I learned a trick to deal with difficult situations. Pretend it’s your starring role and don’t let anything get in the way! This is my mantra for tonight.
When S invited me to Christmas Eve dinner, I was excited. I thought this was how he wanted to introduce me to his family, include me in a holiday event and to share the “good” news about the baby. Personally, I’d rather skip the pomp and circumstance and meet his parents over a casual lunch, but, this seemed important to him, so I made it important to me.
After another pivot during a chat on Thursday, I was pissed. The short story is that I asked how he wanted dinner to go and what he meant by “we are having a baby; I don’t want to date anyone right now.”
His response was very Cheshire Cat. Cool if you’re on an Auyahasca journey. Not cool if you are having a baby. In full transparency, I didn't understand his response and did not think it was worth trying to clarify before dinner. We are always working on communication and I couldn't see how sending a text or e-mail would help the process.
I decided to show up as the best version of me. I shifted my mantra to “be what you want to attract” and reminded myself that this is for her. She deserves to have grandparents.
After a fun workout, a blustery walk to get coffee and a game of Scrabble, it was go time. I curled my hair, put on a modest layer of make-up and donned a new, black wrap dress (with side-cinches for my growing belly). I slid on cranberry wedges with a delicate ankle-strap and for good luck--my mother’s pearls.
I had gifts for everyone and sat patiently waiting for S and texting a photo to my besties.
He is right on time.
“You look amazing!”
Our eyes meet. I look away. In that split-second my heart shifts. I am deeply affected by the compliment. I wonder if I have been a troll the last month. Have I been too selfish? Too interested in what is going to happen that I am missing what is happening? He might be equally nervous about tonight. I imagine his ex-wife was part of last year's holiday and that he will likely have a long, Christmas Day getting grilled on his, mine and our plans for the baby. In this moment, it is clear. I need to do better.
He opens my door and I greet his brother with a well-wrapped jar of homemade Russian Tea Cakes.
The drive is easy and the conversation light. Mostly about my birthday and his new back pain.
The hotel is gorgeous. A newly-built, Baroque-inspired hideaway in Del Mar. We are the first to arrive and are seated right away.
His parents show up within 5-minutes. I stand to greet them with warm hugs and a small gift of cookies and a hand-blown holiday ornament.
They already know a lot about me and it is pretty accurate. We talk about his dad’s recent driving experience at the Porsche facility in LA and my dissimilar experience at the location in Atlanta. I learn about their life in Germany and their "love story" which started in high school (adorable) and has taken them all over the world.
It is going well! And then, the light (but deep) questions start.
“So have you settled in to being pregnant? Are you excited?”
My lower lip starts to tremble and I feel the tears coming. What do I say? I try a few things out in my head.
“Yes, the best part is waking up most mornings around 3 am and freaking out about money, custody, my living situation or simply how she's going to get out of my body."
"What does your son say?."
“Of course! This is exactly what I want to do in 2017. My back-up plan was to spend 6-weeks in India. Snore.”
Instead, I string together some semblance of words to the effect of.
“Depends on the day. It was obviously unexpected. But, I have to trust and believe that it is happening because it is supposed to.”
And I do. I am cautiously excited about the baby and the changes and opportunities that she will bring. I am learning to be vulnerable and to accept help. I'll learn (and shape) how to fit into this new family and S will find his space within mine.
S and I excuse ourselves for a short walk. He can see I am having trouble or he needs to stretch his back. Either way, I'll take it. When we return, the next 2 (yes, 2) hours are quite lovely. I really like them.
Before we say our "good-byes" for the night, I give both parents another hug -- I can see his mom eyeing my belly.
"Do you want to touch it?"
She does. And she does.
Ooooof! Another zap to my heart. We step outside and I fall apart again. S loosely takes my hand and guides us to his truck.