ramona is nearly ten months old & i have no idea if all of her birth announcements have been mailed.
this is not my fault. i’m a super-planner, & even during that last stretch of pregnancy, while i was in the hospital hooked up to continuous fetal monitoring & a magnesium drip, i was making lists of all the gifts we received, who gave them to us, & their mailing addresses so we could send thank you notes & birth announcements when the time came. i had everything written up in a carefully alphabetized word file. it even included the circumstances of the gifting: baby shower, just something we got in the mail, etc. i showed it to jared so he knew it existed & i even divided the list up into people that are closer to me & people that are closer to him, in the event that we might want to send more personalized notes. obviously he should be the one writing to, say, his aunt that i’ve never met, while i would handle correspondence with my siblings.
after ramona was born, one of the first things i did was pick out a birth announcement template i liked & i made a mock-up of what ramona’s announcement might look like. i showed it to jared & he said, “or i could just make one.”
“that’s a cool idea,” i said, “but do you really think you’ll have time? i mean, we’re driving back & forth to the NICU in kansas city everyday & you still have schoolwork you’re trying to do, plus all the extra housework around here that i can’t do while i’m recovering from the surgery.”
“yeah, i can do it. it’ll take like fifteen minutes,” he said.
i have enough experience with well-intentioned creative projects to know that it would probably take more than fifteen minutes. & that it probably wouldn’t get done at all. i mean, before ramona was born, i had this idea that maybe i’d make handmade birth announcements with lace edges & photo corners & embossing. it took me no time at all to realize that was totally unrealistic. jared was just planning to do something with a photo editing program, but i was still pretty dubious.
& sure enough, it took him several weeks to put the birth announcement together. even though i asked him about it at least twice a day. & then we had to have them printed & then we had to go pick them up. & of course they wouldn’t fit into a standard-sized envelope, but were too small to look good in a business-sized envelope.
let me just state for the record that i really don’t think anyone was on pins & needles waiting for our birth announcements. i am not exactly shy about plastering all my business all over facebook, so anyone who was curious about the whole baby situation could just go look at that & get all the details they wanted & then some. i was conceiving of the birth announcements as just a nice thing to send to people who might give half a shit, & an excuse to write very simple thank you notes for the baby gifts we received. i was envisioning something along the lines of, like, “dear irene, thanks for the monkey blanket. ramona loves it. love from ciara, jared, & ramona”. nothing fancy, you know?
jared, however, had another idea. once we finally had our birth announcements in hand, along with a stack of ill-fitting envelopes that required us to carefully trim a sixteenth of an inch off each card before we placed into the envelope, we divvied up responsibility for our master list. i blazed through my assignments: “dear dani, thanks for the diaper bag.” “dear amanda, thanks for the wet bag.” etc. easy peasy. but jared’s list seemed to be moving at a crawl & eventually i realized why.
he was writing these insanely long, detailed letters to everyone. like straight up 19th-century style. that’s an awesome thing to do…if you have the time. but he was shoehorning this work into the brief periods in the middle of the night when ramona dozed in her bouncy chair & he was still awake enough to put a pen to paper. then he was going through the stack of photos we’d had printed of ramona’s first few months (yes, by this point, we were into MONTHS) of life & carefully choosing a selection of photos for each recipient–preferably something in which ramona was using whatever gift was relevant. again, a very thoughtful gesture. that is ridiculously time-consuming.
by the time ramona was about five months old, i was feeling pretty twitchy about the random birth announcements, photos, half-written letters, & half-addressed envelopes scattered all over the house. one night i asked jared if he needed any help finishing the birth announcements (i’d finished mine & mailed them months earlier). he interpreted this as me…i don’t know. mocking his time management skills or something? he got very upset, & even though i tried to clarify that i was just sincerely asking if he wanted me to, say, finish addressing the envelopes or something, from that moment on, i couldn’t even look like i was THINKING the words “birth announcement” without a fight breaking out. & eventually the stacks of half-written letters & birth announcement trimmings disappeared. but were they ever mailed? or did they just get shoved in a drawer somewhere when we re-arranged the house? probably the latter.