Today is January 24th. That means our due date is one month and one day from now!
For the most part we’ve been feeling calm. I feel about as ready and as prepared as a new mother can be — which means not very much, but I feel OK about that and I feel confident in myself, in Ted, and in our community of support. Our child now has clothes, diapers, and a place to sleep. We’ve got plenty of burp cloths, blankets, and cute snugly toys. We continue to clear out our upstairs rooms in preparation for his nursery – Ted is installing handrails on our stairs, building more storage shelves in our basement, and will be moving over some new furniture this week from his grandfather. Upstairs has been the location for my office, which I haven’t had much use for since the end of grad school, so we are dismantling it to make room for the future. I’ve been sorting through photos, memorabilia, letters, and school papers dating back to middle school! It was a wild trip down memory lane going through it all: photos of high school rock shows and sitting around in the Manual courtyard, hall postings from college featuring lots of profane art, a written out database of all my mix tapes for various friends, and so many letters! I was a prolific letter writer through middle school and high school. I bet I wrote at least a thousand. Most of these letters were between me and my friends from Marwood, a Unitarian Universalist church camp I attended for 4 years. Re-reading them, I’m embarrassed by my obsession with my own angst, broken heart, misunderstood soul, etc. It reminded me of the “Twilight” book series, which is a guilty pleasure of mine — the level of unhealthy angst, self-loathing and pathological obsession with boys — the books take me right back to my 13-year-old self and that’s why I enjoy them. I look back now and see what a privileged life I had and wonder how I couldn’t understand that then. The teenage years are fascinating. Eventually I managed to get over myself a little bit and became much happier. That gives me pause — if I got over myself even more now, would I become even happier still? Probably. Damn the ego!
I found scores of letter from my grandparents who passed away this last year, making those letters so precious to me now. My grandmother wrote to me weekly without fail through 4 years of college. It was so sweet – did I say thank you enough? Did I call enough? It made me re-think some of the other letters I was going to toss — what if I toss all the letters from a dear friend, but she passes away this year? Won’t I want that letter that captures her thoughts, her tone, her handwriting and smudges? I’ve saved at least a few letters from each of these people who are still important in my life. What about the letters from fellow campers who I haven’t spoken to since middle school? What if they become the President of the United States? Won’t I want those letters then? I decided to go ahead and toss those. 🙂 A line must be drawn!
90% of it is being tossed or burned, but I didn’t throw it all away – I’ve kept a few choice selections even from the embarrassing times in my past, because they so beautifully capture a moment in time and a moment in my personhood. I just have to make sure they aren’t so scandalous that I can’t face my kids stumbling across them – inevitably they will, the little snoopers!
I mentioned that I’ve been feeling calm and content over this whole impending life change, but I have to admit that anxiety is setting in. I’ve been having anxiety dreams nightly for the past few days. Along with that I notice myself getting physically, mentally, and emotionally worn out much more quickly. Part of this is due to work – we’re in the midst of a very stressful time, I’m conducting my first employee reviews this week, and there is already serious drama brewing. But this too shall pass.
I can’t blame all the stress on work – some of it has to be related to this baby. Our lives are about to change irreversibly. I know it will be positive, everyone says so. But I’m still mourning a little over the loss of my childless life – which I associate with youth, freedom and independence. I know it’s not impossible for a mom to be young, free and independent, but still, it will ALL be different. I had some of these reservations early in our pregnancy – is this really a good idea? Now I wonder how I can best enjoy the time I have left before parenthood takes over my identity and my world. Last night I found our youngest cat, Little Boots, snuggled up in the big crib upstairs. It’s designed to transition into our child’s first bed. I said to Ted, “There’s going to be a little boy sleeping in this bed” and it just freaked me out. It makes me a little teary even now. I just can’t imagine it. And it’s knocking on my doorstep, only weeks away. Fully out of my control.
Those are the scary thoughts. But the truth is I still feel a surge of happiness every time he squirms and kicks, and I know Ted and I are about to have a whole lot of fun. It will be an adventure! And when it comes to my day dreams and nostalgia about the exhilaration of youth and freedom, really what I’m thinking about is risk-taking and adventure. This will undoubtedly be one and I think we’re going to really enjoy it. Risk-taking is what makes you feel the most alive (a new job, a new move, a new love) – the struggle, the challenge, the discoveries. There’s no turning back from this one. It’s sad and scary to say goodbye to the past — to what we know, what has given us joy and treasured memories, and what makes us comfortable — but I think we’re about to enter a new golden era.
Ted just came in to tell me about his anxiety dreams from last night. I told him about mine. 🙂 At least we’re in this together!