(Yes, you're getting two posts from me today - give thanks! :))
There's nothing quite as exciting as sharing the news with friends and family of your first pregnancy. In fact, I still get emotional thinking about how I told everyone in my life about what was to me, the most exciting and life altering news I've ever had to share. I found out I was pregnant with Anna on December 4th, 2007. BEST. TIME. EVER. to find out you're expecting. Know why? Because you get to tell people during the holidays!
The impending holiday season has me thinking about THE Christmas. The Christmas that has set the bar so high that I don't think any other will ever measure up for me. Let me preface this by telling you that I had great joy telling all of the people in my life that I was pregnant, but this particular incident stands out for me. Enjoy!
Finally. It's FINALLY Christmas Eve. Well, it's 7:00 a.m. on Christmas Eve. But whatever, at least it's today. I've saved some gift wrapping and cleaning specifically to keep myself busy today because I know how anxious I'm going to be to get over to Hubby's parents' house. This is the most excited I've been on a Christmas Eve since I was a little kid begging to open "just one present" before Christmas morning.
No one in Hubby's family has any idea, except for his dad of course, who was in on the surprise. Here's the deal. My mother-in-law is a family childcare provider and has run a successful business out of her home for more than 20 years. There is a waiting list for childcare at Billie's house. One need only fill out an application to get on that list. So that's what "one" did. Only we wrapped our application in a Christmas package and stuffed it under the tree with the rest of their family's gifts. The name line says "TBD Mylastname." The parents are listed as me and Hubby. And the birthdate says "On or around July 28." We addressed the package to Billie, but knowing their family, everyone will be watching as she opens it.
I spend the day cleaning, organizing, wrapping and napping, and FINALLY 6:00 pm rolls around. Hubby and I load up the car with our remaining gifts and make the 10 minute drive over to his parents' house in Milwaukee. After grabbing some Chinese food for dinner (a family tradition, which I am usually fond of, but for some reason chicken smells and tastes really bad to me today) we settle in the living room to open eachother's gifts, another family tradition that I love at the in-laws'. There is more bonding and conversation than gift opening that happens on Christmas Eve. Suffice to say, when the whole family is together, there isn't much quiet time.
In order to not arouse suspicion, we simply allowed Billie to put our extra special gift in her present pile to be opened at her leisure. But this suspense is KILLING me. And, is it hot in here? Or is it just me? I suppose it doesn't help that I'm sitting in front of the roaring fireplace. Or that I have the 75 pound golden retriever lounging on me like his own personal sofa. I had a nice cushy space on the couch picked out, but realized that it was the best vantage point for video-taping Billie's reaction to the gift so I casually mentioned how cold I was to Hubby and asked him to switch with me, winking so he'd understand that this was more for his benefit than mine.
Billie grabs another present and I crane my neck to see around the arm of the couch which gift she's grabbed off the pile. We've been at this for a while now and I'm starting to feel really anxious. Yes! She's got it! It's on her lap! I sit back and try to look casual, nonchalantly interested in what her gift might possibly be. My adrenaline is flowing now from the anticipation. I'm shaking and my face is turning red. Someone around here MUST notice something. But everyone is absorbed in their own conversations, paying a bit of attention to Billie opening her gift.
"Oh, it's really light. That reminds me..." Billie starts telling us about an encounter she had at the store earlier this week. That's it. I lean forward at stare at her, willing her to open the present faster.
Finally she reaches the inside of the box, where I have tied a red ribbon around the rolled up sheet of paper. This whole process is going in slow motion. I'm really shaking now. My eyes are tearing up with anticipated emotion from everyone else when they find out what Billie is really opening.
She slips the ribbon off of the paper and unrolls it to read. She's straight-faced and silent for a moment, and then, in the most perfectly revealing way I could have ever imagined, Billie's eyes widen, her jaw drops and her left hand flies to her face. Now everyone is paying attention.
Choruses of "What is it?!" and "What did they give you?!" ring out around the room. Her stunned silence lasts only a minute as she finally turns the sheet of paper around for everyone else to view and, with tears running down her face stammers, "It's an application for childcare. They're going to have a baby!"
"What??" one of Andy's sisters stutters out from her position on the couch.
I can't hold it in anymore. I'm crying now and getting to my feet. "I'm pregnant!" I am so excited and so happy and so nauseous and oh, my God, I'm going to be sick. No, wait, I'm OK.
There's much hugging and many happy tears. And this is Christmas. This is by far the best Christmas moment I have ever experienced. I'm not sure I'll ever be able to top this feeling of excitement, joy and love...and nausea.
We head to church as a family that night and I spend more than half of the service lying flat on my back on the floor of one of the Sunday School classrooms, praying, pleading and begging God to keep me from throwing up all that Chinese food I ate for dinner.
It's moments like those that reinforce the mommy amnesia, convincing me that the nausea, the weight-gain, the moodiness and the cankles are all worth it. And, you know what? It IS all worth it. Just to be greeted by an exuberant, yet confused little girl smiling and shouting "Daddy! Daddy!" up at me when I arrive home tonight. At least she's not shouting "Go back where you came from!"