Thinking about the Friday night, September 19th, that I went into labor with Audrey. I was exactly seven days overdue. I’d gone for a long walk to the water near our Bay Ridge apartment and sat down on a bench there to pray because I was feeling quite on edge and discouraged. As I headed back to the apartment, I started to feel the contractions. When I got home, I started to clean furiously- room by room. But by the time I got to the kitchen, I had to stop. I sat down at our little table and chairs- my great grandmother’s chairs that I had worked so hard to strip and refinish and reupholster and the Windsor table from Crate and Barrel we got when we first got married.
Then you called.
You were on your way home and had just gotten out of the subway, and you asked if I wanted you to pick up anything- food or snacks. You were always asking me that.
I said no, you’d better just come home because I thought I was in labor.
When you got home, you seemed a combination of excited, paralyzed, and terrified. You sat down at the table with me, took my hand, and cried- saying, “I love you.”
I asked you to go ahead and start making me the mac and cheese we’d bought as part of the huge “labor basket” of snacks and tools to try to get me through natural childbirth.
“I need to eat now to keep my strength up.”
It was a long night – stretching into the next day until the next night- including two trips back and forth to the hospital in cabs while I got on my knees screaming and cab drivers drove nervously eyeing me in their rear view mirrors. While we were laboring at home, I took baths, you gave me massages, snacks, and we tried to watch some of our favorite show at the time, “Arrested Development.”
Throughout the night, you carried the birthing ball, various bags of “stuff”, a stereo with my “labor mix” all around. And you massaged my back for hours at a time- the only thing that was helping.
The next morning after I’d given birth to our Audrey, you arrived as early as you could at the hospital (you weren’t allowed to stay overnight unless we paid $1000 extra for a private room), and you brought with you flowers, and a card for me, and a card for Audrey.
The card for Audrey- now in her baby book has a drawing with colored pencils of a beautiful flower, cloud, sun, and a little viking ship like the ones in the mobile we’d hung above her changing table. On the front, you wrote in pen:
our beautiful daughter”
We’ve been waiting for you for so— long!! Mommy and Daddy can’t tell you how happy we are now that you are here. We loved you even before you were born, but the moment we first saw you was like magic!
You are our precious daughter and we will forever love you.
Mommy and Daddy.
My card just said Julia with blue lines on either side on the front and inside:
What can I say?
Thank you so much for being the strongest and bravest, and for bringing an amazing, beautiful little girl into this world!
I love you, Julia. Always have and always will. Look forward to seeing you as the world’s greatest mother (No pressure…) You’re certainly the world’s prettiest mother!!
and Audrey thanks you too!!
You were always saying that to me: “I love you. Always have and always will.” In a Scottish accent because I think you said it was a line from Braveheart.
Dan- I love you. Always have. Always will.