Week 36 - Your Car Seat

Dear Kaylee,

I spent part of the day this Saturday getting your car seat ready, and as is typical of me, no matter how carefully and closely I followed the directions, I felt as if I must be doing something wrong. Your safety is something I obviously take very, very seriously. And when installing the sturdy plastic base onto which your car seat will be attached proved to be far easier than expected, I found myself staring at it for a very long time. Was that it? Could it actually be that simple? Shouldn’t there have been more straps or gizmos?

Nope, your mother assured me when I asked her to come out and inspect the job I had done in each of our cars (we had two bases to install so that we could use your seat with either car without much fuss). Nope, there wasn’t anything else to it. I had done a good job.

Of course, we still planned to get it inspected by someone more experienced with such things. Police departments in neighboring communities offer to do such inspections for free, and we assumed our town would be no different, but we still had to check (as of this writing, we still haven’t). And if they couldn’t do it, there was always the place where we bought it, which was also supposed to offer inspections, albeit only in “fair” weather conditions.

Installing the car seat was a nice way to cap off a week in which I traveled back and forth between confident and unconfident, in terms of how I felt about my readiness to take care of you. The installation made me feel as if I had a handle on at least one thing, and as I’ve said to you before, it’s that feeling of control that makes me all the more comfortable.

I’ve written for a few weeks now that you were running out of room in utero, but for the sake of your sanity I won’t continue to play the part of broken record. Let’s just say that you were squished in there and that the movements your mother and I could feel from the outside reflected that fact. You were also moving downward, alleviating the pressure on your mother’s lungs while at the same time putting more pressure on her bladder. So now, while she was finally able to breathe more easily and to smell things again, she was having to run to the bathroom with increasing frequency.

You were nearing term, that month surrounding your estimated date of arrival, during which you could be born at any time and be considered “on time”. Your mother and I sat on the couch, watching the Winter Olympics on television, and we marveled at how far we’d come in such a short time — from daily injections to installing car seats. Your arrival really was right around the corner. It wouldn’t be long before there was a baby in that car seat, a real, live, adorable poop-machine of our very own.

Love, Dad

P.S. No, I am just not capable of ending one of these letters without being schmaltzy. It’s just not possible.

LettersE. Christopher Clark