Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day, and even almost 21 years later, I’m not sure how I feel about it. So much of time is arbitrary. We screw it up so badly that we have to add a whole day every four years. So for me, today is just like any other day since Jacob was born and died. I’m a different person because of it. I’d love to be able to say that time heals all wounds (it doesn’t) and that my son’s death was for a greater good (it wasn’t, and even if it was, I don’t care). I’m happy as a father that his brief life meant something to so many people. I am. I truly believe he changed lives. But I’m selfish.
I want to know what it’d be like to see him today at almost 21. Boy The Elder and Boy The Younger are so different from each other in so many ways; who would Boy The Eldest be more like? Or would he be as different from the other two as the other two are from each other? What would he look like? What would he be good at? What would his struggles be?
This isn’t to say that I don’t have joy and that I haven’t gone on to live a good life and be a good dad and all of that stuff. I have. I had no choice. So many people, in the wake of Jacob’s death, would say, “I don’t know how you did it,” — as if the path I walked was something I chose. On Aug. 20, 2000, we found out our baby likely wouldn’t live much past birth. At that point, I didn’t have any say on whether I’d walk the road I was forced to walk. I remember about seven years later being with BTE, strapped into a rollercoaster as it left the station, and him screaming that he wanted to get off. Oh, son. Once that train’s rolling, it doesn’t stop until the ride is done.
So I was carried along a path that broke me. At 26 years of age, I had to pick out a coffin for my son and a spot in the ground to put it in. Let that sink in for a second. I had to shield my wife from people who would see a pregnant woman and, blissfully ignorant, ask her all sorts of questions about a child who wouldn’t be coming home with us. I had to take the lifeless body of my child and hand him over to a nurse to be taken away from me forever. And just when I thought the worst of it was over, whatever power that governs the world decided it would be fun to top it all off with a horrible case of the chicken pox so that I had a 103-degree fever and puss-filled blisters all over my face and body at my son’s funeral.
What was I supposed to do? Scream that I wanted to get off? Yeah, I did that. No one listened. Should I have just curled up in a ball in the corner and cried? I did that too. No one stopped the ride. Wifey Poo still was pregnant, which, even in the best of circumstances, isn’t easy on a woman. Was I just supposed to die and leave her to face everything alone? I had a job. I had a mortgage. The car still broke down and food still went bad in the fridge. The world has a nasty way of not stopping when it throws its worst shitstorm at you.
So I held on. To some extend, that’s still what I’m doing today.
I guess I’m glad there’s a day set aside to honor the children who died too soon and the parents left behind. That it’s needed and that it’s something that hits me in the heart makes me sad.
Come On Down!
I have a strong association between childhood sickness and people freaking out as they run down an aisle to play pricing games. I think many kids link “staying home from school” with “The Price is Right.”
Tonight was date night with Wifey Poo. We ended up at Chipotle for what we thought would be a quick meal. Ahhh, but nothing is quick about eating out anymore.
We were met by a sign on the door telling us the only way to order was through the app. The Great American Worker Shortage is a very real thing, and evidently there weren’t enough employees to handle the Chipotle People Conveyer Belt and actually make the food. We apped-up and ordered our meals. And then we waited. And waited. And waited. So did a rotating cast of 20 to 30 other hungry people. The amassed crowd started to bond. We shared our deepest hopes and fears. We counseled each other through our hunger pains. And when the woman would come out of the back kitchen with a bag filled with tasty food to call a name, we cheered for The Chosen One as if they’d just been selected to come on down and be the next contestant on “You Actually Get to Eat!”
I can’t help but think America is just one tiny push away from falling off the edge of the cliff on which it is teetering.
The ‘Don’t Blame Me, I Didn’t Say It’ of the Day
Burn Baby Burn
Missourahans like to burn stuff, especially during the fall. Were there a “Fall in Missourah”-scented candle, the instructions would be to light the wick, then blow out the flame. Tomorrow, I’m burning stuff. New House has a pile of fallen limbs awaiting fire. On top of it I’ll place a bunch of old paperwork. And then, I’m assuming, someone will show up and give me my “It’s official. You’re a Missourahan” badge.
Today’s Reasons to Keep Living
- Wifey Poo and I are getting a Costco membership. I’m looking forward to bringing home 10 pounds of Combos, a set of tires, and booked plans for our next vacation.
- Burn day, duh!
- I’m taking BTE for a haircut on Sunday. I don’t get to hang out in barbershops any other way. I like hanging out in barbershops.
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My “awake” part of this 24-hour spin on Mother Earth’s axis began in the wee hours of the morning when I came to consciousness screaming — scaring the crap out of Wifey Poo in the process — because evidently calf cramps are a thing for middle aged men. How Do You Cheer in Cross Country?Continue reading “Unpopular Reflections on Post-9/11 America – Sept. 11, 2021”
I’m what you call an ambivert. This doesn’t mean I eat both plants and animals, though I do. Rather, it means — among other things — that I’m somewhere in the middle between an introvert and an extrovert. Sometimes I refuel by getting away from people and enjoying my solitude. Sometimes I refuel by soakingContinue reading “Happy Hour Fatigue — Sept. 10, 2021”
I spent a half-hour today renewing my hatred for Robert Gaskins. Don’t know who Robert Gaskins is? I wish I didn’t, too. Robert Gaskins is the principle inventor of PowerPoint. He sold his little tool of the devil to Microsoft in 1987. QAnon Crazies love to point the finger at Bill Gates and say he’sContinue reading “I Hate Robert Gaskins – Sept. 8, 2021”
I stopped at the cleaners on my way home from work to pick up a pair of khaki pants that had an unfortunate run-in with honey a few weeks back. As I stepped through the door, a middle-aged woman named Karen (I’m assuming, anyway) was finishing up berating the lone employee. It had something toContinue reading “Karens at the Cleaners – Sept. 7, 2021”
You’re a Wizard, Harry When the Great Awakening of Societal Selfishness began in 2020, Wifey-Poo, Boy The Younger and I began reading the Harry Potter books out loud to help pass quarantine time in a way that didn’t involve baking bread or killing each other. It took more than a year, but we finished theContinue reading “Tony’s The Man – Sept. 6, 2021”
Kitchen Completed It is laughable even to me that I find myself, at age 47, really good at organizing stuff. I am the grizzled aging man with more salt than pepper in his beard who at a different stage of life had to bulldoze a path through dirty clothes, random school stuff and assorted otherContinue reading “Organization Skillz – Sept. 5, 2021”
Sometimes Things Be That Way There are some days that, when night falls and you take stock of all that happened, you just say — or at least think — “Well good goddamn. What the fuck was that all about?” Today has been such a day. I look back at the waking hours and realizeContinue reading “Why Exactly Am I Here? — Sept. 4, 2021”
I’ll Drink to That Since my departure from newspapers in 2009, I’ve worked for very conservative not-for-profit organizations. An electric cooperative. A Lutheran benefits provider. A pediatric orthopedic hospital. None ever encouraged me to post photos on our social media of employees drinking during the workday. But that happened to me today following our champagne-tastingContinue reading “Work Drinkin’ – Sept. 3, 2021”
An Impressive K Boy the Younger got shelled on the pitcher’s mound last night. As a former pitcher myself, I know these things sometime happen. No one squared up on any pitch he threw. They just hit it where his guys weren’t. And this should happen to him. He’s playing up an age group andContinue reading “Bringing the Heat – Sept. 2, 2021”
I Parent Like China It pleased me a great deal to share with Boy The Younger this morning that the rules he lives under are similar to those imposed on kids by the Chinese government. Our Communist Owners recently banned whippersnappers younger than 18 from playing online video games on school nights and allow themContinue reading “Me and the Chinese Government – Aug. 31, 2021”
Dying Less I think we can all agree that it’s not exactly a good thing to stop breathing more than 53 times an hour while we’re sleeping, yes? OK, good. There’s at least one thing that isn’t divisive in this country right now. When I had my first sleep study in February, I was notContinue reading “Dying Less is Good — Aug. 30, 2021”
Believing in Myself So here’s the thing: I have amazing intuition. Believe what you want about humans having only five senses. We don’t. We have more. And for me, one of my strongest senses is my gut feelings about what to do and not to do. I’ve had this ability since I was a smallContinue reading “An Emotional Day – Aug. 29, 2021”
Road Show Coming to you live from somewhere in the Ozarks, where I’m hoping not to hear banjos and have some inbred redneck hillbilly make me squeal for him. Wifey-Poo and I are in the middle of a weekend getaway. It has been a long while since we’ve had an extended period of time toContinue reading “Squeal For Me, Piggy – Aug. 28, 2021”
And the Thunder Rolls My desk at my new office faces out to a busy street – Manchester Avenue – and has a floor-to-ceiling window. I’m absolutely loving it. At my previous job, my desk was tucked away in a corner behind a cube. I called it “My Hovel.” It was a good place toContinue reading “Storm Brewing – Aug. 27, 2021”
Namaste, yo I found myself tonight in a state somewhere between awake and asleep, lying on a yoga mat with 40 pounds of sandbags on my shoulders and chest in a dimly lit studio as soft music tinged by rain sounds caressed my ears. I love this state, and I’ve only found it through meditationContinue reading “A State of Bliss – Aug. 24, 2021”
Sell This House Our house hit the market today, which is to say the Great Gods of Google allowed for it to be found by Realtors and anyone else who happens to have a larger-than-average nosy bone. Our Realtor said we could share it with our friends and family. I was trying to think ofContinue reading “House For Sale – Aug. 23, 2021”
Stages of Life Over the years, I’ve found tremendous comfort in the stability of my in-law family, especially with my sisters-in-law and, as time has progressed, their husbands. My own family is pocked by constant drama. It took me a long time to recognize exactly how not-typical my own family is and to realize thatContinue reading “Cheers to No-Drama Family – Aug. 21, 2021”
Wakey Wakey My day started off with a bag-full of my blood being drained, filled with ozone and then dripped back into my while I listened to a cancer patient banter about QAnon insanity as if it were gospel with the nurse in charge of my treatment. How was your morning? So Long, Sonny BoyContinue reading “QAnon Crap – Aug. 19, 2021”
Interesting Things You Say to Your Spouse “Please don’t get killed by anyone using a sharp object. I don’t want to go to prison for the rest of my life.” This sentence that I said to Wifey-Poo this morning makes sense if you have a spouse who loves murder podcasts and TV shows. My handsContinue reading “Really Bad Movies – Aug. 17, 2021”
Welcome to the World of Real Estate Starting a new job today was a welcome relief from the drudgery of moving. After getting my ass kicked yesterday in the Great Fridge Swap, I welcomed the opportunity to use my brain instead of whatever physical power I might have left. This is the first time I’mContinue reading “Using My Brain — Aug. 16, 2021”
Perspective Matters I don’t know exactly when I learned it or from whom, but I’ve held “righty-tighty, lefty-loosey” as a Truth-capital-T for a long, long time. Today I learned it’s a matter of perspective. Yesterday, I bragged about how I have become Mr. Fix-It. Today, the God of Home Improvement (Tim Allen?) smacked me inContinue reading “Lefty-Loosey, My Ass – Aug. 15, 2021”
Begone, Cabinet! There was a time not long ago when I had zero self-confidence with home repair or renovation projects. It seemed as if every time I tried something, I made the situation worse and often a lot worse. This runs counter to my DNA, as my father is constantly tinkering with things and fixingContinue reading “Mr. Fix-It – Aug. 14, 2021”
Moving Is Fun … … when someone else does it. At just before 9 a.m., movers from Two Men and a Truck arrived at our Wentzville house. There were four men. Within three hours, they’d loaded up all the crap we had boxed and the furniture and other assorted LifeJunk we’ve accumulated through the years.Continue reading “Moving Day – Aug. 13, 2021”
He Got the Shot I took Boy the Younger to get his first COVID vaccine today. He’s 12. I consider this the socially responsible thing to do, and, after struggling for months now with Longhaul COVID, I’m really not all that open to hearing the other side of the vaccine debate. I’ve made up myContinue reading “‘You’re Weird Dad’ – Aug. 12, 2021”