Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Home for Christmas

Walker: Four years ago, when Dana and I decided to live together, we looked for a house that we could - over time, labor, and love - call home. The difference between the words “house” and “home” is immeasurable, and yesterday the vastness between them was as though the words are from different languages.

On Christmas morning we woke up in the hospital, and we immediately asked the nurse what time we could leave. The nurse explained that she would call the doctor after she monitored the Deuce. By 8:30 a.m. we were antsy to leave, but we had not received the “order” from the doctor that Dana could go. Finally, the nurse came in with the news: The doctor granted Dana an 8-hour pass.

We raced home.

Upon opening our door, the dogs greeted us with tails waging and gratuitous kisses. Dana was in doggie-heaven, lying on our bed with Chili Bean and Sedro giving her much-deserved canine attention. Meanwhile, I was in Dana-heaven. Our house just isn't the same without her around. After she played with the dogs a while, I took her on a brief tour of Twin Town, the Deuce’s room. She inspected my handiwork on the crib (which I assembled in less than two hours thank you very much), and she gave me a list of things that still needed to be done.

After the Twin Town tour, we sat down in our family room to enjoy a relaxing Christmas day together on the couch. Chili Bean and I entertained Dana by trying on my new Baby Bjorn (thanks VST volunteers!). After the fashion show, I made Dana a yummy egg & cheese casserole from a recipe courtesy of Jodi Arnold (thanks Jodi!). We opened gifts over breakfast. Dana gave me a pair of knee high rubber boots for muddy dog park trips and future puddle stomping adventures with the Deuce. I gave her the Post Secret books and a gift card for a much deserved shopping trip after the Deuce arrives. We gave the Deuce a cozy double-wide rocking chair for storytime in Twin Town.

After we opened presents, Dana and I caught up on one of our favorite shows, Top Chef, which inspired me to start prepping for our dinner guests. Our friends Obie and Laura came over in the afternoon for some Christmas cheer and my favorite lasagna, made with homemade noodles and without meat because Laura is a veggie. The lasagna was a success: everyone loved it and there are tons of leftovers. We ended the night with a raucous game of Scrabble, that Laura won fair and square (grrrr!) By the end of the game it was 8:00 p.m. We'd stretched our 8-hour pass to almost 12 hours, and it was time for us to head back to the hospital.

After Laura and Obie left, we packed some clothes for Dana, put the dogs to bed, and turned off the lights on our Christmas tree. We slowly made our way out to the street, and I helped Dana into the truck. Sitting in the front seats, we looked at one another. Going back to the hospital was the last thing either of us wanted to do. Back at the hospital, we watched "Moulin Rouge," a movie that figures prominently in the story of how we became a couple (All you need is Love!) to cheer ourselves up. I left around midnight after tucking Dana into bed.

On my drive back, I felt both thankful and sad. We have so much to be thankful for - the Deuce is healthy, we have a large and wonderful family, and we know in our hearts that 2007 is going to be an incredible year. Many women in the hospital did not receive a pass yesterday, and we are thankful that we were able to spend the day together at home. We have close family members who are overseas right now and were not able to spend the day with their family and loved ones. So when we put everything into perspective, we know that we're extremely fortunate, and for this, we're thankful.

Still, even though we're thankful, we're human, and we can't help but think of possibilities, the way that things could be. And we miss each other. We're in the final month of Dana's pregnancy, and it is emotional time for our family; it feels unnatural to spend so much of that time away from our home.

As I drove up to our darkened house last night - the difference between "house" and "home" was in stark relief. I can't wait for it to feel like home again. Soon enough, soon enough.

Posted by Walker Lockhart @ 10:57 AM