I have been unable to write a word while my sister-in-law births. This was not my intention. Grace Ann was my first “live” birth. As a relative, I love my brother’s wife and wanted to be there for her. As a writer, I was eager to bear witness. Surely this would all be material for a story someday.
Yet there was an uncanny lack of drama. The wringing of hands, the pacing, the damp brows — all notably absent. The Relative was grateful, but The Writer bummed.
8:00 Family arrives at hospital for birth.
8:15. Chris’s abdomen cut open
8:43 Baby displayed in window. Hi Baby! Hi!
9:30 Family at local Cracker Barrel for breakfast
9:38 Another plate of biscuits, please?
Sadly, I can’t blame Grace Ann, a 7 pound, zero-year-old, for my indolence. And tweren’t my belly sliced. The real problem is when I return to Alabama, I slip into this mind-numbing vortex. I become a blob held together by skin capable of nothing but watching TV and shoving processed food in her face. Think of David Banner transforming into The Hulk. Then picture the exact opposite.
I haven’t blamed my parents much in recent years, so I reckon they are due.
Growing up, my parents took me on interminable drives to “look at houses,” or to eat a Spam spread sandwich at a state park. They both possess this zen-like quality whereby they are, I swear, just that easily amused. I am not. I am a picky little bored bitch. I learned to bring a book, much like a person might make sure to carry an epi pen. On these rides (sometimes cross country) I would sit, read, and stare out the window, quietly waiting for the day my life would begin.
I’m 40. Waiting for life? Uh, this might be it. Nora Ephron tells me the neck sags at 43. That means I have three freaking years to enjoy a book tour with a neck.
So before I go home I make grand plans to begin My Great Southern Childhood Story. I pack a little sparkle notebook to capture those tiny details that have slipped into the memory abyss. For one, I had somehow forgotten those pine log trucks you get stuck behind on two lane highways. Semis that haul stacks of felled pines, red flags tied on the end. These flags, presumably, are so you can focus when the log slips, smashes the windshied and gouges out your face.
There! Wasn’t that a lovely detail? But that’s all for now. Mom has Cinemax. And I know where she stashes the cookies. Those nasty packaged cookies that I would never purchase at home. I’m going to sneak just one more. And then really, really, when I get home my life will begin.