Sometimes I’m embraced with one of those Nostalgic Moods – I can sit for hours reading old journals ad notebooks, pouring over photo albums, “What year did I pose in that light blue, 4-H project dress?”, “What was that girl-from-the-second-grade named?”, “I remember that day at the beach….” and memories flow through my mind as if I’m living through them right here and now. When I was a kid, my parents took all of our photos on slide film so we never saw any of the pictures until years later when Mom and Dad were in the Nostalgic Mood and we’d have night-long slide shows. We’d all huddle together on the floor of the living room, maybe there was popcorn, and Dad would sit there smiling with tears rolling down his face as we all grew up on the big white wall.
I had a Nostalgic Mood on Friday night. It was 7’o clock and I had just put the 2 girls to bed, my son had fallen asleep in my arms nursing – so I carried him up to his bed. When I’m pregnant, I have these moods often. I reminisce about each birth and relive the moments minute by minute. I remember my husband and myself sitting down to eat dinner on our balcony the evening before my first daughter was born, in October, 2001. I remember me not eating, wondering if the contractions I was feeling were “real” (at nearly 43 weeks) or “false”. In the moments of her birth I remember feeling such an enormous almost-power enter my body. After over 24 hours of labor and 3 hours of pushing, the most beautiful cone-headed, long, slender baby was born. Of course, I became a mother at that moment and just months shy of 26 it was as if I had gone from being a carefree young wife to a woman. The album containing the birth photos is full of emotions. My hands and arms with IVs and tubes wrapped around and poking out covered in dry blood, cradling my tightly wrapped daughter. My hair is beautifully disheveled and my tired face glows with joy. My young boy husband beams out of the photos, awkwardly holding our baby for the first time. Other photos show my parents beaming, holding their first grandchild. There are pictures of my two youngest brothers, 9 and10-year old uncles, reaching out to touch their niece. Later photos show my dad sleeping soundly with my baby girl nestled in the crook of his arm, each of my 18-year old twin brothers cuddling her to sleep. It’s Friday night in 2007 and I’m transported back 5 and a half years ago to a time so different in my life. I’m a new mother and my dreams and plans for motherhood and parenting are a giant, long secret rolled up in front of me.
I hear my toddler son stir in his sleep and I’m snapped back to my 31-year old life as a pregnant mother of three, sitting on my brown leather couch, propped up with cushions, and surrounded by photo albums. It’s time to sit down to dinner with my husband – just the two of us.