By now, it’s tradition: the bundling up in many layers and tying on snow boots for the first time; the misconception that trees are everywhere (they are) and that finding a suitable Christmas tree is easy (it’s not!); the packed lunch and desperate search on the radio for some holiday tunes. We ventured up the North Fork in search of a green beauty to sacrifice in the name of festive decor. After hobbling over fallen trees with no luck, we drove farther up a mountain road and set out again (not before I took a light spill on snow-covered ice, but all was well), this time spotting some contenders. Our selection was massive, and cutting it down almost felt wrong, to be honest. But here she sits in our living room, serving as the centerpiece of the season.
The holiday season feels extra special this year. The other day I had a moment– one where I found myself standing in our kitchen listening to holiday tunes and folding tiny baby clothes. Luke was in the living room reading. It was one of those ordinary tasks that just felt so extraordinary in that moment. You know what I mean.
Over the course of the past week, I’ve started to feel pregnancy. I’m sore and restless. My belly has stretched so much I think it impossible to grow more, even though I know it will. It’s harder for me to get up out of bed. Insomnia has picked back up and I find myself wide awake at 3:00. There are the Braxton Hicks contractions; that painless preview of my body doing its most important work. Then there’s the nesting instinct… which sounds perfectly charming when said in relation to other pregnant women. But in reality, it’s not quite so, especially while still trying to settle in a new-ish house. Evening comes and I find myself reorganizing shelves and closets and breaking down boxes.
But, how can I complain really? This means our sweet baby–whose kicks can be felt all day long now– is closer to being here. So we dance and sing together as we wait for dinner to cook, much to his or her delight, it seems. Because how can I not?
I realize now the meaning of preparations for something that really can’t be prepared for, not really. The illusion of control. So, that’s what I’ve done. We have a bed and a car seat and everything in between. Much of it is washed and folded in my closet. I scoured eBay (a great option for those who dislike thrift shops and/or like higher end brands–it has everything) and thrift stores and consignment fairs and made a rather lovely layette. While it was hard to purchase so many new things for baby that I couldn’t find used or needed to buy new for safety reasons, I am thrilled to have been able to only purchase gently (and sometimes never!) used clothing, swaddles, sleep sacks, and the like.
Most of the time, my nerves are tamed. I tell anyone who asks, the most surprising thing about this whole process (pregnancy) is just how normal it all is. Life goes on as usual. But in the meanwhile, something truly miraculous is happening behind the scenes.