Writing is an adventure. To begin with, it is a toy and an amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, then it becomes a master, then it becomes a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him to the public.

— Winston Churchill

Turn the Car Around. We’re Having a Baby

It’s time to go home. Dogs in their kennels, child in his seat, cooler packed and engine started. It was 5 a.m. and we were literally waving goodbye when my brother-in-law called. My sister was in labor and had been at the hospital through the night.

“Well,” I thought. “This could still take a long time. We’re practically already on the road. I need to get back to the office.” I turned to my husband who was sporting a hesitant question, “What do you want to do?” he asked.

“Let’s go. I’ll just fly back up in a couple of weeks. I want to go home.”

“Are you sure?” he asked.

“Of course I’m sure. Drive. Please.”

He looked skeptical but put his foot on the accelerator and we left my parent’s house. We made it 30 miles before my husband noticed the silent tears and snot that were turning my face into a gruesome mess.

“Tricia,” he started. “Have I ever denied anything to you?”

“No,” I sniveled.

“Then why don’t you just say that you want to stay. I’m OK with leaving later. This is important to you and if you think I’m going to be upset, you’re wrong. Now for the last time, do you want me to turn around?”

I couldn’t’ even choke out the YES, so I simply shook my head up and down spraying the windshield with the foolish tears I couldn’t stop. I was obnoxiously emotional.

I think the truth about my hesitation to stay in Vermont or return to Georgia as scheduled had more to do with my growing fear that I’d not be able to keep myself in-check during a long hospital wait. I was worried that I’d fall to pieces, have a pity party or that I’d actually strangle the grandmothers and sister-in-law if they spent the waiting time recounting their own birth stories. But I wanted to be stronger than that. I wanted to get over myself enough that I could participate in this rite of passage. I wanted my sister to know I was there, that I wasn’t a selfish twit mired so deeply in my own infertility pain that I couldn’t participate in this celebration of life. I wanted my sister to know how delicious the thought is that she didn’t experience the pain I did on my road to motherhood. I wanted my sister to know how much I love her.

It was another 15 hours before my brother-in-law came to the hospital waiting room and invited family to see my sister and their gorgeous daughter, Hannah.

I expected to see a woman completely spent from 20 hours of laboring…a disheveled woman, her mane slicked back with her own perspiration, but that’s not what I found at all. There was my sister, looking even more beautiful than she did on her wedding day, and she was holding the most precious gift…her daughter.

When I walked into the room I of course immediately started with the eye fountains. I kissed my sister’s forehead and peeked at my niece’s long fingernails. My sister, knowing that her pregnancy had been bitter sweet for me, and now the realization that she had just endured the one experience I’ve longed for but will never have, she simply placed Hannah in my arms.

There were other people in the room who should have had first rights to this new family member. The grandmothers were eager to wrap their arms around their new seven pound, six ounce 20.5 inch granddaughter, but my sister knew. She knew I stayed so we could share this moment. She’ll be an outstanding mother, this little sister of mine. She knew falling in love with Hannah was exactly what my heart needed.

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