Okay. I think I probably jumped the gun a bit.
When I unwittingly began my daylog filibuster last Saturday, it was because my wife lost her mucus plug that morning and I immediately convinced myself that the baby would be coming within the matter of a day or two. Here we are, six days later and it seems like we’re no closer to having a baby than we were back then. Well, wait. . . . of course that’s nonsense: we’re exactly six days closer to Baby Mullin’s arrival, we’re just no closer to knowing when exactly that’ll be.
Ah, the endless ephemera of existence.
So, given that I’ve made a stupid commitment, vamp I will if vamp I must. . . .
Let’s see . . . ah! Fatherhood.
It’s something I always wanted, and like the Grand Canyon and New Orleans, one of the few things in life that lives up to its hype.
My own father died before I was born. Indeed, he left behind a perfectly vicious little experiment on the impact of shattering loss on a family of small children, since my siblings are all almost exactly two years apart: my oldest sister being almost six when it happened, my next oldest sister almost four, and then my brother, who was nearly two when the adoring father figure was ripped out of his life. Oddly (or not) it’s only my oldest sister that has any recollection of the man at all. Could it be that this death sowed the seeds of her maniacal compulsion to surround herself with as much junk as possible, so that to walk the 15 feet from her front door to the bathroom requires a heroic degree of navigational fortitude?
My next sister probably should have some recall of my father, but doesn’t. Although you could go out on a limb and peg her depraved need to have a man-- any man-- in her life no matter what the cost to her or her daughter to our father’s abrupt disappearance.
My brother, well, at less than two years old there’s no reason he would remember, but if you know toddlers you also know there’s no reason to assume the loss didn’t have an explosive effect on his life. And indeed, it’s only just as he approaches his fortieth birthday that my brother seems to be getting a handle on the anger that has fueled so much of him for so long.
I, of course, was utterly unaffected, blissfully swimming as I was in the warm dark red ocean of my mother—unless, of course, you want to believe the solace-drinking, chain-smoking and perscription pill-popping had any effect whatsoever; or for that matter, the secondary effects of my siblings’ pain briefly catalogued above.
I only have to give you five hundred words here, so I’m for damned sure not going to delve too deeply into my theories on how this tragedy has haunted my family to this very day. My point right now is that I live with the nearly ever-present— but I believe ultimately healthy— fear that I will follow somehow in my father’s feckless footsteps and never get the chance to know that my kids knew me.
If you ever need a reason to stay alive— and I’m frequently surprised and saddened to read how many people who post here seem to— then step into my perspective for a moment from early this morning, as I push my son’s bedroom door open, expecting him to still be asleep, and instead finding him sitting up, puppeteering a large foam letter “A” across his bed.
“Letter A is marching.”
“Letter A is marching?”
March on Letter A. March on!