We’re in the Anandapur Theater, waiting for the bird show. He’s already ridden Everest six times today, and he’s agreed to humor me by watching the bird show. Before we’re done at the park today, he will declare the bird show to be epic, amazing, his favorite non-ride thing in the parks, and we have to see it again. (He’ll also ride Everest four more times.) He doesn’t know that yet, and he’s restless. How many more minutes until it starts? Now how many? When is lunch?
Oh hey, kiddo, I say. It’s the twenty-third! That means that ten years ago today, I was in the hospital.
I was being born?
Not quite yet. I tell him that in the middle of the afternoon, I got scared because I hadn’t felt him move since the morning. I tell him that it turns out that’s normal when a baby is getting ready to be born, but that I thought he wasn’t coming for another month, so I got scared. I called my doctor, who was on call at the hospital, and she said probably everything is fine, drink some orange juice and lie down for half an hour, see if you can feel him. (I don’t tell him how much I cried–sitting on the floor in our old apartment in Williamsburg, sobbing until I couldn’t breathe. This is supposed to be a cute story.) I did the juice and the resting but still didn’t feel anything, so she told me to come in to the hospital and she’d take a look. I called Dad and he wanted to leave work early to meet me there, I tell Declan, but I told him not to, that the doctor said everything is probably fine, I just want to be safe. At the hospital, they looked and said yeah, he’s fine, good heartbeat, everything seems good. They kept me in there for a couple of hours just because I was so worried, I tell him, but then they sent me home. Dad and I had dinner at Red Bowl, and we went to bed that night thinking that we still had another month before the baby was coming.
And then what, he asks. But just then a crane flies out from a window on the stage and swoops low over the audience, and a group of chickens run across the stage, and a small corvid hops out through a doorway and turns on a radio, and the bird show is starting.
This morning I woke up at five and couldn’t get back to sleep–I seem to be terrible at vacation. Ten years ago right now I was bring checked in at the hospital. My doctor laughed at us when we walked into labor and delivery, why are you here, didn’t I just send you home? But five minutes in the exam room and she’s all, yup, this baby is coming today, to which I apparently replied no, he’s not due for another month, his room is full of boxes, we don’t have a car seat, I haven’t done the lesson plans for my substitute.