Thursday, May 14, 2015

It's a Surprise!!!

As Mrs. Blackwell and I march through the first half of her pregnancy we're frequently asked if we know what the gender is. We don't.

Then we're asked if we want to. We do.

It's just too early right now. We'll know at our appointment next month when the techs conduct another ultrasound.

In the meantime we wait and, as it turns out, that's not such a bad fact. It'll do us some good to have to wait for a change. Patience for such things is not our strong suit — Mrs. Blackwell in particular.
It's not just a marketing ploy. For my wife, it's a way of life.
My wife has a history of giddily handing out Christmas gifts on Dec. 17. She likes to know anything as early as possible.

And while I don't share her zeal for premature gift distribution, I most certainly do as it pertains to knowing the gender of our unborn child.

Mrs. Blackwell is a planner and planners must know.

They must get the baby's room ready, down to the last detail. Ditto for the clothes. The toys. All the baby accoutrement. The proverbial ducks must be aligned.

I like to know quickly because I'm impatient — very, very impatient. And because I live with a woman who gives me birthday gifts two weeks before my birthday, I'm quite familiar with the compulsions involved in wanting to know ASAP.

That said, I've recently come to better understand the particular value in waiting to learn the gender of one's unborn child.

There seem to be a lot of pregnant people around Madison lately, specifically at the office I work in. I know a couple of them and each offered a take on why they want to know the gender of the baby, or not know.

Based on my conversations (all three of them) the folks that don't want to know the gender do so for one very simple reason — they just want to be surprised when that baby is born.

I get that.
Whistler, British Columbia. 

I'm not sure if it's technology, growing older, cynicism, or some combination of the three but there do seem to be fewer and fewer "good" surprises as one grows up.

In attempting now to recall the last truly fun surprise I experienced, my thoughts wander all the way back to the 90's.

It was an Easter Sunday. I came home from my part time job (why I was working on Easter I have no idea) and my mom had purchased a new puppy for the family.

I had no idea and only learned of it when I walked in the door and a little, plump, spaniel was sitting on our couch.

Another time, my older brother returned home unannounced after being away for months in Whistler, British Columbia. (The surprise now is not that he spontaneously returned, but that he returned at all.  Whistler is paradise.)

Then too, I had no idea.

And when you're younger, there were smaller surprises, of course.

No more waiting for the radio to give us what we want.
Now, I can listen to these guys whenever I want.
What a world!
Before I was a teenager with a job and money to burn on CDs, I remember waiting, waiting and waiting some more to hear my favorite song of the day come on the radio. Sometimes it did. Other times, I'd have to wait for the nightly Top Ten.

Most of the time you were at the mercy of DJs. But, when that song came on, wow. The moment you heard the first notes was magic.

I also remember waiting, waiting and praying on my walk home from school that the Simpsons reruns would show one of my favorite episodes. More often than not, they didn't. But when they did, again....magic.

I can keep 6,000 songs on my phone now and I can keep seasons of the Simpson's on there too.

I wont' turn this into a polemic on technology and the Internet. Their virtues far outweigh their negatives.

But, I will say that when even the little surprises become fewer and farther between, it's easy to appreciate those folks who, when gifted with an opportunity to be surprised, take full advantage.

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