Wednesday, May 25, 2011

watermelon girl

We were at the grocery store last night for one of Rachel's "cravings." Everybody says that pregnant women get all kinds of weird cravings, but Rachel seems to only want more candy. An elderly stocker approached Rachel and said, "I see what you're trying to do m'am, you'll need to take that watermelon out from underneath your shirt before you leave the store!" Then he laughed heartily. It was really cute.

Rachel being pregnant is the sweetest thing in the world! She has had such a great pregnancy and I feel really blessed as a result. I always pictured being around a really demanding person who I would sort of need to baby. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but Rachel isn't really like that! She mostly jokes with me about it. When she wants to eat more, she always blames the boy for it. Even when she wants to eat candy, she just says that the baby is asking for it. She's obviously a sassafrass.

It is a magical time with the baby so close. There is anticipation in the air! Sometimes it feels almost normal now. This is strange because I often suddenly realize I'm about to become a father! Its crazy!

My whole life I really have just wanted to be a father. It is my life's aspiration. It feels so surreal knowing that my dream is about to start. It feels like its imaginary....but that is a good feeling. I feel like Rachel brings this out in me, my creative imaginative side. She is the most creative and imaginative person I know and I fall in love with her every time she invents something hilarious or dramatic.

I guess I just feel with all of the stories I've heard and warnings I've received it all came to naught in my experience with Rachel's pregnancy. And that is reassuring. I'm not saying that what people said had no merit, just that sometimes I think that people don't acknowledge just how diverse human experience can be. I hope all of Rachel's pregnancies are so wondrous!

When I think about the pregnancy, one of my favorite memories is of a time when we were at our friends house and Rachel was chasing me around and around....I realized then what a spry pregnant girl Rachel was. I'm so impressed with her.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

These are the days of miracle and wonder (the boy in the bubble!)

Missed Time

My notebook has remained blank for months
thanks to the light you shower
around me. I have no use
for my pen, which lies
languorously without grief.

Nothing is better than to live
a storyless life that needs
no writing for meaning--
when I am gone, let others say
they lost a happy man,
though no one can tell how happy I was.
--Ha Jin

I love this poem! I relate, not to the "storyless" life, but to leaving my proverbial notebooks blank when my days are most joyful--of course the dire and dour moments are chronicled with painful detail. The last few weeks have been like ingesting some colossal serotonin reuptake inhibitor...dizzyingly, sickeningly happy. Maybe it's just hormones, (which I resent and like to pretend I'm not affected by) but even so, it's the good stuff.

My sister Batkinson is in town and I’ve spent lots of time hanging out with her. It feels like summer here, the breathing space between duties. We went to see Cow's band at Avalon last night, the Paces had a lovely Dr. Seuss themed baby shower for the Stranger (I have to write later about a beautiful moment with my grandfather), we made a Jeopardy style game honoring my mother on Mother's Day, every night we all stand around in the kitchen for hours talking about Family Drama and Current Events, and of course we've been watching copious amounts of SVU (as a law student Natalie is eager to pick up useful tips from the ADAs). I love my sister! She's been away for so long that it feels so good to just be humble friends, reconnect and laugh and tease each other. I feel like I know her again and she really is the companion of my youth….I sat with her and laughed while she cleaned out the closet of her high school days.

We each have a closet sort of like a sarcophagus in the room we shared for years, where all of our ancient treasures and writings are stored. I always plan to go through the relics and clean it out, but in the past I've felt overwhelmed by all the ghosts rising up. I pulled one of my own boxes out, but only managed to throw away some EFY pictures and a geometry test on which I scored a 75%. My own angst scours my skin when I look through those things, but it’s not the wild and horrible longing that I used to feel sifting through the remains. It felt good to recognize that…for years I thought I held the lifelessness of the life I was supposed to have in my hands. Now, even when I look at the pictures of a fresher, lovelier face, I’m glad to be in this year, in this almost-mother body, belonging with Jonathan Strange. Not just glad, a sheer heart-pounding relief and joy! I do feel some pangs when I read certain old letters, but I know and understand that so much of what I perceived as depth was silliness and selfishness, and that my relationships back then were not healthy. It wouldn't be, wouldn't breathe in the light of day. For the rest of that day, every time I looked at Jonathan I could feel my heart swelling and I couldn't explain to him how much—how grateful I am.

I am so exquisitely excited about my pregnancy right now. I still feel so good physically. My hips hurt when I wake up from the relentless rolling from side to side, but I am able to sleep easily despite that, and after I shake them for a few minutes (haha!) the pain goes away. I’m still free from swelling, heartburn, backache, what else ache? Everyone complains about being so uncomfortable; I am a little like a turtle if I ever get stuck on my back, but it’s fun to be this way and I know I will miss it! I’ll be 37 weeks this weekend and my midwife said that he is locked into position near my pubic bone and that he could come anytime now ("the sooner the better"). She said, "Doesn't it hurt to feel him so low?" It really doesn't, it just feels like pressure. I love how my hips feel like they are walking in different directions--it makes me feel hopeful, that my body is getting ready to do what it needs to. Jonathan was there at my last appointment and felt the baby's head—his feet are twisted up into my ribs and around my right side. Baby, baby, are you okay in there baby? I can’t wait to see you! I don’t know how to explain, I really do feel ecstatic that he is so near and apparently so gigantic, I can feel him low low low and high at the same time when he stretches (don’t worry though, he is the perfect size for my body). It seems now like my belly is molding around him. I hope he has felt love from me and my hands constantly pressing on his tiny feet when he flings them out. He will be so sweet and dear. I know we can’t begin to imagine all that will come into our lives when he bursts out of the tank, but I feel eager to begin. I love my little boy! I feel so lucky and grateful to have had this time to carry him with me in my own body. It is truly a privilege and more hopeful and wonderful than almost anything I have ever known.
I need to flesh out a conversation I had with Tile about children—what I remember most is discovering that CREATION CAN NEVER BE A LOSS—children and the effort taken to raise them is creating, it is an extension of you, another dimension of self-hood, not the absence or erosion of self-hood. I know others must have realized this thousands of times, but it clicked with me and I feel it must be true. If I feel that I am disappearing, I need to create and engage creatively. That will save me I think.

We're off to Island Park for the weekend, "in the merry month of May."
36.5 weeks