Waiting for Surprises

I have never been good at waiting. I am that person who turns to the last few pages of a novel to see how things end even though I have barely read the first chapter.  It is a really silly thing to do actually because after just starting a book skipping to the end usually leaves me more confused than satisfied.  There are always important characters who have yet to be introduced at the beginning of the story, so I find myself scanning through the book trying to figure out how they relate to the story. It is a viscous cycle that usually ends with me giving up and reading the book as it was intended.

When I was a little girl I was always so excited about Christmas that I would often sneak

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My Christmas Tree 1970’s

around during the season trying to find where my mom hid the presents. I was very good at ferreting out her hiding places, but when I couldn’t find the presents I would wait until they were wrapped under the tree. I would deftly open them and then wrap them back up. I am a little embarrassed, but also pretty impressed with myself that at a very young age, I had an almost savant ability at unwrapping and rewrapping gifts, returning them under the tree as if they had never been touched. While I was always excited by the gifts when I found them, I was also equally disappointed Christmas morning because everyone else was so delighted by their surprises and I had ruined mine. I was a smart and stupid little girl.

This year when my daughter found out she was pregnant I found myself once again waiting on another big surprise, but this time there was no opportunity to figure it out. She and her husband, Patrick decided to wait to find out the sex of the baby. It was such an old fashioned, lovely idea even if I was little annoyed. When Katie was born, the ultra sound, as part of a normal course of pregnancy, was relatively new. My mother certainly never had an ultrasound and likely the test did not exist when she was pregnant with me. Heck, back when my mom was pregnant nice people did not even use the word “pregnant,” yet alone share pictures of their unborn children.

Because of some complications with my pregnancy with Katie (my first) I had three

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Ultrasound of Katie’s head and leg

ultrasounds over the last couple of months. As the person who spent her youth unwrapping Christmas presents before Christmas, when asked if I wanted to know the sex of the baby I answered, “Yes!” almost before the question could be posed.  The technology was not what it is today back in 1985. There were no 3-D images. Many of you reading this blog probably remember seeing that grainy black and white negative like photo with an outline of what might be a baby inside a cone shaped sphere of white lines.

How anyone could tell anything from that always amazed me. With the first two

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Katie 2 hours old

ultrasounds of Katie, the doctor said, “Now don’t go home and paint the nursery blue, but I am pretty sure it is a boy”. Of course, after that we were sure it was boy, so when the third ultrasound just hours before her birth showed it was clearly a girl, we really did not believe it. Yet, just a few hours later we were introduced to our first child and only daughter, our sweet Katie.

There were a couple downsides to being told that she was a boy before she was born. While we didn’t paint it blue, the nursery was done in primary colors with

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Gear Bears circa 1985

Gear bear wallpaper instead of the frills and soft pastels I would never see in my nursery. At my shower we received a lot little blue onesies and sleepers that did not fit the sweetness of our little girl. Of course the upside of being surprised, of the joy, of the love of and for a daughter far outweighed the gear bears in the nursery or the run to ToysRUs to exchange the clothes after she was born.

When Katie told us this year that they were waiting to know if it was a boy or a girl, I am not going to lie, I was a little disappointed. I thought about that nursery and the boys’ clothes, and told her she may never get another chance to decorate the nursery in that perfect color, but she was adamant. As we get closer I have really enjoyed the waiting and the guessing and the speculating. It has been fun to think about what the baby might be. My son-in-law has actually written down our guesses and told us we can change our minds up until the birth.

A good friend at work shared a story with me today. He and his wife had also decided to wait until the baby was born to know the sex. He said he would encourage everyone to do this. He shared that a nurse along their journey told them she knew what the sex of the baby was. Since a boy has a body part that is more distinguishable than a girl they were convinced it was boy. Once the baby was born the doctor turned to my friend to show him the baby, and he was stunned to meet his new daughter! He said it was absolutely the best moment ever.

We are definitely in the count down phase of her pregnancy, so we will know soon enough. My husband and I have guessed the baby is a girl. Most everyone else thinks it is a boy. We have no scientific evidence to give us any indication of any of our guesses. Just old wives tales about how she is carrying the baby or a gut feeling. We have had several conversations in the last few days about it. I really have no real idea and I really don’t care. I just want it and its mama to be healthy and happy. I can’t wait for this baby to get here.

I remember waiting with such anticipation for Katie. Looking at her clothes and sitting in

her nursery and touching all her stuff, imagining what it would be like to be a mom. Desperately anxious for the arrival of my sweet baby. Naively thinking I could imagine what it would be like to hold it and be a parent. I know Katie and Patrick are doing the same thing. After three kids and lots of years I know now I have no idea what it will be like to be a grandma. I know Katie and Patrick have no idea what it will be like to be a parent. All kids are different so every experience is unique even within the same family. After watching these two together for so many years I know one thing for sure. They are going to be spectacular parents. I also know without a doubt this baby, boy or girl, will be loved by mom and dad, uncles and aunt, cousins and most especially 4 grandparents who can’t wait to meet Baby. I also know for once in my life I am glad I didn’t read that last page of the novel or unwrap that Christmas gift before Christmas morning. The surprise that is waiting will be best enjoyed with our family.

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