10 July 2008

Future nephew (maybe niece)

Here comes a quick personal update. I don’t drop too much information about my family life here, which I know a few of them occasionally resent (“Why didn’t write anything about so-and-so’s anniversary on your blog?”). That isn’t the purpose I envisioned for this blog when I started it. I had no wish to make it a daily-diary recounting of events for a small audience. I still have a small audience, but I hope that most of what I write will also interest people who have no idea who I am.

When I do drop in data my personal life, it usually concerns the more “impersonal-personal” events, such as sights and events on a trip, or a dancing performance, those types of things.

But… well, I’m about to become an uncle for the first time, so you will excuse me if I crow about that a bit.

My younger sister Colleen Martin (I’m still not used to that new last name) and her husband Armin are due to become parents this week. My sister’s due-date is the fourteenth, so we are currently in the any-time-soon mode. My sister lives in Munich, so I’m a long way from the event, but my mother flew out there on Saturday to be with her when the Big ‘Un comes. My mother is a childbirth educator with decades of experience, so I couldn’t imagine a better support for my sister. I know she’s thrilled to have Mom around. Mom hsd been sending out daily e-mails to everyone she knows about their progress, but you can feel the tension beneath it all—would it please just happen already!

It’s strange for me, thousands of miles away, across the ocean, in the New World where we don’t expect to see grown men wearing Bavarian lederhosen while riding public transportation, to have to wait to become an uncle. There’s a distance and unreality to the event that I had not expected. I’ve lived close to my sister for most of my life, and now that the biggest moment in her life is here, we are nowhere near each other. It almost feels as if it isn’t happening. I’ve only seen my sister twice since she announced her pregnancy, and the first time she wasn’t even showing. I’ll have few memories of her during her pregnancy, so it will seem as if this baby will appear from nowhere. I won’t even get to see my niece/nephew until September, and I won’t be around much for the formative growing years, only for holidays.

If you think this bothers me, think of how my mother feels about it. Getting grandkids is a major focus of her life, and now that the first is arriving, she won’t get to be around him/her that much. At least she’ll be there for the birth, which isn’t something that I, my brother, or my father will be able to say.

By the way, although I’ve hedged on the baby’s gender in my above description, I think it’s a boy. This comes from some subtle indications from Colleen and Armin that they know more than they let on. They wanted to keep the baby’s gender a surprise from the beginning, but apparently one of their doctors let something slip. So I’m expecting a boy. They have the name “Diego” in mind, but I suggested an outrageous Germanic name, like “Rheinhardt” or “Horst.” I’ve been referring to the baby-to-be as “Horst” for the last few months, just in case Colleen and Armin want to take up that challenge. I originally suggested they name the baby “Dean” in honor of my father, but really because I couldn’t imagine passing up a chance to have a nephew named “Dean Martin.” They turned me down, so I suggested “Steve” and Colleen had to punch me.

Final note, and then I’ll go back to impersonality: When I have a child, I will want to know its gender before it is born. I don’t like the idea that my doctor knows something important but hides it from me. If you know a key biological fact about my progeny, you are damn well going to tell it to me!