Essays, Poetry, Observations, Etc.

A Matter of Conception

In change, life, love, memories, parenting on March 12, 2013 at 11:58 am

(This is a cross post with my blog I am writing for my daughter when she is older and might be interested in stories from dad. I may have even told her some of these, or slightly different, bowdlerized versions. Regardless, it is a story that may (or may not) deserve a wider, albeit limited, audience! lol))

The following comes under the category of things you probably never wanted to find out about your parents. If finding out that they are human and that they, at one time very much enjoyed each other’s company, then you should stop right now and do something else… anything else. Otherwise, if you feel comfortable treading into an area where most children dare not tread, then read on.

Many years ago, back in the dark ages when your mother and I married each other, I was very much in love. I had decided that, come what may, I was going to marry Kathryn and hold true to my vows till one or the other of us shuffled off from this mortal coil. There were many things that we did not discuss going into our marriage, children was one of them and our topic today.

At some point after our marriage settled down to our ongoing routine, the topic of children came up. I wasn’t particularly concerned about the subject. I have five brothers, younger brothers, and I was operating under the assumption that one or more of them were eventually going to have children and the family name and our family lineage would carry on. I didn’t mention this to my wife, at first. Hope does indeed spring eternal and the thought of having a child of our own did appeal to me on so many levels.

However, Kathryn evidently had issues with her mother. She told me that she and her mother did not get along, that her mother was not a very good role model, and that she didn’t think she would be a very good mother. Simply put, your mother decided that she was quite happy not having children.

I, on the other hand, was somewhat disappointed, but I could accept her decision. I had married her for better or worse and, children or no children, I loved her and could not imagine life without her.

Flash forward 15 years.

One day, Kathryn and I were watching TV and somehow the subject of children came up. She said, and I’ll never forget it, “it’s a shame we never had children.”

To say that I was surprised and a bit startled by her admission would be putting it mildly.

I looked neither left nor right, but kept my eyes on the TV and replied, “oh,” while biting my tongue. This was a moment that might not come again, I wasn’t going to blow it. I wasn’t going to say something flippant about her decision years ago, although the thought did cross my mind.

“We still could,” I calmly replied.

We discussed the possibility and what it would mean to our lives. The most important aspect was her health and our age. She was 42 and there were risks. I don’t think we ever actually decided together that we were going to do this. However, the day came when she announced that she was no longer on the pill.

In the coming months we made love, but now we were conscious of her periods and what that meant to her fertility. It seemed as if our love making had taken on a new thrill. There was an air of hope with each coupling.

There came a day, a glorious day. It was one of those days in January that are called Chamber of Commerce days. The air was crisp and dry. The temperature was cool and moderate. The day incredibly sunny and beautiful. We slept late, had gotten something to eat, and then, quite unexpectedly, we decided to make love.

Now you must understand that while I was always ready to go, being, of course, a typical male, your mother did things according to her own schedule. This usually meant that there were chores to do on Saturday and on Sunday afternoon. This usually left Sunday morning and occasionally Sunday evening for our “spontaneous” trysts. So, believe me when I say, an afternoon romp was an unexpected delight!

More so than usual, she was in the mood to enjoy it. And I threw myself into the activity with élan and excitement. The sun was streaming in through the windows and it seemed that all was right with the world. My timing and her timing seemed to mesh perfectly. And when things had hit their crescendo, there was something about the moment, something about her reaction and my gut feeling that told me this was the moment, this one “transaction” was the one we had been looking for.

The date was January 10, 1998. I wasn’t paying all that close attention to the time, but I knew that the deed had been done between 1:30 and 1:45 PM. A couple of weeks later she went to the doctor because she was “feeling different.” A few days after that she got the news.

She was pregnant.

She called and let me know. To say that I was excited and overjoyed at the news would be putting it mildly. It was another beautiful, mild winter day here in Houston. I literally ran down the middle of the street telling any of my neighbors who were outside the good news!

At some point during her pregnancy I read about a study that had been done in Sweden. The researchers had crunched about 20 or 30 years of birthdays and compared them with personality types and other information gathered from medical files in an attempt to debunk astrology. According to their analysis, there was no connection between when a person was born and their personality type. Where the planets and the stars were and how they were aligned when a person was born didn’t seem to make any difference. However, in one of those interesting twists, someone programmed the computer to back track to the time of conception and, lo and behold, there did seem to be a connection between where the heavenly bodies were, particularly the sun and the moon, and personality. Since this effect had been previously noted in some mammals, it wasn’t considered that unusual.

Now, I mention this because after I read the article I went to my computer and found my astronomy/planetarium program. It was a small but efficient program that allowed me to find the planets in the sky at any particular longitude and latitude on any particular day. I plugged in the date and the time of conception and what I found rocked my little world.

On the day in question, at the time of conception, the sun was high in the sky… and all eight of the then planets were in the sky. That’s right, all of them, including Pluto, were in the sky, even if they weren’t visible in the daylight. The only large body that was not in the sky was the moon and it was full and on the back side of the planet at the time.

Our daughter is bright, sunny and at the same time seems to be imbued personality traits that run the gamut, but a very good gamut. She is a sun child. And like the hidden moon during her conception, she has a dark side that comes out in her stories and poetry. If there is anything to that Swedish study, there seems to be proof of it in my daughter.

I feel incredibly lucky and blessed to know when my daughter was conceived. The act that created her was, even though I didn’t know it was her conception at the time, the single best and most exciting and fulfilling coupling with her mother that I can remember.

She was created with joy and hope, with deliberateness and exultation, and at a time when all of heaven seemed to come together, when even the planets seem to be on notice and alert for the moment.

There are moments when the universe changes. There are moments when things happen that change lives and shifts the course of seemingly placid existence.

On that day in January, at that time, was one of those moments.

And in that moment, you, Elizabeth, came into being with a vengeance.

And nothing will ever be the same again.

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