We are eleven weeks now, and things have been blissfully normal on the pregnancy front. J’s symptoms are starting to subside (she feels 80% normal for whole hours each day), and she’s starting to show, which I adore about eight thousand times more than I ever could have expected. My masculine wife, who is – in tailored dress pants and a tie – hands down the sexiest woman I’ve ever known is getting this softness that makes her beautiful in a whole new way. I’m not sure that either of us knew what to expect from this, but between watching her body expand to make room for our child and feeling her growing belly each day, I am more in love with her than ever. Really, you should see her. She’s beautiful.
We’ve also had lots of good times lately with friends and loved ones. I got to spend a day with our friend C helping her settle in to her new house, which is in a downtown area of her city, and from which she can walk to coffee shops and farmers markets. Our friends B & P brought us a shell from their trip to the Bahamas. I love presents that are from travels, both because they have a story and because they mean that someone was thinking of you somewhere new, where maybe no one has thought of you before. We had a wonderful conversation tonight with our friend A, who is, in many ways, our lifeline. LOVE her. I got to hang out (well, work, but still…) all day Monday with my cousin L, who is funny and fantastic; I wish I saw her and her mom way more often. We get to spend this Saturday in Chicago with my mom, which excites me because there’s a restaurant in that city that she’ll love, and a Van Gogh in the Art Institute that I’ve wanted to show her for more than a year now. And my mom just found me another Susan B. Anthony silver dollar, which (along with two dollars bills) she’s helped me collect for years. She also just started bringing me the new gold dollar coins. I have a thing for strange currency in general, but Susan B. Anthony coins are my favorite. I hope to give them to any other daughters we’re blessed with someday. There are women to whom we’re all indebted, and I look forward to teaching our children that.
Though there has been much happiness, things have also been difficult, as we are approaching both E’s due date (July 19th) and the week when Rabbit River will be bigger than his or her older sister got to be (July 30th). Swings between grief and joy. Fear. Phantom belly symptoms (I have moments where I think that I’m huge). There’s hard stuff here, and, it’s been painful to walk through.
But J organized last week’s Summer Supper Club in honor of my upcoming 33rd birthday (which is this Sunday, July 10th). Because it is my favorite thing in the world, our friend MJB brought her guitar, and she sang (in her stunning voice) three songs for us: Old Crow Medicine Show’s “Wagon Wheel,” Dar Williams’ “Iowa,” and Stevie Nicks’ “Landslide.” “Iowa” is an especially important song to me. I sang it to Emmett when she was still growing inside of me, but when things had started to change, when I sensed that something was wrong. There’s a line in there that I noticed when I sang to her, and that always makes me think of her now:
I fear that to fall in love with you is to fall from a great and gruesome height.
And it was. I couldn’t have not fallen for her, but it was great and gruesome and so much more than I ever know how to say.
J and I have been afraid that we wouldn’t let ourselves love this new being with the same ferocity because of how badly we were broken by our love for E. That we would hold back. Everything we’ve read and heard tells us that would be normal. And it’s true that this isn’t the same experience, in no small part because we’re not the same people. But love is always risky, and yet we love. We love this baby. I hope that loving him or her isn’t falling from a great and gruesome height, but regardless: there’s no choice.