Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Imminent Arrival of a New Paddler

Spending some time with by brother and his very pregnant wife

Who?! What?! Where?!, - no, I'm not announcing a new paddling partner! (although, truth be told I guess I could be) Its even more special than that. Its an exciting time in not only my life, but those of my brother and sister-in-law. Its the dawn of a new age in the Lee's family as we are soon about to witness the arrival of the first grandchild. And of course, who better to know than me that this special child will be a paddler! (wink, wink)

My brother can always be counted on to
be a joker, even at his wedding!
Photo: Nelvin Cuvin

Last year was quite a busy time for James and Kerry. It was also significant in terms of the many milestones they had reached - purchasing a home, getting married, and then Kerry becoming pregnant! (talk about full steam ahead!) Kudos, congrats, job well done to both of you! Although, my head was often spinning being involved in all their comings and goings in the past year. Thank goodness when it was all said and done, but its really now just the beginning!

The lovely couple at their amazing wedding!
Photo: Nelvin Cuvin

Once I heard the news of the pregnancy, I was elated and happy for them, but I knew it also meant significant lifestyle changes. James and Kerry had frequently joined me on many canoe trips throughout the years where we shared many laughs and good memories. Even though it didn't signal an end to trips entirely, it was certainly going to change things for the foreseeable future.

The soon to be new love in their lives

Changes are certain even with my brother, who has tripped with me for many years on our annual boy's canoe trips. I'm sure he will be on hiatus for awhile. (Honey, can I go canoeing? Please!!) Only last year we finally got to paddle together in the same canoe as we were always partnered with less experienced people. We paddled great together and had an amazing trip as partners. So much for that now!

James and I tackling some rapids on the Dumoine river. We were
a great paddling team running all the rapids clean!
Photo: Dimitry Sapon

Of course I was saddened to think that I probably wouldn't be tripping with the newlyweds for some time, but that is reality. James is now chained to Kerry (I'm going to feel some heat!) and every decision was a, "I'll get back to you" response, but I understand the reasoning. Marriage is one thing, but pregnancy is totally different,....mmmm, maybe not. : )

Great memories of tripping together and some of
the crazy things we did out there!

Many people would ask me if I was ready to be an uncle. Quite frankly, I didn't have a clue. "Yeah, I guess?", was the usual reply. Like how do I prepare?!! I don't take those baby prep classes with them, I don't have kids myself, and all I really know is how to conceive one. (grade 6 sex ed, see I remember something!) Funny though, I've learned a few things by trial and error - like trying to buy a shower gift from a baby registry. After more than 2 hrs of frustration, I discovered and learned new baby lingo, vocab, and stuff. Oh, and by the way, before painstakingly picking out all the gifts, remember to check the "Required" and "Received" list! (trust me on this one!) I should have took a female with me!

"What the heck are these?!" Flippers?
Photo: James Lee

I recently visited the couple and got a good chance to talk with them about the pregnancy. The due date is merely 2 weeks away! When Kerry opened the door, I was astonished at the size of her stomach! If I squeezed a basketball in my shirt, that would be her! They also showed me the baby room and all the cute stuff in there. I was amazed at literally all the stuff one could get for their baby! The colour video monitor was the neatest thing - not only can you hear the baby, but watch it in colour, and then to top it off, it has night vision!! Sign me up for a rebirth in the twenty-first century!

Amazed at how big Kerry's stomach was!
Are you sure there isn't more
than one in there?!"
Photo: James Lee

The most incredible experience I had was a chance to feel the baby move. Maybe being a single guy who always thinks about paddling, I think there was a bit of disconnect with women and pregnancy. But when I was able to put my hands on Kerry's stomach and feel this living, breathing, cognizant being, I was instantly moved. Initially, I was a little freaked, (I had visions of Alien swirling in my head) but the more I realized there was a small living human being separated by a thin layer of skin, muscle and fluid, I was totally beside myself. For heavens sake, the baby even had hiccups!!!

"Hey little one, want to go paddling?"
Kerry always gives me
that look!

I'm positive the baby said "yes" by moving!
Kerry: "Oh brother!"
Photo: James Lee

I've always been mesmerized by the beauty outdoors - dramatic sunsets, rich fall colours, cliff top vistas, delicate flowers etc. Its a beauty beyond compare that deeply moves me, - which is why paddling in the wilderness is such a draw for me. Well that immovable pillar has recently had its foundations shaken. I haven't even seen this living entity nor is it even mine, (wouldn't that be a story!) but I have been touched and moved in a very special way - much like being captivated by a stunning scene. I would have never imagined being so excited about having a niece or nephew, but now I am. Beauty is present in many forms and I have just discovered another one. In time I will be a proud uncle, and the first order of business for me, (of course when appropriate!) is to take him/her on a canoe trip as my new paddling partner. I owe it to the young one to reciprocate discovering beauty.

(What?!!, change diapers as well?!!! - I didn't agree to that!)

Wishing James and Kerry all the best
with the delivery of their
first child!

Looking forward to it!


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