My big sister is pregnant. She is about four and a half months along and starting to show. I know this because my mom sends me weekly pictures of her bump. And it is definitely a mini ski slope now.
When I was home for Christmas I already knew she was pregnant. She had told me over the phone, and I admit I was disappointed I couldn’t actually tell when I saw her. But apparently these things take time.
She showed me pictures from the first sonogram. The scroll contained three images. The first resembled a Rorschach test. All strangely shaped blotches of light and dark. I had no idea what I was supposed to be looking at. The second picture I identified a gerbil. The third showed the gerbil without it’s head attached. I didn’t want to be the first person to tell her she was going to be delivering a broken rodent so I just smiled. She was waiting for a response.
“It’s a gerbil,” I pronounced.
Two gerbils, she said.
That’s when I learned I have no future as an ultrasound technician.
“How big are they?”
The size of green olives, she said.
I couldn’t help but look at her abdomen and think about a martini. In the past two months they have grown from olives to prunes to apricots. I am told they are now the size of small avocados. Every time I shop for groceries I visit the produce section and wonder how big the twins are.
Maybe that sounds strange. But I haven’t really grown up with babies in my family. The last new blood in our clan came about 13 years ago. It is now adult sized and I can’t remember a time when it wasn’t. None of my close friends have had babies. And anytime someone from my work came back from maternity leave to show off their infant, I was the one person in the corner who didn’t want to hold it. I didn’t really know how.
At this point, all I can do is relate my sister’s pregnancy to items I grow in my backyard. I understand their weight. I have context for their size against my palm. And I understand the importance of patience and timing – you never want to pick the fruit too soon.
Still. I feel like I am 10 and traveling to my grandparents’ house in Quincy, crawling along Route 93 in bumper to bumper traffic, and continuing to ask, ‘Are we there yet?’ No? Well, how much further? Two minutes later. How much further now?’
It’s only gotten worse since we discovered that she is having twin boys. Apparently yesterday they were running laps in her womb during the ultrasound session. She has to go back so more accurate readings can be taken when they are quieter. I pictured the twins slapping each other high-five afterward. Then I wondered if they even had hands yet.
I went online and learned that they do have hands. Fingers too. And how over the next few weeks they will begin to hear. A few weeks later Jen will be able to hear them—or at least, hear their heartbeats with a stethoscope.
It’s hard not to be excited about meeting the twins. However, I do not want to spend the next four and a half months wishing them away. I want to appreciate them.
So this weekend I will draw a diagram of my garden. I will buy seeds. I will plant some starts. Even though there is still snow on the ground. Even though it’s forecasted for tomorrow, and for several days next week. Even though nothing is green or even contemplating growing. Because eventually all that will change.
Already temperatures are slowly creeping past freezing. Sometimes winter retreats into the hills and spring doesn’t feel so far away. Almost as if it’s right around the bend, poking through all the dark spaces. And then it snows. Usually just a dusting. But enough to say, don’t get too far ahead of yourself—there’s plenty of season left in you yet. And deep down I know that harvest time will come soon enough.