Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Thousand Years

Last night I sat at the dining room table, staring at my son.  Freckles and sun covered cheeks.  Blue eyes that look nothing like my brown.  Soccer shirt tucked oddly in the band of his Umbros.  Sometimes I have no idea how I had anything to do with creating him.

He was telling me about recess.  Who knew second grade recess was so structured.

"I played kickball, but Patrick played punt and catch.  The girls just talk.  Bleh."

"Oh.  What's punt and catch?"

Both he and my husband sighed, sharing a secret guy look.  "You kick the football, the other guy catches it, and then kicks it back.  Geesch, Mom."

And it occurred to me I don't know what little boys do.  G has reached the "without Mommy" stage and has been there for the last 18 months.  Growing up, my own little brother was 6 years younger than me and I didn't spent much time getting to know him.  (My loss.)  So I don't know this stuff, despite having been a parent for the last 15 years.  Ask me about American Girl Doll stuff, though, and I've got you covered.

"Well, you know, buddy, I've never done this before."

They all stared at me over their Alfredo.

"I've never had a little boy.  You're it.  You're the first.  You're my guinea pig, bud."

J sniffed indignantly in the chair next to me.  Apparently I wounded her sense of eldest child superiority.

Then we cleaned up dinner (well, except for a stray glass of milk which is still lingering on the dining room table reminding me I'm a slacker) and they went on with their evening.  I headed to work for a board meeting.  On my way down the hill I started picturing what it would be like to raise another boy.  I thought about how that is what I'm supposed to be doing right now, but Andrew wasn't meant to grow up and would forever be a baby in my mind.  And then "this one" kicked me.  Hard.

"I know.  I know you're there," I reassured her.  She flipped over and seemed to find a comfy spot against my bladder.

And then, for the first time in the 20 weeks I've been pregnant, I started to think about how this baby will fit into this family.  Until now I've felt like keeping this baby at a distance was safer.  I've only pictured coming home empty handed again, having to face diaper bags I'll never use and a little yellow outfit from Gymboree being packed away in the box next to Andrew's.  Another set of ashes on the bookshelf, tugging at my heart every day.

But instead I started to picture this baby:  Brown eyes, this time, maybe?  And dark, curly hair like mine.  Or maybe she'll look just like her siblings with their honey brown hair and striking blue eyes.  Maybe this baby will actually eat veggies, unlike her big brother.  Where will we put the high chair?  What kind of stroller should I get this time?  How are we going to still do everything we currently do and make sure this baby still gets to be a baby?  What are we going to NAME this baby?

Then this wicked cheesy song came on the radio:

And I realized I'm finally falling in love with the idea of having a baby and letting go of the fear of losing her.  

(I always think of this baby as a girl because it helps me distinguish between the pregnancies.  We'll know in a few weeks.)

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