November

Two months in and most days we still ride together as a family to drop the kindergartner off at The Angle’s one-room school house. She loves it, doesn’t want to leave afterward and calls every one of her classmates her friend. As we were getting into the truck on that first day back in early September, she was a bubbling mass of excitement and told us as she hefted her new backpack up onto the seat that it was “the importanest day” of her life.

Her papa’s eyes met mine and we both smiled.

We have only one more month of this pregnancy and solo time with her, though it often doesn’t quite yet feel real that we’ll be adding another person to the family. I hold my belly and wonder if losing a baby in the past does that to everyone. I’m in love and excited, yet I’m also well aware that anything could go wrong. Our little one isn’t out of the woods yet. I’ve also had the fleeting feeling that I should get my own affairs in order; women die in childbirth all the time and the grim statistics seem to find their way to me despite my not wanting to even think about it.

Has loss made me a pessimist? Or a realist?

Or will it make this new love for this new being even that much sweeter?

I hop out of the truck a mile from our house and get in my cold morning walk while he continues on to town. It’s not far and I go slowly, focusing on the muscles of my hips, abdominals and hamstrings. My joints and ligaments are stretched and feel loose now, ready for the birth.  I’ve been saying all along that the baby’s coming early and will see the light of day well before his December 12th due date.

Secretly, I’ve hoped he’ll be born under the Scorpio sign of November like me. But, I had also hoped once upon a time that my Iris would be left-handed like me. When she showed clear signs of right-hand dominance very early, I tempered any disappointment by remembering the myriad ways she’ll have it easier being right-handed in a right-handed world.

Still, November feels special to me. It’s a serious month, one of endings and transition, cold days and colder nights, morning skim ice on creeks and shorelines. The dark hours grow longer and the smell of woodsmoke flavors my morning walks. The fall colors are usually at their end and the temperatures plummet as the determined rifle hunters take to the trees. November ends with a focus on gratitude in our Thanksgiving holiday before making way for the mirth and merriment of the Christmas season.

Somewhere in all of that, my body will bring a baby into the world. I pray for his safety and a peaceful, easy arrival. I pray for the world he’ll be born into, with its great divides and fear-wrought masses. The bad guys are indeed winning right now, even though they’re the voting minority, but I pray that much will change before he has eyes and ears for the business of our social climate.

I pray for you reading this, that November will be a month of warmth and inner growth. That you’ll hold close the promise of spring through another northern winter. That you’ll find comfort in gratitude for all that you already have.

For me, the prenatal depression of the late summer months has lifted and the joy of all this change is finally making its way through the hardened cracks to my wary heart. I feel … Happiness, and then I second-guess myself that it could possibly even be that.

I pray for everyone’s happiness. I pray for the lifting of fear in all regards.

These are anguishingly hard times for many, and yet I know we’ll see them through. I know everything works out perfectly, even when we don’t get to define what “perfect” is.

I know this November, this cold and serious November will be exactly what it is supposed to be. And I pray for the wisdom to see it as such, come what may.

Column 108 belly photo
Photo by Sophie Butler

(Published November 6 in the Warroad Pioneer)