AN: This is a monologue I wrote for my acting class. It's to my nephew. I know someday I'll sit down and tell him this story. I just have to wait till he's grown up a bit, right now, he's only seven. Cutest kid ever. Anyway, enjoy.
You look nervous. You should be. Today will change the rest of your life. I should know. Okay, so I don't exactly have direct experience, but I had you around, didn't I? I may have only been twelve when you were born, but you used to follow me around like a lost puppy half the time. Do you remember the time you tried to blackmail me? No, I suppose you wouldn't; you were only three at the time. You were such a quick learner. Did you know I was the first person to hold you when you were born? Except I almost wasn't. There. I've really never told you this story? Huh.
Well, just before you were born, I was on a trip with Nan and Bill. It was the first time your great-grandparents had ever offered to take any of us camping with them. It was also the last, but I like to pretend that wasn't all my fault. We were going to get back on the Fourth to watch fireworks with your Gram but we got back early instead. Bill usually can plot out a trip to within a few hours, but somehow, we shaved three days off our time. Anyway, we get home, and next thing I know, Nan's waking me up, telling me my mom, your gram, is on the phone. I think I snarled something about the time into the phone, but she shut me up pretty quick. Your mom had gone into labor.
You were two weeks early. The family ability to never show up when expected was striking you at a very young age. So, your Gram tells me that she'd be by to pick me up in half an hour. She was calling from home. I've never figured out how she could make an hour drive in a half-hour, but that's your Gram. She told me not to get my hopes up, you'd probably already be in the nursery by the time we got there. She had trouble following her own advice.
When we finally get to Saint E's, she's practically running to see you. As soon as we get to the maternity ward, though, who should walk around the corner but your mom and dad. I may not have known about kids, but I was pretty sure you hadn't been born yet. Your mom sees us and waddles toward us. Yes, I can say waddles, 1) because it's true, 2) because she's my sister, and 3) because she's never going to know I said it. Anyway, your mom had been in labor for like nine hours and you still hadn't shown up.
You're a lot like your Uncle Kel that way, you're good at making people hurry up and wait. Which was most of what we did for the rest of the day. So much for not getting my hopes up, huh? I learned a lot during those hours. A few pieces of advice, seeing as you're in a position to need them. First, never watch the epidural, it's not worth it. Two, never give her your whole hand. Just like they say in the lamaz classes, two fingers only. They tell you that for a reason. I don't care how much stronger than her you think you are, at this particular point in time, you're not.
Back to the point of this story, namely you, you made us wait for quite a while. I remember looking at the clock when you finally did grace us with your presence. 10:59. PM. I felt somehow cheated by your mom, like twenty-three hours and fifty-nine minutes wasn't good enough. Some part of my mind apparently believed that since I'd been up since six in the morning I deserved a full twenty-four hours of labor. Again, another thing that's never going to get back to her. The nurse took you, cleaned you up, and handed you to me. Of all the people she could have handed you to, she doesn't pick your dad or your grandma, she picks me. The person who could count on one hand the number of times I'd held a baby before then. The hand, mind you, not the fingers.
I was, admittedly, a little nervous. I was sure I was going to drop you. 'You break it, you buy it,' sort of thing. Then, I looked at you, and you just had these enormous blue eyes. We just connected. I remember thinking that babies were supposed to sleep all the time, not look around like you were. When they did the blood test, you didn't even cry. Next thing I know, they're handing you to your mom. She was crying, your Gram was taking pictures. Your dad was basically waiting on your mom hand and foot.
I kept thinking what if we hadn't gotten back three days early? What if I had still been in Wyoming like I was supposed to be? I realized that the day you have a kid, even vicariously, is one of the greatest and scariest days you can ever have. For me, that was the day I met the person who would become one of my best friends, and the day I realized there is a person in this world I would die for. I realized it's not the huge, glaring moments in life that change you. It's the ones that if you blinked, you'd miss them. You were one of those moments for me. And I almost wasn't there.