Wednesday, January 08, 2014

{somebody's baby}

 photo 85C3D2CB-062D-4165-8C6F-8421F3CF8316_zpsy9tazdlp.jpgI'm listening to this song on repeat and feeling really, really nostalgic.

Forever Young by Youth Group on Grooveshark

I'm not sure which came first, the music or the feeling. I never know. It doesn't really matter. It never has.

So I've been daydreaming. I've always been very good at daydreaming; I always got stickers and praise and prizes and good report card marks for "paying attention in class" while all the other kids goofed off. I wasn't paying attention. I was daydreaming. But at least I didn't have a kitten hidden in my desk like Cody did, and at least I wasn't poking the girl in front of me with thumb tacks like Matt was.

But the point is not that. The point. This morning. Daydreaming. Thinking back.

My thoughts first went back to almost five years ago, when Barclay and I bought and fixed up the house in the Cathedral Village. We gutted the walls and pulled out over fifty bags of sawdust, which had been used for insulation. We drywalled and painted and wallpapered. We got married and spent the first four short and sweet years there. We put pictures on the walls and he bought me a piano and we celebrated Christmases and birthdays and anniversaries.

Then my thoughts skipped back even further to living alone in my basement apartment in Swift Current. The door didn't lock, and I slept on an air mattress, and I ate porridge and rice and peas almost exclusively. Not for lack of money or kitchen skills; I just liked porridge and rice and peas. I developed an intolerance to oats; I still like rice and peas. I developed an intolerance for the neighbours across the hall, who yelled at each other all day long. I sold nice watches and gold chains and engagement rings and my boss was crazy drunk every day by 10 AM. I developed an intolerance for that, too.

I thought about my time in Alberta; that day that I fell down a mountain and landed face-first on a tree stump. I was a waitress at a soup and sandwich cafe, and for the next month I was pulling in massive tips because my face was so bruised and scabby that people thought I was being beaten by somebody. One man said to me, "You don't deserve that. There are people who can help. I will help, if I can."

I thought about that summer I spent in Saskatoon, renting a tiny two bedroom apartment with four other girls and working as a debt collector. I thought it was the coolest and most exciting job in the world because I'd never experienced so many death threats and marriage proposals on such a daily basis before. Or since, come to think of it. I rarely came home at night before 5 AM, and spent most of my money and time at The Bassment seeing crappy local "punk" bands.

I thought about high school. I lived in the kind of small town where you had to be very creative because all there was to do was drive up and down main street and, believe it or not, even that got old after a while. Between the noon-hour main street cruises and the frequent road trips out of town to actually do something fun, I sometimes wonder how much money in gas I spent between the ages of 16 and 18. I feel like we could've afforded a house with real insulation if I'd saved that money. I hated high school.

I thought about growing up on the farm. We had chickens and tractors and stuff like that. I played in mud puddles and grain piles. Our yard didn't have a fence. I caught fleas from an adorable baby fox I found in a tractor tire. The adorable baby fox grew up into a nasty adult fox and ate our chickens.

Back in the present, I pulled out my photo box, stuffed with the pictures from dozens of different disposable cameras. There was me, barefoot and looking incredibly grouchy, at my grade 12 graduation, me on a 13-hour road trip with my best friend to see our favourite band, me standing in front of a grand piano at provincials looking scared out of my mind, me huddled in front of a campfire cooking a pot of spaghetti at three in the morning, me scraping cave mud and probably bat poop off of my face after spelunking, making faces and cheesy poses. Picture after picture after picture. It's amazing how many years and people and places can fit into a little box.

At the bottom of the box were a few baby pictures. Me wearing my grandma's wig, me and my brother eating freezies on the front step, me in pink clip-on earrings with my pants tucked into my socks. I had big ears and just a little bit of white-blonde hair.

These ones were the strangest. I'd seen them before but they struck me a different way this morning. I was somebody's baby. Weird.

Maybe it hit me this way because I'm 38 weeks along now. This little guy could come any day. He'll be my baby, but not forever. Right now he only has a future, but someday he'll have his own box of pictures and he'll have hilarious memories and friends and scars with stories and achievements and a family of his own and a past. And maybe he'll wake up one day and look back at a baby picture of himself and think, "I was somebody's baby. Weird."

And now I'm sitting here writing this and the thought of that is starting to give me a little ache behind my eyes. I feel him move in my belly and I put my hand on it. I realize that soon, really soon, this will be only a memory too. A little foot presses back into my hand like he knows. I know he doesn't know, but still. It makes me smile.

I think back and grab one last memory from my bank. I don't have a physical picture for it, but it's tucked away pretty securely and I pull it out from time to time. It's me in my bed under my rainbow quilt, and my dad has one hand under my pillow gently rocking my head, the other hand stroking my hair. He thinks I'm asleep, so he eases off of his knees onto his feet and starts to tip-toe towards the door. My eyes fly open and I make him come back.

I don't let him leave until I'm fast asleep.