Monday, November 28, 2011
Due date , ten years later
I survived hosting Thanksgiving dinner. Luckily some family members couldn't make it so it was only ten of us. I only had to call Ian three times while preparing and cooking the turkey. I'm proud of that. I'm not proud of the fact that I still have trouble distinguishing the turkey's head from its bottom. Ian thinks I'm kind of retarded. Those legs of theirs look like perfect arms, up and ready to box, if you ask me.
Remarkably, I came out of that turkey's butt feet first and am now right back on the hamster wheel, racing towards the next false summit. This is America after all: Land of the free, home of the mindlessly busy. I had no idea just how good I had it in France, until I came back here and remembered what life lived consistently above a resting pulse, even while resting, felt like.
It's Esther's due date. I don't know how I caught it, but I remembered before I even left the house this morning to take the kids to school.
November 28th. "What a good date," I thought. Good numbers. Ha ha. Little did I know due dates are nothing more than an educated guess about when your baby might be thoroughly cooked. Oh yea, and they provide an arbitrary number upon which all pregnant women tend to fixate on and feel inadequate about. And friends and random onlookers use to annoy you and judge your fitness as a mother with: "Honestly, haven't you had that baby yet?" "I think I smell something burning.""You're gonna give birth to a baby elephant if you keep growing like that."
That day, ten years ago, when Essie was still camped out in my inflated, turbulent belly, was a lot like today. I remember standing on the front porch in my nightgown, looking out at the dry, gray/brown/pathetically-faded green landscape with hints of purple on the mountains, and feeling the eerily warm wind flow across my bare ankles.
The weather disappointed me. I wanted a winter baby. Where was winter? I do realize winter doesn't technically start until the 21st of December, but since when does Vermont heed the calendar.
Where were those gently falling snowflakes that appeared in my mind each and every time I practiced my hypnobirthing relaxation routine. There I was, skating in a frozen gray pond, charcoal bare trees all around me, their limbs weighed down with fluffy white snow. The only noise, the sound of my skates scraping against the ice--punishing the frozen water with their sharp blades--and my breathing.
Steadily falling snow has always been the most relaxing thing I can think of. I have a friend, a tropical flower, who thinks I'm nuts.
"Everyone," she says, "but you, dreams of warm breezes and beaches when they want to relax."
Esther apparently wanted to be a winter baby too. She did not finally appear until the first minutes of December 12th. A good two weeks after her estimated due date.
It was rainy and cold the first day of her life, better than nothing, but still not snowing. The freeze came about a week later, and I still remember the look of her, asleep in her baby Bjorn, with snowflakes on her cheeks.
So now we are planning to touch down in London on Esther's tenth birthday, just an hour or two off of the exact time she was born. When I asked Esther what she wanted for her birthday recently, she answered,
"All I want for my birthday is Daddy."
Call me a child spoiler, but she is getting her wish. How could I turn down that request, after all these months without Ian, when we were planning to go to England anyway?
I'm not yet ready to consider that trip since I am first getting prepared to go to Guatemala. Yes, I'm going as a blogger to check out Save the Children live, in action.
I've been filling the freezer with easy-to-prepare food for my sister who will be moving in to take care of the girls. I've also been watching videos on the Save the Children-affiliate website See Where the Good Goes.
What a reality check. I've been so caught up in the logistics of taking a humanitarian trip like this, not to mention the giddy excitement of traveling to a completely foreign climate, I haven't saved a minute to consider what it is I'm going to be doing, and seeing, and feeling once I get there.
I joked to one of the Save the Children liaisons about what I might do to keep myself from crying the whole time, I'm a crier in the face of any sign of human ... suffering, joy, hope, loss.....everything. And she told me not to worry, crying goes with the territory. Luckily they aren't expecting a robot.
"Hey, who's that weeping lady in the corner?"
I leave in less than a week. In the meantime I will be wrestling with the middle-of-the night, irrational -thought demons. I've had the lost passport dream, the kidnapping dream, the never-ending travel itinerary that never reaches its destination dream, and the typical neurotic fears of one of the kids, or me, getting sick just before I leave.
That should take care of the prerequisite mom-anxiety, I hope.