We went to the restaurant, just her and I. I ordered a veal sandwich, she ordered pancakes. The waitress, a lady in her fifty’s with a tattoo sleeve was joking and chatting with us. Like people do with pregnant ladies, she asked her questions. “Wow, are you about due? How much longer do you have to go? Do you have other kids?” Your mom answered the questions: September 8, I have five other children. Then your mom gestured at me and said, “But she’s going to be the mom of this one” pointing to her belly.
Instantly waitress’s face fell, and was blanketed with compassion. She looked at me to verify, and I nodded in agreement. “Its true” I said and tried to smile gently. In that instant her face was so easy to read. Should she offer condolences to the pregnant lady? Should she offer congratulations to me? Both options seem insufficient. I tried to impart goodwill: “It’s sad, and happy” I said. “Bittersweet” she said. And then she looked at us, and looked at us, and looked at us, while we ate our food.
Later we passed a guy at the pharmacy who did the pregnancy drill again. “Wow, you are about to pop, how much longer? And look, even your ankles are swollen!” A little later “Don’t you know smoking is bad for your baby?” I scowled at him for her sake. And muttered to her “Doesn’t he know that’s not helpful?”
So even though you are not born yet, we are getting ready for you. Perfect strangers notice that you are coming soon. Perfect strangers worry about your health. Perfect strangers are filled with compassion, and are speechless when they hear the truth.
Here is the truth. You are loved. By her. By me. End of story.
I don’t feel like I know you now. You don’t recognize my voice. My heart sounds different from the one you hear beating every day. I can’t feel you move inside of me.
She pats her belly at night, lights a candle and tells you that your other parents are getting ready. We are getting ready, the best that we know how.
I expect in a couple of weeks that tables will turn, and she who knew you best won’t know you best anymore. Instead it will be a new mom with a squeaky voice, who smells funny, and feels a little out of practice with baby care. I’m sure you will sense a void. If babies can smell and recognize their mommy’s bodies, it only makes sense that they know when the voice and smell is gone from them.
Here is the truth. You are loved. By her. By me. This is the start of your sad and happy story.