I can feel the world changing day by day. The rain is letting loose of its stranglehold on the coastal weather. The days are getting longer and longer. I’m feeling myself pulled out into more naturally. I’m noticing the birds singing more. I’m looking up into the tall treetops more and more. There is something changing in me too. Anxiousness is letting go of it’s firm grip on me. I’m finding myself more ok with unexpected tasks. There’s a steadiness that is returning. It is bound to happen when the rain slows down a bit, and you have a chance to feel for yourself that no phase is permanent. Part of me had lost trust in it. Part of me grew to expect the rain every day from here on out. That part of me was short-sighted and afraid.
Allyson and I have been attending birth classes at our local hospital every Wednesday for the past month. This week we finished the final course on car seats and infant CPR. For the class we were asked to bring our car seat, so we pulled it out of the box and the plastic, and I really saw it for the first time. Allyson asked if I would load it into the car, so I took off the tags, and lifted it. It hit me in that moment that this would be an action I would repeat many times in the coming months, only our child would be in it moving forward. That felt big to me, like the first of something important. I would develop muscle memory for that act. I would be sore from lifting and holding the carrier over and over. I would grow stronger eventually too.
We went in for our latest doctors appointment, which was a pretty standard check-in. There were no ultrasounds this time, but we did get to hear the heart beat, and it is still going strong. Aura is more pronounced these days, pressing in on her mother’s internal organs. It seems they are both becoming more uncomfortable and restless in this home stretch before birth. At home, we frequently end up sitting next to each other with our hands on Allyson’s belly, feeling it metamorphasize as our child shifts. I find myself so comfortable with this that I’ve notice myself doing it in public and wonder if it’s uncomfortable for people around us.
After our appointment, we had a few hours to kill, so we went down the road to the Pelican in Tillamook, which has become the closest thing we have to a local hangout. Over our two years here, we have shared so many moments in this place. We’ve taken nearly everyone who’s come to visit out to eat here. We’ve ordered the flights and sampled the beers, everyone sharing their opinion. I’ve taken my parents here multiple times. We’ve taken Allyson’s parents, and they go even without us sometimes. We’ve gone there to celebrate great successes. I watched Jake Arrieta throw a no-hitter there. We ate and shared a pint with Katy Branston and our future friend Linsay there, the last time we saw Katy. I’ve gone there several times to get away from a low day. It is like Cheers for us.
Allyson and I savored our food as the place filled up for trivia night. More and more people flooded in, hugging and greeting each other. There was a warm vibe throughout. We talked about ourselves, how we’re changing, how we’re becoming more honest with each other. We imagined scenarios with how Aura may turn out. We are in a great change in our life right now for so many reasons. We have been involved in so many huge, life-altering transitions–some we asked for, some we did not. I think when we look back on it in the decades to come, we will see the Pelican as a character in the story, a friend who was frequently there holding our hand through it.
We didn’t really have any earth-shattering revelations in our class, but we passed one of our classmates in the lobby who had had her child the night before. After class, we went up to the birthing center to visit and meet her baby. This couple is in a very different place than we are. We had this intersection of having children born around the same time, and so in a way we are tied together. Our kids may go to school together.
As we talked, I thought about how we might not have ever met each other if so many of these major changes in Allyson and my life had not happened. Here we were in a hospital in Tillamook, Oregon visiting someone we met in a birthing class 4 weeks earlier. Allyson was holding this newborn baby. If any of these changes had gone differently, we might not have even known each other’s existence. And yet here we were sharing this intimate moment.
Who knows what will come of those moments when the rain decides to hold up and you walk out the doors and into the sunlight for the first time in weeks? I find myself not knowing how to dwell on these things. It seems a time just to live into it. The meanings will come later. This is not the season for too much philosophizing. It is a time simply to live, to pour myself into these moments of sunshine.