Thursday, August 06, 2009

Telling my parents

My parents were in town this past weekend, and we got to tell them the great news. After two really long, stressful weeks at work, I was so excited to see them and tell them. The idea of that moment kept pulling me through.

My parents and L were waiting for me at their hotel on Washington Square. We spent a few minutes visiting and checking out the room, and then we started meandering through the park on our way to dinner. We were going over to Stand for some burgers. It was turning into a very nice evening -- the heat had broken, the sky was a watery bluish pink, and people were strolling all around. We pointed out some of the renovations made to Washington Square lately, the wide boulevards and colorful flower beds and wrought iron fences and lightposts. We were just talking about work stuff, nothing major, just visiting with each other. We were over by the south side of the fountain, watching the jets shooting up, standing in a little circle. I had made eye contact with L and she gave me the go-ahead.

"Guess what?" I said. My parents looked at me expectantly. I looked at my mom and then at my dad as I said, "Lillian's pregnant!"

There was a real moment of silence then, as what I was saying settled in with them. Then it was all hugs and good cheer. L said later that she saw my dad tear up as soon as I said it, but there was a real moment of astonishment there. They were so excited. "Oh, this is so special!" Dad said. "How could you not tell me?!" Mom said. It was such an exciting thing. Mom said later she thought that maybe we were getting a dog. She started crying a little bit out of happiness, and told us how much we would love our child. She said Kelsey's and my cheeks used to turn red because she would just kiss us so much. "You will not believe how much you love that child, you will kill for your child, you will kill for your child," Mom said in a way that was funny and only a little weird.

I'm smiling even now as I write this. Dad said we must have planned this, to tell them this news in such a perfect setting -- in the middle of Washington Square under a clear pink sky on a great July evening -- but we really didn't. Telling them cast the rest of the weekend in this great glow of love and excitement. My parents said they would be talking about this for a long time that night. Mom insisted on calling her friend Jill to share the news immediately ("I'm going to be a grandmother!"). It was so wonderful to feel such love and support from them. I had this strange fear that they wouldn't be excited -- that they would think it was too soon, or that we were too young or not established enough or too indebted or something -- and even though I knew those fears weren't rational, it was nice to have them dashed anyway.

Telling my parents was different from telling friends. Like marriage, having a baby is a significant event in the life of an entire family, not just the immediate participants. It was nice to add another circle of love around the little one.

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