From Capital Style Editor Kristy Eckert
Pop Quiz: When your sister's husband calls at midnight to say their baby is coming any minute, and you've just finished driving from Columbus to your parents' Akron home with your almost-2-year-old, what do you do?
A: Say, "Mom and Dad, you go. It's midnight and I've got a 1-year-old who is already up hours past his bedtime. We're going to sleep as long as we can. Call me when the baby arrives and we'll be at the hospital before they even let anyone into the room."
B: Carefully load your little boy back into the SUV, drive to the hospital, carry your son inside, give your sister a hug, and promise to return when the baby's out and visitors are allowed in the room. Return to your parents', put your child in his crib and sleep until your cell rings.
C: Toss two diapers, a couple of wipes and one baggie of graham crackers in your camera bag, scoop up your kid, and high tail it out of the house. Because after all, the doctor said the baby is coming. Any minute!
If you are sane and have ever interacted with a toddler in any capacity (or anxiously awaited the birth of someone else's child), you answered A. And you were correct.
If you are mostly sane but think that one last pre-pushing hug for your sister would be worth screwing up a toddler's sleep schedule for at least a week, you answered B. It's not the right answer, but it's also not the worst possible plan. (Note: If you answered B, it has also been too long since you had a toddler.)
I, apparently, was deliriously overjoyed about impending Aunt-hood. Because I chose C.
C is the wrong answer.
Because the baby is not coming any minute. The baby is coming at 9:24 a.m. And you won't be allowed to hold her until 2:15 p.m.
What happened during those 14+ hours is not really worth recounting. Partly because I'm pretty sure I may not have been conscious for part of them. I vaguely recall being scolded by a security guard for lying on the floor with my child on top of me during one of the four - yes, only four - hours he slept. I also have video that I may or may not remember taking of Cooper laughing hysterically while pounding on a pop machine.
The story, of course, has a happy ending: Baby Harper did arrive, precious and cherubic as could be, with a mop of black hair and feet as long and boney as her momma's and aunt's.
And even after I put him through far too many hours in The Land of No (No, you can't run into the surgery room! No, you can't hit that button! No, you can't pull those cords!), my good little man still had his sweetness about him.
We lifted him to the nursery glass to see his baby cousin, who lay just inches away on the other side. He got quiet, inspecting the tiny creature. "Baby," he said. Then, she started to cry. Mr. Cooper carefully put his fingers to his binky (please don't judge me - we were on hour 14), pulled it out and pressed it against the glass, offering it to soothe her.
My eyes welled with tears.
And then we slept.
-Kristy Eckert is the editor of Capital Style, a bimonthly women's magazine published by The Dispatch Printing Company. To sign up for her weekly e-newsletter, visit Capital-Style.com