…Otherwise known as the time Queen B was born.
Our lives are measured by moments; single moments in time that define all that was before and all that lies ahead. It is within these precious snapshots of our existence that we are able to see ourselves clearly for the first time in a very long while, or perhaps ever. I have had several of these inexplicable little gems, though there was one that without a doubt stands above the rest. I remember it fondly because much to my surprise, I handled myself like a scholar and a gentleman. I didn’t panic, I wasn’t riddled with anxiety and I knew exactly what I was doing. It was the moment that I realized how strong and courageous I really am. I’m talking about the birth of my daughter, Queen B, and none of the above is even remotely true.
As a guy who was as ignorant as humanly possible to the realities of pregnancy and the inevitable aftermath, I had absolutely no idea what was going on. Beauty had no idea either, but it was a much different journey for her than it was for me. She had this tiny little human growing inside of her that she could feel both physically and emotionally, while all I had was the threat of death if I even thought about eating her ice cream sandwiches.
“Isn’t it beautiful?”
She was totally infatuated with it. To me, there could have been a hybrid alien velociraptor in there and it would have made no difference.
“Absolutely! It doesn’t scare the shit out of me at all…”
The ride to the hospital was unbearable because although we were both excited, we knew that we were about to open up Pandora’s box and the unimaginable fear that resided in that anticipation outweighed everything.
Do we have everything that we need? What if she has a Cesarean? What if I pass out and miss it? Would that actually be the worst thing in the world? I think I’m going to throw up. What if she is actually a he and all of the highly trained professionals with their million dollar baby checker machines were wrong and our poor he-child will grow up with a father who has less testosterone than Jessica Simpson? What if she is born with both appendages? Again, would that actually be the worst thing in the world? What if she has two heads? I could really go for a breakfast sandwich.
We had decided that it was most likely the real deal because Beauty’s water was leaking, as opposed to having ruptured. I should actually clarify that: Beauty decided that it was most likely the real deal. I was perfectly happy believing that she had pissed herself. It was logical, justified and an easy concept to stand by.
Eight hours and fifteen anxiety attacks later, her dilation gained speed and the baby catchers assured us that we were close.
Beauty smiled and gripped my hand.
This is good. This is good. This is good……WHAT HAVE I DONE?!
I’m not sure if you are familiar with how an epidural works, but it is a beautiful and painless process that allows you to reap the rewards without regret, said no one ever. In what disturbed and forsaken universe is injecting a needle the size of your arm into your spine a more desirable choice than natural childbirth? When they pulled that thing out and held it up with a smile like the fucking Texas Chainsaw Massacre, I nearly fainted. When they told me I had to leave the room and I realized it wasn’t for me, it actually wasn’t so bad. Every man for himself…
In truth, it was a horrendous and hopeless feeling, and I genuinely thought that Beauty was about to die. If I was afraid of her torso exploding and being swallowed alive by a hybrid alien velociraptor, then this was the true blue reality of Hell. The fire consumed my soul and I paced back and forth in front of the door to the room, cursing the murderous she-devil baby catchers and their plot to kill my girlfriend.
If I had a very particular set of skills that made me a nightmare for people like you, you’d be sorry!
The hopeless desperation was not unlike the time Logan, Fitz, Toad and I went exploring in the old abandoned house in the middle of the woods (that was said to be haunted) with only the light of the moon to guide us. By that I mean the new condo that was amidst construction right next to Logan’s house in a well lit housing complex and there was a better chance of the Bills winning the Super Bowl than there was of it being haunted.
Nonetheless, we pretended the former and set off to brave the dangers unknown. All of the interior walls were built, but nothing was finished and there were signs all over the place forbidding trespassers. It felt very rebellious.
I am brave! I am a brave fourteen year old! Watch how I roar!
We maneuvered our way through the dark and dreary corridors (1,000 sq. foot condo), and finally made it to the top floor where they had installed all but one of the windows. We had just crawled out of the opening and onto the roof with congratulatory words for ourselves due to our bravery, when out of nowhere I caught a glimpse of movement in one of the glass windows. When I say I did not hesitate to abandon all hope and leave my friends behind to be eaten by the condo ghost, I really mean that I quite literally took a swan dive off of the roof.
When I landed on the gravel in a sort of James Bond somersault, totally by accident but no less awesome, I remembered that I in fact still had friends on the roof and in danger of spiritual dismemberment. They were staring down at me with eyes wide and mouths gaped open, completely baffled as to why their partner in rebellion had just hurled himself off of a roof in a fit of madness. Time froze for an entire second as an eerie haze of confusion and the sense of danger withered up their spines and consumed them.
Time began again and the three of them split off in different directions, shrieking and hailing for any safe haven they could find. As the seconds wore on and my eyes darted from here to there and back again, searching desperately for any sign that they were still alive, I began to put the pieces together and soon realized that the movement I had seen was the reflection of Fitz bending over to tie his shoe. By the time the three of them reconvened and found me, the damage had already been done and I thought it best to ignore my revelation and stick to the ghost story. The next day, Logan was grounded due to an angry call from the elderly woman across the way who had been rudely awoken by our blood curdling cries of terror.
The long and rambling point here is all about jumping to conclusions and making idiotic decisions because of it. If I had just stopped for a split second to use my peanut of a brain and decipher the situation logically, I would not have lunged off of a roof into darkness at the risk of being mangled, Logan would not have been grounded and the poor old lady across the way would have had that extra hour of her life back as she lived out her days in peace and solitude.
Seven years later, my severely demented habit of paranoia remained fast and fierce and I was mere seconds away from bursting into the hospital room with a plastic butter knife for a final sacrifice of love and heroism. Being that the most realistic result in that equation would have been getting my ass kicked by a small team of nurses just before my shameful arrest and life long ban from Mercy Hospital, it was a very good thing that the door suddenly opened and I was welcomed back inside.
The actual birth itself was so fast that it’s hard to recall the feeling accurately. Yes, it was disgusting and yes, it was awkward and yes, it was hopeless to stand by and watch the pain happen all for a hybrid alien velociraptor, but I think the combination of all of those unfortunate necessities have numbed my memory of the finite details. Beauty tells me that I was a great coach and that she couldn’t do it without me, but all I can picture is the likes of Johnny Depp in Blow, trembling violently in place as he watches his wife give birth just before collapsing into a heaping pile of cocaine. I do, however, remember the moment Queen B entered the world. I can recall my first thought very vividly.
Dear god, a miniature version of my Father just came out of Beauty’s vagina.
I attribute it to a mixture of shock and disbelief, but I could not get that idea out of my head. It was a torturous few seconds because I had fully expected to feel at least some sort of happiness. The fact that I did not surely meant that I was a spiteful piece of shit and that I did not deserve this precious and innocent miracle of life, now or ever. The nurses carried her over to the cleaning station and set her inside. They began to wipe her down as she shrieked and grasped desperately for some sort of explanation as to why they had just drained her home and lit up the darkness. One of the midwives told me I could touch her and so I reluctantly reached down in obedience even though I felt like the worst person on the planet. As my hand descended upon her, she suddenly stopped crying, opened her eyes and gripped her delicate wrinkly fingers around my own. It was within that half of a second that something very strange happened: I fell in love.
Without warning I was laying on the forest floor in a dimly lit hollow with the Sword of Gryffindor in my hand while a pissed off Horcrux with my daughter’s face towered above me…
“I HAVE SEEN YOUR HEART, TANNER MOODY, AND IT IS MINE!”
Pandora’s Box was open. The floodgates were open. The smelly box in the back left corner of my storage unit that I had not seen in five years was open. It was all out on the table now; everything, anything, all of it. It was hard to breathe and even harder to move as my eyes grew wet with tears and my face stretched to the very brink of destruction as it found room for the most authentic smile of my entire life.
This is very cliché and has been said countless times by countless people, but I was and still am truly dumbfounded by how much you can actually love another person. It is blind and indestructible and entirely enigmatic, but it is real and instantly becomes the only thing that matters. All of the diapers, all of the tantrums, all of the attitude and the chaos… It’s all worth it.*
*Kids, don’t try this at home…or at school…or in the car at a drive-in…you don’t know what a drive-in is? Go to hell.
**In other news, when you try to picture the very same reaction to the situation from the baby’s perspective it’s actually kind of hilarious.
What the fuck are you? What the fuck am I? I literally have no idea what’s going on and I’m pretty sure I have poop in my mouth.