A couple years later.

It was the day after we’d put our old dog down that I opened the front door to discover a baby in a bucket on our doorstep. Remember how hard it used to be to have to take a beloved pet to the vet to put her to sleep? Now you had to do it yourself. A different way. A way I’d rather not talk about.

These are the chances you take when you make a choice to open your door these days. Some days you can almost forget that it’s different now; other days you’ve just killed your own dog and there’s a baby in a paint bucket on your front porch. Seriously like out of some ’40s movie, except it’s neither funny nor cute. This baby did not look well. He looked too sickly to cry even.

So I brought the baby inside and I said, Honey, our new problem is here, which is a running joke now, and he said, cheerfully, Yeah? What is it today? and I said, Today in Post-Apocalyptic Problems is proud to present: It’s a baby, and he said, A baby what? which was when I walked into the living room with the bucket baby. Congratulations, I said. It’s a boy. We both smiled, but this was something else. This would have been something else ten years ago, when Huggies still existed. But now, this was something else something else. This was: I am already very tired, I was born tired, and now I’m extremely tired, and I’ll be seventy when this kid, okay, well, he’s not going to college, but you know. I hadn’t even begun to recover from putting the dog down. I really don’t know if I can do this, honey. This is a lot.

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