The story of how I knew she was on her way is a hard and tender one that I don’t tell freely. And that’s odd for me because I love to tell stories – from how I switched the wires when I was installing a new circuit board on my oven two weeks ago to how the Lord spoke into my crazy once I finally learned that it was okay to just stinking be honest with Him because really, He can handle it.
But this isn’t just my story to tell. It involves her, my most precious person in the whole entire world, and I have this fierce protectiveness over it because of that. I want you to be worthy of hearing her story. I want to shield her from prying eyes and nosy Nellies. I’ve wanted that from the start. People can so dreadfully mishandle your heart when there’s a scoop to be had because a scoop means digging and that sort of digging is always such a ruthless act.
Still, the story started weighing on me somewhere around early December this year, and it won’t turn me loose. I can’t shake it. And that’s usually how I know it’s time to tell a story. I normally don’t shrink back, even though I’ve spent these last several weeks doing just that. But it’s time now.
Because today is the day, nine years ago, that I found out I was going to have a baby.
It had been a hard year. There was heartbreak, and then crazy amounts of grace and restoration. There had been this insanely free and joyful summer of days at the pool and nights out with friends and finally learning to believe that I was actually, truly loved by the Creator of the universe, that He called me daughter and Beloved. As autumn’s days shortened, though, the darkness slowly crept back in, and I was in serious danger of veering completely off course until I finally said to myself one night: this is enough, Andrea. No more. Get it together or you’ll be right back where you were.
Then Christmas came, and I found myself in a terrible fight with one of my sisters. To this day, I don’t remember the nature of the argument, but it was such a horrible row that it looked like Christmas might actually be cancelled. I was talking it over with my mom one night (read: trying to get her to take my side), and I just sobbed into the phone. I told her how alone I felt. I told her I didn’t have a person. Everyone else had a person. Mom had Charlie, my sisters had their husbands, my dad had Kelly, almost all of my friends were married, engaged or moving away, and I didn’t have anyone. I was all alone. The more I said it, the more my heart broke to hear those words said out loud, and I realized just how much of my hopeful joy had fled the scene and how dreadfully alone I felt.
My nephew Gramm was about about 17 months old, and if any one person was the light of my life right then, it was him. I can still remember how his face would light up when he’d see me, how his chubby little arms felt around my neck, how his precious giggle infected everyone around him in the same silly way my sister’s laugh does. My mom listened as I cried/yelled/almost-hyperventilated into the phone, and when I finally got calm enough to get a full sentence out, I told her, “Sometimes I think maybe I’m just destined to be alone. That I won’t get married, I won’t have kids of my own. I’ll just be Gramm’s really cool Aunt Andrea.” New sobs. Fresh wave of despair. But an odd sort of comfort, too. Being an aunt would never substitute for being a mother, but it was still an opportunity to love some pretty amazing kids. Deep down, I knew I’d take it. So that was that. I would be Gramm’s really cool Aunt Andrea.
Two weeks later, I was standing in the bathroom at work, staring at a pregnancy test that said “Pregnant.” I just stood there, waiting for the “Not” to fade in beside that big, heavy word, knowing that it wouldn’t. Part of me had known for weeks that it wouldn’t, but I had managed to bury the knowing and tell myself that it couldn’t be – it wouldn’t be. Hours later, I was asleep in one of the exam rooms at the clinic where my mother worked when she came in with the results of my blood test.
“Well. Do you want a boy or a girl?”
I spent the rest of the day in stunned silence, staring into space. My sister Holly, Gramm’s mom, knew. She called to check on me – or she might have come by, I don’t recall exactly – but my mother asked me not to tell anyone else at least until after the weekend. Not in an Emily Gilmore give-me-and-your-stepdad-time-to-flee-to-the-Hamptons-before-you-break-the-news kind of way. More as a way for me take some time to steady myself first before the onslaught.
Most of that day is hazy in my mind, with a handful of poignant moments that I think will always be part of my remembering. A few of those moments were things that my mother said to me. I’ve already mentioned a couple of them here. Later that day, though, Mom handed me a pregnancy journal that she had gone out and bought for me. She inscribed it with the words “It is God and God alone who is the Giver of Life.” I don’t recall if she wrote this next part in a card or if she said it, but either way, her words to me were: “Not alone anymore.” And I knew right then that I wasn’t.
And here we are, nine years later to the day, and I’m staring at my sleeping person. She’s wearing her Kermit the Frog sleeping mask from Miss Rebekah and she’s snuggled up next to me, pink manicured nails clutching her stuffed puppy dog named Spot, refusing to wake up because she’s so much like her mother it’s scary.
There’s so much more to the story, and I have no doubt I’ll find a way to more fully tell it someday, but what has stayed with me during this season is the remembering of how I went from being alone to being a mother, and how He overshadowed me with His grace in the process. How He gave me beauty for ashes and showed me even more of what it means to be the Beloved. And that is what I am.
I am my Beloved’s, and He is mine.
Not alone anymore.