In Which Our Heroine Waits to Fall in Love

24 March 2006

My sister-in-law Sarah's baby is due today. She may be having it right now, as I type this. She may be in the hospital with someone timing contractions. She may be exhausted already, nearing the end; she may be at work or home still, waiting for it all to begin. We don't know.

We also don't know what kind of baby it will be. They haven't told us name possibilities, and apparently the kiddo is, like many people with Gritter genes, not what we would call an exhibitionist, so we don't know what flavor it will be yet. We don't know whether the child will be tall, stubborn, musical, sensitive, freckled, funny, all of the above. We are all entirely in the dark.

I know this is how it goes with babies, but here's the thing: I expect to fall in love with this kid. I expect that any time now, a new person will arrive in the world, and the only things I know about this person are that his or her last name will be Greenfield, he or she will live with Sarah and Jeff, and that I will absolutely, utterly adore him or her.

I didn't have the chance to have this feeling with my cousin Kari's son Noah, because Noah was so eager to get to us that he kind of jumped the gun a bit. We went straight from, "Baby coming one of these days, in a little while, when he feels ready," to, "Oh, crud, baby now! Is he okay? Is Kari okay? Is everybody okay? Okay? Okay???" And other than that, we haven't had babies in my "close" family very much.

In my adult life, I have had epiphanies about loving people -- all of a sudden I would look up during a story critique, or in the middle of dinner, or I would watch somebody go sprinting out of my dorm room muttering incomprehensibly, or I would pick up the phone to call or see an e-mail in my box, and all of a sudden I would think, "Oh yeah, I love this person. Is that what it is. Well, okay then." But I've never been able to predict that. I've never sat there thinking, well, probably by Thursday I will love Person A, Friday by the latest.

And yet here I am, and the time is growing short. And I can't really imagine that I won't fall head over heels for this kid, ass over teakettle as they say, and for once I know when but not who.

I can hardly wait to find out.

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