Friends of ours have a month-old baby and regularly post pictures to their website. Jeeps and I were looking at them last night and among them was that classic picture of mom and dad leaving the hospital with the newborn in the carseat.
This is a universal moment of new parenthood which only happens with your first child. You remember it. You dressed the baby, which took half an hour. You put the baby in the carseat, which took another half hour. You signed miscellaneous papers and got your shit together and made your way down to the lobby. All the while thinking:
They’re not really letting us go home with a newborn, are they?
But maybe some nurses accompanied you down, and they smiled and cooed and waved. And you smiled and cooed and waved back, all the while thinking there was no WAY they were REALLY going to let you leave…with a newborn baby. You were sure that the minute you put a toe outside the automatic sliding doors, a cacophony of security alarms would sound and a steel cage would slam down, trapping you within. The nurses would release the cage in hysterics, high-fiving each other in the glee of having caught another sucker. Then you’d be off for vigorous training and certification before you’d be allowed to take custody again.
But no, they let you go home. With a baby.
And you drove home at 20 mph, frequently checking the rearview mirror, or probably one of you rode in the backseat, who are we kidding. And you arrived home and brought in your precious bundle in the carseat (thinking damn this thing is heavy and klutzy).
And you looked at your spouse. And looked at the baby. And looked at your house. And you said:
“So now what?”
I remember saying “I guess I’ll go upstairs and unpack.” And then I looked down and picked up the carseat with Panda and added, “And I guess I’ll take you with me…”