Because we’re about three and a half weeks away from your arrival, I thought I’d take the time over the next few weeks to give you the low-down of what you can expect when you get here, since you are unable to prepare me at all for what I might expect upon your arrival. If you’re anything like your dad, you won’t need to be prepared. If you’re like me, you’ll want to know the name of the nurse in the delivery room well before you’ve met her. I’ve requested an Ethel. No promises.
I thought I’d begin with how I met your father. His name is Paul. His actual name is Paula – pronounced Pah-ooo-la…three syllables. When he moved to the United States from Tonga, his teachers pronounced his name “Paula” (as in a female customer service lady who might work at a Herberger’s). Because of that likely traumatic experience, he now goes by Paul to everyone except a select few – including both your grandmothers and a handful of his buddies who have taken the time to understand how to say it the right way. You can just call him Dad if you want, though.
Here is a picture of him. He will be embarrassed that I picked this picture because it’s from the olden days, but I can’t help it.
You’ll come to discover that Tonga is an island in the South Pacific. Not many people from Montana know this. I was one of them. Despite having hailed from a tropical island, I managed to meet him in the Alaskan tundra.
Explain that to me.
Anyway, the best way to describe your dad is to say that he is the exact opposite of me in every way possible. Needless to say, we’re curious as to how you might come to blend the two of us into one little package. When we met, I was a lowly second year Drama and English teacher who was getting her emotional ass kicked by her students. Your father was a wrestling and football coach for the high school, and he had total control in every way I did not – especially with students who acted like assholes. At that time, this was about the hottest and most attractive quality anyone could possess.
Despite that – and despite the fact that your father is probably the nicest man I’ve ever met - I actually didn’t like him all that much in the beginning. He’d be the first to tell you this. He was just SOOOO NICE. If you're a girl, you'll understand that someday.
So one day, I broke up with him and told him to quit calling me because I “just wasn’t feeling it.” He took these instructions literally, because he's a boy...and because he was very, very smart.
Of course, not calling me like I'd asked him to was just unacceptable. So I called him...because I had to see him THAT DAY...and he said that if I wanted to see him I had to come to a WRESTLING MEET.
UGGGGGH. He was pushing it. But I did it. I went.
The only thing I understood about what was happening on the mats was that your father had a personalized handshake with each one of his wrestlers, which he promptly administered upon the completion of each of their matches – win or lose. Because of another man you’ll soon meet, you’ll learn that individualized handshakes are very important to me. Your dad doesn’t know this, but that was the day I decided to fall in love with him, marry him and reproduce with him.
Luckily your dad has always been quick to forgive utter stupidity (this will come in handy when you’re in Junior High), so he took me back.
THEN I made him move back home to Montana with me, which he did because he really likes me. When we got here, shit got crazy, and we survived two of the most difficult years we’ve ever had (more on that another day). At the end of all that, we came out alive and married. Things started to look up.
Little people actually terrify me, but your dad is much braver than I am, and so he convinced me to give the kid thing the good ole’ college try shortly after we got hitched. When I wasn’t pregnant that first month I was convinced it wouldn’t happen. Then, just a day or two after returning from a little getaway weekend of hot-tubbing and drinking a lot of booze, I discovered that I was 8 weeks pregnant with you. Oops. Sorry about that. If you end up with nine knuckles, you can blame that weekend.
When I showed your dad those two little pink lines on that thing I had to pee on, the first words out of his mouth were, “It’s going to be okay.”
And, other than having made 7 (seven!) trips to the bathroom between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 7 a.m. last night; other than my new face, which now looks like a soccer mom version of Chucky; other than my troll feet and sausage fingers; other than the nausea, and the panic attacks in the diaper aisle at Target, and the frozen yogurt cravings, and the lack of vodka, things have, indeed, been okay.
Because yesterday, when I was reading a book that I had propped up on my belly, you kicked so hard that the book actually rolled off of my stomach and dropped to the floor. I understood this to be your first attempt at establishing a hand shake with me.
As a result of this nice gesture, I’ve made the decision to fall in love with you, too. And I didn't even have to tell you not to call first. So already, you're one step ahead of your father.
We’re all excited to meet you, so please don’t overstay your welcome in my