I recently stayed over at my parents’ house. They had been traveling, and being the good daughter that I am, I decided to check on things. I walked into the garage, met by the growing collection of “stuff” they are getting rid of to prepare for their upcoming retirement extravaganza. The Great Loop…If you have not heard of it, look it up. My conclusion is that they are crazy! All kidding aside, what they are planning is pretty awesome.
As I made my way through the maze of old bedding, a meat-smoker, and some random Christmas decor, a turquoise colored rectangle caught my eye. I immediately knew what it was. It was the play-pen/bassinet that I had when I was expecting my first child.
After opening the kitchen door, and putting my over-night bag away, I pulled that old relic into the house. Almost immediately, I was transported back to 25 years ago. 1995. I was 19, expecting my first baby. A boy. Unzipping the blatantly “90’s” turquoise nylon cover, I felt a familiar lump in my throat. The lump that precedes tears. You know the one.
I sat cross-legged on the hardwood floor. I am now 44 years young; for a moment, I was 19 again. The dinosaur print peeked out at me; the tears welled up. I ran my hand along the smooth nylon finish. Pink, blue, yellow and purple dinosaurs came to life. Without skipping a beat, my hands begin to click the four side rails into place; I was oddly comforted by the familiar “clacking” sound that I had heard so many times. I then pushed the “hub” down on the bottom of the play-pen. I recall not knowing how to set this up when I first got it. I had made the mistake of locking the hub first, way back then. I smiled at the memory of the frustration of not being able to figure out how to set up this confounded thing. Today, I set it up without an issue.
I smiled as I looked at the old familiar print. Placing the mattress in the bottom, the tears flowed. To the outside world this old play-pen, I am sure it is nothing short of gross with its drool-stained, funky blue mattress. But what I saw, oh, what I saw was so much more. I saw the memories and the dreams that I once had.
Each of those spots represented three sweet, sleepy, drooling baby boys. Those spots told a story of sleepless newborn nights. My hand reaching across the top of the bassinet in the middle of the night, to bring a hungry infant to my breast for feeding. I saw that play-pen set up outside, in beautiful spring weather. A happy, smiling, snaggle-toothed baby playing and cooing while I planted flowers. I laughed as I remembered how each of the boys would smoosh their cherub-like faces against the mesh, with noses turned-up, and tongues licking like puppies. I would laugh at them, poking their noses and they would giggle back. That exhilarating baby giggle that will make the most hardened, and sour person smile. My heart was full as I walked down memory lane.
I went back to September of 1995. The day that I set this bed up, in my bedroom, next to my side of the bed. I was due October 15th. I was having a baby boy. He was yet to be named. There I was, young, naïve, and giant pregnant. Oh, I was HUGE. I set up the brand new bed; bright with color, ready in the event I went into labor. Every night I would sit on the side of the bed, running my fingers down the side rails…much like today. I would lie down on my right side, hand resting on the end. My mind would go wild as I rubbed my ever expanding belly like a genie’s lamp. I would feel the squirms, kicks, and nightly hiccups. I would fall asleep every night like this that last month. I simply knew that would be pregnant forever. I would try to imagine how my baby would look; what he would smell like. What color eyes would he have? Would he have colic, when would he walk, run, ride a bike? What would his first day of kindergarten be like, learning to drive, graduation…my mind went on and on. Here we are now, almost 25 years later. In that time, this little bed has held two more of my sons. All my dreams came to life…one, by one. Not the way I would play them out that last month of pregnancy, but they came to life. That dreamy baby is now 24. He is engaged to a most beautiful, kind, compassionate woman.
I am taking this old, outdated relic home. I will be sad to give it a good steam cleaning as I know it will be the end of any physical evidence of the inhabitants it once held. I will cry however, I will also smile. Smile that knowing one day, perhaps, there will be a new generation of drool and dreams, which will cover this old dinosaur.