So, these last two weeks have been interesting. Beyond the funeral, carrying and lowering the casket into the grave and giving our condolences to my aunt, who is still dealing with the idea of being alone this Christmas – the whole experience did bring forth the notion that time is limited, which made this Christmas all the more special with family. In Norway we celebrate Christmas on the evening of the 24th, stuffing our faces with apple filled roasted duck, with potato dumplings and red cabbage with loads of gravy. This, followed by of course my favorite part of the evening, where I get to open presents – only this year was different.
We had another check up this week where we went through the “anatomy” analysis, just to see if there were any physical surprises in “little harpers” development. There were no physical anomalies, heart rate was going strong and the doctor told us that after her check up, all was looking “perfect” – which in turn made wifey puff out her chest in pride, as her nerdy ego was fed that her baby was already hitting 100% in all her “tests” so far. Due to there still being significant space in the womb, we were told that wifey would be serving her “full term” of pregnancy, as there was still a lot of space for the baby to develop, another factor that made wifey sigh in relief, because she wanted to avoid giving birth anywhere around May 9th, which would coincide with her crazy sisters birthday (she often highlighted she would “hold it in” if that was the case).
Anyway, food comatosed, the family was seated at the table, where dad reflected upon what a year it had been, sipping on his wine glass in a contemplative manner – two weddings, a funeral, the announcement of becoming a grandfather through my wife’s pregnancy, our big move out of Asia and my brother commencing a long distance relationship, with a lovely lady he met on the airplane when he did an internship in Japan (they were seated next to each other and spent time in touring Japan while she was there for a visit). 2016, albeit the political craziness that surrounded the year, was a great one for our family and one which will remain in memory for years to come.
We collectively cleared the table and moved to the living room, where dad threw on a jazzy interpretation of Christmas songs, which were quickly rejected and after several more trials and errors of dad trying to get us to be “cultured”, we settled for some weird opera rendition of “jingle bells” – just because we were making little to no progress in finding something that suited all. Even though, just like every year, we stated we wouldn’t buy presents and just gift each other “time” – that failed miserably and there was a respectable mountain of presents under the tree. Dad started, walked to the tree and gave both wifey and myself a present each.
Whilst wifey carefully undid the tape and opened the present with noticeable care, I went rambo and tore the wrapping in two, only to be faced with a present, that wasn’t on my “Santa I want these presents” -list. “Merry Christmas!!!” the room filled with cheers as I lifted this tiny onesie with a hoodie, obviously not meant for me, but for our 21-week old baby, yet to be born, and still in the comforts of wifey’s belly. Ok, so first present wasn’t for me that’s cool. I got another one…… drummm rolls, this one was in a big box, so I got excited again Aaaaaaaaaaand it turned out to be two play books, one where you can press buttons on the side, and the book would play an instrumental rendition of the “baby classics” that I would need to sing to, and another book with instructions in regards to hand gestures you would need to carry out whilst reading a story (unborn baby presents 3, my presents 0).
As the present mountain lost it’s volume one present after another, I quickly realized that Christmas would no longer be about us, but that the “signs” of living for someone else, – which would happen after birth, was already taking precedence. “I can’t believe this little shit is already stealing my presents” – “Welcome to my life son” – dad took a deep breath “No more presents for you”.
Quick flashbacks of being younger, waiting in anticipation in our rooms knowing santa was coming by started flashing before my eyes. In excitement after dad and mum would pretend that santa was actually delivering presents, they would ring bells, put on a deep santa voice and after “santa’s departure”, my brother and me would storm out of our rooms, trying to catch a glimpse of him, but quickly being distracted by all the goodies he “brought” instead. Momentarily i felt a little emotionally conflicted, partly sad that those times to some extent were over, but then again excited that I could relive these moments through my child soon for years to come. I’ve made a decision to keep the idea of santa alive for as long as I can in the next coming years, as hard as it may be with all the information access through technology we have these days…..
“You think it’s just presents?” dad again started… “Just you wait, this little one is going to steal your wife too when it’s here” -….. Fuck… I never thought about it till now. Of course the newborn is going to compete for attention, then the next thought hit me that I would actually have to share boobies with it. Haven’t thought about the idea of actually having to ever share my wife’s breast with anyone else… Then my thoughts escalated and I wondered how other “to be dads” would digest this realization or whether it is one that they even reached. What revelations did you guys reach prior to birth?
So here I am, sitting at my laptop on the 25th of December in the morning, next to a pile of baby clothes and wifey still fast asleep,, wishing all of you an eventful Christmas with friends and family and hopefully a present or two.