It was the year that the final plastic seat broke on my swing set that I begged Mom and Dad to keep the frame in the yard. It still had some use, I figured. It still had the lower, horizontal bars on both sides, the ones bracing the two larger, diagonal poles on each side. Those lower bars I could flip over quite gracefully thanks to gymnastics classes. When I grew tired of that, I'd find new ways to use the long, lonely bar that ran down the center. I mean, sure, I'd pull myself up on one side and pull myself along with my arms, feet dangling, till I reached the other side. A few times I'd try to flip around it, like the smaller bars, but Mom yelled at me that it was too dangerous since it was so high off the ground.
One day, one lonely only child day, I found an old yellow nylon rope in the shed. I tied one end to the swing set. At first I tried to Tarzan swing on it, but it just hurt my hands. After some thinking, I tied a hoop in the rope and put it out in the middle of the set. Satisfied, I climbed one side and shimmied out with my hands. The idea was to put both legs into the hoop and then my ass, you know, a swing. I got my right leg in with no problem. But something happened I hadn't foreseen: the rope slid all the way up to my crotch. My hands, already balmy, great sweatier with the anxiety. I couldn't get my leg out of the hoop and I couldn't get my other leg in. I couldn't hold myself on the bar with one hand because the bar was too fat. I hung there a moment, staring out over the river, trying to plan my next move. I glanced down at the circle of rope stuck between my legs. I had two options: let go, rack myself and fall to the ground OR wait until my little hands grew too tired and sweaty then rack myself and fall to the ground.
The other day Mindy and I bought bottle covers. We're going to use glass bottles, so these rubber covers make them easier to hold and less likely to break. We found them on clearance at Target, super cheap. It was a strange moment in the baby aisle. Mindy and I looked at each other, "we should get them, since they're on sale" I said. Mindy hesitated, the look of disbelief I've grown used to over the past 14 weeks. So, again I said, "Let's just buy them." "How many?" asked Mindy.
We didn't know.
It's really the first thing we've bought for the widget. We've received a few gifts here and there: a skeleton onesie, a hand me down outfit from a friend to get us in the mood.
We strolled around Babies 'R Us (a horrible warehouse of a place). There were diapers, thousands. I didn't realize how expensive they are. There were cleaning products, nail clippers for teeny, tiny hands. They had everything a human would use, except in miniature.
In the clothing section Mindy got a little teary and turned to me, "I'm pregnant." I know, babe. I know.
I found a little baseball jersey that happened to have the number 25 on it. That number means a lot to me, a whole history of Holzhausers and baseball and that number. I couldn't resist. Whatever that means.
So, just a little over 25 weeks to go until...until it all ends and begins.
I held on to that bar as long as I could. It felt like hours, years. I couldn't let go, just in case someone came by to help or something just in case I figured out the solution. I kept imagining how horrible that rope would feel when I slipped and all my weight would land straight on my crotch...and that thin nylon rope. I started to cry a few times, but told myself to shut-up, I'd put myself in that position.
When my fingers finally slipped, it happened. I came straight down on the rope and fell about three feet to the ground. I lay there a moment, assessing the damages. It was just a little rope burn, stinging the tender area of my very upper thigh. My hands were red and smelled like rust. I jumped up, laughed at the rope, pulled it down and went on and on and on.
As far as I know, no one saw me fall.