Monday, January 12, 2009

firsts (the first part)

There are many firsts in a life, of course. Some you'd just as soon forget, but most that you are happy to remember.

Like a first kiss. Or the first time you saw the man that would one day be your husband. Or the day you first realized that you were carrying a child.

The first time that happened, you were still a student at the University of San Francisco — an older student (at 24) paying your own way through.

You had purchased a pregnancy test at a drug store near school, then taken it in a pink bathroom stall in the women's on Lone Mountain. Where you alone saw the pink line of confirmation, the pink line that drew the line between your then and your now, and all of your tomorrows. Little did you know that pink would be a recurring theme in the days and years ahead.

After, climbing the steps to your Logic class, you stopped on the landing, oblivious to the other students rushing to get to their next class, aware — very aware — that your life had suddenly, instantly, and irreversibly changed. Forever.

The confirmation came from the doctor's office a few days later, and when you called your husband, you broke down in tears. It wasn't supposed to happen like this. You two had it all planned out. You wanted a few years together, to be a couple, to be 20-somethings, to just... be. You weren't yet confident you could pull marriage — let alone parenthood — off, and you wanted time to feel your way.

Six months into saying "I do," and did you ever.

You picked your husband up early from his office downtown, the January sky an electric blue above the canyons of tall buildings in the Financial District, and cried some more on the drive back home. "We'll be okay," he kept saying, overwhelmed and excited and scared to death. "This is a good thing."

And you were, and it was.

You remember the first trimester, the nights when you fell asleep as soon as your head hit the pillow, the morning when suddenly, your favorite pair of jeans no longer fit. You remember the first ultrasound, where you and he saw something that resembled a baby, and heard the heartbeat. That unforgettable, underwater sound that let you know that life was growing thriving becoming inside you.

You remember the second trimester, the time when the secret you and your husband shared was visibly, officially, out of the bag. You remember the first time you felt your child kick, on a plane from San Francisco to Louisville, to attend your father-in-law's funeral. You remember the first pang of regret that someone close to you, someone whose own DNA would be replicated in the child you were carrying, would not be there to share in this new life, to watch it grow and thrive and become. You remember looking down at your swelling belly, seven months into the process, and wondering out loud how you were ever going to get that child out.

Firsts (the second part), next blog.
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