My car is devoid of the telltale infant seat. Months ago it made a one-way trip to the Salvation Army. And the hooded kimonos and cotton onesies are intricately folded and packed away. Nothing so much as hints at my parenthood anymore; but I am a parent, in fact. At the end of the journal I started keeping when I suspected I was expecting is a folded piece of paper. There is the evidence that I am a mother: tiny inky smudges that are my firstborn's hand and foot prints.
;/ What follows are excerpts from that journal.FRIDAY, JUNE 22, 1990 I begin this journal -- propped as it is on my hip as I sprawl on the sofa -- in awe that you are only inches from it, safe and growing in my womb. Think of this as our first communication. I hope to share it with you someday -- maybe when you're a teen-ager and are convinced that I'm a monster and we'll never see eye to eye, or when you're feeling particularly low, like no one loves you.
I have suspected you for almost a week now. Early last Sunday, awoke with a queasy but wonderful feeling. As I lay next to your father and a new day dawned -- Father's Day, of all days! -- I knew I was privy to a delicious secret. I thought momentarily of creeping from the bed and rummaging for a piece of construction paper to fashion a first Father's Day card from you to him in order to announce your presence. But I decided to wait until medical tests confirmed what I already knew. However, later in the day when we were hiking, we spotted a doe with a fawn and watched as she alerted her baby and made tracks through the tall grass, her tail flashing behind her to show the way to safety. With that, I turned to your father and told him my suspicions about us maybe having a baby -- you! He smiled a little and hugged me and said that would be wonderful.
SUNDAY, JUNE 24 Already, I think of you and pray for you a hundred times a day. Although your father and I are most certainly "yours" for keeps, you are "ours" on loan only. I think of you as a precious gift with whom God is entrusting us. We will do our best. I promise.
MONDAY, JUNE 25 Blood test at noon. Rode the bike and lifted weights after work. Then visited my best friend, Eileen, and was surprised she didn't suspect anything when I declined a pina colada. I, the queen of junk food, feel that everything I put into my mouth should benefit you.
TUESDAY, JUNE 26
The anticipation of a Christmas morning in June -- will I get mlong-awaited, most-hoped-for gift?
As soon as I reached my desk at work, I called the doctor'office. A nurse confirmed what I already knew. Tonight, I bought a baby book and a curious little paperback entitled "14,000 Reasons to Be Happy." I am going to list you as Reason No. 1 and give it to your dad when I see him. He will be so thrilled. P.S. I just read that you are now about one-quarter of an inch long.
I read "The New Baby Book" cover to cover. I can't sleep witthoughts of you.
MONDAY, JULY 23 My very-first-ever obstetrical exam. The doctor was tickled, but not more than me when he located your heartbeat. I couldn't help crying and interrupting the swish/swish/- pump/pump which sounds strong and bold for a two-month-old. As I lie in bed now, I want to assure you that no matter what you succeed or fail at, no matter what you look like or how fast you can run, no matter what grades you make or whether or not you have a date for the senior prom, no matter what profession you choose in life -- none of that matters in terms of my love for you. I already love you with all there is in me to love. It is boundless and unconditional -- and all because your heart's beating.
WEDNESDAY, AUG. 22 Family and friends are already showering you with gifts. Even complete strangers are filled with joy at the news of you. Today I interviewed a nun who wants to open a home for mentally retarded adults. We talked about handicapped children and their families, and about painful ethical and moral decisions people must make and live with. Her opinion: If we say no to abortion, then we must rally to provide for those who are born with problems that necessitate high-tech and expensive long-term care. I revealed to her that my interest is perhaps keener than it might have otherwise been, as I am expecting. She burst out with a promise to pray for me as she hugged me. Her sheer elation at my news was uplifting.
WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 26 People in the newsroom know now. I'm not the least bit frantic anymore when co-workers spark the dreaded baby/career debate: "Well, what are you going to do once the baby comes?" My priorities have shifted from bylines and books to you.
MONDAY, OCT. 1My Amish girlfriend Esther had the girl she was yearning for -- after five boys in a row. Lots of people think you're a girl, too. I dreamed you were. I tell anyone who asks my preference that I'll be happy as long as you're not a German shorthaired pointer. We have one of those.