And I don't even think we're doing that bad (I'm sure my blushing bride would disagree with me on that.) You know, let's just set a rule right now. I will only refer to myself and my feelings regarding any events in the coming weeks. I will not speak for my wife or make any attempt to interpret her thoughts or stress level. It's 12:30 at night and I just don't feel like getting choked. Besides, if I made an abrupt shift from the hard-driving, self-centered, narcissistic direction this blog has been taking the past 23 months, what would that say about me? And don't you even say anything about maturity...I won't stand for that kind of talk!
Ok. So, in exactly two weeks, Kate and I will hopefully be getting a few minutes of sleep before waking up in the wee hours to catch a flight to the Dominican Republic where we will party like it's 1999 as our good friends Cory and Vicki tie the knot. Shortly after the nuptials, we'll jet back to the states, land at JFK, locate Kate's parents in the airport parking lot, grab Emily, some bags, some snacks, pack the car and start the drive to West Palm Beach.
Tired yet? I am.
But I'm not nervous.
I'm not. I don't know why. It goes against everything I stand for. I am not a cool guy. I'm anxious. I'm pessimistic. I try and cover it up with humor and sarcasm, which, on occasion, I have probably taken too far. (Uh-huh...go ahead, people-who-know-me. Roll your eyes.)
Anyway, this isn't completely honest. I have some idea why I'm not nervous. I've met Dr. Paley. I've listened to past patients speak glowingly of him as if he were a mythical character...consuming his enemies with fireballs from his eyes and bolts of lightning from his arse(come on, movie folks...name the film. I'll give you a hint...the actor is having a really bad couple of weeks.)
And I've watched my daughter grow.
That's probably where I'll run into problems.
I really do believe Dr. Paley when he looks me in the eye and tells me he'll get my daughter's legs to equal length. I trust him with everything I have. He has the knowledge, the ability, the resources and countless people behind him nodding along in agreement. That works for me.
Where I will get myself in trouble is looking at Emily as she does her various Emily things, with or without her shoe lift, having almost no issues navigating her way up, over, around whatever stands in her way...and thinking those amazing, fantasy, what-if-we-won-powerball kind of thoughts.
"Maybe her femur has been growing more than we thought...what if we don't need four surgeries?"
"Her hip and leg look great. There won't be any complications whatsoever."
"I'm sure she'll do fine in the hospital. She's a tough kid. She can handle it."
"She's two years old. Of course she can handle a drive from New York to Florida."
And so on.
Of course, most of you recognize that this is spoken as a parent who just doesn't want anything bad for his child and can therefore manage to concoct these borderline-fantasy scenarios in an attempt to drown out any negative thoughts despite the overwhelming evidence that, although this will eventually be fine, the process itself will be, at times, a complete shitstorm.
Where does that leave us? Same spot as when I started this. Sitting at the kitchen table. Finishing another beer. A couple hours closer to August 12th. But still not nervous.
Ok. That's not completely true either. I'm a little nervous. I suppose finally confronting the demons will do that. We're past the canned talking points brought out during brief conversations with fake smiles and practiced confidence. It's late July. This is no longer something way off in the future. It's not something to think about later. It's real. It's happening.
So, if you all will allow me, I'm going to need a moment with my man here...
Dr. Paley...throughout my life, I have been extraordinarily fortunate to be surrounded by people who care about me. I've been handed opportunities that a lot of people don't get. I wish I could say I've always done my best or that I've always been fair and honest and polite, but that wouldn't be accurate.
I have been blessed with the most perfect little girl. She's smart and fun and beautiful. Sure, she's becoming a feisty two-year old who throws random fits and firmly declares, "NO CUBBIES!" when I want to watch my team play. It just shows she's probably smarter than me.
This kid...she doesn't know it yet, but she needs you. I need you. We need you. We need you to do what it is you do. We need you to do what no one else can do as well as you.