Wednesday, December 30, 2015

What To Expect

How did I end up in front of this plate of fries? I had just been bragging on the phone about my healthy food cravings. I ate an apple an hour ago and felt smug. I heard myself say I'd get a sandwich for lunch. Robert said, "try and avoid Subway again."

I settled on Olive and Thyme, but when I hung up, I couldn't remember the directions. Sure, I could've googled the address. It was only a block or two away. But the Umami Burger sign was staring me in the face and I drove into the parking lot and found myself sitting here. Since I've become pregnant, I have no guilt. There's a moment of pause and I carry on.

A few months ago, I'd order a glass of wine and check Instagram before picking up the menu. These days, I have my order memorized and try not to stare too earnestly at the busy waiter.

Full order of fries, extra ketchup and a side of mustard. You can bring it out first with an iced tea. I will be finishing my fries by the time you bring out the burger, thank you very much.

Make it a black bean burger and a side salad for my conscience.

My senses are in overdrive. I'm too hungry, too full, too tired, too congested, too itchy, too cold, or too hot, like right now.

I dip my napkin into my ice water and drape it around my neck. It's winter in LA. It's not even warm outside. How do pregnant women survive in the summer? I'm only four months along and I feel like a living incubator, which I suppose I am.

My feelings are heightened. I haven't had bouts of crying, though I'm sure that's around the corner. It's a feeling I'd compare to the glass of wine I so enjoyed just a few months ago. I sure sound like a lush. I don't even miss wine. Okay, yet.

I have a feeling of contentment I can only assume comes naturally when you're growing life. The jumble of concerns that used to rattle around in my mind are now in order, making it easy to let go of minor stresses and worries. I know it's easier because I have support from a partner whose main priority is making our family happy. Him, me, our baby and his cravings, which are never ending, let me tell you.

More mustard and ketchup please. These fries are going fast.

The reasons for my happiness are the simplest of things, yet they are not easy to come by. I am keenly aware of it. 

This didn't just fall in my lap. I feel like I fought and tried and failed and suffered and tried again. For most of my life, I've been trying to make things happen, to achieve something, to prove something.

I was the girl who sought out palm readers at 17, clenching my jaw and asking about my future. I remember being so proud when they'd tell me I'd never get married or have children. I was determined to make something of myself, pursue my dreams, and live a life worth remembering. Those palm readers knew what a teenage girl needed to hear.

Nearly ten years later, I was the first of my friends to get married at 26. I lived across the country from my husband, trying to succeed in my reporting career, never imagining I could have and should have asked him to move with me, to pursue our dreams together.

Ah, to be 26 again!

Slugging it out solo on opposite coasts didn't build a strong foundation. We became the first of our friends to divorce.

For a time, I wondered if I would ever have kids. I wanted them, and I almost married someone who had children. That relationship helped me realize my deep desire to be a mother.

After the breakup, my ex husband became a shoulder to cry on. Four years after our divorce, we had worked through every emotion imaginable and we were friends again.

When I shared my frustrations, he would laugh with knowing. You know the look of understanding you get from friends who have known you for years? That look. Isn't it great?

It didn't take long to realize the husband who had disappointed me years ago had grown into the man I needed.

I wasted no time embracing my life, our life, and the future. I laugh to myself and think of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Liz and Dick. 'Le Scandale!'

round one
round two

Sure, she had a few more marriages under her belt, but she married the love of her life twice. 

It's all so juicy and thrilling. I'm just so happy.

I've finished my french fries. I force down the salad and box up the burger.

I'll have it for dinner, or more likely, in an hour.

My last birthday in New York. A few weeks later I learned I was pregnant!

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