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.