During my second pregnancy, way back in the early 1990s, I was on bedrest for 10 weeks. My midwives made weekly home visits and I did not leave the second floor of our Baltimore townhouse. The second floor wasn’t large, consisting of our bedroom, a hallway and the bathroom. Thankfully, I had shower and toilet privileges, but otherwise I was restricted to bed at a 30 degree or less angle. I was an incredibly compliant patient because I was absolutely scared to death. Less than a year earlier I had buried my three day old son and I could not bear to lose another child.
During my time on bedrest, I worked diligently to keep my mind occupied and away from the quagmire of panic that lurked. Time dragged. I had visitors but my friends and family had their own busy lives and not many were local. Bear in mind this was decades ago–no cell phones, no ipads with apps, no social networks, etc. I refused to nap because I feared sleepless nights with no distractions. I learned to cross-stitch, I read,and I spent hours watching Matlock and Barnaby Jones episodes. (I remember one stellar day when there was a 24-hour Matlock Marathon!) I listened to the radio, talked on the phone, and spent too much time playing the newest StarWars game and Zelda on the Nintendo. The highlight of my day was crossing off the previous day on my calendar and knowing my baby was one day older and stronger.
During this time I developed a lovely relationship with the UPS man, perhaps bordering on a crush. Thanks to the generosity of friends and family looking to distract me, and my unlimited time with catalogues, he visited our home with some frequency. Each and every day stretched before me with hours to fill and anything that altered the pace of the day was welcome. I thought about the UPS man a lot (Will he come today? Is that his truck I hear?) and was always delighted when he arrived. He knocked on the door at ground level and I peeked out my second floor window. After we exchanged waves and hellos and a short conversation, I lowered the house key on a long string to him. He unlocked the door, set the package inside, then locked up again. We’d wave goodbye and I would then pull the key back up to the bedroom. That was it. But it was a bit of unexpected sparkle in my day. The UPS man’s visits were rejuvenating: A chance to stand up for a few minutes, stick my head out the window and interact with the world. The tough part was waiting for my husband to get home before I could find out what sort of package had arrived. Sometimes I knew what it was but other times I spent lots of time imagining. Either way it gave me something to think about and broke the monotony of those long, lonely days.
I stumbled across this poem the other day and it reminded me of how I looked forward to those visits and quick chats with that long-ago UPS man. It also totally tickled my funny bone. It’s just sheer, unadulterated fun! I smiled the whole time I read this and am convinced that Alice N. Persons had a grin on her face as she wrote it.
Why I Have A Crush On You, UPS Man
by Alice N. Persons
you bring me all the things I order
are never in a bad mood
always have a jaunty wave as you drive away
look good in your brown shorts
we have an ideal uncomplicated relationship
you’re like a cute boyfriend with great legs
who always brings the perfect present
(why, it’s just what I’ve always wanted!)
and then is considerate enough to go away
oh, UPS Man, let’s hop in your clean brown truck and elope !
read the rest of this poem at http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php?date=2007/08/21
Epilogue: After ten weeks, I was 34 weeks pregnant and bedrest ended. You’d think I’d have leapt out of bed, jubilant, but I was still so scared. Bedrest seemed to have worked so why shouldn’t I hang out for a few more weeks until the baby was full term? My midwives announced, kindly but firmly, that I needed to get up and moving and that they would no longer come to my house for visits. I had to go to them. And so I got up and moving, once more interacting with the world.
My son was born 2 weeks later, weighing 6 lbs 6 ounces. He turns 23 in June.
For more poetry, go to this week’s Poetry Friday Roundup at TeacherDance.