It's late, and I should already be in bed, because tomorrow is a big day. I'll be presenting myself to the hospital at 7 AM for an induction, which is both the reason I should be sleeping and the reason I'm sitting here, bouncing one knee like I'm trying to shake off clambering insects.
I'm nervous, is what I'm saying.
It's silly, I know. For weeks I've been anticipating this birth any minute. I've even avoided starting a bread dough that had to rise overnight, because WHO KNOWS if I'll be here in the morning, and not in the hospital, inhaling freshly toweled baby head?
And now I know that tomorrow is the day, that she'll be born 4-6-09, and that all the waiting will finally be over.
I'm not sure I'm ready.
It's not ME, for heaven's sake. I'm soooo ready to breathe and eat and stand up in one smooth motion with no flailing or grunting noises. And I was going to say "sleep through the night again" but hahahaha, that's right, newborn. So scratch that idea.
No, I'm just not sure that I've prepared everything and everyone. I've spent the day being acutely aware of how much this baby is going to require of the other kids, how much this means in their world. I've always held to the notion that siblings are a gift, and that gift is bigger by far than the adjustments required. But our kids, from the fierce almost 8-year-old to the beautiful almost 17-year-old, have more layers to view this through than your average kid in your standard intact family. I want to gather each one of them into my arms and hold them until they know it's going to be okay, that there's only going to be more love tomorrow.
More love and diapers. But the diapers don't last.
Today I was driving home, and as I rounded the corner just before my house, I saw a tiny boy, running hell-bent-for-leather down the middle of the street, in bare feet and jammies. It was COLD today. I pulled over and just abandoned my van by the side of the road (complete with keys in the ignition, my purse on the seat, and most stupidly, my cell phone in there somewhere). I chased him for blocks, gasping and waddling and calling out to him in what I hoped was a comforting manner. The little thing was FREAKED OUT.
Finally, with the help of a couple who stopped to aid in the chase, we caught up to him. A man wrapped his jacket around him, and I picked him up and wrapped my arms around him, holding his icy feet in my pregnancy-heated hands until his shuddering stilled. He was three, he said, and he told us he'd woken up and his mommy was gone and so he was going to her store to find her. The man called the police and we waited for them and chatted.
"He could have just missed his mom," I mused. "She could have been in the bathroom or the basement or something. One of my boys was a runner. They get away sometimes. Heck, I WAS a runner when I was a kid, I'm told."
"Oh yeah," he said, "when you think about the crazy things kids do...well. It makes you believe in guardian angels, doesn't it?"
I nodded, mute. Soon the police arrived, and Clay pulled up shortly after. I left the boy in their hands and climbed in the van. I told Clay and the boys the story, then leaned back and closed my eyes for a minute, and prayed.
In this world of chances and changes, Lord, let there be guardian angels for each of our children. Please.