All I was looking for were the comforting vapors of camaraderie. Was that too much to ask? Apparently yes, since I couldn’t’t sniff an ounce of nervous machismo in this waiting room.
Your Momma and I met at the hospital for the first ultra sound. This was a big day, we were told that we’d get to see your heartbeat.
The smell of a hospital is unmistakable. Once the sliding doors glide open, a cold-front of air attacked my nostrils. I am not a fan of the way hospitals smell. But I suppose I will have to deal with this minor wrinkle with your expected arrival because we will spending a lot more time here. Bear with me, I’ve never done this before, remember?
I tend to lose track of time inside of a hospital. The halls are long and lit with a fluorescent bulbs that turns me into a dark philosopher. I wanted to make sure I hadn’t entered some kind of government funded experiment that had figured out how to manipulate time so I checked my phone: 11:13am. That felt about right.
We walked past a chapel. To the eye, the room was vacant but there were many voices dancing in that room. I made contact with the eyes of the dove in the middle of the stained-glass window on the back wall. Those eyes were inviting and God knows I wanted some non-directional time. But we had an appointment to see you on a screen.
Momma’s breath was quick and all of it was in her upper chest. I wonder if you were nervous too? Probably not.
I sat in the waiting room with Momma and this proved to be a curious time for me. I was the only male in this place and I couldn’t find anything to distract me from this oddity. Even the TV’s were gleaming with woman flapping about mainstream media. Ear plugs would have been nice. And so, I sat there and acted patient — what else could I have done?
We get called into our room and this wonderful Indian woman named Ashita greets us with a British accent. Instantly I am at ease and feel like we are in good hands.
Momma had to get in this very vulnerable position on the doctors table while Ashita arranged the apparatus that would find you. Meanwhile, I sat near by on a hard plastic chair feeling as useful as a doormat to an abandoned house.
After the courtesy chat and a few minutes of prep work, the room was now officially filled with anticipation.
I was frightened and fascinated at the same time, can you believe that? Momma’s breath was still quick and in the upper chest — I could see the shoulders rising and falling very fast with each grab of oxygen.
Ashita doesn’t know it, but her accent was a gift on this day. After a few twirls of the apparatus, she found you.
She looked at Momma and said, “There’s your baby darling.” Momma’s eyes got very wet. I swallowed my tears. There was a flicker. Ashita taught us that this was your heartbeat — it was ticking faster than a bats wing. At first, I was alarmed, but Ashita said this is normal.
Right then and there I wanted to tell you a few things. But, for plain reasons, I could not.
Therefore, I’m writing them to you in hopes that one day you’ll voluntarily read them:
• Be yourself and be your best self even if this means opposition is guaranteed.
• As your poppa, I will have to hold certain standards and will discipline you — but not matter what, I want you to know that I’ll always have your back because we are on the same team.
• I want you to ask questions. Here’s how you do it: Ask “why” three times before you conclude. Do this with your faith too. Don’t follow blindly.
• Develop some rich friendships. Don’t busy yourself the quantity here, focus on the quality — this goes for everything else in life as well.
• Momma is spicy — so I don’t recommend talking back if you can muster up there courage to bite your tongue.
These are the shotgun thoughts that blasted into my mind before Momma got up from the table and bear-hugged me with a fine joy of belief.
A man cannot focus on anything else when his woman is in his arms and happy.
We walked out of the room with a roll of ultrasound pictures that hung to the floor. Momma’s breath returned to normal — gone were the quick breaths in the upper chest. Her eyes weren’t as wide anymore. Now, she had a small closed-lipped smile pasted on her face which puffed her chucks up just a little bit. I like this face on her. You seem to make momma very happy.
Momma and I had to go back to work after this so we parted ways at the hospital elevator. It was a test to be in a block of crammed human mass for several floors. But I made it. Once I got out, I walked that long hallway lit with the terrible lighting. To my left was the chapel and it was still empty but I had a few minutes this time around. I stepped in like a robber — tiptoeing as if someone was going to catch me. I went straight for the Book. It was propped open under the white dove. My eyes were grabbed by the blue ink that underlined the verse in Jeremiah 29:
“I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out — plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.”
I walked out of that tiny chapel with a quiet peace and sure steps. You, Momma, Hank and me — we’re going to be alright.
I love you,