I dread it...
My workplace Board of Trustees/Community Advisory Board/Staff annual holiday "do."
I'm a fundraiser, but not much of a schmoozer. It's rather embarrassing to admit that in my particular profession that I don't really enjoy these kinds of events.
Still, there will be folks at this event that I actually know and the food will be good. So I hit the ladies room to "fix my face" after a long day in the fundraising trenches and then head out to our holiday decorated lobby to face the masses enjoying our little fete.
A few minutes into the event I run into S - a vice president from one of my company accounts. We exchange greetings and start talking about the holidays and what our families are doing. Soon I find myself saying, "My husband is so excited about next year when we'll introduce our child to the craziness that is his family at Christmas."
S lights up and asks, "Omigosh! When are you due?"
"Well," I reply, "we don't have a due date because we're adopting, but we're hoping it will be fairly soon."
"That's so exciting!" says S and goes on to congratulate me.
Soon we're chatting happily about her kids and grandkids and their traditions and what Chris and I hope our traditions will be with our Little One.
When S has to excuse herself to head home, I find myself in conversation with our Chief Operating officer (A) and one of the Community Advisory Board members (F.)
The "How was your Thanksgiving?" conversation lasts for a few minutes and then A says, "I know when we talked this summer you said that you and your husband are considering adoption. Have you touched on that anymore?"
"Oh, we're actually in the process. We just have a few more photos to get to our adoption facilitators and then our profile goes live online...and then we wait."
"That's great! Are you going to get an older child? Or a baby?"
"Well, we're only planning to do this once so we'd like to have the whole experience - poopy diapers and all."
"That's wonderful!" chimes in F.
And soon we're off on a whole conversation about little ones. A regales us with stories of her son who, unlike his well-mannered relaxed older sister, got into EVERYTHING.
"It's not that he was a BAD kid," says A, "it's that he was BORED and wanted to learn things. So he'd throw something in the toilet to see what would happen. He'd put crayons on the radiator and I'd say, 'Now, N, why the heck did you do THAT???' And he'd say right back, 'To see what would happen to them.' He was just curious! Still is!"
"That sounds just like my little 2 year-old grandson," says F, pulling a photo out of her wallet and pointing to the youngest of three Little Ones posed artfully with Santa Claus, "He is just a little DEVIL!" But she says this with a loving smile so I imagine that he isn't all that bad.
They share more stories about their kids and grandkids to which I enjoy listening. I chime in with a few tales about my nieces and find myself saying, "I have sooooo much to look forward to!" in response to some of their funny stories.
"Yes. You do."
Soon the party begins to die down. I say my goodbyes and head home.
As I'm in my car, it hits me that this evening I truly feel for the first time like an expectant mom. Something about sharing my news with S, F and A (people I don't really know all that well) that for reasons I cannot explain - make the adoption and my impending motherhood seem so REAL. Not that it hasn't been real throughout the last 6 months of hard adoption prep work.
But tonight for the first time I just feel like any other woman who is expecting a baby. I feel like an expectant mom.
It's not an intellectual thing.
I'm not thinking, "Oh, I'm going to be a mom."
It's a feeling that comes from deep inside my core and radiates out to my fingers, my toes and even my hair.
Wow. I'm going to be a mom.
And I'm not scared or nervous or panicked or anything in this moment.