Monday Morning Dreams

I've been having such vivid dreams these last couple of weeks, sometimes two or three a night, some of them fierce and terrifying nightmares.

Last night I dreamed that I was at a doctor's appointment and had just had an ultrasound. The doctor left me alone in the room and I happened to see the top of my ultrasound chart and realized that, it said that the baby is a girl. I couldn't see it that well at first and, even though Greg and I have firmly decided not to find out, I couldn't help leaning forward to confirm that it really said GIRL, which it did.

In the dream the emotion I felt upon seeing that word — GIRL — was relief. Intense relief.

Telling of what my preference is, huh?

The truth is that I'd love to have one of each, a boy and a girl. Or even two boys and a girl or two girls and a boys or three girls. In any case, there just has to be a girl. And I hope that it happens with this pregnancy so that I don't have to wonder with each subsequent one; I can just have my girl and get it over with.

I've thought about this a lot — why it is that I want a girl so badly — and it's partly because the idea of having a boy makes me nervous because I fear I won't be able to relate to it as well. BUT, before you get your fingers poised to comment on that, let me say that I know that fear is irrelevant given the fact that I've never had a child before and I know, I just know, that no matter what I have it will be perfect and it will be exactly what I was meant to have, be it a boy or a girl or a child with disabilities, and I will love it and relate to it perfectly.

The conclusion I've really come to about why I want to have a girl so badly has to do with my mother. Simply that it's now been 12 years since I've had a mother-daughter relationship — and I had such a good one — that I deeply yearn to have that again. As complicated as those relationships can be, between a mother and her daughter, I want so badly to have that in my life again. My mother was such a vibrant, beautiful woman, and our relationship was so wonderfully complex and layered and influential. And her absence has left me to sort through so many things about what means to be a woman…that I would truly love to share a bond like that again, with a daughter. 

That said, because I've gone and written about it, and because I want it so badly, it's sure to be a boy. And that said, if it is a boy, it will most likely prove to teach me even deeper lessons than a girl somehow would — I think that sometimes what we fear the most is exactly what we need to propel us forward into new realms of life.

If you live in Chicago, be sure to look for the inaugural issue of The Printed Blog tomorrow morning, being passed out at el stops in Lincoln Park and Wicker Park.

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Twelve Years

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Dear Mom,

It is January 24, 2009. You have been dead for 12 years. It’s hard to believe that I’ve been writing these letters all this time…12 years worth of letters telling you about the progression of my life since I last saw you.

Beside me lies a photo of you taken on April 29, 1978. You were 8 months pregnant with me. You look so beautiful in this photo; your stance proud and your smile luminescent.

As I write this, I am 5 months pregnant. I lied in bed this morning with Greg, both our hands on my belly, and felt the little kicking from within. I’ve thought of you so much through this process. I’ve wondered so much about your experience of pregnancy and I’ve sat, hunched over photo albums, peering at polaroids my father surely took of you throughout the nine months before you gave birth to me.

A lot has happened in the last year, mom. A lot that I would have loved to have you here for. Oh, I just had to get up for tissues. I’m already crying. Every single year I think I won’t cry when I write this letter…and every year I do.

I got engaged and married last year, mom. Two things I would have loved to have had you here for, more than anything. Although, I’m sure that when I give birth in June that will top them both, in terms of wishing you were here.

I couldn’t be happier to be married, mom. Greg is the most wonderful man I’ve ever met. Besides Dad. He’s so kind and caring and patient and he makes me feel complete in a way that I never expected. It’s just like you wrote to me all those years ago –

Find yourself and you’ll find your other self, you wrote. Give each other space and respect – there can be no tiny, nagging doubt. The Italians have a name for it – colpe di fulme – and it’s likened to being struck by lightening when you both meet, which I adore. Accept nothing else. Have babies which I can take care of. Please choose a man who adores you and would never hurt you.

And it was like that, mom. There was never any doubt, never any question. Falling in love with Greg was the easiest thing I’ve ever done in my life. In April of last year he got down on one knee and put a ring on my finger and asked me to marry him. It was your ring, mom. He took the stone from the beautiful engagement ring that Dad gave you and had it made into something special just for me. Every time I look at it, I’m reminded of you and Dad and the love that I come from.

We were married in July on Cape Cod. In the very church where you were married over 30 years ago. I’ve never felt so beautiful or happy in my life as I did on that day. Uncle David officiated the ceremony, just as he did for you and Dad, and Greg and I exchanged vows that we wrote ourselves. That afternoon we dined on lobsters and champagne in Pam’s backyard by the beach and then we all went swimming in the ocean. It couldn’t have been a more perfect day.

Afterwards we returned to our life in Chicago, our beautiful home on the river with the ducks and softly flowing water and cicadas ringing in the trees. And in September we conceived the baby that I’m carrying. I thought of you so much that month, wondering what it had been like for you and Dad in those first few weeks of learning that you were pregnant with me. It happened so fast for us, but we couldn’t be more excited.

I’m due in June, just a couple of weeks after my 31st birthday. I like thinking that you and I will have carried our babies through the same seasons. I look forward to the warmer months, to spring and then summer and the baby here, making three of us. If I haven’t already felt part of a family again, I know I will, more than ever, then.

But I miss you, mom. So much. I wish you were here with me through these life events. But I also know that you knew I would do all these things, that I would grow into the woman I am, that I would marry and have babies and be beautiful and happy.

I hope to be as good a mother as you were. To give my child the same fierce love and understanding that you never ceased to bestow on me. It’s a love I still feel today, and of that, there is no greater gift that a parent can give. Thank you.

Your only daughter,
Claire

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Retraction

Okay, I retract Wednesday's anxiety-ridden post about a lack of baby movement. The baby is totally kicking.

I started really feeling it a lot yesterday in my 3-hour long team meeting at work. It was so wild to feel. I mean I'd felt some light kicks over the last few weeks but yesterday in my meeting, as I was slightly reclined back in my chair with my growing belly protruding out before me, I felt a few of the most distinctive kicks yet — the undeniable kind that could be caused by nothing but a baby. It's such a weird feeling! That there's a little entity in there moving around!

And then this morning I woke up when Greg's pre-alarm went off (he likes to hit snooze a lot) and turned over on my back for a bit, kind of awake and thinking about my day, and suddenly I could feel the baby kicking again. I put Greg's hand on my stomach, right over the spot and all of a sudden he felt it too! He was definitely surprised at first but kept his hand pressed firmly as a couple more swift little kicks came in.

I think it was one of my most favorite moments that I've ever had with him. Lying there in the dark, both of us feeling the little kicks of our baby inside me. I have tears in my eyes just thinking about it. I'm still wrapping my head around the idea that we have created another life together. It seems like the greatest privilege in the world to be able to have this with someone I love so much.

And I know there are only more amazing moments between the three of us yet to come.

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