Motherhood Mondays: The most unforgettable Sunday morning of our life to date.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Last time I checked in here, we were on the cusp of a foster placement.  I was obsessively listening to foster care podcasts around the clock, reading allll the books on attachment, and sharing our plans with whomsoever would listen.  We had planned to go open for placement around July 4 -- that was until we learned that our caseworker needed to delay our going active until late July....

I did not handle this news well.  I did not want to wait until late July -- I didn't even want to wait until mid-July.  I came to terms with the news, though, and we finished last minute preparations on our home (purchasing a fire extinguisher, storing all medication and vitamins in a locked cabinet, and other various safety precautions as required by our agency).  I pictured the moment we got "the call" and wondered how that would unfold; would I be home alone?  Would we know right away that we wanted to accept?  What if we didn't want to accept that particular placement?  Would the guilt of that choice be unbearable?  Despite the anxieties of the unknown, I was, above all else, ever hopeful.

That is until early August rolled around and we learned our placement would be even further delayed.  I Marco Polo'ed my friends, Anne and Abbie, and shared my devastation with them.  Surely this was the end of the world?  Our toddler was starting pre-school for the very first time in a matter of days and I physically couldn't bear the thought of him having to navigate both the transition from the only nanny he'd ever known to a school environment and also the transition from only child to foster brother in the same timeframe.  His little world was about to be turned upside-down as it were with the onset of the school year and I cared very deeply about stabilizing his routine as much as we could.  After I explained this to my friends on Marco Polo, my friend Abbie quickly shot me a video response back. "Jen.  There is a reason that this is happening.  I don't know exactly why your placement is getting delayed, but all I know is that there will come a time when you think back to this moment and say to yourself, 'Ah, so that's why that happened.'"

I got chills just hearing her affirmation.  Even so, I went to bed that night feeling just as anxious and forlorn as the nights prior.

I can't tell you how many days later it was that it happened, but.... something happened.  It was a Sunday morning and for some reason, we hadn't gone to church.  I think it was because our 2-year-old wasn't feeling well (and that story is a story for another day).  The three of us laid in bed and ate breakfast, drank orange juice, and watched Marley and Me.  Now, if you've seen that movie, surely you know it's a real tear-jerker (and if you haven't, that's no's a movie about a dog, so.....).  I'd seen it dozens of times and had never been able to watch without shedding some tears, but this time around, I was shocked to realize that I wasn't crying in any of the dog scenes.  Rather, I cried every time Jennifer Aniston's character found out she was pregnant.  Every time she brought a new baby home.  Every time she danced in the window, holding her babies close, as Owen Wilson's character lovingly watched from the driveway.

And don't even get me started about the ending.  I'm not talking about THE scene (you know the one).  I'm talking about at the very, very end of the movie when the family sits down to watch home videos.  They, along with the viewer, take a quick trip down memory lane -- think: a montage of home video clips in which babies quickly turn into toddlers and toddlers suddenly grow into children.  Joe walked in at this very part only to see me, sitting upright in bed with tears streaming down my face, while our son napped next to me.

I didn't realize until this morning that Joe took a picture of us when he found us in bed.

"Why are you crying!?", he asked me, somewhat aghast.
"Because their boys g- g- g- grew up so f- f- f- fast," I sobbed in response.

Joe attributed my hysteria to the foster-care-placement-combined-with-preschool stress and the emotional rollercoaster that that entailed.  And I did too. dawned on me.  At least, the prospect of it.

"Hey, do you need anything at Target?", I asked him out of the blue.

"Nope, why?"

"I think I'm gonna go pick something up."

"Oh.  What are you getting?"

"I'm just gonna grab some things.  I'll be right back."

And out the door I went.  Once inside the local Target, I knew where I was headed.

The pregnancy test aisle.

In any other circumstance, I would have felt too self-conscious to check out with just a pregnancy test.  What will the cashier think?  What will they say?!  Will it be awkward?  Will they offer a generic, "Uh, good luck!"  Even worse, will they ask me directly about it in attempt to make small talk?  What if I see someone I know?  What if I see someone I work with!? Surely I can find something to set on top of the box in the cart in case that happens...

But not that day.  I didn't even want to take the time to come up with a second or third item -- self-consciousness be damned.  I paid for the pregnancy test and all but sprinted to the Target bathroom.  What if the cashier is watching you?  A voice whispered in my head.  Who even cares!?  I mentally shouted back.

Once inside the bathroom, I couldn't rip the package open soon enough.  Hands shaking, I wondered to myself, Why don't I have a pocket knife?! This is why people carry pocket knives -- for this exact scenario!

Finally, the box broke free from the cellophane and I ripped straight through it.  I hurried over to the toilet.  And within a matter of seconds: two pink lines.

"I FREAKING KNEW IT!", I whispered aloud to myself right there in the Target bathroom.

I stared at the lines for several seconds, just to confirm their existence.  Were there really two lines?

There were, in fact, two lines.

In a daze, I emerged from the bathroom, positive pregnancy test in hand, for all the world to see.  I no longer cared about cashier onlookers or possible co-worker sightings.  Because suddenly, in that very moment, I knew why our placement had been delayed.  And as I unlocked my car and scooted into the driver's seat, still staring at the two lines before me (pregnancy test still in hand), I shook my head.  Abbie had been right all along.  I said aloud - to no one, I suppose, but my unborn child and myself - "So that's why that happened."

Nev said...

Well, that just made me unexpectedly misty-eyed. Sniff! Beautifully written, Jen—something so bittersweet about it all—and I can't wait to read about what it's like having a new bébé and being a fam of four!

Latest Instagrams

© JENNI OKC. Design by FCD.