Catatonia at Chez Varmint

The Varmint has been distracted and staring off into space, lately. Also, he's spending a large amount of time in our new sub-level outdoor hidey hole, working and organizing stuff, but also frequently escaping into the calming machine-gun fire of World War II via his current obsessive video game, Medal of Honor. (Don't think for a second I don't know my Furry Little Fella.)

Something's up.

"Uuuuuhhhhm," says The Varmint eloquently, after being asked about it.

"You're starting to freak out about the baby, aren't you?" I offer helpfully, standing there with my huge belly levitating precariously over my feet. At this point I'm convinced it's held aloft by sheer force of will.

"Well, yeah," he says. "I'm getting nervous. I'm going to be a dad."

I nod, relating. I've noticed at this point of my pregnancy that perfect strangers smile supportively - and instead of saying "Congratulations!", the salutation of choice has shifted to "Good Luck!" Labor obviously approacheth. And with it [drumroll, please] ... the baby. (See? We did learn something in our birth classes.)

Our lives as we've known them, with their squirts of freedom and fecklessness, are nearly over.

"The baby's going to be here in three weeks," says The Varmint in a monotone. "Not that I think our lives are going to change. Just buy a little extra milk, do a little more laundry..." He trails off, smoking the sweet crack of denial. Then, glancing at the gimongous protrusion residing where my belly button once lived, he says, "Probably less than three weeks."

I nod and listen quietly. He stays silent, careening off into some deeper vortex of Varmint brain, eyes squinty and unblinking, mouth agape, trying to see the future.

"I know how you feel," I say, trying to provide camaraderie and comfort - and reel him back from the ether. "This might be our last weekend alone as a family of two together... For the rest of our lives."

This hits me hard. I go silent and feel my brain skipping off to join his. About 15 minutes of lost time later, we wipe the drool from our mouths, squeeze in some moisturizing eyedrops and return to reality. We shuffle off to our respective mindless tasks, happy to distract ourselves and shut the hell up.

Dealing with massive event shifts such as these in any kind of a tangible way before they happen is impossible. It's like graduating from high school, or college, moving out for the first time, losing a job or relationship you love - you can try to prepare yourself for it as much as you like, but the gut knowledge that your comfortable everyday life will never be the same again has to be experienced.

There's no room for nostalgia, either. If you try to go back to visit that past life, you inevitably end up losing something in the process. Life works in just one direction - it's what they really mean by 'You can never go home again.'

The Varmint's brother Justin agrees. "Labor and birth are what everybody worries about," he says sagely, "but it's when you bring the kid home and everything takes a hard right turn that it gets really weird."

My brother John nods when I tell him Justin's words. "That's so true," he says, laughing. "But then there's the good stuff you never expected. Like having the word 'love' totally redefined for you. You just wait, Tam. It's going to be the best thing you guys ever did."

I sure as hell hope so. It's too bloody late to be rethinking this whole thing now.


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I am a writer and lazy artist who loves travel, architecture and design. Right now, I'm into photography. My fabulous husband (a.k.a. The Varmint) and I are also the principals of a San Diego-based creative agency - and new parents to the divine Baby Mak. Read More >