Chinese Labor Day

You know that scene in Father of the Bride II where Steve Martin has the route to the hospital intricately plotted out in the event that his daughter (or was it wife) goes into labor? I laughed when I first saw that, pre-kids. Now it makes me laugh for a different reason, since that kind of detailed plan is bound to go awry. You’re almost asking for it to, taunting the due date gods to throw you a curveball. Short of scheduling an induction — and even that can be unpredictable — there’s really no way of knowing what is going to happen or, more specifically, when it will happen.

Which is why there’s palpable concern in my house over my departure today for China. With flights leaving for the US only during a certain window of time and the jaunt taking somewhere in the neighborhood of 14 hours, there’s almost no conceivable way I could make it back if my wife suddenly went into labor. Sure, this is highly unlikely. She’s neither dilated nor effaced. But then, our second son was three weeks early — and week 37 begins precisely as I am arriving home. So does the Chinese May Day week-long holiday.

Let’s hope China’s celebration of labor and mine happen half a world apart.