Friday, August 5, 2016


It all started with a trip. A short trip across the city. And a meal I was transporting for a struggling family. I had their address on my phone. I was parked a few houses away. But I couldn't get out. I was stuck in the car. Their food getting cold next to me; my family waiting to start dinner when I returned home. But I couldn't move. My hands shook. I took a deep breath, gathered up the food, and exited the car.

What's the big deal? I want to be the type of person who helps other people. And yet when faced with others' tragedies and struggles I most often find myself wordless, worthless--a stone statue. Beyond that, after Berkeley was born I could no longer handle the imagery, even made up imagery of movies, of little children being hurt. It sinks me. I flinch at the thought. And this house? This house had the real deal inside. Inside was a little girl struggling to keep her life. Inside was a family struggling to make sense of it. And outside was me standing at their door with a bunch of plastic containers filled with food and stuffed into a brown paper bag.

After I knocked and they answered I stepped into their entryway. The mother and father were there. They expressed their gratitude. I managed to explain the intricacies of the meal, what was to be mixed with what and what was to be reheated and what was to be eaten at room temperature. It was a normal home by all appearances; even though the closed curtains made me feel somber, nothing was actually out of the ordinary. Then the two boys showed up. They chased each other around and stopped for a second to say hi. It was nothing; just another person bringing them dinner. Except had I seen her I would have had to sit down on their steps. I would have had to collect myself. I would have had to cry in front of near strangers. This is how I would have helped them? Bring them food and cry on their stoop, accepting their comfort?

She never made an appearance and I left. I sat in my car again. This time I cried. I cried for their pain. I cried for their resilience. I cried for hope. On the drive back I knew what I had to do when I got home. There is so much unrequested and unmitigated pain in this world. Why even add the smallest amounts? Why not let people be happy and get the things they want? The exact thing they want? Especially when she is the most important person in the world to you? All these thoughts fell into a funnel and that funnel lead to one place. I couldn't tell you why this was the place, why at the bottom of this funnel was a hole that lead straight to a decision I'd barely thought about since Wren's birth.

So I opened my front door, went to Robyn, and when she asked how the drop off went I told her if she still wanted a third child then we should have a third child. This was maybe eight months ago. Fast forward to a few days ago and we acquired this picture I affectionately call "The Shrimp":

Some version of this story is what I try to tell people when they ask how I went from only wanting one child to Robyn being pregnant with our third. I don't know if it makes any sense. But somehow it feels like something in my heart has been healed even though it never felt exactly broken. I hope we can do right by this one along with the other two.

Due Date: 2/12/2017
Gender: Unknown


Lynn said...

I love you all so much, Shawn! There's no way you cannot, "do right by this one along with the other two." You guys are such an example to love, caring, and parenting. You have blessed my life in beyond measure.

Mindy said...

I've never met you, but I know your lovely wife!
You seem to be a good human.
I'm a fan.
You make great kids and have an amazing woman attached to you.
You rock.
Keep on doing YOU, and this third baby will be as awesome as the first two!!!!
Best wishes, and congrats, to the whole family!!!