40 weeks 0 days. No definite signs of the Bean arriving yet, other than that I continue to be sleepless and restless as I have done all week.
My mother arrived yesterday, looking fresh despite not having slept on her flight. Simon picked her up at the airport for us, which let Trev lie in for a few hours, and which gave me an occupation for the early hours of the morning when I couldn’t sleep: I baked scones (win!) and corn bread (sliiiightly bland). Simon is driving a Mercedes at the moment (his Z4 is in the shop) and wears a suit to work, so he joined the limo drivers at Arrivals with a sign that said “Commissioner M____” on one side and “Grandma” on the other. Mom was delighted.
And it’s a delight to see her. It is always good to have Mom around during a big change. She is cheerful, willing to pitch in with hard work (she is here mainly to be housewallah after Bean arrives, but has helped me move out of apartments or make films I don’t know how many times), and only offers advice if you are clearly having trouble or if you ask for it. The advice is good and always tactfully phrased, e.g.: “You can take it or leave it, but I would…” or “I wonder if it wouldn’t be better if…?” She is a courteous houseguest and a good conversationalist and, more to the point, has given birth four times without drugs. She’ll be with us at the birth centre to offer moral support for both of us, but especially for Trev (“Yes, the screaming is normal. Let me get you some ice for that black eye.”).
Steph came around in the afternoon to practice reflexology on us. I doubt it works the way they say it works (Steph is agnostic about it herself), but it was a terrific foot massage and I made very appreciative noises that everyone else found amusing.
“What will I do for you when you’re in this situation?” I asked her (remember, she also wallpapered our bedroom!).
“Bake!” she replied.
I sure will.
Meantime I continue baking this baby. It tends to make you introspective. I got back in touch with a couple of college friends this week on Facebook, and looking through their lists of friends I see a lot of other people I knew who wouldn’t recognize me under my married name (it probably doesn’t help that my profile picture is not of me). I see “postgraduate education” and other signs of impressive accomplishments, I see hip corporations, evidence of lively social networks and artful candid photos and urban living and, in general, people who have not wasted their degrees the way I have.
I have spent most of the morning looking at these sites and thinking, “Well, I could get into prestigious university X, I was smarter than that guy– should I be making six figures already? Should I have gone to law school instead? Should I have taken the money from Syracuse and not bothered with Ithaca at all? Have I blown it? Do any of these people remember me, or did I just sort of fade into the wallpaper? Should I try to contact that ex-professor of mine and mention that I wrote him into a screenplay? How would I justify what I’ve spent the last few years of my life doing?”
And so on. The truth is that like most people I have spent a lot of time drifting from one thing to the next, waiting for something big to happen. I was told as a kid and as a young adult that I was so smart and talented and successful and that “big things would happen to me”, and that I should work hard at school, so I did. I worked so hard at it that it sort of became the only thing I was good at. And once outside, big things failed to happen. I didn’t really know how to make them happen, and was ashamed to say so or ask for help, or a letter of recommendation, or whatever else it is normal people do when they leave school and want to land the job (mind you, the job I want is not one that you get in to with a letter of recommendation anyway). So I made my choices, and here I am.
And of course, it’s not true that big things have failed to happen. This lovely Englishman flew 4,000 miles for a first date with me, and nearly five years later we are happily married and about to have a little girl. That is more or less the definition of big, isn’t it? Also I have a job that lets me write in the evenings (and a complete novel and a screenplay to show for it), and a park to run in, and legs to run with. I’m worried that I will be an inadequate mother, or that I will become an unfulfilled, bitter hausfrau with lumpy thighs and never write another word, much less sell the ones already written. I have had well-meaning poeple tell me it’s inevitable: you have a baby; you don’t get your body back, you never have another creative thought, and you never have time for yourself. Mom said last night that she is confident I can do what I want to do with my life and that having the baby will make me less afraid to it. Someone has to show the kid how to live, after all.
I think I will stick with Mom.
Midwife appointment later and another update tomorrow. I promise that once Bean arrives this blog will be about her and not me. There is a surplus of over-educated, late-twenties self absorption out there on the Internet.
Should Bean decide to be a punctual lass (unlikely, as due dates are estimates only) I will make sure Trev posts an update.