The Argentina gamble

(Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport)–I’ve been known to make a bet.

In the past three months, I’ve bet on the toss of a lime, the next commercial to come on television, a rickshaw race, a game of pool, and whether I could throw a steak knife into the trunk of a pine tree. I won a majority of those gambles. Some of them were lucky. A couple required skill. Like most gambles, it usually takes a combination of fate and talent to cash in.

You might see the pattern above. I generally don’t gamble on anything that’s really important. The stakes are never high enough to threaten my well-being and I usually expect to come out on top. Still, I feel I feel a little sick to my stomach right now.

As you might be aware, the wife is on the verge of birthing our second son. I use the word “verge” loosely, as we still have 32 days until she is actually due. Regardless, this cross-hemisphere jaunt to a country at the edge of the world feels a bit gambley to me. Babies have been born a month early before. What’s more, if something unexpected were to happen now, it would probably require a lot more in the way of moral support than the normal apocalypse of the birthing room.

And yet, here I sit at gate B3 waiting to board the first of three flights that will land me in Mar del Plata, Argentina. Several people have raised their eyebrows when I told them I was taking this trip.

“Really?” they asked, and then looked the other way so they didn’t say what they are thinking. And be sure, they were thinking, “What are you thinking, man?”

My parents refused to say it out loud. Instead, just two and half weeks after traveling across three states to see my son, they are returning…just in case–this, despite the fact they plan to be here a week in advance of the May 15 due date. I appreciate it and don’t mean to sound like I don’t. It brings me a great deal of comfort to know they’ll be around in the event of some event that I can’t bring myself to describe. I did have it covered, though. I’m flying my sister-in-law in from Florida this week to serve as a surrogate me. The wife will have three far more reasonable people around her while I’m on the road for seven days.

So, the better question is why? Why would I risk flying to South America when my wife is 32 days out from giving birth?

It’s simple, really. It’s my job. I’ve been on this tour all season long and this is the big finale. I signed up for the ride a long time ago and jumping off the bus now wouldn’t be a great idea. I’m not indepsensible, but it’s good that I’m there. What’s more, it’s trips like these that pay for babies like Dos. When one is paying for a birth out-of-pocket, it’s nice to refill that pocket from time to time.

Ultimately, it’s a matter of odds. Based on a formula of my own concoction, I can feel relatively sure the wife won’t go into labor while I’m away. The first boy was born two days late. There have been no problems thus far with the second pregnancy. The measurements are exactly what one would expect at this point. If I were to stay home instead of going to do my job, it would probably involve a lot of sitting around and wondering what the big fuss was about. That is, I’m making a very educated gamble that I expect to pay off. Lest you think I’m a complete heel, I did turn down my fifth annual trip to Monte Carlo for the following week. There are gambles I’m willing to make, but that isn’t one of them.

So, I’m usually not a gut player. I work the math, use my head, ignore the heart, and do what’s right. This one feels right to me. No need to be superstitious now, right?

This morning as I got ready to pack, I pulled my wife in close and whispered so my son couldn’t hear. “Do me a favor while I’m gone? Don’t go to Joe’s Crab Shack?”

She paused for a second and then recognition lit on her eyes.

“I think I can handle that,” she said.

It was nearly five years ago that the chain seafood joint was our last supper before we became parents.

Like I said, no reason to start getting superstitious now.

Brad Willis

Brad Willis is a writer based in Greenville, South Carolina. Willis spent a decade as an award-winning broadcast journalist. He has worked as a freelance writer, columnist, and professional blogger since 2005. He has also served as a commentator and guest on a wide variety of television, radio, and internet shows.

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6 Responses

  1. Jo says:

    I like your odds. Good luck with the new little one. Are you taking bets on the birth weight?

  2. Dr. Chako says:

    FWIW – I went to Airborne school when The Wife was pregnant with son #1. My parents had no problems letting me know I was being an idiot.

    Your gamble seems far more reasonable.


  3. KenP says:

    You are getting your money in right!

  4. emme says:

    You have your folks and her sister there? Yikes! That would upset me more than being home without my hubby. When my first was born, my mom said she would be coming out to see us. Well that turned into her and my dad. And that turned into her, my dad, and my sister. And that turned into her , my dad, and my two sisters. They arrived moments after I got home. It was hell I tell you! I had to get beds together for their stay and get the house cleaned up. I felt like I had to entertain and all I really wanted was to be left alone with my new baby. And they stayed two weeks.

    Needless to say, I drew the line when I had my second. It was lovely to have that first week alone with the new baby.


  5. Da Goddess says:

    Dude, if I lived closer, I’d check in on her every single day for you. I’ve birthed two of my own and assisted with more than I can count. I even know what to do with those babies after they’re born.

    Consider this a pitch for you to move to San Diego. I’ll wifesit while you travel. And then I’ll take so many photos to email you, it’ll feel like you’ve never left home.

  6. The Wife says:

    You know, I’m a little late reading . . . and my first thought was “well, at least you didn’t decide to go to Airborne school and jump out of planes when your wife was pregnant.” I guess the Dr. beat me to that one . . .