Sunday, January 3, 2010

Holiday News—Long Overdue! Part One

Wow, so much has happened I don’t know where to begin!

I guess I could start with an apology. So, my apologies to all the wonderful family and friends who have followed this blog through the first few entries and offered me words of solace and advice when they were so desperately needed. I feel guilty about neglecting my writing; it had been so cathartic. And I have missed sharing my thoughts about the ups and downs of this pregnancy. Most of all, I have missed the feedback from all of you! But, that said, I am beyond berating myself for all that I do not get done these days. For starters, the list of what does not get done only seems to grow. And secondly, I simply cannot stay too down on myself—I just feel too good!

The last few weeks have been simply wonderful! So good it could all be a dream. I suppose the best way to relate all my good news is chronologically, so I’ll start with the holiday party J & I hosted on the 19th. Although I never did finish all that I had hoped to before the big event, and the snowstorm prevented all our Jersey friends (the majority of our invitees) from attending, I would still categorize it as a resounding success.

We had about twenty-five attendees and an abundance of food and drink. J made his homemade eggnog and mulled wine, both of which were a hit with the crowd of neighbors who came. And I really enjoyed the evening J and I spent making cookies, pumpkin mousse, and chocolate pots de crème together. Surprisingly, we had the pleasure of introducing many of our neighbors to one another (who knew we were so social?) And had the usual crowd of old friends made it we never would have spent so much time facilitating these connections and deepening our own relationships with the good people of Queen Village. The twenty-odd inches of snow blanketing the street only made it all that much more cozy.

J had planned a trip to the Grounds for Sculpture in New Jersey for us for the twenty-first, but on that morning we discovered that they were closed on Mondays. Instead, we stayed home watching Christmas movies and wrapping gifts, but the day was hardly uneventful. That day has always held special significance for me; besides being the winter solstice (a turning point that is near and dear to the heart of anyone who has endured the cold and dark of a Maine winter) it is also the birthday of the late Frances Mason, my grandmother and beloved kindred spirit. Now, it has been imbued with yet another special meaning—it is the day I first felt the stirrings of my child in my womb!

So many other mothers have suggested that I when I feel alone I might take comfort in the companionship of my unborn child. Try as I might, I found the memory of a heartbeat I had heard only once and a fuzzy picture of a shapeless 8-week old fetus poor company in times of duress. My slightly thicker waistline and fuller breasts also failed to relieve my loneliness or strongly suggest the presence of an ally. However, the joy and awe that overtook me in that moment when I felt a movement within that was quite clearly the movement of another—how can I describe it other than to say that quite suddenly I understood what those mothers had been saying! The life within me abruptly became so real—so vibrantly, vitally real! In the past two weeks I have felt my baby moving with increasing frequency and it never ceases to bring that sense of joy and awe, and strangely enough, also one of intense comfort.

I thought I couldn’t get any happier: such excitement in so few days! I was almost too tired for our trip to the Grounds for Sculpture on the twenty-second, but J had planned it weeks before. He so rarely plans dates for us, and we couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful time to visit with the snow still fresh and deep.

I had heard from more than one friend about the Grounds, but I was still caught unprepared for the fantasy and splendor of the place! I absolutely loved it! It felt as if we had the park all to ourselves. Although we wandered for hours, I think we encountered only five other people on that day. And so I was already in a state of bliss—wrapped in love for my child, my partner, myself, art, and the natural world—when J and I climbed the stairs to the top of that gazebo and he knelt before me. Under such a spell how could my reply to his request that I be his wife be anything but yes?

If I had been cocooned in ecstatic love before, now I was nearly swooning with happiness. I truly felt as though my heart would burst. J is coolly articulate at times like these; I so admire that about him because I am just the opposite. In times of extreme emotional import I simply cannot speak. Words elude me, or else just seem too small and inadequate. And expressing my love, and my gratitude at being loved and having the opportunity to love in return, is the most difficult of all.

I fear all I could say was how happy I was, and how blessed we are to have found each other, and how sure I am of our future happiness. And I felt silly for saying it all again and again, because those sad little phrases couldn’t begin to express what I was really feeling; what I still feel when I think of our life together in the years to come and how truly fortunate we are in this life to have a love, so stable and enduring, like ours. We have certainly had our share of misery; the first two years of our cohabitation were emotionally brutal on both of us. But the strongest of substances are forged under great pressure, and this is the stuff of which our relationship is made. It brings me great pleasure to know that our child will be born of and brought into a union of such a love.

And these are just the blessings I was to experience before Christmas!