Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Uncle Gary

Yesterday, my brother Ross and his wife Tara (maybe I should reverse the billing on this one, but no matter, no matter) had a baby, a beautiful baby girl (name TBD).

She came into this world a bit earlier than was forecast; Tara developed pre-eclampsia and they had to remove her (her pre-natal name was Peanut; let's go with that) from the soup in which she was curing. So although 7 weeks premature, Peanut debuted at 18 inches tall, weighing 4 pounds, 6 ounces. The delivery was Caesarian; so since she was "from her mother's womb untimely ripped" she has the requisite qualifications to kill MacBeth, should the need ever arise.

Tara seems fine; I have not been able to speak with her since every time I call she's either asleep or getting poked and prodded. Peanut's one-minute APGAR was 7, her five-minute was 9, so for being so teeny she is in reasonable health, although she's in the NICU and will be for some time to come. She's breathing on her own and Rossy held her last night.

I am a mix of emotions about this. Of course I'm deliriously happy for Ross and Tara; it seemed their destiny to bring a tall child into the world. I have every confidence that she'll be raised well, will be indulged yet not spoiled, and will, despite her inevitable tallness, not have the requisite coordination or athleticism to undertake any athletic endeavor. Her Aunt Vicki and I will love her, fight over her, beg her parents to take her for weekends. I will teach her her first swear words, pull quarters out of her ear, tell her the first dirty joke she will ever hear. Her parents will roll their eyes behind her back at the things I will tell her, but I will not care. In short, the Uncle Machine is revving up nicely. Peanut will not want for an extended family of love and kindness.

What she will lack, however, is one of her grandpas, and that hurts me right now. Regular readers of this space know that my Dad passed about two months ago, and more's the pity. Of his death my brother wrote "I grieve that my daughter will only know my father as an abstraction." That's certainly a pity - Peanut will be born with 3 out of 4 grandparents, but that's easy enough to bear: It was my situation and of the many things that bother me these days, that ain't one of them.

No, like most grief, this is a selfish emotion. Over anything else in the world, my father loved his family, loved having his family around him. To have another granddaughter to hold - to add another member to the small, small club that is the Jacobs clan - would have given him great joy, at a time in his life where joyous moments were a little hard to come by. So it's not without the requisite lump in my throat that I can think about Peanut- she looks like her parents, which means that the shadow of my father dances around her ephemerally. And that's no bad thing; as time passes I'll be grateful of the reminder.

Anyway, this is a time of celebration, of joy, and I'm going to do my best to feel joyful and celebratory. Peanut: your Aunt Vicki and I love you very much, and can't wait to meet you in person. I hope we're a big part of your life. God knows you'll need someone smart to talk to every once in a while.

Congratulations, Ross and Tara.

**SHOCKING NEW UPDATE:** Peanut is Peanut no more. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present you Miss Piper Lily Grace Jacobs. From Proud Papa:

Piper [is] a lovely musical name that we both find rings nicely, and is also a tribute to my recently departed and much-missed father, who was (among other things) a master pipefitter. And yes, she has two middle names. We like them both, so we gave them both to her to do as she pleases with them.

So welcome, Piper. I plan on calling you PJ, partly because I like it and partly because it will so plainly annoy your mom and dad. Stay strong, kiddo.

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