"Colin!" It's early on a Friday morning several weeks ago.
"Colin!" Penny has come running out of the bathroom as I, still in bed, am jolted awake and instantly thrown into a panic.
"What?" I'm thinking, but too groggy to say aloud. Did she see a bug? Sometimes she sees bugs in the bathroom. It's way too early for me to do the husbandly thing where you swiftly swing into action and crush the hapless insect with a wad of tissue, then stride over to the wastebasket and deposit the remains, all the while assuring your damsel that there's no need for distress.
"What?" I say aloud now. She's hopping on the bed, eyes wide, smile wider.
My mind reels. "Oh my god!" I blurt. "Oh my god! ...Are you sure?" We run back into the bathroom and look at the test results. There's definitely a blue line in the little window, and I excitedly read and reread the instructions on the box.
"It says... 'Horizontal blue line in second window: Positive.' Oh my god!"
"Let's take it again!"
Penny tests once more, with the same results. We immediately drive to the store and get a test from a different brand. She passes with flying colors, again.
Oh my god!
That day we drive north as planned, delivering the first load of items to her brother's place in Indiana. We take both cars, as planned, since they are among the items we're dropping off.
All day long, up I-26 and I-40 and I-75 and I-65, we drive our overstuffed vehicles within a few hundred feet of each other. Penny can't even see out the back of hers, it's so piled with houseplants and artwork, but I follow her closely, still smiling and shaking my head in disbelief. At lunch we stare across the table at each other, beaming, and when we get back in the car we go back to calling each other on the cell phones, a couple times an hour.
The conversation always starts the same:
"Oh my god!"
We didn't know, though. Not for sure. The tests could have been wrong, or unreliable, or maybe we were reading them wrong. I asked her repeatedly, "Do you feel different? Are you sick? Do you need anything? What can I get you?"
She assured me she was fine, and that she might feel a little different, but maybe not. It was hard to be sure.
We agreed that we were getting way too excited, and should definitely wait until we saw the doctor before getting our hopes up.
Too late. We'd call the doctor on Monday, and in the meantime, proceed with our current plan, which was a two-part strategy:
1. Freak out
We both searched our hearts for hunches, constantly asking each other, "Do you feel different? Do you think it's really real?" I calculated odds of false positives from three independent tests (negligible, I figured) while she studied her stomach for signs of upset. Nothing, aside from a little rumbling following lunch at a diner.
We drove on, both feeling too marvelously lucky for words, each terrified that our gift would be taken back, or that we'd been mistaken, but both too afraid to mention the possibility.
Ordinarily, I reserve my excitement for certainty, and even then I prefer to try and be more Zen about things -- you never know, so don't get too attached.
Impossible. As we drove north, waiting to tell our families the news you're supposed to wait much longer to reveal (she was only a few weeks along by then), both our minds had sailed off into our future together, which now seemed so impossibly blessed that we felt silly for ever complaining, about anything.
We wanted to share our joy with everyone, and wanted them to feel such -- was it relief? Not really. We'd been hoping for a child for more than a year, even talking to doctors who assured us this day would come, but now that it was here we were still as shocked as if we'd just struck gold in the back yard.
We wanted to be together and talk -- oh, that was such a long, separate car ride.
We wanted to do research -- so many questions! Even all the things we'd read already now had to be revisited, now that it was so... real.
But mostly, we wanted our baby to be safe. I watched like a hawk as other drivers merged in front of her, preparing to shake my fist if anyone cut too close. "Watch it buddy, that's my family in there!"
She studied the lunch menu carefully, no longer thinking of what sounded best but what actually *was.*
And we drove on, carefully, filled with love we didn't see coming, eager to share it with someone new.
Eager to meet the person who would change our lives completely.
Eager to show this new person everything we knew and everything we could learn about this world we were driving through, which now seemed so beautiful, so big, and so welcoming.
Especially when we told the families. Mom was particularly excited.