“Welcome home you two!”
Mom’s call should bring my attention to her, but ‘home’ didn’t look anything like this last time we were here. I’m amazed by the progress, even when mom told me that the house was all done and ship-shape, I couldn’t believe her. No architect, contractor or designer could pull off a whole house (give or take a couple of rooms) in a week, and clean up after themselves to boot, but my architect, contractor and designer all did a fabulous job. Once I get some landscaping and fix up some issues with the siding, I know I’ll be so happy here. We’ll be so happy here.
Mom’s settled in nicely, she’s old and her strength is failing so I had a room built for her on the main floor but all she does is sleep in it! She’d much rather be in the studio or the kitchen. Every meal is a race to the stove between her and Berjes, to see who will be making breakfast, lunch or dinner. As for me, all that means is that I’m very well fed and I’m putting on the pounds at an alarming rate. I swear it’s not my fault and that I’m not eating (much) more than before the wedding, it’s just they keep making key lime pie and cookies and ratatouille and stu surprise… Every day they’re trying out new recipes that they’ve learned off of the Food Network and I can’t help but try it all!
This house is truly our home, full of every little nook and delight we wanted. I’m in love with the love I’m in. No time is more special than the time I spend with Berjes, he treats me like his queen and when we’re not making fools of ourselves we’re comfortable in being alone together and just doing our own thing. Whether we’re reading, watching television, having a pillow fight or using the bed for more… entertaining purposes, I keep getting struck by how fantastically lucky I am. Lucky that he’s always been here for me and always will be. There’s no one quite like him, I have no doubt that soulmates exist and that he is mine.
My career hasn’t taken a backseat, not really. I’m still out scouting for bands to sign but it’s futile. The scene has dried up entirely due to the prolonged curfew and most days I get calls from Jess telling me not to bother wasting my day. Instead, I take myself to the music room and try to work on my skills. One day, I hope to call them ‘mad’ skills. I practice with every instrument and even try to work on my stage presence but the idea of performing in front of anyone who isn’t family still terrifies me. Seriously, I think about it, I shake. Berjes says I should talk to someone (other than him) about it, but what’s the point if the theatre closes down and I’m out of a job?
My husband has been trying to teach me to cook (when mom’s not monopolizing the stove) and I have to admit, I’m no good at it. He’s much better at the lessons I’ve been giving him, at first, he picked up the piano skill like a pro and I thought it would be easy sailing, but as the compositions get more and more difficult he’s no longer progressing as quickly. I suppose that’s just part of the curve, yeah? Besides, it’s not his passion the way it is mine. Still, I picked up a couple of duets for us to try out and we have the time of our lives crammed onto the tiny piano bench and trying not to get our fingers tangled. We make beautiful music together.And I think we’ve made something else as well. I haven’t seen a doctor about it yet but I’m pretty sure that this is what they call morning sickness. I call it ‘all day sickness’ but with the amount of weight I’m gaining and the amount of food I’m not keeping down. I have a hunch that it won’t be long before I’m in maternity wear… It would be really nice if there was a cute boutique to shop at though, I’ve stashed an outfit in the back of the closet, just in case I’m right, but it’s pretty damn hideous. The day I put it on will be both the best and worst day of my life.
“What’s with the get-up, love? Don’tchyaknow that only men are colourblind? Did you get dressed in the dark, my dear?”
I give my darling, loving husband the chance to get all of his jokes about my fashion sense out of the way before turning the tables on him. I let my face fall into the very picture of sadness, sighing melodramatically as I lean against the wine racks.
“We need to talk…”
The look on his face is almost heartbreaking as he races over to me, terrified.
“I’m pregnant. We’re having a baby. We’re having a baby!”
I’ve never seen him speechless, this is really pretty adorable. Lookit that little happy face!
“Abuhwabuhwabuh… Whose a little lima bean? You are! You are! You’re daddy’s favourite lima bean. You’re daddy’s favourite, yes you are!”
Well that makes sense, daddy won’t eat lima beans. Of all the foods in the world, he hates lima beans only. Endearing, just like his baby talk. Mom walks in while Berjes is babbling at my belly, just as he has been for the last twenty minutes.
“Baby already?” She asks with a grin, and without waiting for her answer gathers us into a big bear hug. “Congratulations! I’m gonna be a grandma… Again!”
The very day I announced impending baby-dom, Berjes ran out to purchase every book about pregnancy and raising a child that the book store had to offer. He has read and reread each of them and is determined to be the best daddy to his lima bean. At night, our pillow talk is me, with my head on the pillow, and him with his hand on my stomach, telling me ‘interesting’ things that he’s learned from the books. He even picked one up on baby-room feng shui! The more he reads these books, the more he’s starting to understand the full responsibility of having a child and it’s scared him enough that he’s (grudgingly) gone back to work at the diner. Every evening he comes home smelling like the kitchen and with a little extra cash in his pocket. I wish I could say he was coming home with a smile on his face as well, I wish I could say that he loves his job but he doesn’t, he never has really enjoyed working at the diner. The food he’s cooking there is food he would never eat made with produce he would never buy and cuts of meat he would hardly look at in the grocery store. We both know that Adam could get him a job at the Bistro in a heartbeat, but he’s too proud to ask and would be too proud to take if it was offered. All I can do is sit at home and wait for him to arrive. Greet him as though he doesn’t smell like grease, onions, garlic and eau du kitchen and make sure he knows how much I appreciate the sacrifice he’s making. I’d rather have him home with me, but at least with him gone I don’t have to feel the least bit guilty about stuffing my face. Every time the baby shifts, I get hungry and with so much food around the house I’m starting to feel like a bit like a pig!As my pregnancy progresses, I’m starting to come around to mom’s way of thinking. Aside from cooking and her art she’s always preferred to have someone else take care of her and the things that need taking care of. She truly appreciates being pampered and waited on. My stomach is growing, my ankles are swollen, my back is constantly aching and Berjes, Berjes is fantastic. He fetches and carries and worries and coddles and if I so much as use the word massage in a sentence, I get one! If I use the word pie in a sentence, I get one! Pretty much, if he thinks that I want something, I get it. There’s only one catch… He’s a little irked that I’m not interested in reading his books. I figure, maternal instinct will take over and everything will be fine. Besides, mom’s here to help and she’s had five kids. My hubby-wubby isn’t convinced that’s enough so the deal is if I read his books, he will continue to cook for me and cook me anything. He has offered everything from a turkey dinner to strawberry and pickle tart (ick) but only if I read those books.
In defiance of all things lawful, mom, Berjes and I have been invited to Adam and Jess’ for dinner. This curfew’s been in place for the better part of two years now and there hasn’t been another abduction. I know that the lack of missing people is probably because people are inside at night, but neither me nor the lima bean are prepared to pass up Adam’s cooking.
“Dad? Who was Napolesim? What did he do?”
“You two ready for these questions?”
As Adam helps his youngest, Scot, with his homework, mom, Jess, Berjes and I enjoy our first evening together in years. There’s something about being out at night that makes you feel like an adult, in a weird way. Are we ready for these questions though? Questions about Napolesim and the birds and the bees…
“Oh leave them be, Ad. First they need to teach the little one to walk and talk. Are you two ready for that?”
Am I ready for this baby? My body is, that much is certain and mom and Berjes are ready but me? I’m excited to meet my little boy or girl, I’m already in love with the little bean but am I ready to be it’s mom? Ready for the diapers and bottles and sleepless nights? I think so? The only thing I know for sure is that my heart is full to bursting with excitement. I can’t contain my feelings and sure, that means I’ll cry at a drop of a hat or laugh at the silliest things but there’s so much emotion in me and for the first time, I’m writing music that I’m properly proud of. I have sheets and sheets stacked up next to the piano and each one is all me. Me and baby.
Ow ow ow ow ow
The pain in my stomach is agonizing. This is labour. This is happening NOW.
“Berjes damnit! The baby! It’s coming!!!”
“Now?! What do I do what do I do?!”
“HOSPITAL!”Nearly seven hours later, I leave the hospital… On my own. Berjes sat with me through labour, letting me squeeze his hand until he was nearly crying. He never said a word about it. Only once he’d held Carter in his arms and cooed sufficiently did he take the call from work demanding that he come in. Short staffed or something. With regret written on his face and my quiet assurances that Carter and I could get home just fine in a cab he raced off to the diner. A couple of tests and a couple of forms to sign and I was released with my bundle of joy wrapped snugly in his blanket.“Well hi there, little Bean. I’m your gramma. Mommy’s just taking a shower and a bit of a rest and then she’ll be right back with you, but I’m here now and you and I are going to be the best of friends. I’m so excited to finally meet you. You’ve been all hidden away and now here you are, ready to be cuddled by your gramma. You’re the luckiest little boy, d’you know why, Carter? ‘Cause you’ve got me, your mommy and your daddy and we all love you very very much. We’re gonna make sure you’re the happiest baby in all the world. Your grampa’s looking down on you from heaven and he loves you too, sweetheart.”
I’m resting on the bed when suddenly the room next to mine is quiet. Mom’s been talking incessantly to Carter and he’s been gurgling back. The silence is… Disquieting.
“Mom?!” I can still feel her in the room, can practically feel her. Again, I’m too late. Just like with dad. I can’t help, I can’t say good bye, I can just watch the shimmer in the air that looks like mom through my tears. Her aura still fills the room, I can feel it in the knots in my shoulders that she’s not happy to go, to leave the grandson she was planning on doting on. I’m frozen to my spot, shaking and crying and hoping that wherever she is going, she’ll be with dad. That she had a chance to meet Carter was a blessing, but I was counting on her to be here, to support us, to help and love and care; just like she has my whole life.
All but paralyzed by exhaustion I move to Carter’s crib and gather him in my arms. Clutching tight as if I’ll lose him too. “That was your grandma Rose, Bean. She was a wonderful woman with a lot of love to give and she would’ve given it all to you.” I choke back sobs as I rock Carter gently, whispering to him the comforting words I could really use right now. Oh mom!
“Welcome home you two!”