And it was sort of a theme, wasn’t it? Last week was the first full week of full day remote learning for both kids, their classmates, and their teachers. It was my week of turning what they used to call “full term” pregnancy, although now they just call it “term.” Only 39 weeks has the honor of being “full term.” And it was the week my father-in-law had a milestone birthday – his 80th! I remember his 70th birthday so well – a giant party in his yard with dancing, a traveling pizza truck (because.. what else?) and family members from all sides and travels. His 75th was a big deal too, with many same loved ones, dancing, singing, toasts, and of course, the pizza truck.
We were supposed to host this 80th party, and we had accepted the honor with pleasure. All the grandparents would have been there, and hopefully cousins and loved ones from all sides and travels. It wasn’t the pregnancy that chased that party away, of course, but the pandemic. So, next year, we all say. The 81st birthday will be THE bash of the early fall. The four (almost five, which is becoming abundantly more clear) of us went down to Connecticut instead. My mother-in-law worked with the kids in secret to create beautiful birthday posters, and decorated the deck with posters, balloons, and leis to wear. We ate Chinese food, cake, and java chip ice cream.
And Zoom is a bit rough, as we all know. I had often gotten legit anxiety about it long before the pandemic! This 80th birthday Zoom somehow transcended the awkwardness and forced quality of normal Zooms. There were warm smiles, and there was an ease of conversation. When the meeting reached its natural end, there was a planned dance party to “I’m Still Standing.” And everyone stood, and danced, in whatever fashion they saw fit. Through the screens, on six or so smiling faced boxes, the song rang through. Someone on our end hit the “End Meeting” button and it ended on that high note – of uninterrupted, smiling, dancing loved ones all captured maybe forever in their I’m Still Standing” 80th birthday poses. It ended abruptly, and just right.
The next day, we witnessed our second “I’m Still Standing” video during an update sent by Des’ (and formerly Scarlet’s) elementary school principal, of all of the teachers dancing to the song. And truly, after one week of full day remote teaching, it’s certainly a feat. Doing what they love, but this way is certainly a challenge, as it’s being stripped of everything they love about doing what they love. And all the difficult things about it are probably magnified by 100. I marvel at them, and at participating in/watching TWO “I’m Still Standing” dance parties within 24 hours.
I’m still standing myself, at 38 weeks, 3 days. With Des, my water broke at 38 weeks, 1 day, but I didn’t know it until 38 weeks, 2 days. This, was a problem. We don’t need to talk about that now. I’m so thankful to still be pregnant past 38 weeks, 2 days, and I think my water is intact as well.
I’m still standing at 38 weeks, 3 days, even though it hurts sometimes. Everyone asks me how I feel, and I can reply that everything hurts and sometimes I’m out of breath by turning my head, and how can anyone carry this hard weight, much less me? Maybe an hour later I’ll feel normal, walking at a fast pace, washing dishes, going for a breathy hike, and thinking that my baby bump may even be big by bump standards (considering that I have no torso at all and I’m pretty slim so where else would it go?), but it’s still fairly small. It changes from moment to moment.
You blink and you’ll miss it. I turned around to let one of the three dogs in, and when I looked back outside at the sky, I had already lost the moon – as it had been swallowed by heavier clouds. I’m grateful for what I did see and have. When I wake up in the morning I can still spring out of bed. I think, “When will I lose this ability?” Although at 38 1/2 weeks pregnant, I don’t think I will, will I? Just the way I’m no longer gaining weight, I have nothing else to lose as well.
You’re still standing too, aren’t you? We are all still standing, however bent and aching; sickened and worried. There are reasons to stand, and will be, necks stretched, looking at the same moon.
I’m still standing, tonight, watching the moony night clouds go by the moon, with the owls hooting in the background and the crashes of branches and mysterious animals in the woods. Watching the clock strike midnight to ring me into 38 weeks, 3 days. It’s part of my weird checking off of boxes. To get one (first) and last haircut, one (first) and last dental appointment, to get further than I got with Des, to get to October, and my final goal is to get to 39 weeks.