When I heard the news, Kate and William are expecting, I couldn’t help but remember the last time I was in England. Nine months ago, I passed through London on the mother of all trips, the trip where Big Papa and I would bring home Baby Bird. London was, if you will, our last hurrah before parenthood.
Big Papa and I enjoyed two days of Big Ben and Buckingham Palace, all the while feeling a heady mix of emotions: excitement that, after years of waiting, we were finally going to be parents; fear that something might go wrong at the last minute–a situation we were all-too-familiar with; and, a certain suspension of belief around the myriad ways our lives were soon to change.
We had been a couple for seven years. Seven years of hours spent working in our garden, of wine tasting trips to Walla Walla and Willamette Valley, of weekends away at remote B&Bs, and of dinners with friends that started at 7:00 and lingered for hours.
Friends who were parents themselves would tell me: Eat out at romantic restaurants as much as you can. See movies_in_a movie theater. Finish any lingering home improvement projects. Travel! I would smile and nod my head as I imagined our child giggling and jumping in the leaves we’d rake each fall, ordering Mac ‘n cheese off the kid’s menu at our favorite dinner spots, or toting a little suitcase packed with stuffed animals as we boarded a flight.
And I continued to conjure up these images until I sat, that last night, at Zaika, a high zoot Indian restaurant in the Kensington district, that a friend had recommended to us. I sat at that table, with its white linen tablecloth, gleaming silverware and crystal goblets, amidst elegantly dressed diners, listening to the din of their chatter. I sat there and stared at my Tandoori chicken. I stared at Big Papa and he stared back at me.
I know we both felt ready to run like scared rabbits. In 12 hours, we would pack our bags and board a flight that would take us to a place we’d never been, a place we could have never imagined in our wildest expectations.
“Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on one memorable day.”
~Charles Dickens, Great Expectations