Last Friday, we stopped by a shop in Hanalei called Ola's. We were drawn in by the shop's glass display, given Jeff's interest in glass blowing. When we were in Venice a couple of years ago, we spent three back-to-back days in Murano so that Jeff could check out all the glass shops and factories there. This time, we emerged not with glass blowing tools, but a pair of little brown moccasins that we spotted among the touristy chotchkies. They are completely useless and impractical, a fitting purchase for a first time mother. I plunked my credit card down gleefully, holding back the urge to blurt to the store clerk, "It's for our little boy."
For the next few days, I took the moccasins with me wherever I went. If I went from the bedroom to the living room, they went with me, where I laid them down a foot to my left on the couch. When I went to sip my papaya, orange, and guava juice -- or pog, as they call it in Hawaii -- on the balcony, I sat them on the stand next to my book. I sometimes rested them on my belly, to try to imagine the feet of the little guy and the rest of his body protruding from the soft folds of leather. When we packed our stuff to return to SF, I secured them in the front pocket of my backpack so that they wouldn't be crushed by other things.
These shoes are the first and only purchase we've made for the little guy so far. We didn't want to start preparing before the CVS, and once we received the CVS results, we thought it made sense to wait for the spina bifida test. We had our spina bifida ultrasound on May 15th, and everything seems to be progressing smoothly. It was amazing to watch the technician press her sensor in various angles to point out his heart chambers and his kidney, and to hear that that he has no club foot or cleft lips. We took her word for it since all we saw were grainy images of a big head and boney hands flowing back and forth as if he were giving us the royal wave. And him moving and twitching and shaking, as if he were doing the jitter bug. We went in the following Monday because they needed one more photograph, and he decided to do a face plant just as the technician tried to capture a decent image for us to take home.
Now that the tests are behind us, we are now letting ourselves look forward. We have a little over four months left to read all the books we want to read, to buy whatever the little guy needs, and to become the parents we are becoming. We are not ready yet, and I suspect we'll never be ready. But we hope to be less un-ready.
In this process, I marvel at the strangeness of it all. Strange, not in a bad way, but in a way that feels foreign, even though this is one of the most common experiences in human history. And in a way that is mind-boggling and incredible and unreal. To have another creature inside of me, moving this way and that, causing little flurries in that vicinity of my body usually reserved for mundane digestion. I went to my first pre-natal yoga class a couple of weeks ago, and the instructor kept repeating, "Remember! You are your baby's first home." Now, what prepares you in life to become a dwelling?
When I was registering for sixth grade, I remember my dad asking me if I wanted to sign up to play the clarinet in band. I had no idea what a clarinet was, but I said ok. When I started mastering how to blow into that thing without squeaking, I remember suddenly realizing that I was playing the real thing. That this clarinet was the same real clarinet that the bearded guys in professional orchestras played. Me, playing a real clarinet.
I'm a long way from sixth grade, but that's how I feel these days. That I'm about to be entrusted with this little guy. Me, a mother to a real live baby.