there are moments that you picture in your mind waaaay before they come to be, and imagine how beautiful it’s going to be. telling the girls we were pregnant was one of those…
we sat them down on the couch and told them about how when we got married we really hoped we could have a family, about how they made us a mommy and daddy, and how much we love them. then we spilled the beans that mommy was going to have another baby for us to love and that our family was so lucky to be growing!
this is the part where they hug me and squeal with delight and talk to my belly and we all laugh and hug and go out for a special “we get to go out to eat to celebrate the good news of the baby” dinner!
except that what really happened is that molly corin, my oldest, started bawling. she said she was hoping for a good surprise like a present or a fun outing and why did we need another baby? then the questions started flowing. every question that you really wouldn’t want to have on any given day, but most of all not on this day that you had imagined in your mind while you were letting that baby marinate for 12 weeks. why is the baby more special than me? will it fight with me? will it grow bigger than me and then be the oldest? why did you have to have another baby? will you still love me?
this is the part of the programming where i hold my baby girl. i hold her tight and tell her what i always tell her… that nothing could make me love her less and that when you get the gift of having a baby, you get the gift of the love you need to love that baby well for as long as you have with them. I hold her as she screams that it’s scary and that she likes our family being four and not five. she says that maybe if i had waited to tell her tomorrow in the morning some time and not tonight when she doesn’t like to think about it, that would have been better. we let her cry for about 20 minutes and tell her she can ask us any questions and when it becomes apparent that she is just not going to be able to pull it together we decide we should just eat at home. which makes her feel like she is being punished for crying which is not the message we want to send so what do you do in that moment? we rally the troops, dust ourselves off and get in the car.
as we roll out the driveway we hear her sobbing in her arm so as not to disqualify herself from the eating-out treat and we say that we can still go out tonight or another night when we feel like celebrating, but maybe we should just watch a show while mommy and daddy make dinner and go out another night when we feel like we can celebrate. everyone agrees that is best and we drive back up the driveway. the family goes inside.
and i cry. see, when you get pregnant and then feel like somebody is trying to kill you through that pregnancy because you feel so awful and hurl so much you begin to doubt if you decided what was best. we were at a good place. the girls are growing up and i just began to remember what free time was. we are the raleigh reds and we are proud of our club. why rock the boat? and then, when your child points out that you are ruining your family, well then there is only one thing to do… i call my mom. i have been throwing up or completely ill for a few months and i am tired and ornery and just plain hurting and i call my mom and ask her to pray for our family because we told the girls and it did not go well. i am the fifth child and she explains that when she sat the other four down to spread the good news of me the resounding response was, “i’m not babysitting!”. she told me it will not always be this hard. she let me cry and she told me it was going to be okay. the very same thing that i had been doing for my baby girl for the previous 30 minutes.
the hard part about today is that i do not know if tomorrow starts the “it will not always be this hard” or if that has been scheduled for 18 months from now. i like to know how its going to shake down and if i will be recognizable in the process or the recently-applied-mascara-and-then-got-broken-up-with-ugly-cry girl. i like to know that it will be okay, but you know what? sometimes what’s just as important as knowing it will not always be this hard is to know that it is in fact this hard right now.
in high school i brought a pack of band aids to store in my locker for my locker partner and myself. i told her if we were hurting to put the band aid on and it would let the other know we needed some TLC. when she got crushed by her desired romantic connection she put one over her heart and i was able to rise to the challenge because i had a marker. when i became victim to the high school rumor mill i put one on my forehead and let her know i would be leaving the premises till graduation. we had a way to tell each other to be gentle.
i hope that tomorrow is a better day, but if it is not i will take out one of the girls’ princess band aids and wear it well. heck, i may wrap my head in an ace bandage for how i’m feeling this evening and trust that the “it will not always be this hard” will start on a tomorrow.
even if it is not the one that comes right after today.