When I first started pondering the idea of doing this comic a few things came together rather quickly. Almost immediately I had come to the conclusion that S.A.H.D.ness would feature only Jack and myself.
Well, that’s not entirely true, as the comic grows and Jack provides the endless fountain of material that he does background characters and interactions with other people is an inevitability (stay tuned to find out…wink).
So, I suppose it’s more accurate to say that I decided that Jack’s mother and my wife, Allison, would NOT be a regular mainstay in the comics or even physically appear at all. There are many reasons for this, but it all comes back to the simplest explanation: it’s just funnier that way. The comic is about my life, yes, but it’s still a comic and needs to adhere to a formula that works. The tropes that this comic plays on (role reversal, the straight man and the mess, etc) all hinge on it being just Me and Jack. So I told this to Allison.
A lesser person might have had an issue with this. A lesser person may have felt an insecurity about being excluded from a serialized portrayal of something so integral to their life. A lesser person may have overlooked that the purpose of this comic is a father confronting his fears about raising his first child, while trying to entertain himself and others. A lesser person may not have supported an artistic idea and respected however that may be best achieved. Basically, a lesser person would not have understood.
Allison has never, in both my decade of experience with her and the countless pre-George stories I am treated to, been a lesser person.
Sufficed to say, Allison is an amazing mother. Almost to a supernatural degree. The bond that her and Jack have is one immediately crafted by nature. From the second I placed his bundled up little two minute old self onto her chest, I’m sure all the new things he was overwhelmed by just melted away as he realized “This. This is where I belong.” There are times when I look at her holding Jack and I just wish that she could see herself the way I see her. It’s more than maternal, more than beautiful and more than love. It’s heroic. She’s our hero. Jack and I would fight an army of thousands for her, just as we know she would for us. And knowing how much she loves her son, I would not want to be that army.
I would like to share something with all of you so you can get a better idea of the type of person I’m talking about here. It’s a candid moment of what I like to call “Pure Allison” and happens to have to do with the very night that eventually brought this comic into fruition.
It’s about 1:00am and just a few hours before we’d be welcoming Jack into the world. Allison is laying in bed in her hospital suite, there is one nurse in the room and the suspiciously hunky Doctor had just walked out. I’ve had to pee…like REALLY pee…for almost an hour. Things seemed calm. We knew what was going on and we were just waiting for every one to get ready. This seemed like a perfect urination window. So, I gave Al a kiss on the hand and excused myself. When I walked into the restroom I was immediately worried by how loud the fan was. I could no longer here anything outside and that just didn’t sit well with me. So, I did what a man does in that situation, quickly washed my hands and opened the door. That’s when I’m sure my pupils shrank, my heart skipped a few palpitations and 10 years was taken off my life.
It probably took my eyes half a second to move around the room, but it felt like an hour as I was taking it all in. And not just my eyes, my ears too. There were new sounds. Beeps. Several beeps and a low, hissing sound that sounded like an air tank leaking. I quickly counted them all: one, two, three, four, five…SIX! There were now six people, a mix of doctors and nurses, in Allison’s room all rushing around and hooking my wife up to several different machines. What happened?! How long was I in the bathroom?! My eyes moved just as quickly to my wife, and the newly added oxygen mask on her face sent my brain into near stroke-like conditions. And then it happened.
She saw the look on my face. The look of complete unexpected dread and, my wife, just started laughing. She was laughing through her oxygen mask and I knew immediately that she knew everything was going to be okay. The dreamboat doctor explained that Jack’s heart rate took an unexpected drop, but that it wasn’t completely abnormal and (seeing as how it was very early in the morning) they had an abundance of staff not doing much hence the overkill of staff.
Jack was here 2 hours later. Allison still hysterically laughs when she tells that story.
And, so, on this day of all days I’d like to give a little bit of thanks to the love of my life and a truly amazing mother. Allison, you’re my sanity and I love you. You’ve always been my rock and now you’re Jack’s too. Know that you can always lean on us as hard as we lean on you. We made one hell of a fantastic kid together. Let’s just get him to 18, so we can finally go see a movie again.
To Jack’s mother, Allison. To my mother, Donna. To Allison’s mother, Mary. To our grandmothers. To Danielle, Erin, Bo. To all the mothers out there .
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!
NOTE: Cottleston Pie is a song that Winnie the Pooh used to sing. I sing it to Jack whenever his brain gets, as Pooh would say, “fluffy”.