Feeling HANK III
(In purely “the feels” sense of the word of course; nothing untowards, must clarify).
Apologies for the taciturnity face the last couple of weeks; have been working like a clock all over the show to hustle the funding to book into the next adventure. I have a list of topics to yarn on about but right here and now, we need a little injection of the most magical thing I have ever come across.
Not Botox (though with a few pals catapulting onto that Eurostar – gettit; train? – I have to say the idea is a-peel-ing). No. The most magical, delicious, beautiful and simply spellbinding thing I have ever come across?
Now, I am not talking about the father Henio. Nor the grandfather, the one and only Opa. (Although they are beautiful, yada yada yada, in their own rights). I am talking about Hank III. Yes, the third. The first offspring from the generational line in my fam on either side.
You see, earlier this year, about Jan 4 or 5, the joyously somewhat surprising news came that the brother Michael and his lass Rachel were “expecting”. (I don’t really gel well with that term I mean, “expecting”? You can be expecting so many things! A parcel. An alarm to go off. A person to act a certain way. A call from a significant other. But when people do the whole, “We’re expecting” my first reaction is to reply with a, “What?”). (For the record, I didn’t find out with M&R using that phrase. I had a, “Guess who’s going to be Aunty Poppy?” on the cellular device).
I jet setted off when Rachel had a small-ish bump protruding out slightly. Whilst in a few countries I purchased a few presents; a Dutch bib here, a Woody suit from Barcelona there, a green t-shirt from Dublin and a set of Irish booties “tere”. But it was like an idea, a fictional notion. And when I go back in July, there was suddenly a decent sized boulder attached to Rachel’s front and it suddenly became real.
I’m not one to get all fawny over babies. Yes, there’s the whole, “Oh he’s so cute!” thing, but that whole heart-strings-tugged-I-want-one has never ever occurred to my own self. But the excitement in awaiting Hank III’s presence was the most anticipatingly impatient I have ever been in my life. The due date of August 10 came and went, and I was in a constant jumpy state whenever my cellular vibrated with a txt or the phone sung out.
Saturday morning, August 20: the home phone rung with the brother Michael on the blower asking for Deb’s presence. Rachel had started getting contractions, he sez, and he needed to get to Countdown quick smart. “I need paracetamol,” he said. “For who?” we queried. “Rachel,” he replied in a duh-type tone. (I refrained from my urge to comment that I think she would be shit out of luck on the Panadol pain relief front with the undertaking she was about to, well, undertake). So I took off to work knowing that Hank III was making his way south.
An aside that is actually not an aside, but totally relevant; the brother Michael and the TBSIL (to-be-sis-in-law) Rachel had decided on the whole “let’s keep it as a surprise what gender it is” front. Which I found extremely difficult. All begs and pleads for me to know the forthcoming offspring’s sex so I could buy the relevant attire while gallivanting the other side of the globe was met with a (stern and very adamant) NO. So although the past few months I have constantly been referring to the to-come tyke as “Hank”, I didn’t actually know if it was to be a boy. Nor that it (well, him now I guess) was actually going to be called Hank.
So I had the austere ask to Deb to make sure she gave me a bell as soon as the baby was born. To hustle me a ring on the work phone and let me know if Hanky had popped his head out. Every time the phone rang I was in an intense state of high alert, eyeing the caller ID if I was first to the front or to gage the actions of the other to pick up from the cradle (the phone, not baby, though such use of the term may have been confusing in such context) should I not be initial on the scene. It was a busy Saturday evening, us all rushing around pouring beers and taking orders, but suddenly the phone rung and I just knew. I was on the other side of the room at the time, what felt like miles away from the thing, but I launched at it like Eliza McCartney and caught the “4623” ending of the number just before I whipped it to my ear.
“Hello?” I questioned, a quiver of expectancy (see? That word again). (And ok a slight lie there; I actually said, “Hello! Onyx-café-and-bar-Poppy-speaking”, but same gist).
Deb’s voice burbled down the line. “It’s a BOY!” she rejoiced. “Michael just rung me. He was born five minutes ago, at 6.55pm.”
Well. Even if I had tried to play the poker and keep the news to myself, I doubt I could’ve masked the absolute elation that overtook my whole demeanour. “OHMYGOOOODDDDDDDD,” I screeched, as I burst into tears. “It’s a BOY!!!!!”
(Afterwards cursed myself a teeny bit. You see – beware, this is slightly confusing – Rachel’s cousin is the head chef at work’s wife. And being her side of the fam, I had entertained the notion that perhaps I should keep my mouth shut upon Hank’s arrival so that Rach had the chance to tell her cousin first. But as soon as I found out I looked at him and pretty much yelled the news, thus doing dynamite to my whole discreet-demeanour ideals). (Let’s face it – it was never going to happen. Me? Keep such excitement to myself? I was far too prematurely – so many maternity terms embedded in here – joshing myself). (And I think when I shared the news with one of my more uproarious tables and they insisted on doing a hearty cheers to Hank, their gusto would’ve brought on questions as to why the jubilation as well).
So although Henio (father, not the new arrival) did tell me the visiting hours at the old birthing centre were a strict 10am-8pm (with a cap-titled, “PLEASE DO NOT OPEN THIS SLIDING DOOR AFTER 8PM” at the visitor’s entrance) as soon as I finished work (with the lovely Katie telling me to take off at a mere 9.30pm) I picked up the brother James and his lass Alisha from the 21st they were at and we roared off to Hamilton. (Delayed slightly by a frantic dash into Countdown at 9.56pm to obtain a newspaper of the day young Hank III was born and a few blocks of chocolate for the new parentals). (And the pulling over to be breath tested by a random copper on the back roads. “We’re actually off to hospital to meet our nephew who has just been born,” I sez to the officer shoving the straw-thing in my face – that being the breathalyser, not some innuendo for his lad, I must clarify. I was mighty peeved he pulled us over, but his well wishes on the baby and mother’s health after my dignified declaration redeemed his hold-uppance).
And there was Hendrik Kane Wortman, in all his brand new glory. (Not actually officially named as then, I must admit. But he was baby Hank in my eyes).
I was totally insane about him from the get go.
Seriously. Let’s face it; most new borns are pretty ugly. All sort of goblinish or gnarled or alien looking upon first popping out. (Well, more like pushed-and-heaved out, I guess. After giving Hank III a fairly fair spell of ooh-ing and ahh-ing I turned to Rachel to hear some gruesome and grisly narratives on the whole pushing-a-bowling-ball-out-of-a-beer-top situation, but I was disappointingly given only a, “I don’t really remember. It did hurt, but not that bad”). But Hank III was beautiful. Seriously. Like a little olive-skinned (how on earth did he pick up a tan in that incubation?) (and why is it “olive” as the word? I mean, the term describes someone with a handsome hued skin of the tannish variety, and olives are black and green. How silly), ski-jumped nosed, bundle of pure beauty. Perfectly formed little fingers and toes, delicate little eyelashes, a fair smattering of hair on his flawless wee head; Hank III was – and is still, two days on – rightness and faultlessness and perfect precision in an 8 pound, 10 ounces being. (Although I despise clichés and overworked phrases and go my best to go the way around using them – so much so that my alternatives are often completely ridiculous – I must confess that “bundle of joy” truly does sum this cute little creature up entirely).
As I have said, while on this spell at home this blog is turning to tales of getting well and to a state of wellness. I’ve said about how I will explore avenues and try treatments and all that sort of tosh. But I know already that nothing I do will bring me anywhere near as much contentment nor calm nor feeling euphoric as the sense I, well, sensed when holding that little lad for the first time.
Precious personified. Welcome to this crazy world, little Hendrik. You and Aunty Pop are going to have a gale of a time.
(And congrats new mother Rachel and dotting daddy Michael. And thank you for bringing this completely exquisite creature into my life).