Thursday, May 7 2020

body fluids, handwriting narcissism, and big brother rodney



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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone! And happy Thursday. I'm just beginning my fourth day of my summer job as a full time Dad, so arguably the weekend doesn't mean much to me anymore. But this morning my thoughts are still with the nine-to-five warriors, especially those on the Foundation Configuration team at Zendesk. Hang in there, comrades. It's almost Friday, and soon enough you'll be punching out for the week, and you'll be able to enjoy the weekend.

Sip. Miles is doing great. So far, his theme has been long stretches of perfect infant tranquility punctuated by short explosive sessions of angry body fluids. The miles way is to sleep angelically for a few hours, then scream while you puke, crap, and piss into the air. I was christened last night during a diaper change - the little booger sniped my left eye with the gross little squirt gun between his legs.

But like I said, these moments of splashing body fluids are brief, and hardly anything to complain about when he'll spend the rest of the hour sleeping like a perfect little bug in your lap.

We had a great day yesterday. We spent most of the morning just waiting around at the hospital, expecting to leave sometime in the late morning. We didn't even make any plans for lunch. But some tests ran a little later than expected, which left us lounging around, napping, and grazing on the snacks still remaining in our stash. Ironically, the test that delayed us was a follow up on Marissa's platelet count.

"Those damn platelets," she griped. "First they cheat me out of an epidural, and now they're keeping us late."

I took the time to fill out the paper work for Miles' birth certificate, using my best handwriting to pen his name for the first time in an official capacity. My handwriting is tidy, even on the bad day. But for the occasion, I broke out my absolute best, evenly-spaced printed capital letters. I handed the stack of papers for Marissa to proofread.

"Miles Dirk Recker," she read aloud with a smile. "Gosh, you have the perfect handwriting for this."

She's right. Not to brag, but I'm a little offended that nobody has offered to purchase my handwriting and turn it into a type face. I'm a little offended that the government hasn't asked me to transcribe a letter in preparation of someday introducing mankind to aliens. I'm also a little narcissistic about it.

"Platelet count is still low, but rising," said our nurse Dorothy as she entered our room. "It shouldn't be a problem - you guys are free to go."

We packed up our things, and after snapping a few pics of Miles in the room, we carried him in the car seat down to the hospital lobby. Each doctor, nurse, and patient we passed offered us a quiet congratulations through masks and face shields. We made our way into the parking garage, and Marissa took a deep breath.

"It feels so good to be outside," she sighed. "Do you remember how weird this felt with Rodney?" she asked.

"Yeah," I laughed. "I remember feeling suddenly abandoned."

"And I was tired. So tired, like I had no idea what time or day it was, and I couldn't believe this was happening," added Marissa.

"How do you feel now," I asked.

"I feel great. I feel rested, and this doesn't feel weird at all," she replied.

"Yeah, I feel the same," I added. "Honestly, I think I slept in today. And right now it kind of feels like I'm just out running errands or loading groceries into the car." I clicked Miles' car seat in place and gave it a jostle. "Maybe this time around, we were smart enough to take advantage of - you know - a private room monitored by healthcare professionals."

Our first stop was Heath's house. We parked in the driveway, and after a minute, Rodney and his new friend Eliza emerged from the back yard. "Where is my brother?" he called out. "I want to see my baby brother!" Rodney made his way around the car and pressed his face to the dark glass of the passenger side door where Miles sat. Marissa popped open the car door.

"Oh honey," said Rodney. He reached out to touch Miles' hand. "I'm your big brother. I gochu."

Rodney had a wonderful time at Heath's house. This morning, Jess sent us over some professional quality action shots of Rodney and Eliza eating popcorn, pushing each other on the swing, and raising all kinds of childish mayhem in their beautiful home. And Rodney had nothing but good things to say.

As we pulled out onto the road, we began to anguish about what we wanted to pick up for lunch.

"How about tillo's?" said Rodney quietly from the back seat.

"I could eat Portillo's again," said Marissa with a shrug.

After getting home and eating Portillo's at the table, I got to work unpacking our bags while Marissa and Rodney hung out with Miles in the living room. Rodney sat in the big comfy chair, holding Miles in his lap. Every few minutes, he'd take his eyes off the TV to nuzzle Miles or gently brush his face. "Oh honey," he whispered. "I gochu. It's OK."

After putting Rodney to bed and a quick Zoom session with our college friends, Marissa put Miles down in the living room and joined me on the back porch. I had a crisp Fantasy Factory beer in a chilled glass waiting for her. She approached the table, and with the gravity of a religious ceremony or a royal coronation, she had her first sip of beer in nine months. She sank into her chair, letting out a deep sigh.

"Rodney seems so mature now," she said. I nodded, and took a sip of my own beer.

"His maturity has always happened in, like, these quantum leaps," I replied. I drew a stair shape in the air with my finger to emphasize my point. "I think coming home to Miles was one of those quantum leaps. He's operating on a whole new level now."

"And he was actually really helpful today," added Marissa. "I put him to work, he was getting things from the baby drawer. He's killing it."

Rodney was already a good kid, but big brother Rodney feels like a totally different presence. And we're grateful to have him around.