I am writing this for Auds’ beautiful daughter, Meg.
For some reason, I never expected to have children, despite Kathy King’s mumbo-jumbo “yarn” trick sophomore year that told me I’d be a mother to 16.
I didn’t think I’d be married, either. I will admit that for awhile there, I DID wonder if maybe that “mother to 16” prediction foresaw I’d be a cat spinster living in a hoarder poo house, waving a kitten tutu in the air while trilling “Come here Mr. Mittenpaws, mummy has something for you.”
But because I really and truly believed I’d be single for the rest of my life — not because I wanted to, and not because I needed to, but because I didn’t think I’d find someone who didn’t bug the living crap out of me on a daily basis — I never planned for the possibility of children. And then I met The Rock and everything changed in a blink.
Within a year, I knew I could marry him and not mind when he talked, breathed, or ate cereal loudly. Three years after that, I knew I wanted to have children with him. But still, I just couldn’t imagine it. Kids? Me? I was in no position to be a role model to anybody. And remembering to feed them would be equally as difficult. Strange, but when I went off the pill, I continued to think it would be a long while before I became pregnant. I regaled The Rock with horror stories of thirty-somethings who put their careers first, then tried to get pregnant to no avail because they had old eggs.
That didn’t work as planned either.
The same month I went off the pill is the same month we conceived Toots.
I couldn’t believe it.
There would be children in our lives! Not ballet cats, children.
The Rock and I weren’t all there was anymore. There would be another and she would be of us and from us and probably not a kitten.
The next few months, I did as moms-to-be do: picked out baby clothes, researched cribs, ate absurd amounts of chocolate. My belly grew and as it swelled, so did my spirit. I shared all my favorites with my baby bean: The Indigo Girls, big breakfasts, and Lifetime TV. We were a team. All three of us.
Then one day, I had an ultrasound at one of those newfangled 3D imaging places. The Rock and I gasped — quite literally — when we saw our little girl’s face. A girl! A face! She’s real! We’re having a baby! A baby! With a face!
OH MY GOD.
That was a turning point for me, for The Rock and I both. Up until then, our minds knew we were having a child, but somehow that idea didn’t take full root in our hearts.
I remembered just then how my mom would stare at us kids when we were growing up. A long, sometimes wistful look full of wonder and I didn’t know what else. Every single one of us four kids protested when we found ourselves on the receiving end of that stare. “Mom!” we’d protest. “Stop it! You’re freaking us out!” She’d look a little sad as she broke her gaze and now I know why.
We didn’t get it. And she knew we never would until we were parents of our own.
From that moment in the ultrasound room when I saw Toot’s face I haven’t stopped looking at her in the same way my mom used to all those years ago.
And the other thing? Next to the wonder? The kind of deep, searing, soul love you’ll never imagine until you feel it yourself.
That love is coming for you, Meg.
And it’s way better than the cat’s meow.