The Important Part is Past the Fear
They ask me for book that we unfortunately don’t have in at the moment. I offer to place it on hold, to which the father is grateful because he says then he won’t have to rely on his memory to come in and check for it again. While I’m placing their holds, the son says matter-of-factly, “Dad, that’s because you have a bad memory”.
To which his father replies, “No I don’t. I remember everything.” He playfully puts his fingers to his temples and smiles.
His son looks up at him, thinks for a moment, and then says,
“Alright then, if you remember everything, what time was I born? Exactly!”
“Whoa!” I interject, “that’s a good one, Miles.” We both turn to his dad.
The father stutters a bit. Then smiles. I go back to typing in the hold information.
“I remember what’s important to remember.” He says. “At the time you were born things were a little chaotic. Your mom may kill me for saying so, and don’t tell her I did, but things were chaotic for her, but for me too.”Miles looks at his dad. I smile, believing this innocent chit-chat refers to the usual mayhem an expectant father goes through. Then he continues,
“The night you were born, you gave your mom a bit of a time. It was rough on her because you had a tough time coming into the world, and it was rough on me because I’d only had a few hours sleep. All of a sudden these doctors were asking me to make some pretty quick and hard decisions.”
At this point, my typing has slowed and I find that I’m staring up at this dad as he recounts what has to have been the most personal and important moments in his family’s history. He catches on to this.
“I’m sorry Miss Regina, I know you’re thinking, “why’s he going into all this”. I don’t know why.” he says.
“Not at all.” I say, and go back to my work. Though, I’m listening much more intently at this point.
“The next thing I know, I’m being thrown into surgical scrubs, and your mom is being rolled down the hall, and I’m signing forms and thinking about nothing but my wife and my unbor-” He’s cut off,
“Me!” his son, interupts with a smirk.
“Yeah. You.” His father says, smiling back. “So, no, Miles, I don’t remember what time exactly. I just remember the important parts.”
The father and son share a look, just as I finish placing their hold for The Invention of Hugo Cabret.
“Your hold is in.” I say. It’s just about all I can say. I’m still mentally in that hallway watching a mother be rolled away to what I suspect was an emergency c-section.
“Thanks Miss Regina.” The dad says, with a smile. The story now just a bit of chit-chat again. “We’ll see you soon.”
None of this should be taken for granted.All of it is important.
This fight, I’m in right now, is a part of my child’s life, and they don’t even have one yet.
And that’s crazy to me.
I’ll admit to you that these past few months have been terrifying for me. I look at this world, and I look at my life, and I feel selfish to want to bring any life into it. I feel unsuited.
And I’m woman enough to admit to myself that its all out of fear. I’m afraid of the world I’d be leading them into. I’m frightened of being a bad mother. I’m frightened of making the wrong decisions even now, that will have some affect on my children. I’m afraid I’ll fail them somehow. That I’ll even be too scared to give birth. That some horrible circumstance will befall me, and it will be my husband making those quick and hard decisions.
I’m just scared in general sometimes.
But I believe God knows just what to send my way when I’m veering too far into Scarytown. He always sends me something to comfort and calm my mind. Often in blunt and blatant packaging.
And I’ll tell you something, as terrifying as the story this father shared with his son may be to some, for me, it held an air of hope and a love profound. You had to see his face as he told it. He was so proud and grateful, that even while doing something as simple as visiting the library, he couldn’t help but share it. What he’d taken away from that frightening and intense night nine years ago wasn’t fear or sadness, but joy.
I’m grateful to him for sharing it.
I needed a reminder that every parent, isn’t necessarily textbook cut out for it, but that every parent (worth their salt) is terrified, and facing hard and fast decisions.
But most importantly, that at the end of the day, none of that matters. What matters is remembering what’s important.
And what’s important is seeing the life and the love and the blessing,..even in the middle of the fear.
In my job, I come across quite a few parents that ruffle my feathers. And I’m sure all or at least most infertiles find themselves wondering how and why some people are parents when they aren’t. It makes this journey even harder.
But my goodness when you’re blessed to find a parent that renews your hope, hold onto that image.
I’m holding on to this one.
Regina Townsend is the primary author and founder of TheBrokenBrownEgg. A librarian and writer, Regina’s mission is to make people aware and active about the unique concerns of reproductive health in the minority community.