The last writing prompt I posted (Read it here first!) was about sharing an experience you’ve had that you’ll never forget, good or bad. The story I used to respond to the prompt was about the first time I found out I was pregnant. I’d like to continue that story today with a different prompt so any of you can respond to something new 🙂
Share a memory you have that teeters between sweet and sad.
I had a plan form almost immediately after learning that I was pregnant. The following night was my husband’s and my date night, and I decided to wait until then to tell him. I know, I know – millennials, amiright? But I wanted to surprise him in a sweet way — something he could hold on to, like a gift.
I went out and bought a pack of Carter’s plain white newborn onsies. Does anyone else pay more for those than some of their own clothes? Seriously, it’s like they don’t want us to have a college savings for our kids. Then I headed over to a craft store and got black tissue paper and a plain cardboard gift box. Very basic, very insignificant — just what I wanted. I couldn’t have him guessing what it was before it was opened, could I? The picture above shows how it looked put together.
I remember what I wore on that date night, even though I couldn’t tell you what t-shirt I put on for bed last night. It was a red striped knee-length dress with a sleeveless jean jacket, complete with cute wedges. I think I even put on some makeup. He picked me up straight from work and I had the gift box tucked inside my purse. I’d told him about the gift that morning, knowing he’d look forward to it throughout the day. He likes a good gift 🙂
We went to a little restaurant one town over that we’d never been to. Haven’t been since either actually. I don’t even remember what it was called, or how to get there. As he went to the bathroom, I quickly scanned my phone to find out if lobster was okay to eat while pregnant. It was, but only about three to four times a month according to the chart I found. Oddly enough I’d had a lobster roll the previous week (I so rarely have the courage to spend that much money on a meal!), but it seemed to be okay to have that night as well.
I waited until the end of the date to give him his gift. Of course I played with my phone for a second so I could put it on video and then place in the side pocket of my purse, pointed at him. It may be silly to some people to have everything on video, but I’m so glad I did that. It’s something I can hold on to from that night forever.
I reminded him of his gift and he immediately became giddy (for real, I’m not kidding about liking a good gift!). He’s really into board games so he was expecting something along those lines — even after seeing the plain brown box his gift was coming in. I’ll never forget the way his expression completely dropped off his face after opening the lid. He pushed the lid back on in such a fast motion with widened eyes. There was no more giddiness, no more playfulness. His whole body tensed—and then just as quickly relaxed as he looked at me like, “Oh, Hannah.”
“This is a joke, isn’t it?”
I would have been surprised if he hadn’t asked that actually. I had feigned pregnancy about 100 times over the course of our relationship, including before we were even….you know. It was just a joke we had.
When I shook my head, he asked again and his voice cracked this time as his eyes began to look wet. “You’re joking right?”
I should clarify here that he wasn’t upset about the news. The positive reactions of a shocked person can so neatly line up with the negative reactions of an upset person as I found for the first time that day. I wish I could “show, not tell” this, but I’m realizing how difficult a task that is since the reactions of each are so similar.
I told him the whole two-day story of how I found out while his shell-shocked features slowly began to thaw out; his eyes were widening again with a grin finally appearing. He still seemed a little afraid of the box, but I pushed it back toward him to open. He removed the clothing and balled it into his fist, gripping it tightly like that helped him fully grasp what was happening.
We lost our baby four days later. I was about eight weeks along. I suppose it might be odd to some, but the grief from the miscarriage has never buried the joy I remember feeling during that time. They are just two separate emotions concerning the same time period that I allow to co-exist.
That’s the baby I’ll never forget. My oldest.
Do you have an experience that teeters between happy and sad? We all do. It’s more a matter of whether or not we want to share them. I’d love to hear about that bittersweet time in your life. It always helps to share those memories, especially when those listening are in support of you. Share your experience below, or on your own blog with a link to it in my comments.