"I want to tell you something, but don't get depressed," Dad says.
My heart flutters. Then I take a deep breath and smile at his careful delivery. "Okay ...?"
He tells me that as he was driving alone to pick up the cake for my baby shower, he was listening to the '50s station and a song came on. The title: "Kick That Little Foot Sally Ann."
My mom's full name is Sally-Ann, hence Sally's Circle, the title of my blog and the forthcoming memoir that we wrote together before she passed away.
Dad and I both sensed immediately that the song was a visit from my mom. How perfect that she would pop by on the day of my shower. The "kick that little foot" is particularly funny given that this little guy in my belly is active as can be, with all sorts of kicks. His signature move seems to be wiggling his toes right by my ribs. I'd be mad, if I weren't so darn in love.
That’s right: I'm pregnant, due August 24 with a little baby boy.
It’s been hard to share that news publicly. Partially because I am sensitive to dear friends who have struggled with miscarriages and other fertility issues. Partially because it feels so immensely private (though less so now that I carry a basketball in front of me at all times). Partially because I’m a bit superstitious and feel like he's not really here ‘til he's here, safe and sound. (Though my gut tells me he is healthy and strong and amazingly resilient.)
But the one thing that — strangely, miraculously — has not been hard about this pregnancy has been the loss of my mother.
In fact, it feels funny to even write it that way, because she doesn't feel lost to me at all. Instead she feels found — more than a decade after she passed away of pancreatic cancer when I was 20.
From the moment my husband and I discovered I was pregnant, especially in those brief hours before we shared the news with anyone, I felt so lucky: I was able to tell her.
I could feel the secret glowing between us. Who cared that I was in Cape Cod and it was two days before Christmas? I had access to her no matter where I was; she was everywhere.
Since then she has continued to stay by my side, watching over me and my husband Mark and our unborn son.
She was there when I cried in the first trimester, nervous that I'd lose him and wouldn't be able to survive another death after losing her. She was there when the morning sickness made me run to the bathroom each day like a character in the romantic comedies we loved to watch together. She was there at my first ultrasound and when we heard the beautiful music of his heartbeat. She is there now, as my belly grows round and shiny and looks nearly identical to the photo, above, in which she's pregnant with me.
So I had to tell my dad the truth: His story didn't depress me at all. It left me elated.
Of course she would visit on the day of my shower. The same way my best friend's mom tells me that when my baby boy is born, my mom will hold him before I do.
Photo courtesy of the author