Wednesday, December 26, 2007

December Moon

I've been enjoying looking up at the moon through the December night air this past week. I got a wild hair on Christmas Eve Eve night and decided to see if there were any nifty settings on my camera that I hadn't yet put to use that would capture a bit of its grandeur, but this doesn't even come close to doing it any justice. Ah well.

Both the year and this pregnancy are coming to a close, though only one of them has an ending date that is for certain. The little fella is 8 days late as of today. Were this a package, I'd be online tracking it, but no such service exists as of yet. Stupid technology. The little guy may not be born yet, but he's already received his first Christmas gifts. Hope he's not mad that we opened them for him.

Henry spent all day Christmas surrounded by family. Not only did he have some new stuff to play with, he also had plenty of people around that he could grab to make play with him. In short, the kid was in his own version of toddler heaven.

Hope everybody had a great holiday. I'll let y'all know when this baby decides to make an appearance. Until then, enjoy the rest of the year.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A Missed Opportunity

How the conversation went:

Holmes's Mom: Hey, I was just calling because I remembered today was y'all's due date. Any news?

Holmes: Nope, still no baby.

Holmes's Mom: Oh okay.

How the conversation would have gone had The Holmes been on his game:

Holmes's Mom: Hey, I was just calling because I remembered today was y'all's due date. Any news?

Holmes: Huh? Ooooh, yeah, yeah, Ashley had the baby.

Holmes's Mom: What?

Holmes: Yeah, two or three days ago.

Holmes's Mom: WHAT?!?!

Holmes: I can't remember which day exactly. We have it written down here somewhere.

Holmes's Mom: (silent disbelief).

Holmes: Sorry I forgot to call, it just sorta slipped my mind. You know how it is.

And so on and so forth. Though I doubt the conversation actually would have gone that far. After all, The Holmes's Mom did raise The Holmes, so she knows what straight-faced dubiousness he is capable of.

But as the first conversation above states, still no baby. I thought for sure that our plans to see a movie last Friday night would provide the necessary impetus for the little guy to start making his way out. I even bought the tickets in advance to give him a little extra nudge. But nope, he decided to let us sit through the whole thing, which I must say we appreciated.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Gee, do they still make wooden Christmas trees?

Last Sunday, Ash informed me that she had just an inkling of a feeling that the baby was going to come that day or the next. The feeling turned out to be nothing, perhaps just a bit of undigested beef or a blot of mustard. Whatever it was, it served the most welcome purpose of nudging us into action to make a push towards getting our recently moved-into house look like a place where civilized members of the human race reside. Of course, we couldn't bring a December baby home to a bare Christmas tree, so part of the day's labor included decorating the tree while our VCR performed its single solitary annual duty of playing my VHS copy of A Charlie Brown Christmas. I decorated while Henry tried to stick himself with hooks. Afterwards, we managed to unpack a fair amount of boxes and put some stuff away. The place is downright cozy and livable, not to mention Christmasy.

I've gone to work every day this week, always halfway expecting to get the call. I forgot my cell phone one day, so I was just absolutely certain that labor would begin while I was in a meeting. It probably goes without saying that my brain is halfway checked out of the workplace. I'm still getting things done and checking things off of my list (hi boss!). I've even managed to wrap a few things up before I take the rest of my vacation days that I have saved up for the year (I refuse to use the term "paternity leave" since that would imply that I'm talking about some special kind of leave that is set aside just for new parents and which is actually possible for people who rely on a paycheck). But in reality, my brain is mostly elsewhere. This isn't so unusual in the holiday season, but with a new biscuit on the way, it's amazing I remember my work PC's password.

It seems that when I'm in this "checked out" mode, my randomness factor increases a bit. Case in point: I was sitting in a meeting room waiting for, what else, a meeting to start. And out of nowhere, I just started singing. Exactly what did I sing, you ask? Well, the purpose of the meeting was to review software requirements documentation written by one of my coworkers whose name is Julius, so naturally I sang:

Half of what we'll say in this meeting will be meaningless
But we'll say it just to make your documentation better Juuuuuuuliuuuus.

This, of course, was met with stone silence. As it should have been.

Tonight, we spent another evening at Ashley's folks' place. With family coming in for the holidays and rallying around their dying relative, their place has been pretty packed lately. Henry loves all of this. He, for one, would be totally down with everybody going over to Grandma's house every single night of the week. One of the many beautiful things about this little boy is just how much he loves His People. That includes his family, his friends, his parents' friends, just everybody who's around. He just talks about all of them all of the time. If he knows you, he loves you. It gives me some hope for the future, that the feelings he'll have for the baby that will be his little brother will be warm ones.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

It's coming back around again

So it would seem that Mr. Boy is clued in to the fact that there is this thing called Christmas coming down the pipe pretty soon. About a week ago, I started asking him if he wanted to get a Christmas tree, and his response has evolved from a suspicious nod of the head to an excitedly whispered "yeah!", delivered with that tone that's reserved for children who are on to something magical and big that promises to blow open the boundaries of their reality.

So tonight we went down to the tree lot and picked out a suitable specimen. "Pick me" said this one tree. "I'll hold your lights and your little baubles with dignity." And so we did. As I tied the tree to the top of our wagon, I felt that familiar twinge of anxiety I get every time I tie something down for transport. See, I'm only good at like 2.5 things, and knot-tying accounts for 1.2 of those, so if my knots fail, if word gets out that an Eagle Scout couldn't even secure a Christmas tree to the top of a car, well the ramifications make my stomach go gurgle. But I got the tree home, in spite of the fact that we had to go to four different stores before we found one that had any tree stands in stock.

With the tree safely secured, it was dinner time at Ashley's folks' place. We've spent a fair amount of time over there lately since The Ash's uncle has moved in with them to spend his last days. I don't know her Uncle Richie all that well since he's been a recluse for most of the years of our relationship, but from what little time I've spent around him, I know that I like him and wish I knew him better. Over these last few days, even with the pain of terminal cancer, he's shown the intellect and spark of a man who is still, in some ways, very much alive.

The after-dinner portion of this evening was somewhat surreal. I played sudoku, Henry played with his grandma and great aunt, and Richie placed his signature in all the necessary places in the document containing his last will and testament. The Ash, her sister, and her dad also affixed their signatures as witnesses. I suppose it should have been a morbid moment, and perhaps from a different perspective it could be viewed as such, but it didn't feel quite so to me. More like family doing what family has to do when presented with painful reality. It was very quiet except for Henry, who wasn't falling for that "let's play 'The Quiet Game'" nonsense.

I was thinking about Richie as I drove home from the semester's very last class period today. It hasn't escaped anyone's notice that this family is about to experience both a death and a birth any day now. And even though this is a Texas December and I was wearing shorts today, it's still the end of the year, and there's still that sense of the world settling down and waiting to be reborn into a new year. And perhaps it was because I was coming home from theology class and my mind was especially open to the beauty of the stories and metaphors that we all live and walk through every day, and perhaps, yes, maybe there was a song playing on the radio that I like in spite of myself, but I got hit with one of those blessed moments of beautiful Melancholy where everything in the world feels intensely connected. Yeah, there may have been a few tears.

Our tree is now standing in the corner of the living room of our little house, waiting for tomorrow when it will be adorned with lights, decor, perhaps the odd action figure. It will be the first Christmas that my eldest son starts to "get it", and my youngest's very first Christmas at all. Maybe we can make ourselves a few memories for keeps.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Flower Child

He did this himself. For real real.

The boy has discovered the joy of plastering stickers all over everything. Y'oughtta see The Ash's pregnant belly. Covered in stickers! Maybe she'll post 'em.

This is perhaps a rather unceremonious way of bringing an end to a lengthy blogging hiatus, but ceremony is often a rather rotten plank to stand on. Suffice it to say that I've been busy. Not just the writing, but the blog reading and commenting has waned. Which is kinda sad seeing as how it was NaBloPoMo and all. I've decided that since participation in NaBloPoMo was a non-possibility for me, I'm going to make January into Holmes Blog Posting Month, or HoBloPoMo for short. It ain't my fault how dirty that sounds. Why January, you ask? For one, we'll have a new baby, which is sure to provide fodder for at least one, maybe two whole posts. Secondly, my birthday happens in January, which makes for at least one post where you can all leave comments of a happy birthday nature. Third, um, yeah. January is HoBloPoMo. If any o' y'all got any free time on your hands and want to design a HoBloPoMo logo for me (that is not completely X-rated), I'll be your best friend.

I don't mind telling you, this has been a challenging semester. Not only has the coursework been challenging, there was also this interesting interplay between the two different disciplines, the strictly secular psychology on the one hand, and the theology on the other. They pulled my brain in different directions...which is not to say that they conflicted, but rather that they inspired and required very different types of thinking, both in form and content. But interestingly enough, they intersected in some unexpected ways. They both ask questions about concepts like "natural" and "freedom." They both ask questions about how we can help those in need. And arriving at an absolute in either one is a sure sign that there is something you're probably missing.

But I finished my last paper about thirty minutes ago. The shit ain't spellchecked, maybe I'll remember to do so before I print it out, maybe not. I'm just sitting here enjoying my Anchor Steam Christmas (thanks again, Whit) and relishing the fact that I'm about to hit the Publish Post button for the first time in weeks.