My son Teebo, usually sporting a laid-back, country-boy sort of demeanor, is the king of understatement. I know this because of a comment he made on the night Beenie, his firstborn, arrived nearly three months ago.
Let me set the scene: Beenie's mama has been in labor a good twelve hours at least. Teebo has not issued forth with an update for a couple hours, and the several of us keeping vigil in the delivery waiting room, having long ago finished our deluxe fish sandwiches from Hardee's, are beginning to wonder.
Finally, Teebo saunters out of the delivery room and we all prepare to jump on some kind of news. A shake of his head tells us there is still no baby. His comment on the situation: "That's quite a process."
Quite a process? I am sure Beenie's mama, given the opportunity, would have welcomed the opportunity to add a few comments of her own on the nuances of this "process" from the position of someone somewhat more personally caught up in the throes of it. At this point, the epidural had pretty well worn off, and, although I don't know this for sure, I imagine her comments may not have been couched in her usual style of grace and tact.
Ever since that night, I have been smiling to myself at Teebo's use of the word process in this particular context. The experience has caused me to recall the anxiety and agony of my own two processes, both which Teebo, with his hatural Hemingway flair, might have referred to as "kind of a long day." Of course, he was not around for the first one when his older sister, Cookie, was born, and for the second, well, let's just say he was maybe preoccupied with his own agenda.
With four grandkids born in less than five years, I have had many occasions of late to contemplate and to be privy to various conversations about the process. I am thinking about it a lot right now as Cookie counts down the weeks to her fourth such process, which will bring Baby Zoomba bounding into our hearts and lives.
I am juggling my calendar and clearing out the first two weeks of July, preparing for another stint as nanny, chief cook and bottle washer, and general overseer of chaos. This is a process in its own right--that of facilitating the lives of a young family as they welcome a new member, shuffle the pecking order, and establish a new dynamic.
The New Merriam-Webster Dictionary says a process is "a natural phenomenon marked by gradual changes that lead toward a particular result." They pretty well got that one right, whether you are talking about the process of physical birth or the process of adaptation and adjustment that follows.
In the next couple weeks, another natural phenomenon will occur, and Baby Zoomba will take his rightful place among us. I will be blessed nearly to the point of overwhelmed by the perspective I will have from being right there in the middle of it all.
At some point, the baby's Uncle Teebo will appear on the scene to give us his assessment of the whole thing. "Well," he will say with the deliberate drawl so characteristic of his speech. "That's quite a boy."
Quite a boy, indeed. We are ready for you, Zoomba. Let the process commence.