Thursday, January 29, 2009

I'm Not Ready for This

December 27, 2002: Just a month after our wedding, while sitting squished in the corner of an outdoor eatery on a insanely busy Disneyland day eating overpriced chicken sandwiches, Jeff and I looked across the table at each other and agreed. Let's have a baby. Really, a baby? Are we ready? Yeah, let's have a baby!

That moment changed everything for us and I feel like I've lived a hundred years since then.

September 13, 2003: Almost nine months later, we woke up expecting a crazy day -- we were throwing a house warming party at our new home for about 100 of our closest friends. I had a to-do list three pages long. You'd think I would be too busy to stop to pee, never mind do it on a stick but, like the months before, all I had was babies on the brain.

I had taken a test just a few days before. There was no reason I should take it again except for that nagging "just do it" that taunted me over and over again, month after month. I am thankful Jeff and I had good jobs because we were certainly keeping the local pharmacy in business with our regular monthly EPT purchases.

Having a pregnancy test in the cabinet is like being in Vegas with a $5 chip in your pocket after a full weekend. There's not a lot you can do with it, you don't want to waste it, God knows the odds aren't great, but you just can't help but toss it down on black.

I sent Jeff across the street for backup -- just in case. He came back two minutes later because it was so early, the pharmacy wasn't even open yet. We decided, what the heck, let's try our luck. I left him in the kitchen to do my thing. I don't think he ever thought it would come back positive -- he's so good at putting stuff in the back of his mind unlike his control freak wife.

Two minutes later, I look. There it was, the faintest of lines, but there.

But wait, what does this mean? (Seriously, I suddenly lost all common sense and couldn't understand what I was reading and actually pulled out the paperwork to read the instructions.) "Could I have made a mistake? Does it have to be darker? I don't understand," I kept saying over and over to Jeff.

"I know. I'll call Karen."

Karen, my friend since 7th grade, had just found out she was pregnant with number four. If she didn't know what the result meant, then we were really in trouble.

"Jackie, you're pregnant."

Every time I think of that moment, it will always take my breath away. The day I found out... from my friend... on the phone...3000 miles away (after doubting my husband when he confirmed the result that I was actually pregnant) I. Was. Pregnant. (Isn't that the way everyone finds out?)

After that, it was 30-something weeks of euphoria. The thrill of feeling my son kick inside of me never waned, not even a little. The weekly appointments and nightly insulin shots for gestational diabetes were just something that had to be done for the well being of my unborn baby. I remember the first time we saw his little face on an ultrasound -- he looked so much like my side of the family, Jeff and I knew right then and there at 20 weeks, his name just had to be Jake. At that point, I had been wearing maternity clothes pretty much like ten minutes after conception because I wanted the whole world to know I was having a baby.

Jacob... my first everything.

January 28, 2009: Last night, I found myself thinking back to all we've been through with my first child. How much he's overcome -- how hard he's worked. I remembered back to the pediatrician sharing her concerns over his lack of speech at his 12 month appointment. At 18 months, how he began his five hours a week of early intervention, never backing down from doing what he needed to do. At two, how he was completely out of his comfort zone in going to preschool but we knew that it was the best thing we could do for his social development.

My mind flipped through the pages of his life, slowing down for the most recent months. The way he gets himself dressed, looking over at me to see if I'm watching his conquering the inside-out jersey, gets me choked up. The pride on his face when he reads something new or writes upper and lower case letters makes my heart fill up. The hard work my son puts in, attempting new things even though I know there are many things he'd rather do -- his character is nothing short of remarkable.

I couldn't stop thinking of him...because here I was, sitting in a jam-packed, standing-room-only auditorium, wondering how I got here ... to this particular place in life. Wracking my brain trying to figure out how so much time had passed so quickly and how this moment actually arrived when I wasn't paying attention.

I could hear the speakers talking but I couldn't shake the feeling that I was living someone else's life, wondering if the mothers around me were also weeping inside.

"Welcome everyone, to Kindergarten Readiness."

OH MY GOD, MY BABY IS GOING TO KINDERGARTEN.

9 comments:

Allyson said...

awww. I remember that day. Just wait until the first day of school. I bawled like a big baby. :)

The Family K. said...

What a well-written piece. It's amazing how quickly kids grow up. And yeah, that pee stick experience is pretty surreal. Too bad you or I didn't know about peeonastick.com at the time. I thought the site was a joke at first until I went there.

Mom to the King and Captain said...

I love this post but your last line made my stomach sick. Nick is only 3 but I so dread him going to kindergarten. Thankfully, we are having him do an extra year of preschool so I have another 2 1/2 years left but I know they go by so fast. (Just like my favorite Kenny Chesney song, "Don't Blink". :( (Oh, and no to any who might read my comment, I'm not having him go an extra year of preschool b/c I want him home with me another year...for other reasons.) :) You are such a good mom Jackie. :)

Julie T said...

Such a sweet piece. Jacob is such an amazing kid. Hard to believe he will already be going to kindergarten.

I remember those days of just sort of dying inside that my babies were growing up. Now Holden is in second grade and Seena in kindergarten. It goes so fast!!!!!

momwithfaithandhope said...

Okay, you've got me all choked up and ready to cry. You brought me back to 2004 when we decided to get pregnant with Peyton. Sending my oldest off to kindergarten is a day I look forward to, but now you're making me want to go home and hold him like a baby! They grow up so fast, and they are such amazing little people. This post is a must-save for Jacob. I want to see it resurface when graduates from elementary school!

Ramona said...

Probably one of the most beautiful posts I've ever read. You said everything I was feeling. That first baby going to kindergarten is a much bigger heart pull than I ever thought it'd be. I hope Jacob's excited. I know Mikey is.

Tracey said...

The first child has it so much harder, don't they? They have to be the ones to break the ice on all of the Firsts. Sigh...

That said, I cried with my first son's first day of school, and my second son's. And I'm sure I'll bawl on my daughter's first day.

I still don't know how I got to the point I am at. How did I become qualified to parent school-aged kids???

Jennie said...

Holy heck. I just got Missy registered and I'm having these panicky moments. I'm thinking Kindergarten readiness must mean booze for mommy. Of course, I also have one entering high school. HIGH SCHOOL! Pardon me while I go puke.

Shannon of "Room for More" said...

I remember that day with our first. I don't know which was harder that day or when he had his 1st double digit (10yo) birthday! I spent tons of $$ on #1 pg with EPT, by #4, I figured out the $1 tests work just as good!