Monday, October 4, 2010

You're Only What You Give Back

Written October 4, 2010

Nearly nine weeks ago, something really huge happened to me. Matt, Julie, and I were frantically preparing to host our house-warming party. None of us had showered, all of us were frazzled. I was cooking and cooking and cooking. Julie was as to be expected, cleaning the house from top to bottom. And Matt was running around doing errands, taking care of things we were sure we’d forgotten to take care of, and generally trying to stay out of our way.

There came a point in the day when Julie had finished the playlist and had gone out to get one last thing, Matt was doing a final beer run, and I had cooked everything I could and was taking a moment to savor the calm before the storm. I turned to Julie’s computer, which had been slowly working its way through the night’s playlist, and picked out a couple of songs to listen to. I danced around to a few and eventually landed on Imogen Heap, who was a new addition to my list of great artists. I had been playing her song, “Earth” on repeat for weeks. I can’t tell you why it spoke to me, only that it did.

That day, I lay down on the freshly-vacuumed living room carpet and listened to the song over and over again. I thought about the fact that I was living in this great apartment with two of the people I love most in the world. I thought about the fact that my best friend was happily dating someone I suspected might be around forever. I thought about the fact that our friends were coming over to celebrate our new place. I thought about how lucky I was to have this moment, and more importantly, to realize how lucky I was. I thought about the fact that I was pregnant. And then I burst into tears.

That was how Julie found me, lying on the floor of our living room, staring up at the ceiling fan, blasting Imogen Heap, crying huge and happy tears and gasping for breath. Only she didn’t know that they were happy tears and she knelt above me, touching my shoulders, my face, looking as worried as she sounded that day in January when I told her about the miscarriage, asking me what was wrong.

“Nothing,” I told her. “I’m just, I’m going to have a baby. Julie, I’m going to have a baby and I’m going to be someone’s mom.”

“I know!,” she said, her relief so obvious I felt like I could touch it, and she settled herself down on the floor next to me, shoulder-to-shoulder, and stared up at the ceiling fan as we listened to Imogen Heap and I laughed and cried and calmed down.

It was an amazing day, the day that I knew that this baby’s heart was beating inside of me, the day that I knew that I was right about Julie and that new boy, the day that I realized just how much my little world was changing, and how beautifully.

You’re going to lose it all and find yourself on your knees
So get a grip and you might flow, reverse the great slow bleed.
I’ve tried patience but you always want a war.
This house won’t tolerate anymore.

You’re only what you give back.
You’re only what you give back.
You’re only what you give back.

Today we had our 18 week ultrasound and saw kicking feet and waving arms and kidneys and leg bones. I stared at that screen and thought, “I love you I love you I love you” with every single inch of my body, crying and laughing and holding tightly to Matt’s hand.

I can’t totally explain why the two moments are connected in my mind, the sun-drenched day in July with Imogen and the happy tears, and today’s low-lit room flooded with pictures of our baked-potato sized baby. I think that it has something to do with realizing change, with being in a place where change feels amazing and right, despite the difficult things that come with it.

When I got up from the carpet that day in July, I turned towards the kitchen to put the finishing touches on something that we probably never got around to eating, and there were tears drying in the corner of my eyes. I remember smiling at Julie, who smiled back at me as she picked a final piece of lint off the carpet. When I hopped off the table today, I literally burrowed into Matt, holding onto him and saying what I always say after these appointments, “did you see the bone? Did you see the kidneys?” just so that I can hear him say, “did you see the ribcage? And the brain?” There were tears drying in the corner of my eyes and I smiled at him. He grinned back at me.

Yes, you’re only what you give back. And change can actually be everything you wanted and then some.

1 comment:

Cris said...

everything you said here makes me more grateful for the two I have...and makes me want the third and final