17 weeks and counting

It’s been a strange time. I was unpacking some glasses the other day—a few of what seemed like the millions upon millions of pint glasses we’ve amassed over the years—and came across two glasses wrapped carefully in brown paper that I had to show J once I’d pulled them out and remembered where we’d gotten them. Printed on the sides was the name of a brewery in Cannon Beach, Oregon, where we’d spent an evening drinking beer with the locals on our road trip. After we’d each had a few and made friends with everyone at the bar, the staff kindly wrapped up a couple pint glasses and gave them to us to take home, so we’d remember the experience.

I thought I’d have some really insightful reflections after getting home from our cross country trip. That I’d be able to sit and write for hours about it, remembering each day in great detail. The plains of South Dakota. The enthusiastic young volunteer who helped us find some shore birds for J at the aquarium in Chicago. The fireside sofas and neverending supply of baked goods at our inn in Sante Fe, as well as the other travelers we met there and forged friendships with for a few, brief days. And of course, our night of revelry in Cannon Beach, then waking up the next morning to meander down to the water and take in Haystack Rock, one of the most impressive sights I’d seen during our travels, even after seeing so many incredibly impressive, unforgettable sights.

But I never sat down post-journey to analyze our adventure. We came home early because J’s dad was sick and in the hospital. We drove through endless Oklahoma in a rush, stopped briefly for rest in West Memphis, Tennessee, then woke up and continued on. One would drive while the other slept. I listened to the entire “The Diana Chronicles” by Tina Brown on CD over the course of one long night and early morning.

We got to Connecticut and moved into J’s old room in his family’s house – a little earlier than expected, although that’s what we’d always planned to do before we found a place of our own. We made frequent visits to the hospital, and slowly, J’s dad recovered. He’s now home and is doing great and that, of course, is wonderful news.

We drove around looking for a house to buy and J started work. I started writing letters to newspapers, telling them about my experience, and scanning the classifieds and web sites for communications jobs. I felt discouraged when I couldn’t find enough possibilities in New Haven and expanded my search to New York City. Everything seemed at once urgent, and easy. After all, we were living at home with family and being taken care of. But all our stuff was still in boxes in the garage. And we were well aware it couldn’t stay there forever.

There were a lot of things that were stressful for me during this time, things that I think register high for me personally on my own gauge of stressful things. Moving is always very stressful for me, so to be in a state of limbo, not knowing when we’d end up in a permanent location, was pretty hard. Finding meaningful work was obviously important, so searching the job openings endlessly without any hits made me feel discouraged, like I wasn’t trying hard enough. And J and I were living in rather cramped quarters, and I mean that almost more figuratively than literally. We were (and still are) sharing a car and we were also sharing a room where we’d put (dumped) a lot of our belongings. So even when we each had alone time, it was kind of hard to feel actually alone. You were kind of always at the mercy of the other person.

I don’t mean to make it sound like we were living the tough life or anything. Come on! J and I are as lucky as they come, and the thing is, we had a lot of fun, which I think was on account of the fact that our familes are always fun to be around, and always supportive, and also, when you get down to it, we can both complain to the high heavens when we feel like it, but we generally maintain a rather positive outlook on life.

Anyway, the point of this rambling discourse, which hopefully, maybe, you’ve stuck with up until now, is to say that I would have thought, with everything going on, that when I felt a little funny one morning in mid-January and decided I’d better take a pregnancy test, and sat in the bathroom waiting the required three minutes before peering over at the counter to glimpse that faint second line in the results window, that maybe in addition to feeling elated, I’d feel a little overwhelmed, because, you know, of all the things going on that meant our life was rather unsettled at the moment.

And babies, I’ve heard, don’t tend to make things more settled.

Instead though, I saw the decidedly positive result, then ran to the store to buy another test just to make sure (that one was positive too), and after a few shaky moments, I felt, for the first time in a while, calm. Then I felt like I was going to throw up. Then I felt calm again. And then very, very excited.

Since then we’ve moved into our house. We’ve slowly unpacked. I’ve found a job that I love and we’ve spent time with family and friends. It’s not like our life has become a model of serenity or anything—far from it—but we’re tripping over less boxes on our way out the door in the morning, and the other night, after it had been lying disassembled in the garage for over six months, we put together and slept in our bed.

Everything is coming along, including this very small someone I’m carrying around all day, who is getting bigger and making me bigger, little by little.

I mean, I don’t want to sound trite, but I can’t help it – it couldn’t really get any better than this. We are an amazingly happy couple, soon to become three.

We will get more and more settled, I know, as the weeks go on, as spring turns into summer.

But settled is no fun for too long.

The baby is due in late September. Just in time to turn it all upside down again.

I can’t wait.