Thirty years ago today, I was sniffing my newborn son's head, wondering how on earth it was that he smelled of fried chicken.
Thirty years ago yesterday I had finally, after laboring all night long, given birth to a very healthy and normal boy.
Thirty years ago the night before yesterday, at 11:35pm, Saturday Night Live began with a Godfather spoof. Just when John Belushi (as The Godfather) looked into the camera and said, "Live from New York! It's Saturday Night!", I began to think that the elastic around my maternity pants was way too tight.
About 10 minutes later, I was yarfing my guts up.
When a woman goes into labor, I guess her body shuts down all normal activity that it deems unnecessary. It seems my body decided that the act of digestion had been totally unnecessary for the entire day. So I spent the next hour or two charfing and moaning and laboring. Then, a call to the doctor. "Sounds like you are having a baby," the smart ass said, "C'mon in to the hospital." The Sig Oth had the nerve to ask me, "Do I have time to take a shower first?"
I have no idea what expletives I used, how many, nor for how long, but I remember flopping on the bed using a quite a few of them as I listened to water hitting the shower walls in the bathroom across the hall. Sig Oth knew that I sure as hell wasn't going to drive myself to the hospital, and he had determined that I wasn't going to have the baby for another, oh, hour or two, so he decided it was personal hygiene time. I barged in and horked in the sink.
For good measure, I made him stop the car on the way so I could chunder one last time, right in front of the phone company.
By 8:35am we had our baby, and life as we knew it would "never be the same again." At some point in your life, you realize that not only will things "never be the same again," but you realize how ridiculous that idea is to begin with. Of course nothing will ever be the same again. From one moment to the next, life will never be the same again. Life changes--constantly. We had a baby. Of course things would never be the same again. But from the perspective I have today, my life seemed to have been on hold until that day. And then everything changed. As a young parent, my life was very much day-to-day; keeping track of Ell, trying to do my best raising him, trying NOT to SCREW HIM UP! Again, I kind of felt like I was "on hold," but I wasn't. I was just trying to survive the best I could.
Today, my life is anything but "on hold." Life is flying past. I have a four-year-old granddaughter, yet it seems as if my son should still be only four years old. I wish I could go back and do it all again, this time with awareness. And to do it better, of course. With more patience. And wisdom. And with the knowledge that everything will turn out just fine.
So the morning after my son's birth, I had tossed all my cookies and more, I had given birth 24 hours before, and I was nursing him. I was ravenously hungry. And he smelled like fried chicken. Could this be one way Mother Nature makes sure mothers bond with their infants? Or could it be why some animals eat their offspring?
And I still haven't seen the rest of Saturday Night Live from November 12, 1977, damnit.