Sunday, November 14, 2010

Firsts and Lasts

I didn’t want this last week of posts to turn into a long list of “lasts” – our last Saturday night as couple, our last “sleep-in Sunday,” the last time Linda tweezes the hair out of my ears (I’m sure she won’t have time to notice them once the baby’s here). Not because I’m not thinking about these things; it’s because the baby’s impending arrival overshadows every one of them. They don’t matter. How could they when the baby is so close?

And with the baby being so close, I figured I’d better get the car seats installed today. We have a set up where we have two car seat bases – one for each car – and the baby carrier clicks into either one. My sister-in-law warned me that installing them is a Herculean task - one that would leave me red-faced and sweating. I mentally primed myself for a struggle, but I had both bases strapped in in under twenty minutes. This left me wondering if I did it right and I spent another twenty minutes looking through the little manual, pulling on the straps, and wiggling the bases in every possible direction. I stepped back, looked at the back seats of our cars, and thought, “Holy crap, we have car seats in our cars.” I lifted the carrier, and guided it into the back seat of my wife’s car, leaning in the car to click the car seat into the base. How many more times would I do this over the next year? The next two years? This was the first time. No baby, but it still felt big.

Immediately after that project, I set about shutting down our vegetable garden, pulling up the last of the collard greens and the kale, the dried up remains of tomato and pepper plants. I cover my garden with leaves for the winter. They keep out the weeds and protect the asparagus from the cold, but I don’t have many big trees around the garden. So, I trudge up the big hill behind my house, garbage bags and rake in hand. At the top is a flat ridge covered by maple trees, and the level ground makes for easy raking. I pile up the leaves, stuff them into the garbage bags, and carry them down to spread over the garden like a blanket. I’ve done this each year for the past three years, and I always enjoy it. It reminds me of playing in leaf piles as a kid and it’s an excuse to be outside on a fall day, but this time, I kept thinking about all the things that will be put to rest, shut down, and closed away once the baby arrives. I don’t write those words with regret, but as an observation. A baby brings with it chaos, love, and an unavoidable reorganizing of priorities. That baby has to come first, so maybe next year, I won’t have a chance to open the garden, to till the leaves into the ground and plant some seeds. It’s likely that I’ll be too busy playing with my kid to even think about it.

So today was about firsts and possible lasts. Maybe today was the last time I’ll close my garden down for a while. If so, I’ll miss it, but believe me, I’m looking forward to that baby a hell of a lot more.

5 days until baby.


  1. Congratulations on installing the bases in both cars. That is a monumental task. Funny, I said to Linda on wednesday that it would be our last get together without baby! I neglected to remind her that she and you need to remain the people you are now. Whether it be gardening or getting together with friends, baby needs to meet mom and dad as they are ( two wonderful people). I believe their environment is more important than lessons.
    I don't remember if I've shared this one , children don't always listen to lessons but they never fail to imitate what they see.

  2. TV - Thanks for the wonderful comment - we'll try to live up to it! And I completely agree with what you say about what kids do and don't remember. Whenever I used to train the tour leaders at Beaver Meadow, I always told them, "Remember kids won't remember much of what you say, but they'll remember most of what you do."