When my husband and I were very young, in the very beginning of our life together, we often found ourselves saying, “I’m so glad we have something to look forward to!”
Of course, we were young, in love, starting our lives. We had friends and jobs and an entire future ahead of us. Still, sometimes the weeks seemed to stretch out ahead of us with nothing but work, classes, work and more classes. We used to need “something to look forward to”. Something to get our excitement up, our adrenaline rushing, our moods lifted. It could be a party, a trip, a concert….it didn’t really matter, as long as we could hold it up in our immediate future and get a lift out of the anticipation of the event.
I remember Christmas of 1985. I was very pregnant with our first child. We didn’t know yet who this child would be. Male or female? Dark eyed or light? Happy? Cranky? Healthy or not? We didn’t know.
But I remember one night, just a few days before Christmas and perhaps two weeks before my due date. Paul had fallen asleep, but my back was hurting, and so I was still awake. I lay on the sofa in our little run down apartment in one of Boston’s seedier neighborhoods. I had a blanket over the mound of my stomach, and my hand was resting on the place where my baby moved.
I had turned out all of the lights, leaving only the Christmas tree illuminated. I lay there, looking at each ornament, watching the way that the lights reflected off the garland. I felt myself breathing, and listened to the imagined heartbeat of my baby. I looked at the lights. I waited.
“You know what?”, I whispered to my big gray cat, who sat beside me in my midnight vigil. “I’ll never ever have another moment with nothing to look forward to.” I smiled to myself, the palm of my hand feeling the gently rolling movement of my firstborn inside of me.
And I was right.
Twenty nine years later, I am lying on my couch, my eyes taking in the color of the Christmas lights. I can see the pile of wrapped gifts with my granddaughter’s name on them.
“You know what?”, I whisper to my old dog. “I have so much to look forward to!”