Samantha Jane

Voice Card  -  Volume 23  -  John Card Number 1  -  Sun, Feb 2, 1992 1:55 PM

You may now call me "Uncle John." On the day after Christmas, at 2:59 AM, my sister gave birth to a seven pound four ounce daughter: Samantha Jane.

The timing could not have been better. We had just finished a massive Christmas banquet: the food devoured, the packages opened, and the busy house at rest for the first time in weeks. It was only then that my sister and her husband Jim casually donned their parkas and announced that now might be a nice time to visit the hospital.

My mother immediately began to pace. Every hour she called the hospital and every hour Jim assured her that everything was fine and there was no need for us to come down. Finally, at about two in the morning, she could stand it no longer, and she and Dad and Betsy and I all piled in the car and drove down into Boise.

We did not have to wait for long. After several tense minutes full of nurses dashing in and out of the delivery room, Jim finally appeared with a grin that lit up the place. He made my mother wait a few more tantalizing seconds before revealing that it was a... GIRL: Samantha Jane.

After a bleary-eyed breakfast in the cafeteria we were all allowed to file in and see the little tyke. Jim was still beaming and my sister was tired, happy, and a little confused. "OK, I've done it," she seemed to say, "but NOW what do I do?"

The whole business seemed very odd to me, a bit unreal. Coming as it did on the very heels of Christmas, I couldn't quite shake the notion that Samantha was some kind of unusual Christmas present, a high-tech doll maybe, or a porcelain figurine to be fussed over and then placed on the mantle. When mother and daughter returned to their home a few days later, there was only a subtle increase in the population. Occasionally, when she made a muffled noise or tiny movement, I would look up and remember: "Oh yeah, there's a new person in the house. How very strange!"

It was, to say the least, an interesting demonstration for Betsy and I. Neither one of us is ready to have children yet, but there is a general agreement between us that someday, maybe in four or five years, we just might give it a try. But what a scary thing it is!

The birth itself is bad enough - like making an appointment with the dentist for a root canal and then having nine months to think about it. The inevitable pain would become a sword of Damocles trembling just above my poor Betsy's head. But then, if you're lucky, the child is born, healthy and... insatiable! At this point there is no going back. Your life is turned inside out and upside down forever. Forever. Now THAT is scary.

So anyway, I'm now an uncle. Life continues to unfold all around me with the momentum of a billion-year-old river: frightening, exciting, mysterious, strange, and at times even kind of cute. Welcome aboard, Samantha!