Heaven Is a Big Surprise

5 Mar

I often think about the days before Nate’s birth…

Back when Sunday mornings started late, involved newspapers in bed, and often finished with mimosas over the Chesapeake Bay.

Back when the only impediment to sleep was too many late-night Oreos…

Back when I wasn’t an old man, yelling grandpa things like, “Slow down, there are kids playing in this neighborhood!”

But one moment in particular stands out in retrospect.

It’s the day I got fired from my job, one month before Nate emerged unto this world.

It seemed like the worst possible thing that could have happened.

There we were… a new house… a big mortgage… massive debt… and a raft of other crap I won’t bore you with right now.

And wham. I get fired on top of it.

Then the baby arrives!

And then came his first bath… and I was there for it. I remember starting a little fire in the huge brick fireplace downstairs… In front of a roaring fire, we bathed this new baby, taking our time with each tiny limb. He still had that newborn patina to him. His skin was a pleasantly ruddy pink.

After his bath, we set him up on the couch with a little sign that read: 1 week old.

That picture now adorns Nate’s baby book.

Then there was the lad’s first crack at solid foods. Guess who had the honor of feeding it to him! This guy. And yes, we made a huge mess (also chronicled in Nate’s baby photo album).

I also had the honor of giving Nate his first bottle of formula.

How many firsts… how many blousy afternoons with nothing to occupy my thoughts but this amazing new human.

My fondest memory from that period came a few months after Nate was born, and right before I regained employment.

It was an early spring day. The air outside was cool and warm at the same time.

Melissa had gone out for the morning, and I was home alone with baby Nate.

He was napping on our bed, atop a pillow. The window of our bedroom was cracked open, letting in a stream of falling, cool-warm air.

It was pindrop quiet as I sat there and gazed at this kid.

He was wearing a little blue-striped t-shirt. It was made of terry cloth and kinda stretchy. He had these matching blue pants. I remember just looking at him and thinking, on a random Tuesday morning: “Here I am gazing at this boy. I wonder if my dad ever looked at me like this and wondered… And I wondered if HIS dad ever gazed at him… and so on going back to… when? Caveman days? Amoeba days?”

I can still see him there, snoozing away on that pillow, on Cape St. Claire.

It remains a vision of peace and perfection that may never be matched (for me, at least).

And to think, had I not been fired, I wouldn’t have experienced ANY of this!

My point is, you just never know. And often, what seems terrible now turns out to be a huge blessing later.

Which leads me to today’s song.

I call it Heaven Is a Big Surprise.

I was going to title it something else, but Dan Ostrowski convinced me otherwise. (In fact, he and I are working on a studio version of this song now, as well.)

Meanwhile, here’s the “demo” version. I hope you enjoy.

4 Responses to “Heaven Is a Big Surprise”

  1. livingstonsanchez March 6, 2018 at 4:44 am #

    Fantastic. In my world, that baby was you. šŸ™‚ In a little green get-up Mom let me pick out for your coming home, as I recall. I was old enough by then to realize the miracle Iā€™d witnessed. You have always been and always will be so precious to me. I love you and your mad skills Jaymandude šŸ’•

    • The Publisher March 6, 2018 at 7:23 pm #

      Jesus, Rosie – now I’m all misty-eyed reading this. It reminds me of so many times you extended a compassionate hand when I really REALLY needed one. Stuff that you might have forgotten but that was huge — like when my car insurance situation blew up when I was living with you, and you talked me off the ledge over lunch at Hopkins when you worked there… Or the multiple midnight orange-juice runs I requested when we crashed on the couch in Maryland when I was about four… The list goes on and on! Thanks for being there. Love you!

  2. vastcyclopeanvistas March 6, 2018 at 11:59 am #

    “Well they gave me a church, and an old saint’s name
    But all souls are meant to play that game.”
    I think that might be the top couplet you done wrote.

    • The Publisher March 6, 2018 at 7:24 pm #

      Dude – thank you for listening to this madness! I assume you heard the NOT in the line “Not all souls, honey, meant to play that game” ? Love you, brother! Hey – when do we get to see some of your recent work??

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