one more watts: chapter three

The plot thickens significantly in this chapter but believe me, the best is yet to hit Instagram. Here’s the third collection of posts dedicated to the madness behind our unexpected pregnancy.

october

OOPS! I DID IT AGAIN.

Published Jan 22, 2017

Apologies for the extended intermission. Where were we? Ah, yes. The blood clinic, my glow, the book, a new website, photos. Let’s go back to October, shall we?

When the idea for pictures struck, I reached out to my stylist friend @elim_chu and we agreed to swap expertise – her styling and amateur photography for my words. “Let’s add gin and make it a party,” I said.

That’s when it dawned on me. I had no party clothes.

Before leaving Scotland, my wardrobe saw a ruthless side of me. I purged and purged and purged some more. None of the remaining clothing felt worthy of being in front of a lens. Typically not a big deal but I had also vowed to refrain from shopping until April 2017. Oops.

So what does one do in this kind of situation? Beg and borrow. And one of my friends who generously offered a few pieces was my friend named Annie.

At the time, we were living close to one another. My wardrobe malfunction was a perfect excuse for an overdue visit. We met up on October 31st, a detail I only remember because it was the morning of Steve’s first interview for a job in Manhattan. My nerves were eating me alive.

I sat perched on her counter sipping coffee while our four little people sat on her sofa lapping up Paw Patrol.

Annie pulled out her signature smile. “Are you and Steve planning on more kids?” I rolled my eyes and pulled out my laundry list.

SEVEN REASONS TO QUIT WHILE YOU’RE AHEAD

  1. The threat of a grand mal seizure. (Too frightening.)
  2. Steve’s job hunt. (Too uncertain.)
  3. International student loans. (Too expensive.)
  4. My favourite jeans. (Too good.)
  5. Ambitious writing goals. (Too much.)
  6. Our semi-homelessness. (Too volatile.)
  7. The possibility of New York. (Too Manhattany.)

And then I conceded that if for some freak reason we DID get pregnant—which would surely NEVER EVER happen—I was strangely confident that I could have peace about it. God had spent all summer reminding us of His faithfulness in the midst of thick grief and bleak circumstances.

How ironic that those words fell from my lips when they did. I was already pregnant.

me

“YOU ARE GLOWING!”

Published Jan 26, 2017

In early November I pasted my long-awaited big-girl headshot into my squeaky clean LinkedIn profile. After a five-year career hiatus, mama decided it was time to come out from hiding.

Around the same time, that school in Manhattan began aggressively flirting with Steve. They asked to fly him out for a two-day interview in New York, a ferocious adrenaline spree complete with a lecture for the faculty and a bevy of meetings. Not my idea of a blind date.

But an interview in November?! We weren’t expecting any action until February at least. It was the answer to our prayers. But could Manhattan really be our promised land?

Steve and I cautiously tiptoed around the idea. We never pictured raising a family in or around New York. “Aren’t you glad we only have two kids?” we said. “At least we could survive in a two-bedroom apartment.” Beggars saddled with student loans can’t be choosy when opportunity knocks. If Manhattan beckoned, we’d be there.

And if so, surely we’d need all the money we could get. I decided to lock myself down and get serious about the beast that is LinkedIn.

Shortly after creating my profile and reaching out to colleagues, I received a kind word from an office buddy, a fellow writer, the deliciously witty @lexingtonsteele

“Love your profile photo on here – you are glowing! I hope life is wonderful in your world 🙂 xoxo”

On any given day, this would have made me smile. But at the time, the word ‘glowing’ slapped me across the face. First it was the lady at the blood clinic. Now Lex.

I suddenly remembered. “Shit – I’m late!” My suspicions began teasing me around November 10th. This note from Alexis came through eight days later, the day before Steve’s departure to NYC. I immediately realized that in all the frenzied preparations, I’d lost sight of the calendar. Without much thought, I hammered back a note to Lex.

“Thanks, A! Elim took the picture recently. I sure hope I am glowing solely because I knocked back six litres of water the night before. My period is late (TMI?!) and I’m freaking out that I’m pregnant again. Ha! (But really not funny at all.) You back at the ‘Lemon?”

Can you read the nervous energy?!

nouwen

This last image was shared elsewhere on Instagram but historically, this is where fits in the #onemoreWatts timeline.

The day after receiving that gloriously convicting message from Lex, I nursed my anxiety by distracting myself on Instagram. (Bad Elissa.) I was researching (read: stalking) one of the school’s faculty members. She’s a bright young woman and we happen to share a mutual friend. I sat on the bathroom counter, browsing her collage of photos. Suddenly a seemingly forgettable block of text caught my attention.

This is a breakdown of my 2.2-second inner monologue, the revealing stream of consciousness that spewed wildly from my mind as I read her post, a simple photo of a quote in her church’s weekly bulletin.

“Oooh! A quote. It’s Henri Nouwen! She likes him?! I love him!!! If Steve and I move to New York, she and I will be buddies. (Stop it, Elissa. Don’t get ahead of yourself. Enough. Just read.) Hmm…wait—I don’t think I’ve read this before……OH. MY. WORD. $#!?^#%$!!!!!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!”

The words nearly electrocuted me. This was not the first time God has used Henri’s words to speak to the core of my being. My head and heart suddenly felt like a tuning fork struck by a ten-foot pole. The fear inside me began to ripple north from the tips of my toes to the summit of my dizzy head. In that moment, I couldn’t escape my paranoia.

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