“Everything will be okay,” he said. My husband reached to take my hands but I held them curled around my belly.
“They can’t get me in until tomorrow.” Just saying it ached.
Tomorrow. 10:45 am Tuesday, otherwise known as an eternity away. An eternity of tenuous trips to the bathroom, each time with my breath caught in my throat. Fearing for the inevitable stain that marked the end of another pregnancy.
“Was there a lot of—” and there he paused, held the word out as if on tongs at arm’s length. “Blood?”
Guys can’t deal. They just can’t. And he should know that any is too much. And waiting twenty hours for an appointment is too fucking long. Especially when you know at the end of it lays the inevitable news: You’ve lost the baby. Again.
“Everything is okay.”
Dr. Zhang smiled and handed me a printout. I took it with both hands and stared: my baby. Dancing. Heart rate 149. Tae-Bo-Baby caught mid-stride, giving the ultrasound a thumbs up.
“It’s going to be okay,” I whispered. Pulled the paper to my chest, carried it to the car, smoothed it against my cheek. Slept with it on the nightstand and reminded myself: It’s going to be okay. Said it daily. Hourly. Sometimes minute-to-minute and every second as needed. You can’t take these things for granted. If I’ve learned anything in life, I learned that one cold.
Thirty weeks later, my son made his squalling entrance. “Winner baby,” they called him. Sunny nurses passed him around maternity and smiled. My miracle.
Flip through the deck of years, past the three days in the hospital at eighteen months with that nasty virus that ravaged his belly and left dark circles under his eyes for weeks. Past that frantic trip to the ER in Jackson Hole, hotel towel pressed to his forehead to stanch the bleeding. Past that day I heard the terrible crash and ran to find him wailing at the bottom of the stairs with one crumpled forearm. Past kindergarten, that first boisterous sleepover. That dastardly riding tractor with the glitchy go-pedal. Training wheels off and full speed ahead and now he’s thirteen and towering over me.
“Six months, twenty-three days and four hours until I get my learner’s permit,” he says.
My kid. Grinning and dark. Sarcastic and bright. Poised on the brink of greatness or disaster. Don’t think I don’t know–I was thirteen once. And fourteen. And dear God, seventeen. I know well the peril coiled inside every possibility.
I wonder at the cards still waiting in the deck.
“Don’t worry Mom, I drove the golf cart in the Bahamas. I’m a really good driver. Everything will be okay.” He pats my head. He thinks it’s cute, that he can do that. That Mom is little, past is past, and his whole future lies ahead.
Everything will be okay.
I will believe.