Hello loyal Pancakers, this is Bil, and I bring word.
Last night, (Friday) we were all packed for the hospital, halfway bedecked in a stylish array of comfy around-the-house sweats and t-shirts, ready for operation 'Jiffy-Pop' to roll. Patty made dinner-- some scrumptious salmon patties on English muffins-- but surprisingly, she didn't feel like partaking. I didn't think much of it, our eating schedules have been really out of sync from each other lately. We talked about putting the kids to bed early, and Patty set the all-important timer that indicates the start of teeth brushing and subsequent story reading. Earlier in the day, she called me at work and we chatted for awhile, having what would be our penultimate What-have-we-done-this-is-the-last-day-we-will-only-have-two-kids venting and nostalgia session. As we sat revisiting this particular thread, we fried our dinner on the stove top and toasted the English muffins, creating a furtive duet of tasty scents. I don't remember exactly what happened (I think the kids distracted me for a moment) but I turned to face Patty as she was clutching her pants, slightly red in the face, asking me if I saw the pool that was collecting on the floor.
Fortuitously, we had a babysitter lined up already for Operation Jiffy-Pop; a short phone call later and our children had supervision for the evening. Yessssss! I excitedly shoved one of the delicious salmon patties into my head-- with three mint-dark chocolate three musketeers following close behind-- as I hurriedly picked up this bag and that bag, opted for a thermal shirt instead of my heavy winter coat, checked the digital camera for battery power, dejectedly plugged in the battery charger, hung the tire-swing for our suddenly bored daughter to play with, and looked frantically around for the important items I set somewhere randomly while I was distracted by children and chocolate.
Patty, on the other hand, was unruffled, even altruistic throughout what I saw as the onset of a terrific ordeal. Driving through a thick storm of my jabbering words, I realized I had auto-piloted straight to the hospital, even though I promised Patty I would stop and buy her a thick chocolate shake (without the cherry) from Steak-and-Shake as a consolation dinner. She put me at ease immediately, no, food was of no immediate interest to her. We walked together into the ER reception, holding hands in the chilly night air. I recalled our first date, and our first time holding hands during a particularly nasty Illinois winter... I had offered to hold her hand while we trekked across some nasty ice patches that littered the ground in Wicker Park. No sooner had I taken her hand to safely guide her through, when I suddenly wiped out-- my butt smacking the ice with a damp, echoing thud. We both laughed really hard that cold night, and we still laugh about it sometimes.
Her water burst a second time in the ER reception, inciting a mild riot over the spontaneous generation of a small body of water, which ended in the spontaneous generation of a well-groomed nurse proffering a wheelchair coach, all while we were waiting in line just behind a woman who literally looked as blue as Shiva. Patty, in her altruistic way, offered to let the two boys behind us (meek, sickly-looking little boys, both suffering from the same bout of gastroenteritis that our Charlotte did the week before) go ahead of us, but nobody was inclined to accept her offer.
It would be several hours later, before Thomas would be unleashed upon the world, and hours more still before Patty would receive her promised milkshake without the cherry.
I have to say, I really enjoyed the time together with Patty during the delivery. It was one of those times where we were, thankfully, and for the most part, left alone to contemplate the ponderous machinery of our united universes. I will leave any remaining details for my beloved Patty to expound upon as she sees fit. Being stripped of dignity and modesty, (as only a delivering mother understands,) I can only tactfully, and safely leave to her what choice bits she will ultimately cook up for you, her loyal and hungry Pancakers.
Suffice it to proclaim our Thomas is among us!
Gurgle with Glee! Go forth and thrash! Hip Hip Hooray!