Carl, J-Man, Bug and Marni
Last night, in 1966, at around midnight, my then wife woke me up and told me her water had broken and she was in labor. We called the doctor and he said not to worry until the pains were, like, five minutes apart before heading to the hospital. So I went back to sleep. I know…shut it.
The reason I wasn’t worried and acting like the fool you see on television, was because my mom came from a family of 17 and my wife was the baby of 15. Everyone told me that things would be ‘easy’ as birthing was a natural thing in her family. What did I know. I had just figured out how she got pregnant in the first place.
Anylabor, at three in the morning she woke me up again and we headed to the hospital. We set for a half hour before they would check her in, and, when they did, I was dismissed. Men were not allowed to be part of the birthing stuff back in ’66.
So I walked across the street and ate breakfast, called the family, went to the fathers waiting room and went back to sleep. Shortly there after her sister showed up and made me talk to her all morning.
Around two in the afternoon the nurse came and called me back into a hallway where my wife was lying on a stretcher with a face-mask thing on a bottle of something for the pain in her hand and she was sucking on that thing like she was enjoying it. I got to talk to her for about fifteen minutes. There was a row of beds lined up in the hall with women in labor…but I couldn’t go into the delivery room. So I had to go back to the fathers waiting room and listen to her sister jabber on.
Every now and then a nurse would come out and tell me everything was going just fine. I finally told her not to come back unless she had my baby (didn’t know the sex) with her. So a few hours later the nurse stuck her head in and called my name. There in a glass bassinet was the most beautiful little girl I had ever seen. Naked just as she came in the world with an ugly thing on her belly. I started to ask the nurse what that slug looking thing was when my daughter opened her eyes and looked at me. I was speechless (never happened sense.) All I could say was, "Well, I'll be..."
I wanted to grab her and hold her and talk to her and all kind of silly shit that dads do with their first baby, but I couldn’t. It was forbidden.
My wife was in the hospital for three days, and I still couldn’t hold my baby. I even had to leave the room when feeding times came around. I could only see her through the glass partition at the baby viewing station.
When it came time to take them home, they were wheeled out to the car and the nurse held her until my wife could get in the car. I did not get to hold my baby girl (Marni) until we got home and I carried her into the house. Left my wife in the car. Pissed her off...not the first time...nor the last...
She has been my baby girl from that day on. My dad gave her the moniker of Mouse Of The House and she had been called Mouse or Mousie ever since. She is even getting a tattoo of a mouse soon.
And the thing is, she has constantly filled me with awe as much as she did when she first opened her eyes. Her schooling, her band experiences, her college, and her earning her Masters Degree, and her success at work, her marriage to one of the finest men I know…and the two grand-kids she gave me has made me proud. She is funny and laughs at everything (I think she got that from the mailman) and appreciates beauty and loves entirely.
She is an amazing young woman and I am so lucky to have been her dad.
Happy Birthday, Mouse.