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I’ve spilled the beans about our rainbow baby at six weeks. I realize that most people wait to announce their pregnancies. Sometimes they wait until they have a sonogram to share. Sometimes they wait until they hear a heartbeat. Sometimes they wait until the end of the first trimester. Sometimes they wait for a “safe point.”
I didn’t want to wait, and I can give you two reasons why.
First, I don’t believe in a “safe point” anymore. Not in pregnancy, not in life. I have read the stories of so many of the babylost, and it’s taught me that it can happen at any time. One moment, all is well; the next, the world crashes down. Without much trouble, I’m sure I could find a woman who has lost a baby at any point in her pregnancy, from week 4 to week 42. And even after. Life is so fragile, it should be celebrated while it can be celebrated.
Second, I can’t maintain baby silence on this blog. We’ve known for a little over two weeks now, and it’s been driving me a little bonkers not talking about it here. This is where I vent my fears and my frustrations, where I share my hopes and dreams, where I talk out my grief so that I might stay sane amid all the deep blues and grays of my emotions. This baby – no matter how long it decides to stay – is a part of that. It’s part of the healing process. It’s also a trigger, though it’s the best kind of trigger, one of hope instead of despair.
Also, this blog is mostly about my day-to-day life. Being pregnant is too. It’s hard to think about anything but being pregnant. I don’t like the idea of censoring myself on my own blog, so I knew it would only be a matter of time before I blurted it out or dropped too many subtle hints. I have always wanted this blog to be as honest as possible; it is always what I have wanted from my writing. I don’t see much point in writing if you’re not going to be telling some kind of truth.
Ah, and I can think of a third reason: I need all the positive thoughts I can get.
Geordie and I have an amazing network of support, both in real life and online. These are people who have done their best to lift us above our grief, who at the same time know Lauren’s story and do not diminish it. I am so grateful for these people – for you readers, who read my words and know that Lauren lived and was loved, who have sent us thoughts and prayers, both for her and for the baby now growing inside me. Every little bit helps, and I am so grateful for it all.
I don’t know what the next nine months will bring. Right now, I’m still in disbelief – even though there are certainly enough symptoms to convince me that it’s true! I’m fairly certain panic, doubt, and anxiety will all be visiting in due time. So will utter amazement, sheer joy, and that most elusive feeling of all: hope.
We want so much to bring this baby home. It is, for the most part, all I can think about, but I still haven’t quite managed to convince myself that it’s true. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to, not until this baby is in my arms, happy and healthy and screaming like a banshee if necessary.
I can’t predict how this pregnancy is going to go, and I can’t predict how stable my emotions are going to be. All I know is that this space, this blog, is my outlet, and I need that. If things get crazy, just bear with me. I’m just working things out. Because once all the negative is gone, I can focus on the positive.
Today, I am pregnant. Right now, that’s all that matters.
I’ve come to terms with Thanksgiving. It’s still not my favorite holiday (not by a longshot), but I’m learning to appreciate it.
I spent a lot of years not liking it on principle, because that was just the sort of teenager I was (and the type of person I can still be, unfortunately). I still believe it’s a ridiculous time of year to celebrate bountiful harvests; if it were up to me, I’d celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving, in October, which seems a more logical choice for a harvest festival. But, clearly, I have no say in the matter. I also don’t go in much for the “pilgrims & Indians” part of it, because . . . actually, you know what, I’m not going to get into that here. I’m trying to keep this one positive.
Suffice to say that when I celebrate Thanksgiving, it’s as a harvest festival, as a symbolic beginning to the coming cold season, the closing of the year. It is a time to reflect on the year that has passed, but that’s generally how I feel about the entire autumn season anyway. Thanksgiving just puts a nice cap on it.
While Geordie and I are doing a fairly mundane and “typical” Thanksgiving this year, I have a number of unorthodox celebrations in my history. I have always held Christmas memories and traditions higher than Thanksgiving ones. I doubt that will change very much in the coming years. But I wanted to take this day to remember a few special Thanksgivings and the traditions that have come and gone (and sometimes stayed) overthe years. I’m sure there are some treasured Thanksgiving memories; I just have to do a little exploration in this crowded head of mine.
When I was growing up, we had traditional Thanksgiving dinners. I’m pretty sure of it, even though I don’t actually have many memories of them. The last one I really remember well was in 1992, when some of my mother’s family came to our place. In my youth, I didn’t like Thanksgiving so much because I was a terribly picky eater and the food just wasn’t overly appealing to me. I would only eat the dark meat of the turkey (which I still prefer, no matter what the bird is), I refused to eat the stuffing if there were onions and celery in it (also still true), and anything that couldn’t be smothered in butter was suspect. I ate a lot of carbs for Thanksgiving meals in those days: mashed potatoes (not always with gravy), sweet potatoes, and rolls with butter. Quite the unsophisticated palate. I’m sure I ate pumpkin pie too, but probably only with a generous helping of whipped cream.
By the time I was in college, we no longer had a “traditional” Thanksgiving, by national standards. But it did involve football. My father’s parents ran a concession stand for the Pop Warner youth football league during playoffs, which happened Thanksgiving week. Teams from all over the south took part, and it eventually became our tradition to visit my grandparents and help out at the concession stand. From Wednesday to Saturday, we worked concession and usually ate hamburgers and hotdogs for our Thanksgiving meal. I skipped most of these events as a teenager, but as a young adult, it became a pretty enjoyable way to spend the holiday (as long as I was working with the food and not with taking orders – it could get pretty crazy sometimes). Between Dad’s hamburgers and Granny’s chili-cheese dogs, that was all I really wanted for Thanksgiving.
Sometime between college and my life abroad, I spent Thanksgiving with Heather and her family. The turkey was all Heather. I would have had no idea what to do with a whole bird. I probably did desserts, as that’s always been my area of expertise. I remember having a fairly early dinner then getting into my pre-packed car and driving south to my grandparents’s place and meeting up with the family there. I remember that was the first year I won Nanowrimo. Not a bad year.
Then I went to Japan. While harvest festivals are popular – especially in the countryside – most of them take place in October and are celebrated locally and uniquely. They’re often celebrated as a community event, either in the center of town or at the local shrine. They’re by no means the biggest festivals of the year, but they are a nice expression of thankfulness for the harvest and the unity of the local people. Most of my students knew what Thanksgiving was – and those who had lived abroad sometimes had had personal experiences with it – but it was a very foreign, American concept to them. Completely understandable. Of the three Thanksgivings I spent in Japan, I worked two of them. It didn’t bother me much.
The third Thanksgiving, in 2010, my regular days off were Wednesday and Thursday, and I was in the habit of visiting Geordie on those days. At the time, we lived in separate prefectures – there was a good two-hour train ride between us. Geordie lived in a tiny apartment; his furniture was limited to a low table and a short, skinny bed (also very low to the ground). Turkey was impossible to come by unless you lived in a big city (he didn’t), and even then, it was expensive. Also, he had no oven, only two elements on the range. So, I went with my family’s tradition and made my grandmother’s chili! And cornbread. And something for dessert, but I can’t remember at all what it was.
Hey, I found a pic!
I am now seriously considering doing a chili Thanksgiving next year. Turkey has long been a Christmas tradition in our family; I’m happy to keep it that way.
I do wonder what Thanksgiving traditions we’ll be cherishing in the future. I’d like to think of it as a quieter, more introspective holiday. I’d rather travel and get together with family for Christmas. Thanksgiving is more for reflection, a winding down of the year and a preparation for the coming season. A happy holiday, but a sober, simple one. I can already tell that this will be a holiday where the loss of Lauren lays heavily upon me, no matter how many years pass by. I wish she were still here with us but I’m grateful for having her in our lives, even for such a short time.
If you’re traveling this year, take care. If you’re staying home this year, enjoy and be safe. If it’s just another Thursday for you, have a good one. I’m grateful to you all who stop by and read my random musings and cooking adventures. When I count my blessings, you’re all among them. Thank you.