Sunday, January 31, 2010

No one ever knew

So I'm in this writer's group, off of We meet every other Sunday, and read our writings to each other to get feedback on how to improve. I bitched up hardcore on this one, mostly because I just couldn't think of anything else for the writing prompt I was given.

The writing prompt was that your story had to start with "No one ever knew that I ..." and end with "and that's how I became ..."

Wouldn't you know, this one was the most well received by the group. I got emailed and posts about it after the fact, so I thought I'd share it here. I think I'll do that more often too. The next one I post will be from the one two meetings ago.

ANY way, here it is:

No one ever knew that I was a total emotional wimp. I wasn’t even aware of it myself. I watched sports. I drank beer. I broke wind in public places. I was a man’s man. I couldn’t imagine anything ever changing that, I was proud of who I was. But then I had that one life changing moment.

This moment completely snuck up on me, crashed through while I wasn’t looking. It all started in a hospital room, on a ward named “Labor and Delivery”; with my wife in her stirrups and I in my cap … and a lot of medical personnel. We had already been in the delivery room for quite a few hours, but before too long, the action picked up. The doctor made his entrance, looked me in the eye and asked, “Do you want to deliver this baby?”

I thought this was the doctor’s clever little way of setting up the ground rules, telling me that he’s in charge, and I should stay out of his way. I wanted to make a joke out of it, yet still explain that I understood completely that this was his delivery room, and I was a mere spectator. So, I said, “well I think you’re a bit more qualified than I am, I’m just a computer programmer”. But believe it or not, the doctor was making a serious offer.

Now, my personal life’s philosophy has always been that life is about how many stories you get to tell after you’re dead. So, there was no way I was passing up this opportunity. A nurse wasted no time in bringing me a pile of stuff and helping me put it on. Before you knew it, I was in a green surgical gown, had one of those shower cap thingies on my head, and sterile gloves on my hands. And while no one mentioned it to me at all, television had trained me to walk in the stereotypical hands up to keep sterile method.

Come to think of it, I hardly got any instruction at all. The doctor said “let me sterilize the new mom, and then you go in and pull out the baby”. What? Pull out the baby? How the heck do you do that? The doctor didn’t make it too difficult at all. Things in that delivery room stretched bigger than I ever knew possible, and to quote Forrest Gump, “that’s all I have to say about that.”

I grabbed hold of this hard to recognize, cheese covered mass, and pulled. As soon as the baby’s chest came out into the outside world, it was as if some one flipped the on switch. I watched her take her first breath. I saw the very first expression on her face. I held this beautiful pink princess in my arms, and I held her, as a wave of emotion hit me like a truck. First shock, then a bunch of emotions I don’t know how to name, and lastly, love. It was more emotion than I’ve ever experienced in my life. My eyes turned in to Niagra Falls, and never looked back. Two years later, it happened again, when my son was born.

Nowadays, I have to avoid movies like Steel Magnolias, and Marley and Me like a cat avoids a bath. I’ve found that once those water falls start, they’re hard to turn off. I still get to break wind in public places though; my son thinks it’s hilarious.

And that’s how I became a daddy.

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