Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Away We Go

N. is eight months pregnant with our first child and we have been living through the agonies and ecstasies of this new, amazing, and somewhat scary experience. So, of course, we were keen on seeing Away We Go, the new Sam Mendes movie written by Dave Eggers and his wife Vendala Veda based, one must assume, at least in part on their experiences with the same momentous occasion in their lives.

I watched the movie less as a film or work of fiction than as a touchstone for my own experience as an expecting dad.

As such, the movie raised two questions for me. First, if I recently replaced our cardboard window pane in our bedroom with a proper piece of glass, does that mean that we are ready to have a child? Second, is it common that men fret over terminal diseases when they are expecting their first child? I have been wondering whether the fact that I am bad with names - something of fairly long standing - means that I have a terminal brain tumor.


  1. As a long-time amateur hypochondriac, my experience was that the gestation of our daughter led to a gradual diminishment of my self-directed health phobias culminating in complete hypochondriasis cessation following Larkin's birth.

    Before you rise and applaud my progress toward Full Fortitude, however, I should admit that my prior Unfortunate Condition has been replaced with Worry of similar frequency and intensity but now directed at the sniffles, coughs, chokes, twitches, tumbles, twists, rashes, scratches, and myriad other harmless maladies that afflict the daily life of a thriving one-year-old child.

    In short, you might have a brain tumor but you'll stop worrying about it once your kid busts a lip open on the fireplace grate.

  2. Was it safety glass? It better have been safety glass! (I kid because I love...) And mm, yeah, the parenthood-thing definitely does some major scooching around of the constants and variables in the life-mortality-stakes equation, though I suspect the details of how-so vary widely, and your particular how-so will probably continue to shift around for quite some time as you gradually settle into your new role, and then, by the time the how-so has settled and you hunker down and try to decode the shift, you will have forgotten how the how-so was before, and that pre-shift time will just seem long-ago and remote and alien and like not quite the same person, and that will just be that. (Clear as safety glass, non?)

  3. Billy I am so glad you are going to experience this great joy. I just got back from Seattle where my daughter Tessa-5 months pregnant-got married to Jonathan. Her sister Razi is also Pregnant. I can feel what it was like to see Tessa being born in Bartlett Hospital in Juneau AK in 1982 and Razi born three years earlier in San Clemente and Sage and Adria before them. We would watch the Falklands War together on early CNN as told by Kathaleen O'Sullivan. That bond is still with us and will be for you, your wife and your child. It is the greatest thing that can happen to a person. All this other stuff, may not matter(much) Mazel.