I peed on a stick, and time stood still for a moment. I didn’t dare look. No matter the result of the pregnancy test, I knew I would be disappointed. I never was very good at dealing with absolutes.
My husband and I had just come back from our five year anniversary trip. We married young and waited to have children. After all, we were children ourselves. I knew I wanted kids from the moment he proposed, but I also knew I needed to wait for him to be ready.
When he finally relented to my constant prodding about children, I didn’t give it a second thought. There wasn’t time. As soon as he said we could stop avoiding having kids, we were thrown into a frenzy of love that I never expected. It was just wave after wave of emotion. Each wave caused us to realize how lucky we were to have each other.
We never anticipated how quickly conceiving could be. We were sure it would take longer. Five years had passed with no incident and no real preventative measures. Naturally, it must have taken much more effort to come to fruition.
Yet there I was, less than two months later, trying my best not to eyeball a plastic urine stick.
You wouldn’t believe some of the debates that occur on toilets. It’s not just me.
You see, even though I had always wanted kids of my own, I never expected it to happen. I never expected to get married. I never expected to even be in a committed relationship. They were all moments I was to afraid to plan for, lest they never occur and I spend all my days in regretful anticipation. Even as we talked about kids and actively planned for it and actually did it, I still did my best to not get excited. Instead, I worried constantly. What if I was barren? What if I carried my family’s gene of palsy? Could we afford having a child? Is My husband really ready for kids or is he just saying that to appease me? Did I want kids for the right reasons? The one worry I always came back to: was it really wise or fair to force someone to live through those awful times we already had to live through?
That last question was the only thing going through my head as my husband went to get the test from our bathroom. I went to our bedroom and buried my head in my pillow as I pondered.
At some point, I had lost all faith in humanity. After seeing how cruel the outside world could be, how could I even risk making someone suffer it? Somewhere down the line, people stopped caring about people. Things were so hard for us now. How much worse would they be when our child was our age? Things never got better. They only got worse. It was a law of nature: order to disorder.
My husband came into the room, test in hand, totally pale. He gave a weak, shaky smile and said, “I didn’t mean to look without you.” He never was good at hiding surprises.
I sobbed. I wanted so badly to be happy. I was going to get everything I had ever wanted in life: a family of my own. Yet there was that law of nature staring at me from between the purple positive lines in the middle of a pee stick. At first, my husband thought they were tears of joy, but when I couldn’t stop crying he started to realize something was up. He slowly got to the root of the problem, dried my tears, kissed my forehead and calmed my nerves.
“Things have always sucked.” He explained. “It’s not like they didn’t when we were growing up.” He smoothed back my hair as he went on to say, “We came from two families of good people who showered us with love and helped guide us to be good people. That’s what we will do with our kid. We can’t fix the world, but we can help her find the good in it.”
His words calmed me, but I didn’t take them to heart. After all, he was wrong about the baby going to be a girl. He couldn’t totally be right about this either. I didn’t believe him for some time, until one day it just hit me.
We were at our favorite Mexican restaurant with my in-laws when I had to excuse myself to the bathroom. Even though we hadn’t been seated, let alone eaten, my stomach demanded to be emptied. We hadn’t told anyone our news yet. We were waiting until everything was confirmed and stable, but just because no one else knew didn’t mean I could avoid symptoms.
There I was in a stall ejecting all that was ill when I heard a faucet cut on and a stranger’s voice say “Here ya go, Hun.” At the top of the stall door was a hand with a warm wet paper towel. She exited the room after I took it, but she left me with much more than she could have ever expected.
Two sheets of paper and some water and suddenly I got what my husband was trying to say. There are good people out there. You don’t have to look that hard. They are there when you least expect it and they don’t look for anything in return.
I wish I could say that this revelation helped me let go of that worry. It didn’t. There will always be bad days when I can’t see the good in the world, but even on those darkest days there is a little bit of good.
I actively try and be that little bit of good now. It isn’t hard. It is really just the matter of being polite. Whether it is saying hello with a smile, holding the door open for a stranger or letting someone with fewer purchases ahead in line at the store, it is all good (however, never hold up traffic to let someone pull into the road–it may seem nice, but it is very illegal) and it all makes a difference.
All I can do is teach my son what that lady in that bathroom taught me: even the smallest kind act can change someone’s mind.
Just, whatever you do, don’t tell my husband he was right….I’ll never live it down.