Another one from the old blog. As troubling as the “Thanksgiving” holiday is from a political and historical standpoint, I like that it gives me an opportunity to reflect on the goodness in my life. Of course, I should not need a notation on a calendar to prompt me to do this kind of reflecting. I shouldn’t. But most times I do need a reminder of some sort. So here is my ode to two of the gifts I am thankful for.
This holiday weekend in 1999: What was I thankful for then? Perhaps I was relieved to have gone a few hours without the terrible morning (actually, “all day”) sickness that had plagued me throughout the first half of my pregnancy. Or maybe I had been thankful for an “everything looks normal” verdict following the most recent ultrasound scan of my crowded and expanding uterus. I may have also been thankful for successfully navigating the first couple months of my PhD program.
But there is no doubt about what I was thankful for a few months after that Thanksgiving: These two little munchkins:
I remember walking through our front door for the first time with our daughters swinging from our arms in their car seat/carriers. It seemed strange to suddenly be back in my own home after an extended stay in a hospital room. It seemed familiar, yet somehow completely not. These two little infants all bundled up in their too-big newborn clothes (they were about a month early) seemed to actually warp the space around us as we toured the house with them. As we whispered to them, “here’s your new house,” “here’s the crib where you’ll sleep,” “here’s the kitchen,” I sensed that this could not be quite right.
Was everything that these babies needed really here in this little two-bedroom townhouse? Yes, all the outlets were stoppered with clear plastic plug covers. Yes, their cream colored bedding was all tucked in place in their brand new matching cribs. Yes, the electric double breast pump had been delivered and was out of the box. But this place was no hospital.
And who the heck was I?
I recall feeling in those first couple of days that at any moment we would receive a call from the hospital: “We have made a terrible mistake. We are sorry for any inconvenience. But you must bring the children back here. Immediately.”
Of course that call never came. Nope. These babies were ours, free and clear. And very soon any such insecurities about my new role as “parent”‘ evaporated in a hazy cycle of cleaning and nursing, bathing and napping, cuddling and soothing.
Yes. I know I must have been heart-overflowing with thanks for our daughters during those first few weeks–just as I have been ever since. But in a sense these babies were not just a gift to me, my husband, and our family. They were also a gift to the world from us. And so, as the world embraces these now five year old girls and whispers to us this weekend “Thank you” I whisper back, “You are welcome.”