Miracle Spigot Part II - New York Stepper

Several times in New York, I thought to myself, Man. I'm so glad I'm not pregnant.

The daily physical challenges of navigating the city with three small kids was exhausting enough. I couldn't imagine also being pregnant, there. To me, it seemed like it just couldn't be done.

I'd watch those of my New York friends with happily growing bumps, and I'd marvel. Morning sickness on the smelly subways? Walking 6 blocks on swollen ankles, only to then have to heft a child-heavy stroller up three flights of stairs?

I couldn't deny their radiance. They smiled and glowed and placed graceful hands atop rounding bellies, but I watched their undeniable joy with scrutiny. Somewhere - just there! Was that a flash? - I was sure I'd see a sign of their super-humanness. Did the wind just reveal a corner of her cape beneath her raincoat? Did she just accidentally use her superhuman speed to snatch her toddler's elbow before he hit the pavement?

I remember asking two of my good friends post-baby if their New York pregnancies were as hard as I imagined they'd be?

They both nodded and reflected and admitted that yes. It was difficult. But also—not that bad. Not that bad.

And I'd sigh and go on searching for that glint of satin silk flowing beneath their coats.

The fact was, I still wondered. It still permeated my daily thoughts—would I? Would something change? Was there another little scrunchy-faced soul in the plan for me?

But, caught up in the chaotic adventure of our lives in New York, the other thought became more and more comfortable for me. OBVIOUSLY not yet. Not in this place. Here, you are FIVE.

SIX was some other possibility along some other iteration of my life.

And in New York—glory of a town!—people didn't ask. There was this refreshing, wonderful attitude of living in the now. It was as if the whole city were saying to me, Look at you! Look how great you are! Mother of three! That's awesome!

And if I happened to one day sport another bump of my own, the city would be like, Dude, Girl! Look at you go! That's great!

I NEVER NOT EVEN ONCE heard, "So are you done?" or "Think you'll have more?" or "So tell me all about this intimate and incredibly personal aspect of your life in this very awkward small-talk conversation I just out-of-the-blue started."

So much acceptance.
Such a delicious lack of that misplaced expectation and invasive curiosity.
Everyone just thriving on—or surviving—the juiced up pace of this amazing town.

Except...there was this boy child. My oldest. Wyatt turned the tender and open age of five while we were in New York, but he has always had a deeply introspective and reflective nature.

We were on the A train, happily munching on our licorice and holding on to the silver bars with half-a grip, having grown comfortable with the pitch and sway of the A.

I remember the train was fairly full on this particular trip. We had just come from our weekly run to Trader Joes and were heading back up to Washington Heights. Hank sat in his usual place in the stroller, Daphne sat on the push-bar, my arm locked firmly around her waist as a mom-style safety belt. My other hand gripped the stroller, my foot pressed the brake at the wheel for added stability. Three paper sacks full of delicious Trader Joes produce filled the basket beneath.

Our makeshift appearance and the countenances of my admittedly adorable children were earning us the usual attentions. Some would stare, likely trying to figure out how this thing worked. Three kids plus groceries and the subway system. Others would comment or chuckle under their breaths. Some would actually engage my children, noting loudly how charming they were. Or how delicious their fist full of redvines looked.

It was on this trip that my Wyatt suddenly and without reservation or volume control demanded of me, "Mom? When are we going to have another baby girl?"

I heard gasps and chuckles and caught a few sharp glances from my peripheral. I smiled down at my boy. "You think we should have another baby?"

"Yes." He said resolutely. "A girl."

"Why a girl?" I asked.

"Because," He said. "She will be SO CUTE! And it's going to be a baby sister. And I will take very good care of her."

I did answer him—though I can't remember exactly what. Something slightly evasive while still being wise and true. His words clanged in my thoughts the whole ride home and that night when I recounted the story to Bill and for a long while after.

He seemed so sure.

But so was I. So sure that New York Stepper would not be pregnant. Not in this place.

I think this was the first whisper of a hint I had that our life here had an expiration date.