Early in the morning of the day I found out I was pregnant with Bean, a few short hours before I'd done any calendar-related math in my head, before I experienced the inexplicable soft, velvety stirring of her inside myself, I drove myself to work in the cold, bright February dawn, and heard this song by Elton John:
Hey you, you're a child in my head
You haven't walked yet
Your first words have yet to be said
But I swear you'll be blessed
I know you're still just a dream
your eyes might be green
Or the bluest that I've ever seen
Anyway you'll be blessed
And you, you'll be blessed
You'll have the best
I promise you that
I'll pick a star from the sky
Pull your name from a hat
I promise you that, promise you that, promise you that
You'll be blessed
I need you before I'm too old
To have and to hold
To walk with you and watch you grow
And know that you're blessed
-- Lyrics by Bernie Taupin
And I cried. Huge, welling tears of joy and wonder. With no idea where they'd come from or what they meant, I cried my first Mama tears for the beautiful daughter I'd begin to suspect I was carrying just a few hours later. And in that moment, I bonded with Bean - she and I became who we still are today. I absolutely cherish that moment and all the ethereal months of my pregnancy with her. The song remains my anthem of sorts for Bean.
Fast forward to the equally cold bright days of last November -- the days leading up to the moment we found our Peanut. Crazy busy with Thanksgiving festivities, having the house painted, and kicking into high gear with Christmas preparations, my mind and body pulled in a million different directions, I'd little chance of recognizing a similar set of stirrings within myself. The day Peanut's presence finally dawned on me I was running around frantically, keeping Bean out of the neon red kitchen paint, addressing Christmas cards and ticking a million other little tasks off my holiday to-do list. By the time I actually slowed down long enough to take a test it was past bedtime on a Sunday night, and within an hour of discovering his little budding self in those two pink lines, I'd heralded the arrival of Vomitfest 2007 by being the first member of the family to sound the almighty porcelain gong.
And since those moments, everything about Peanut's pregnancy has been almost a 180° flip-flop of Bean's. I've been sick and distracted, tired and reclusive as I've carried Peanut. And those of you who've labored through my pregnancy blog with me know I've also struggled with pre-natal depression. I've missed the peaceful, blissed-out moments of bonding with him - the instant connection and overwhelming rightness of his new self growing to perfection right here inside me.
Saturday morning, I began my twenty ninth week of this pregnancy. For twenty-eight weeks now I've carried this tiny but very active child. Always wondering when he, himself would dawn on me. When I would feel for him what I felt for Bean that crystalline morning more than four years ago. Not feeling it scared and unsettled me, and I prayed and pleaded with God to make it happen. But it wouldn't. It didn't. And so while intellectually I've known that at least at the moment of Peanut's birth, my seemingly closed eyes and soul would open to him and I'd feel myself flooded with maternal love, emotionally I've struggled and twisted and feared.
Until Saturday morning. A rare moment by myself in that same car, racing along prairie highways under the brilliant sunshine and clear blue sky of a spring that's waited much too long -- seemingly forever -- to arrive. Me, alone with my thoughts and some music. Except not alone, because there was Peanut, rolling and kicking and prodding with his usual strength and urgency. As I settled in for the 15 minute drive, I felt a gentle unwinding of my busy, frantic mind, and a calmness replaced the tension I've grappled with for months. And the most unlikely song began playing on the radio, one I hadn't heard or thought of in years.
Chaka Khan, singing I Feel for You. Yes, that one.
And right then, I knew I had my anthem for Peanut.
I suddenly realize now the mistake I've made for 7 months. I've expected everything about my experiences with Peanut to mirror those I had with Bean, and been disappointed and afraid when they didn't. But in an instant, with Chaka Khan and Rufus blaring in the background, the beautiful, clear explanation hit me.
Peanut isn't Bean. He won't BE Bean. He is already himself, created for his own unique role in God's world, and already stubbornly refusing to follow in his sister's footsteps. And you know what? Go for it, Peanut. Show your old predictability-lovin', gotta-have-it-all-planned-out-and-know-what's-around-every-corner Mama a thing or two. She needs it, and you're just the little man to do it.
Okay, my sweet, crazy boy. I get it now. Praise God and thank you both very much, I get it. And it's our little miracle, yours and mine. And now, finally, the Mama tears come, especially for you. Unpredictably, rather bizarrely, to the strains of Chaka Khan, but also right on the money and perfect in every way, just like you.
I have a feeling we're all in for quite a life together, my little wild child.
Do y'all have special songs that symbolize the bond between you and your kids? Your "anthems" for them?