a bouncy two-year-old rushed to say hello. Her dad said a quick ‘hi’, help yourself to drinks and performed the upstairs two-step. Greased lightning? Sort of … only faster.
Granny and I made a too-normal coffee with the electric calmness of the wildly excited. I tried to read a story to a wriggle bottomed toddler. Granny went upstairs.
‘We think the baby might be coming, the contractions are getting closer.’
‘Right.’ (I thought: maybe it’ll settle down … three weeks out after all.)
‘Mum says you’re going back.’
‘I’ll just be a spare part … you know.’
‘I could call a taxi if you want to get away.’ I barely resisted giving him a pithy comment or two … and I’m a generally polite man.
‘Taxi? Don’t be daft, I’ll get you two to the hospital.’ sound calm • suck up the pressure • it’s what you’re here for … what’s all this twoddle about 3 weeks?
Fangio? Not exactly
Ten minutes later we turned right across busy traffic, parents in the back. Mum-to-be moaning in an agonised, primal rhythm.
I drove as fast as safety allowed. More groans, the car seat beside me took a few kicks, the floor pan banged from stamps. I saw the pain in my mirror. Dad was ever so supportive, lovely man.
I negotiated corners with cool control. Intense traffic slowed things. We contended with road works and stupid driving. I started barking fruity advice to other drivers. Half-forgotten expletives burst from my emotional lips. Did a speed camera wink?
As part of this exquisite dance, my emotions rose. Please God make everything okay. A drawn out wail from the back eased in an instant by a soothing baritone murmur.
I turned right onto a key main road and the *****! Council had dug it up. Detour. Frustrated wrath. Intemperate words. Calm down — my job is the safe delivery of the parents-to-be.
Right turn. Right Place?
‘Where’s the entrance?’ I received conflicting instructions. AHHHRRRgh! My calm duck on the surface remained, not a ripple. ‘No worries.’ At last we stopped at a big sliding door. OMG, there’s another just like it 30 yards away … another groan and reedy puffs of breath … I jumped out. ‘Stay there I’ll check.’
The door mechanism worked well. A nurse walked by. ‘I’m having a baby in the car.’ She sized me up and, assuming I wasn’t in labour, pointed.
‘Wrong door. It’s over there.’
I dashed to the car and seconds later we arrived.
They climbed out with great care. I opened the hatch. Dad reappeared for the luggage. I shooed him away: ‘Go look after your wife, I’ll fetch this.’
At the reception desk, Mum hunched over the counter doing her breathing. I reached across, rubbed her wrist, our eyes connected ‘love you.’ I gave Dad, holding Mum, a squeezy arm round the shoulder. ‘Love you too big man … bye.’
I walked away to a distracted murmurs of thanks. John Wayne to the end. Back in the car I wept.
Big boys don’t cry? This one did, from the emotional charge, pure joy of a family event and other stuff I’m not sure about — thoughts anyone?.
Parents and baby returned home same day, pictures of health.
© Mac Logan