I could have had a baby! At least that’s what I’ve been thinking as I’ve inched closer to the nine months mark. Granted, my actual sober date is still 48 hours away, but if we stick with the pregnancy analogy, I could, theoretically, go into labor any time now! Nine months has seemed like an incredibly long time and I can’t help but think of the women who had three-four-five-even (omg) six children. That’s a lot of pregnant time; a lot of waiting and growing and a great deal of time spent praying, I am sure. At least those things pretty much sum up these past nine months of my life. A new life has been growing inside of me alright and I’m still not sure what I’m going to name her!
When I was hovering around day one, still being sober at nine months seemed an absolute impossibility. I think I spent most of my alone time at rehab silently scheming what constellation of circumstances would warrant an exception to this new sober rule. I didn’t imagine for a minute I was going to be sober forever. I was just taking a much needed break. I’d get myself healthy again, put some weight back on, straighten out my life, get my career back on track, and everything would be fine. Certainly by then, I would be able to enjoy a glass of wine here and there and a frozen margarita on a night out with friends and the occasional cold bottle of beer after an afternoon spent in the sun.
Memorial Day weekend isn’t officially here yet, but for all practical purposes, it’s already summer. Everyone’s in shorts and restaurants and bars are spilling onto their outside decks. I’ve been down to the docks. I’ve heard the music and chatter and laughter of already tanned and presumably happy people enjoying what I had always thought was the good ol’ summer time. I don’t think that anymore. Summer time is about the ocean and the beach and sunshine. About the wonderful feeling of coming home to a just warm shower to rinse away the residual sand and sweat of what should have been an exhausting afternoon but wasn’t because I’m so happy I could burst. About living easy and lingering in the wonder of it all.
I can no longer imagine why anyone would want to waste a summer afternoon in a bar. I have no intention of missing even a moment of these precious days, of watching this new life that has been growing inside of me take in the miracle of being alive. Ever since last fall, when the whole of creation seemed to turn bleak, I’ve been waiting on this life; waiting for the sure signs of warm days and the marsh grass turning green again. I had a doctor’s appointment last Thursday. Early. I had to drive through a few towns and then across a long bridge. The sun was shining like crazy and I had the car windows open and the radio playing and, when I got to that bridge, I nearly squealed with delight: “The grass is green!” I cried. “The marsh grass is finally green!” I swear, the back bays in summer make for the most beautiful sight in the world. All green and blue and wide.
Such is the new life these past nine months have brought me. I feel as though I have emerged from a seemingly endless winter. Indeed, I have! Whole decades of mornings lost and days endured in a relentless fog of regret and irritability. I find I no longer mind so much if I can’t find a parking space or someone is being obnoxiously rude or plans get rained out. There will always be some place to park. Always an escape from toxicity. Always alternative activities. Everything is new; and I find myself almost giddy with delight. I love being sober! I love this new life that has been born out of my past! No exceptions please. I want the real thing. These nine months have been so worth it! It’s a girl! And I think I’ll call her Me!