Chapter 5 1989 - She Drives Me Crazy

“She drives me crazy!” I complained, as he watched Chrissy run in the yard. “That girl has no fear, it seems!”

It had been nearly a year since Chrissy’s cast had come off, and the injury, at least to her, was a distant memory, as the emergency room nurse had predicted. But I’s nerves, as he continued to watch her, we’re always on edge, fearful of yet another injury, or worse.

“I can’t help being concerned for her, it’s all I can do to keep up, to catch her when she falls, to nurse a scrape. Can’t she just settle down once in a while?”

Despite her so-called “dangerous” activity of just being a kid, I admitted to himself that he was happy to see her happy once again. The months of caring for the break and the cast were wearing on all three of them.

“I’m just glad she’s all I have to look out for. Can you imagine having another one to watch over. It would be a madhouse.” I, was nearly out of breath as he ran to scoop her up from some imagined danger. “I’m not a young man, anymore, I’m, thirty-five years old, and it’s nearly all I can do to keep up!”

Angela, strangely silent though I’s complaints, slowly began to turn a bit red, and a guilty look crossed quickly over her face. I failed to pick up on it, but Angela began. “Uh, I…” them trailed off.

I cast her a quick glance, then refocused his attention upon Chrissy. “What is it?” he asked distractedly.

“About being able to keep up,” she said. “You might want to think about taking better care of yourself, eating right, maybe exercising regularly. It will help…” She trailed off again.

“Fitness! It’s overrated. I’m doing fine. Sure, I’ve put on a few pounds. What, maybe twenty from where I was back when we got married, but I’m still fit as a fiddle. I can keep up with her. She’s not going to wear me out just yet.”

“I think you’re going to need it when the next one comes along.” Angela sneaked it into the conversation.

“Next one? And when will that be?” I eyed her suspiciously.

“Remember when I went to the doctor the other day? Well, it wasn’t just an upset stomach I had. I found out that I’m six weeks pregnant. We’re going to have another early next year.”

I sputtered, “Another? We’ve got a handful right here!”

Angela’s countenance was crestfallen. She thought I would be as excited as she was. “I thought you’d be happy”

“Oh, I am! It was a bit unexpected. We hadn’t even talked about another one just yet.” I tried to look a little bit more excited.

“You’re the one who is saying how ‘old’ you’re getting. Well, I’m not pushing middle age just yet, but now that I’m in my thirties, it’s a good time to get ready for a playmate for Chrissy. Maybe that will take some of the effort off of you.” Angela’s attempt at a reward for I took a bit of edge off the surprise announcement.

“Of course, of course, I’m delighted, ecstatic, overwhelmed with emotion.” I wasn't making this any easier on Angela. Again, the crestfallen look. I moved to her side.

“I don’t know what I was thinking, allowing myself to get pregnant.” Angela cried. “I thought you would welcome the news.”

“It’s not that I don’t welcome it. I’m just surprised we didn’t talk about it before hand. We’ve always shared important decisions like this. I didn’t even know you stopped taking the pill.”

Angela sat silent.

I continued, “Of course I’m happy. I just wasn’t prepared for the news. See, I’m smiling now.” He put on a big grin. If not quite sincere, he did show a lot of teeth. “Does that make you feel better?”

Angela wasn’t totally convinced of I’s conviction of acceptance to becoming a father for the second time, but she laughed at the silliness of it all. I had begun to overcome her doubt.

“Have you told your parents yet?” he asked.

“No, besides the doctor and now you, no one else knows.”

“Then let’s get on the phone, spread the good news!” I’s enthusiasm began to thaw Angela’s pain of betrayal at I’s initial reaction.

“I’m happy, I’m really happy,” I explained. “It just took me a minute to get over the shock. Maybe we’ll have a boy! A son! A son!” I’s turn of mood came as a bit of shock to Angela.

“You’re truly happy?” She still had her doubts.

“Yes, it’s the right time. I should never have doubted you. We are going to be parents again. And my parents, and I’m sure yours, will be delighted as ever to the prospect of another grandchild to spoil. Let’s the bells ring out! There’s a boy child comin’. He’s gonna be a son-of-a-gun.”

Angela laughed, “There’s no guarantee it’s going to be a boy. Don’t set yourself up for disappointment,” she warned.

“Oh, I know it, deep down in my heart. I’m going to be a Dad!”

“You already are a ‘dad’,” indicating Chrissy. “Or have you forgotten?”

“To Chrissy, I’m a ‘daddy’,” I explained, “and no matter how old she gets, I’ll be her ‘daddy’ and she’ll be my little girl. But a boy changes everything. To a boy, I’ll be ‘Dad’ and we’ll play baseball and football and soccer and basketball and fish and camp and hike and do ‘guy’ stuff!”

“You don’t do any of that now, while all of a sudden all this enthusiasm towards the outdoor life?”

“Like you said, I’m going to have to get in shape to keep up with my little quarterback! Gotta get me some weights, a rowing machine. Heck, I’ll set up a whole gym in one of the garages. We don’t use the space for anything else. It will do the both of us good!”

Angela thought I was going a little too overboard in his new-found enthusiasm, but if it helped to tempter the shock of the moment, then all was good.

Five months later, Angela was visibly pregnant, and the biggest surprise of the past months was the discovery that she was going to have twins. I was even more ecstatic upon the discovery. “Two boys? Even better! We’ll be able to have our own team! Just imagine one behind the plate, another on the mound, and me swinging away, hitting those home runs!”

“Just because there are two of them, there’s still no guarantee that they’ll be boys. There’s just as much possibility that it’ll be two girls. How will your team shake out then?” Angela laughed.

“Boys. Girls. I doesn’t matter. It’s the team. It’s always been about the team.” I’s exercising regimen seemed to have released some sort of chemical and gotten him all worked up. He spent nearly every afternoon working out in the gym his father helped him build, and a decidedly enhanced physique made Angela look at him a little closer than she had in the past.

“My big strong man is happy to be a papa,” she cooed in baby talk. “Your ‘team’ will be here soon enough.” As if on cue, one of the babies kicked her and her reaction was a quick “Oh!”

“See, a football player if I ever saw one! Gonna kick from one end of the field trough the goalposts on the other. You just wait and see!” I drifted off in his imagination.

Angela considered what it was going to be like with five instead of two. Would she be able to keep up? How was she going to take on the extra burden of two little babies?

“I’m going to have to spend some time in your gym myself,” she told I. “Not only am I going to have to drop this baby weight, but I’m going to need extra stamina when the twins arrive.”

“Is it safe?” I was concerned. “What does the doctor say about that?”

“There are a number of exercises that will be good for me and the babies. You won’t see met out there playing tackle football, or throwing hoops, but some simple walking on the treadmill will go a long way to get me fit as well.”

“Then let’s do it together! We’ll share the whole experience.” I was true to his word, and worked out with Angela daily.

I’s thirty-sixth birthday arrived without a lot of fanfare in the Mall household. Almost forgotten were the I-Day celebrations of old. I, a bit self-conscious about their origin, persuaded some of his acquaintances within the political machine to take a second look at the fifties-era holiday and in the twenty-some years since the last major public celebration, it had become merely a footnote in history, not even being printed on calendars anymore. I was fine with that outcome, in fact, few even really remembered those celebrations in the fifties, which began to wane in the mid-sixties, only to resurface slightly during Golden Fingers’ heyday. But now with the lore associated with the holiday draped in historical cover cloths, the real celebration could now focus on the other birthday in the house: Chrissy’s fourth.

A big party was planned, and a number of children were treated to clowns, animals to ride, amusement park rides, balloons and many colorful decorations.

“This is going to be a big celebration,” I predicted, “because by this time next year, the twins will be here, and Chrissy may feel like a second-class citizen. We can’t let her think she’s not that sweet child that’s been the apple of my eye all these years.”

I ran with the children as if he was one of them. His new fitness quest had allowed him able to keep up with the children, and he knew he was ready for the adding of two more to the mix in the next year.

Chrissy ran up to him and gave him a big hug. “Daddy, this is the best party ever!” A better birthday present for him was not to be had. “She may drive me crazy, sometimes, but she’ll always be my little girl” he mused contentedly.