The fourth Eli post-- originally written September 4th.
I said we would wait to set up your
bedroom. You won't be here for months and months, and I'm still
struggling with how much of my heart I can afford to send to China right
now. But you have big brothers and big sisters. And I'll tell you this
right now-- they are loud. Your brothers kick and wrestle and yell and
play video games at high volumes. And your sisters laugh and shriek and
call for me when they know I'm two floors away. And there are two empty bedrooms in the basement, or at least empty 95% of the time, when we don't have visitors.
the short story is, you're getting a bedroom. A bedroom you won't be
here to sleep in for a good long while. We're moving up the recliner
that I bought and loaded into the minivan when I was four months
pregnant with Maren, and then I sat in it each night and did my best to
think about her and relax. We're taking out the beds and shuttling them
downstairs, where your brothers can kick and jump and wrestle to their
hearts' content. And we're moving in the crib from the girls' room,
since Rosie doesn't sleep in it anyway.
years ago, I went through a phase where I wrote poems. They weren't
particularly good poems, but they made me feel good. At the time, your
big brother Isaac was about one, and I was thinking about trying to have
another baby. I wrote this poem:
The Final Plunge
I’m standing at the edge of the lake
Steeling myself, preparing to jump in.
Peering into the murky coldness of the water,
And readjusting my eyes until I see myself, reflected.
I’ve been here three times before:
Once as a couple, excited and nervous,
I grabbed Eddie’s hand and plunged in.
The second time we brought our baby,
And I jumped quickly
Surprised by the chest-numbing shock as I hit the water.
The third time Eddie and the kids
Splashed on the shore
And I dangled my legs in the water
Letting them warm up
Until I knew I was ready.
I’ve looked forward to coming back here
For the last year.
Planned, begged, mapped out my route.
But finding my feet on the greening planks
Of the rickety dock
Is a bit of a surprise.
Because I know that this is my last visit to this beach,
My very own, favorite spot.
And I haven’t quite wrapped my head around the idea
That I’ll only come back
And glimpses of others packing their bags,
Loading their cars,
And heading for the lake.
So even though I’m ready
For the ear-popping, icy darkness,
As I dive to the bottom of the lake,
I wonder if I should go back to the cabin
Grab a book
And put off the deliciousness
Of the last dive
For one more day.
year, I found myself on the dock again, with Rose on the way. And I was
elated-- I felt like I'd been given another chance at doing my very
favorite thing in the entire world. I jumped into that water with both
feet, and found myself with water up my nose and in my ears. I finally
got to the short, coughing and spluttering, but yes, oh yes, it was
worth it. The sweetest dive I never thought I'd have.
this time, I still remember how cold and dark and scary that water was
before I came back up to the surface. I still remember all of those days
of waiting for Rose, all of the time when I thought I was going insane,
willing the phone to ring. I know that as soon as I fully let you in,
when I put on my swimsuit and stand on the dock, I'm going to have to
plunge in. And as much as I love the dive, love coming back up to the
surface, this time I know enough about it that the whole idea scares me.
when Rose wakes up from her nap, we're going to try to fit in a grocery
store run, and if we do, I have cork tiles for the kitchen wall on my
list. We're going to start the Eli shrine.
reluctant, I know I do. But I also have six or nine months to adjust to
the idea. Actually, I think the six or nine months is the hard part--
you, my sweet little Eli, you are the reward that is worth waiting for.
No matter how hard the dive or cold the water.