We all get nostalgic from time to time, some people when they drink. Getting melancholy or reflective can happen when least expected. While I indulge in my favorite beverage from time to time (to put it mildly), it doesn’t take alcohol at any level to get me to reflect on the past. I do so as a matter of course, especially when prompted. For example, on my son’s birthday recently, I was sitting down with a cold one and writing in my laptop about what it was like when my wife was pregnant. It is a very special time in a couple’s marriage and one that you will never forget. I remember being so nervous about the baby’s health. I wanted to check on him all the time with a stethoscope I had bought for the purpose. I insisted on hearing the baby’s heartbeat and movements so I could feel secure he was still alive. Of course, he was and this action was absurd. I think it is a great idea on a few occasions and something you and your wife can do to celebrate the impending birth. But I didn’t need to take it to the ultimate level. After a while I calmed down and limited the stethoscope to once a day.
My son is grown and practically an adult and it has been so long since I experienced those precious heartbeats. I wouldn’t dream of doing that today. I still have the stethoscope but I leave it to his doctor to use during regular checkups. I should pass on the item to a pregnant friend. Maybe she has an obsessive husband. I would love to talk with him and explain what it feels like as an expectant father. It is a magical experience. The stethoscope revealed another world to me or prenatal proportions. It was fascinating if not a bit voyeuristic. Now I have the memory of those times every time I look at my son. I think that the moment a couple learns of their new status, they should buy a stethoscope and set it aside for just the right time. Then it will be a feature of their mutual experience and a way to become closer. I can’t think of another way that would work better except maybe for placing your hands on your wife’s belly to feel the baby move. But to me, the heartbeats signaled life and were tremendously exciting. I wanted to cry every time I heard them.
You can see that this blog is a paean to parenthood, even fatherhood most of all. If you have children, of any age, you know of what I write. You can keep a scrapbook or a computer archive of photos to chronicle a child’s life, and while you can’t do that with heartbeats, you can remember them deep inside. I wrote an ode at the time my wife was pregnant that I have just remembered this moment.
Gentle heartbeats of a new life
Foretell a son that will kindle light
Into my arms he is destined to grow
My seed, my future, my heart