The last couple of messages he sends shows he is tired, shows he has been up for a while and is not in the mood for a couple of hours’ layover in Switzerland. And still his messages give me energy and want for him to come back home as soon as possible.
He texts me an hour before expected that he has got his bags and is waiting for the train. At this point I leave everything behind, turn off the DVD, start walking around the apartment, glancing out the window. I try to phone him, but he doesn’t pick up and I, foolishly but that is how I am, start to wonder if he has fallen asleep and has missed his stop, and I worry. My heartbeat quickens and the baby kicks away in my stomach – I don’t know if it is my anxiety that is transferred to the baby or if it is telling me to come down, “don’t you worry, mommy, daddy will come back to me as quickly as he can”. The streets are empty and I am about to grab my phone and call him once more when a cab turns around the corner of our street and I immediately spot a red jacket on the backseat. It’s him, it’s him. My heart is beating, my stomach flutters. He gets out the cab and looks up at me and waves. I turn to the side to let him see the belly and he smiles, then I rush to the door and run down the steps. It seems like ages before my lips touches his, before his hands caress the belly.
For a week I checked my email religiously. We emailed back and forth a couple of times a day. Some emails were the general kind. We wrote about the day, about dinner, about little things. Others were love letters so beautiful I read them over and over again during the day. They were words for the future, but so many of them reflected the past 6+ years we have been together and the hopes and dreams we have had almost from the beginning. They reassured me (not that I was ever in doubt) that I could not have found a better man to live my life with, to start a family with.
“Being away when you are visibly pregnant, when the baby is kicking, is difficult, it is just different,” a pregnant friend of mine told me recently after she had been away from home for a week. I said I didn’t know if she was right. Now I know she was.
Being apart is difficult. It has never been easy (our 10 months apart three weeks after we met proves this), but being apart when you are expecting a child is even more difficult.
These days I feel life on the hour almost. I have a baby that is kicking away and making sure I never forget that what is most important right now is not work, not what to cook for dinner, not a random friend’s birthday – it is the baby. And these days J has routines. He and the baby have a morning ritual and communicate while I am still sleeping. He kisses my belly hello and goodbye. And we sit in the living room at night talking, his head in my lap and close to the belly so he can hear and feel when it kicks. We live a life that has changed because I can no longer do what I used to be able to. We shop together because groceries are too heavy and J makes sure I rest during the day and tells me when he thinks I have done more than enough for one day in the kitchen.
People will tell you that life changes when you have a baby, but if anyone asks me I will say that life also changes when you become pregnant. Our life – our being together – is becoming more important. Though I have never doubted that J and I were one, were together, I feel this even more now with the baby being present all the time, never letting me forget it is there.
While J was in China I realised that I found myself falling even more in love with my husband which was something I didn’t really think possible, but which his emails made it impossible not to do. And as he came back and we spent the weekend just being together I felt it once more. Somewhere I feel I should shake my head and get real, because how is that possible, but luckily, thankfully that part is so tiny its voice is never heard and my heart continues to grow.
A month from today I will turn off the computer at work for the last time in 2009. Because of Easter and a week’s vacation I have got exactly 15 work days left before my focus will shift from communication strategies and speeches to preparing myself full time for motherhood.
It is weird and wonderful at the same time. I feel both prepared and completely lost. But the thing that keeps my head above the water is a feeling that everything is going to be alright – a feeling which has inhabited every single cell of my body and is present on the good days as well as the bad. It has to do, I think, with my generally being happy and content and I am eternally grateful I feel this way. Though I know that life can change in an instant and that it is unknown what awaits us around the corner, I am not the least bit afraid because I know that no matter what awaits us, we turn that corner as a family.