10.02.2012

Tick, tick, tick...

Making friends in Frenchtown, NJ.
I've been around a few gravely ill people in my life and it's all sad and tragic until I realize that they are craving the end. Perhaps craving is the wrong word; accepting might be a better one. While I sniffle in the corner thinking about the Christmases or birthdays they won't be present for, they are quiet and purposeful in their breaths. I can't attest to the truth of what's going on deep in their minds, but it sure does seem that they are slowing, expecting less and rarely heartbroken at the end. Whether that's because they know something I don't or because death blankets their full attention, I can't say.

Physically (and sort of mentally), pregnancy throws off echoes of this experience towards the end. I can't move as well as I used to. I don't want to go out for drinks or start a new novel or bake anything. Lately I've kind of been ok with trying to get sleep for as long as I can, showing up at work, and eating little bits of food along the way.

So here's where it gets interesting. Pregnancy, which ends in labor, is not just a birth for the baby... but it also is a REBIRTH for the mother. I'll get my mobility back. I'll be able to plan things farther than 24 hours out. At some point I'll ease back into a running plan, I'll buy more than a couple bananas at a time, I'll start dreaming of travel again. Pregnancy is leading me to a moment of stillness... but once labor is over, it all comes whooshing back. LIFE! Life will come back.

*

Feeling adventurous, we rented a car on Sunday and drove to Frenchtown, New Jersey. This is where Elizabeth Gilbert lives and I'd wanted to check out the store she owns with her husband. So we're driving down I-78 with the new Mumford & Sons album playing and I'm feeling like myself. TRAVEL. Ground beneath us. Exploring and adventure. Leaving a 5-block radius. Thrilling.

The M&S album is beautiful, the kind of beauty that results in me thinking exaggerated thoughts about the English language. Like, how stunning it is. How the perfect words in the perfect order are exquisite.  How the phrase "fade away" in the song "Reminder" suddenly seems like the most perfect syllables to name a daughter. Fadeaway. Fadeaway Dary.

Future daughters, you are warned. Your mother gets irrational about the English language in her 9th month.

Future son, I hope you like the name Autumn Leaf.

*

People are having babies all around me. A friend two weeks ago, another last week. There is such joy in meeting a new baby. New babies get the hugest benefit of the doubt. They're pure delight for grandparents and cousins and uncles and aunts and friends. And Twitter.

It occurs to me that the time you get the most generous, unfiltered reception is at your birth. You don't even know who you are yet! Arguably, you are not even yourself yet.

You're potential incarnate.

What if we greeted new people in our lives like this? What if we met middle-aged colleagues for the first time and gave them a hundred percent benefit of the doubt, generously assuming that they were there for the right reasons and not trying to screw you over or manipulate you or make you jealous? It feels impossible. But it also feels impossibly cruel to start off a baby's life with a limitless landscape of possibility and to reduce that to a square inch later on.

I'm not talking about people with track records. I'm not talking about people who disappointed you time and time again. I'm talking about strangers. People you just met. Those you don't know a thing about. What if you arrived, symbolic birthday cake in hand, when you shook theirs for the first time?

It might make meeting new people less intimidating.


*

Let's get this show on the road, kid. We're not ready but we never will be (or so we hear) and I'm ready to move from the season finale to the season premiere. 

I'm ready for some rebirth. 

2 comments:

EricaRW said...

1. How rogue of you, buying bundles of bananas!
2. I first read the line about M&S as naming your daughter 'Reminder' and not 'Fadeaway' and now they are both very pretty.

Jessica said...

Loved all the thoughts in this post.

I'm thinking of you every day, Jen! Waiting to hear of Tiny's grand entrance. You are so calm and collected... I feel like that will serve you well in the early days of motherhood. Keep us posted.