For Fathers Day 2017, we hope you’ll read this touching remembrance from New York City author and essayist Bob Brody. It’s excerpted from his new memoir “Playing Catch with Strangers: A Family Guy (Reluctantly) Comes of Age.” This section is called “Labor Issues.”
You took your time coming out, my dear son Michael. I think Mom was in labor for 36 hours.
Why you took so long I have no idea, nor do I figure you had any control over it. Maybe you really liked it in there – who could blame you? – and felt reluctant to leave. As we know, Mom is an excellent host.
Just the same, she probably found you an excellent house guest. And so we waited. After waiting, we then waited some more.
A nurse told us were going to have a girl, and for whatever reason, Mom and I both doubted her with all our hearts.
A pregnant woman came in and had her baby within an hour. Mom and I felt like complaining to the nurses, Hey, we got here first, how come she gets to cut in line.
I went out for breakfast at the Georgia Diner, assured I had time. As I ate my eggs, I knew my life – our lives – would soon change for good. Only I had no idea how, really, much less how much. No idea, either, how much I could love someone else, a child of my own, a son.
And let me tell you, Mom really had her work cut out delivering you. She huffed and she puffed, grunting and groaning, her brow shiny with sweat, all of us urging her on, Come on, Elvira, you can do it, keep pushing, push harder. I know she just wanted all of us to shut up.
But no, you were having none of it. In there you stayed, in your little amniotic domicile, probably watching a WWF smackdown DVD or something.
It was tough. Mom tried the breathing exercises, but still she gasped. Finally, she asked to be medicated. It was enough already. You were running late. Mom was exhausted.
I wish I could remember it all better than I do. I should have captured it in a chronicle right then, rather than all these years later. But that much I remember. That, and the sense of something new coming, of discoveries and rewards in the offing.
And then, of course, now ready at last, out you came. And I saw it all, first the head, then the rest, as you emerged, bloody, crying, beautiful, absolutely perfect.
Welcome, Michael, I thought. Stay awhile.