Monday, September 12, 2011

The Second Meeting

Circumstances were going to bring me north of Key West again.  I was going to visit with a friend of mine and her family from my home town. They were traveling to Orlando for a trip to Disney and asked Carli and me if we'd like to join them.  I had to consider carefully.  I wanted to take advantage of my proximity to Disney World while I was in Florida.  I didn't know when I'd be able to take Carli again.  I wanted to bless her with this trip for her birthday.  When I asked her if she'd like to visit with Terri and her family instead of having a birthday party, she exploded into 'Hooray' and lept up and down with excitement.  My thoughts turned to my condition and whether or not it would be feasible for me to walk around an amusement park all day.  The trip would be three weeks from my delivery.  I wondered if the stress on my body, not to mention my size, would cause any complications.  I decided that Orlando probably had hospitals and chuckled a little about how funny a story it would be to deliver this little princess at the threshold of Cinderella's castle.  I wanted to make it happen for Carli.  I told Terri that we'd be joining her and her family for the trip. 

As I reviewed maps online to plot our trip, I realized that I would be passing within miles of Brett and Kayla.  We had made a promise on the last visit to make every attempt to see each other once more before Alex's delivery.  I wanted to make good on that.  I panged when I went to doctor's visits, knowing that Kayla would have loved to have been there but distance just made it impossible to really share in my pregnancy aside from emails.  I would have felt comforted by more of her presence.  Thinking of her always brought me so much peace.   I asked them in an email if they could meet me for lunch.  I thought it would be nice to get some personal time in, just the 5 of us.  We were about to embark on such an important union between our families.  It seemed a shame not to give it more effort if we could.  They quickly agreed and we settled on a shopping mall that we both could locate and that was not far from their home.

I think I was more excited about the lunch than I was Disney.  I wanted to see them again.  In my mind, every email or invite was assurance to them that I was as committed as they were and that I wasn't going to back out.  I needed them to feel safe in that I had made my decision and it was final. 

Carli and I entered the mall that day and walked toward the restaurant that we agreed on.  I waddled down the long, echoing hall towards the eatery with a blathering toddler, asking a question every second about why we were and what we were going to do.  I was trying to spot them and her yammering was distracting me.  As we got closer, they stood up from the bench that they were sitting on. I saw their heads pop up from behind the greenery of the planters.  I was grateful that they'd located me first.  Their beaming smiles made me emotional as I choked back tears and just tried to look happy.  It was another reminder of the realness of what I was taking on.  It could feel so heavy on my heart sometimes.  The burden seemed to weigh down at inappropriate times.  I didn't want them to think that I was sad.   We hugged and paused for them to make small talk with Carli.  We made our way into the Rainforest-themed eatery that we thought we could tolerate and that my daughter would enjoy.  We were wrong.  Carli recoiled at the mechanical animals that would suddenly come to life following thunder and a pretend rainstorm. She coward in my lap with each episode.  I felt sorry for us all, we tried to make this fun for her but to little avail.  Brett was able to mildly entertain her with his attention and her ruffled feathers seemed to smooth so we could continue our visit. 

We finished up our meals and Brett had to return to work.  Kayla and I could sit together and visit as Alex's mothers.  I felt like I was floating as we strolled the outdoor shopping concourses and talked about motherhood.  We reviewed our first meeting.  It was fun for us to recall our thoughts and feelings on what that was like.  It went better than either of us had dreamed it would.  I offered to see if we could get Alex to kick.  I was desperate to have her experience what it felt like to feel her move.  I tried walking, sitting, pushing, poking, ice cream, but alas our little bundle was content to relax.  I was disappointed.  I knew it would be my only opportunity to try. 

The time came and we both had to leave.  I needed to have Carli and me up to Orlando by sundown.  I wanted to cry.  I wanted more time with her.  I wondered what it would be like to be her friend.  I wished that I could hear what this journey was like before she met me.  I thought that it was probably a long and painful story.  I wanted to fully understand how joyful it to receive this gift. 

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