What a world

If there’s one thing I know, it’s that hearing “It’s a Wonderful World” will bring my wife to tears, especially when it’s sung by Satchmo his ownself. There is something about this simple tune that seems to capture so many emotions.

I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom for me and you
And I say to myself
What wonderful world

Looks like this could be a long one… if you wanna…

This feeling goes way back, back to when we were practically newlyweds. When we decided to get married, we both felt strongly that I needed to ask her parent’s permission (okay, old fashioned and all that, I was also just 18 and scared to death of her folks). I was so nervous, I was almost sick. The night came, we were all home for the holidays from college, and we sat down in their living room. I was probably white as a sheet, I was so worried they would reject me. “I need to talk to you about something…” from the next room her sister screams “Oh my God, she’s pregnant!” Thanks, sis. Really making this easy, eh? So I guess after that little outburst, the news that I just wanted to marry their daughter was pretty easy to take. We all agreed that we would finish college before the blessed event, though. Parents: Don’t start having babies before you get your education (like we did)! You’ll ruin your life!

I see skies of blue and clouds of white
Bright sunny days, dark sacred nights
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world

Some things couldn’t wait. We spent a lot of money on birth control for the next four years; paranoid that her sister’s fear would come true. We both worked hard at school, and at odd jobs to get through, and planned for the time that we could finally be together for good. We were attending different universities, so we only saw each other on weekends and holidays. No e-mail or cell phones back then, either (we’re talking stone age) so we gave a lot of money to Ma Bell and wrote each other letters and cards often.

The colors of the rainbow are so pretty in the skies
Are also on the faces of people walking by
I see friends shaking hands saying
How do you do?
They’re really saying
I love you

A couple years after we were married (and we married two weeks after college graduation), we quit buying birth control. We quit being paranoid that we might get pregnant, and quickly moved to “It’s okay if we get pregnant.” Then a year or two or three slipped by, and we started wondering. Why aren’t we pregnant? Are we doing something wrong?

I was pretty sure we had the mechanics right but we checked with a few sources just to be sure. Yep, everything seemed to be in order. We started consulting doctors. “Oh, you’re in your twenties, that’s okay, we’ll just run a few tests.” Other doctors, other tests. Still no hint of a pregnancy.

Five years ago, well into our thirties, we finally tried IVF (ICSI, actually); we had to take out a loan and max out several credit cards to do it. It didn’t work. The problem is with me, my sperm count is low. How low is it? Well, it’s not a good sign that the doctor starts counting things like sperm on his fingers. We tried donor sperm, still no dice. We were frustrated with all things medical.

I see babies cry, I watch them grow
They’ll learn much more than I’ll ever know
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world
Yes, I think to myself
What a wonderful world

Along the way, nearly ten years ago, we signed up to be foster parents. As luck would have it we now have two fine young boys who came to us initially as foster children. Things with their parents didn’t work, and in the meantime we fell in love with them, and were finally free to adopt them. This song still makes us sad, but now in more than one way, it makes us extremely happy, too. We’ll never quite know the feeling of looking into our child’s eyes and see ourselves looking back, but then again, we do know that feeling. It happens everyday. Only the genes are different.

This morning I was waiting on donuts with my soon-to-be adopted daughter. She babbled in the back seat and was delighted with her shoelaces. Joey Ramone came on the radio, singing What a Wonderful World. It rocked. My little girl danced and clapped along, happy as can be. She stuck her tongue out at me. Dad, don’t be sad, be glad!

And I say to myself
What a wonderful world