Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Suitcase Full of Stories

Nothing prepares you for those two pink lines. They appeared as soon as my urine hit the stick. I thought I would at least get three minutes to wait it out. The instructions promised three agonizing minutes, right? I heard my husband of six months walking towards the bathroom, I locked the door, “Go away.” When I didn't respond to his knocking he got the picture, we were going to have a baby.

It was November 2004, our sophomore year of college. In May of that year I had gone ahead and married my childhood friend, Roger, whom I met in the fourth grade, became best friends with and at fifteen started dating. There we sat, just six months later, with a bathroom door between us, scared shitless because of two pink lines. When I finally emerged from my cave of sorrows I was welcomed into a candle lit room by a tearful husband who embraced me with the words “we can do this. It's going to be ok.”

One of the promises that Roger and I made to one another when we decided to get married young, was that we wouldn't become that newly married couple that locks themselves away from the world. We both still wanted to have active college lives. He was a part of a local fraternity on campus and I was a member of a small sorority. But now we were getting ready to throw a baby in the mix. Forget our social lives, would we even be able to graduate?

The summer of 2005 was sticky hot. I was great with child. Class was set to start back in Mid August. With each stretch mark came a new anxiety. How would our lives change when this little person inside my womb was placed in our arms?

At that time we were living in a small house behind Roger's fraternity house, that the college owned. It was a small, thin house. . It was falling down around us. From the outside the house appeared to be condemned, but inside those old windows, under that leaking roof, lived a young couple anxiously awaiting the birth of their first child.

One evening we ordered a pizza without explaining on the phone that the delivery guy would need to come around to the back door. Our porch had fallen off of the front. We had informed the college of the porch's condition. They only came and removed it; leaving caution tape in it's place. When the door bell rang we opened the front door to find a very confused looking delivery guy standing in the hole that used to be our front porch. “Man, I thought someone was playing a prank on me.”

On another night I walked back from the library with books on my back and an infant strapped to my chest. At the back door I was met by a family of racoons. They hissed at me and I had to wait until they left before I could get in the house. Those things are mean. We later found out that they had taken up residents in our attic. At night we would hear them falling between the walls. When cooking dinner we could see their little paws poking through the light fixtures in the kitchen.

Going to college with a baby was challenging, but we did our best to have fun with it. Our little boy became our side kick and a bonafide member of the campus community. We were embraced and loved by professors who would rock our infant son during lectures, cafeteria workers that found an old high chair for him to sit in, and fraternity brothers who insisted that the baby be stripped down to his diaper to participate in a fraternity boxer run.

When we walked across the campus lawn to receive our rolled up bachelors degrees our two year old son watched from his grandparents' arms. We didn't feel as If we had missed out on college life at all. We had a whole suitcase full of interesting stories and forever friendships, not only for ourselves but for our little boy who graduated himself that day.