Say cheese


Andie and Steve are parents. Last night, I had dessert with them one last time before the clutches of parenthood had snatched them away to the land of diapers and blocks.

I should’ve taken a picture.

Ever since a friend blessed me with a new digital camera, I’ve slowly unlearned my one bad habit with film cameras: Take shots sparingly.

I promised myself that from now on, no moment would go unrecorded by that ever-present electronic eye. I would have a full and complete visual record of Life from here on out.

But I forgot my camera last night.

newbaby.jpgWe stroll along the village streets, the nighttime air colder than it should be. At the coffee shop, the barista rewards us with coffee concoctions on the house, so good is his mood.

And we thank him.

Tomorrow will be different. Tomorrow will change pals into parents, newlyweds into naysayers, dreamers into disciplinarians.

And two will become three.

I envy them. What they have, I want. What lies ahead for them might never be within my grasp. Marriage. Family. Legacy.

The moment goes unrecorded by cameras. Andie is ready to pop, now feeling the pains of a pregnancy past due. Steve is nervous but ready. And I know what comes next, to a limited degree.

But I don’t want to spoil the ending. It’s that good.

The baby isn’t the rebirth of the universe. It’s a baby. He will grow to be swift and clever, humble but capable. He will see many things we’ve all seen through new eyes. And he will see many things not yet imagined.

They will fret over feedings and fevers, money and mischief, scrapes and screaming. They will make many mistakes, and almost all will turn out to be completely harmless. They will not love every minute of it, and will likely not be awake for a good part of it.

And before our very eyes, he will grow. He will talk and giggle and do things that seem terribly cute but are in fact the oft-repeated mundane babyish things into which much is read.

And that, that will be recorded: on memory cards, on digital video, on DVDs. We’ll have more footage of this baby staring blankly at the wall than recorded in millions of years of human civilization.

(OK, I gave away a little bit.)

But this last night, they are still two. The world expects nothing more of them than not to bump into anyone or anything too much.

Our drinks have energized us as we use up the last of our stray conversational bits. They’re due at the hospital in 12 hours, ready or not, for the big moment.

We walk to our cars, knowing this is the last time. Across the street, children are laughing, running even at this late hour.

It is here that we part ways. And I have no picture to show for it.


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