True confessions time: after giving birth, when they finally brought my baby over to me, I was not suffused with beatific love for my child and pristine wonder at his creation. I was relieved. And then I was tired.
For all the bright spots of happiness my child brought me on a daily basis, I think I spent the first couple of months with him just staggering from task to task, beating back the baby blues. I was settling into some kind of half-life unaware. It took a nine-hour plane ride and a torrential downpour to wake me up.
Our little threesome went to California for Christmas this year. The first time I travelled to California to meet David’s family, he took me to Ruby’s on the pier for hamburgers and a milkshake. It was great. We have since developed a tradition of going to Ruby’s every time we visit his family. This year, we got to bring Jacob and have him be a part of our tradition, too.
The day we went was ridiculously rainy. In fact, north of where we were, there was flooding, mudslides, and an evacuation due to the rainfall. We saw a break in the clouds and decided to go for it. As we walked out of the parking garage, the heavens opened again. First, it was just a drop, prompting us to walk quickly to the pier. Then, it was LOTS of drops, big fatty drops that eat at the Minnesota State Fair daily. Before we got to the end of the pier, the rain had turned mean, stinging where it struck. David had Jacob carefully ensconced inside his own jacket, so he was safe, but we had a rough time of it. By the time we reached Ruby’s, we were sopping wet. My pants were falling down from the weight of the water. I squelched when I walked and puddled when I stood.
Before this trip, I was full of anxiety– about anything and everything. Somehow David and I kept forgetting that we were on the same side, that we were a team, that we would always have each other’s backs. We kept seeing the enemy when we should’ve been seeing our best friend. Sitting there at Ruby’s, though, all of those new bad habits seemed to have been washed away.
This is the moment when I awoke: We sat on a red vinyl bench at a white formica table. David held Jacob and munched on some fries. I unhinged my jaw to sink my teeth into a fresh bleu cheese burger. Outside, the storm continued to hurl itself against the windows looking out towards the Pacific. Inside, we were warm and safe. I offered David a bite of my burger. David offered me a napkin to wring out my hair with. Jacob snored cute little baby snores. We smiled at him. We smiled at each other. We knew joy.