We learn it as infants. To anticipate a tickle, a kiss, a silly face. We learn to expect certain results from certain situations, to anticipate the same effect from a certain cause. But sometimes, we're wrong.
We anticipated C's due date. We made a phone list and knew the route to the hospital. We had a birth plan. But, C had something different in mind. I have no cute posed pictures of the day I left for the hospital. There are no photos of me with my bags packed, belly protruding, in front of the car, waiting for Husband to calmly drive me to the hospital. Instead, there are mental images. Images of panic, of throwing things haphazardly into my suitcase and hobbling down two flights of stairs. Images of me standing in my driveway, in the darkness before dawn, waiting for my friends to come get me. Images of racing down the corridor, having her cut from inside me over a month before her due date, and touching her cheek with my index finger before she was quickly taken to the NICU. Images of being taken to an empty room without my newborn baby.
Then I see Husband, running into the room after racing back from work in another state. I see him kiss me then rush to the NICU to meet his daughter for the very first time. I see him tell me she's perfect, the glow of a new father encompassing his whole being. She was here. She was healthy. On her own schedule, taking us all by surprise. She was everything we had anticipated, and not at all what we expected all at the same time.
As a child grows inside you, you anticipate her arrival. Picture her tiny fingers and toes and her pink cheeks. You expect your child to be healthy because you have done everything right. Cause and effect. But, then life surprises you with something small, yet significant. A tiny red mark that within the first six weeks of life grew and darkened. Then you are told to anticipate its continued growth. Told to expect it to get worse before it gets better. And you wait.
But instead of waiting, instead of expecting the expected, we tried something different. We treated the dark red bump and we watched it change. Watched it shrink and soften before our eyes. And then our expectations changed. We expected something drastic, but again, we were wrong. So we tried something else. A new treatment in addition to the other. And again, we saw changes.
We see changes.
But this time, we try to reel in our expectations. We anticipate nothing so that we are no longer disappointed. But we just can't help but anticipate the day that the bump fades from our beautiful daughter's forehead. Because the treatments are working.
|Day 69 : Day 92 (3 months)|
3 cm long, 1.5 cm wide, 0.8 cm protrusion:
3 cm long, 1.2 cm wide, 0.3 cm protrusion
At nearly six months old, C understands anticipation. She watches my hands wiggle toward her before a tickle. She anticipates my kiss on her cheek. She knows what the bath water will feel like on her toes. But her expectations are simple. They are young. And while Husband and I anxiously watch the effects of treatment, all she expects is our touch, a soothing song, a gentle kiss. And I try to take notes from my daughter. Try to lower my expectations, anticipate the simple pleasures of parenthood, and let the bump run its course. Because although it will be gone before we know it, there will be other bumps in her life. And I'll have to remind myself of the sweet anticipation of an infant who expects love and nothing else.