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On the Birth of My Son, Percy

My life expectancy is 78.74. If we follow the averages, Percy, we’ll have 40 years, 58 days and 4 hours together. That’s 40 Christmases. Thirty-nine birthdays. Your mother called me the morning of your birth: “I think my water broke.” She left a message with her doctor. Then, she decided it was an excellent time to drive to Kohl’s and pay off her charge card. She was in the parking lot when the “trickle” turned into a “gush.” “Thank God for long coats,” she said. She fished around for towels and used Meijer’s shopping bags to put down on her seat. She called me a second time: “My water definitely broke.” I was already halfway to her parents: our designated meeting spot. I drove faster. My first text message went to my mother. There’s...

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