“It takes a whole village to raise a child.”~Igbo and Yoruba (Nigeria) Proverb
“It’s good to have a baby in the neighborhood again.” our neighbor Felix said upon hearing the news that my wife, Laura, is expecting. The next thing I know, our front yard was mowed and weeded. Now, that might be more an indictment of the state of our front yard than his joy to see a little one in the neighborhood, but my epiphany remains the same: I didn’t know that this kind of support could exist for two people.
And for those of you who know me well, let those words sink in: Laura and I are expecting our first child.
Apparently, nothing galvanizes people like new beginnings and hope. And nothing personifies new beginnings and hope more than a baby.
Parents and siblings are elated; great friends, who I hadn’t talked to in years, call or text to offer advice or support, former students have, perhaps more than anybody, shared overwhelming glee. Generally speaking, everyone we talk to offers to help in any way they can. It’s humbling. And it’s scary. It seems like everyone knows what to do or how to help except for me.
One of the reasons we waited to have children was because of our reservations on, well, everything… The world is a dangerous place that doesn’t make sense. How can we justify bringing an innocent life into the fray? With global warming where it is, where there even be a world left to welcome a baby into? What makes me, with all my flaws, worthy of raising a child?
Still, our colleagues, friends, and family seem to think we’re up to the challenge. People seem to throw around the statement, “You’re going to be great parents!” around all the time. But how do they know? Being a good person and being able to pass those traits on to someone else are two entirely different skill sets. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my nine years in education is that having a skill and being able to teach it are vastly different enterprises.
But maybe, just maybe with the support around us, we (okay, I’m really talking about me here) can create a good life for a new citizen of this planet. Then suddenly, almost miraculously, the fears and reservations are replaced with joy and overwhelming excitement when a blurry image popped up on a tiny screen.
Last week, I was able to “see” the baby for the first time. A sonogram is the most surreal experience, and perhaps even more stirring, was hearing a heartbeat. There are reasons why poets and authors have been iambic pentameter for hundreds of years as a means to express intense emotions. The best part was watching Zorro (Our placeholder name for the baby since we’re waiting until his or her birth to discover the sex.) punch at the sonogram wand as we tried futilely to get a better view. We may not have gotten a great picture of Zorro’s face, but we were able to get a glimpse of a rambunctious personality in the making. I think Zorro is already taking after Laura, a no-holds-barred, I-do-what-I-want-just-watch-me personality, and I love it!
In honor of the incredible support we’ve received, I’m pairing this moment with the Mosaic IPA from Community Beer Company, located in Dallas, Tx. The beer has the hue of light coming through orange-stained glass, the color somewhere between burnt and vibrant orange. This IPA, while being hop-forward, is incredibly well-balanced with the addition of English crystal malt, giving the beer a slightly sweet, biscuity, sticky feel and flavor. The Mosaic hop, a fairly new hop strand, marries the two flavors that most hopheads really love into one entity. The hop flavor begins citrusy, with flavors of tangerine and passion fruit coming forth. Then, the piney notes kick in. The nose is malty with a hint of strawberries and banana, a true cornucopia of flavors, aromas, and colors.
I don’t know what to expect. Sometimes, I’m terrified, but most of the time, I just can’t wait to meet Zorro! And, I’m always happy. I know, somewhere deep down, that with the support system around us, we’ll be just fine.
Cheers! Prost! Salud!