One could readily assume, from reading this space enough, that it’s become something of a place for death. I’ve contemplated my youngest sister’s death here; hell, I’ve contemplated my own death. It’s decidedly not that, to be sure, and this past week showed me something.
Yes, I missed Friday’s installment before Auburn. The reasons for this are twofold: (1) I knew I wasn’t going to be able to watch the game, insofar as I’d be traveling while the proceedings unfolded, and so didn’t feel that strongly one way or the other about it; and (2) I tend to write my Friday column over the course of the week. Sometimes I’ll sit down and blast out 1,000 words in one pop if I’m feeling particularly deeply about an issue in my life or ours. This week that just didn’t happen. Not one or not several things moved me up or down or forward or backward, and sometimes that’s for the best. Perhaps I was too strained from Steve’s book.
About Steve’s book, for a minute. I think part two of the review series was exponentially meaner than part one, which itself was quite mean. I still intend to hold his feet to the fire in this series, but I’ll do so with a bit more nuance and direct engagement of what he’s written. I think that’s more fair, anyway. Not that he commands any angelic calls for fairness, because fuck him.
Let me back up, because this column, Sunday evening around 6 p.m. ET, really begins last Saturday morning around 8 a.m. My dad sent me a rather cryptic text regarding my sister, who was approaching something like five days out from her expected due date for her first kid. He said something like “contractions beginning, we’re heading down.” Um, dad? “Heading down” in this case meaning that he and my mom were driving down to Valdosta, Ga., to be with my sister and brother-in-law as they went through the life event that is their first childbirth.
The hospital sent Sarah home in the morning to get some rest. I copy edit for SB Nation dot com 9-5 on Saturdays, so I was a bit of a mess. “Should I leave too? Who’s going to cover this shift? We’re at the height of a college football Saturday, after all.” Don’t worry, dad said, things are too chaotic and in-flux for you to do anything whatsoever. Stay put and wait. Okay.
So I finished my CE shift, lay down for a quick nap, and woke up to another text message from dad. “Water just broke.” Um, dad? Again, he reassured me there was little-to-nothing I could do from Charleston, so he told me to wait. In fact, it’d probably be better if I waited to come down to see them after they’d gotten out of the hospital and back home. Okay.
Thing is, I came over to Cutty’s to announce the news to my friends, and then SARAH FACETIMED ME. She’s sitting there at some down moment in her labor and she decides to FaceTime me. She’s in high spirits! Good drugs! Go Sarah! The Alabama game is about to start and they have it on in the delivery room, because Shawn’s a high school football coach and they can punctuate their lives like that. They certainly should, because they deserve to.
Bellamy Elizabeth was born on Sunday, Oct. 1 at 11 a.m. ET. “Shot out of a cannon,” according to Sarah. Sarah wrestled with her daughter for 18 hours or so, a window which straddled the 66-3 slaughter that Bama laid down on Ole Miss. Apparently, sometime around halftime, the pain became too much for Sarah and she screamed for an epidural. This is SEC football, after all, and things can hurt you bad.
Mom, dad, and baby are all fine and as happy as to be expected after just seven days of parenthood. Bellamy doesn’t like to sleep, but she does like to shit a lot.
As I said, I didn’t watch the Auburn game. In Bellamy’s brief lifespan, Ole Miss has lost 110-26 to two teams that just three years ago it was whipping the hell out of. My how things change.
So this space isn’t about death. It’s about life, and this week it’s about birth. About a beautiful, helpless, tiny human that shares one half of my genetic code. About a new light brought into the close-knit community that is Valdosta. About a football baby, in every sense of the phrase. About a glorious little addition to my sibling family not three years after we lost one of our own. “We’re three again,” Sarah kept saying over the weekend, and that’s a really profound statement. Something that even now brings tears to my eyes. I love you, Sarah.