Thursday, October 8, 2009

I'll be your Lorelai Gilmore

Way back in January, on a cold Monday afternoon, I got a phone call from my best friend Julie.

This was not uncommon. Julie and I talk most days. But that particular day she was on her way to the local pharmacy to purchase a home pregnancy test.

Also, not uncommon. Julie is highly paranoid and as I understand it has taken several home pregnancy tests over the course of her three year marriage. (She may kill me for writing that)

But this time Julie and her husband were intentionally trying to conceive. However, there wasn't much excitement or anticipation around this test because they really hadn't been trying very long and Julie was feeling slightly under the weather and just taking the test to rule out pregnancy.

We went about our conversation as usual and no more was said about the possibility of pregnancy.

Later that evening Julie sent me a picture message of that same pregnancy test. With a digital read out that said "pregnant".

Much jubilation was had in my apartment. I was home alone and was jumping up and down like a mad woman. The bunnies ran and hid.

So began the story of my best friend's journey into motherhood.

Not long after she found out Julie asked me to be in the delivery room with her. With some trepidation I agreed. Attending a live birth was not high on my list of priorities unless I was the one giving birth. But I just couldn't refuse Julie. I mean, even if I was nervous, what an honor it was for her to ask me. Wild horses couldn't keep me out of that delivery room.

And so it was that I came to be in that delivery room on the afternoon of September 18 when Mina Victoria made her grand appearance.

Julie's labor was long and hard. As a matter of fact Julie and Frank had been in the hospital a total of 84 hours waiting on their daughter. I arrived about 12 hours after they did, so you can imagine that Julie was not the only one who was desperate for that baby to come out.

During the course of all that waiting Julie gave me an idea. She said that we all should write letters to the baby telling her about how stubborn she was and how long it took for her to come.

It seemed the perfect way for me to sum up my personal experience in that delivery room.

So, without further ado,

My dearest Mina,

In the course of your life I'm sure that you will repeatedly hear how stubborn you were. How you didn't want to come out. How you made your mommy suffer. Also, your birth story isn't mine to tell. I was there and I have my own version of events, but no one can tell it like your mommy and daddy, so I won't presume to try and tell it better.

Yes, you did take your own sweet time in being born, but your mommy had always said that you had a mind of your own and no one was going to make you do something you didn't want to. And in the end you did come. You were perfect.

Everyone there said how much you looked like your mommy. Really, no one can deny that the two of you are mother and daughter. Of course we knew that would be the case as the genetics in your mommy's family run strong. It was later though, in the evening, I was holding you and you made a little face. You must have been dreaming because your expression totally changed and in the space of a heartbeat I was looking at your daddy's face. Then you changed again, back into your mommy. But something your daddy always needs to be sure of is that he is in there too. It took both of them to make you and God made sure to give you the best of both.

Something I have to tell you about is what your daddy was like when you came out. I like to think that I have the most accurate description because your mommy was exhausted and trying to see you and all the medical personnel were running around, but I was watching your daddy's face. His countenance was something I can't describe or re-create. The best I can do is tell you that in an instant he fell wholly and completely in love with you. It was like watching a thousand tiny, unbreakable strings come out and attach his heart to you. He loves you with the kind of reckless abandon that only fathers can feel for their daughters. That is something you will thank him for and also have to forgive him for. Try to remember as you grow that to him you will always be that little girl whose world revolved around her daddy.

Your mommy loved you instantly too, but I think it was a little later for her when it all sank in. She was a mommy. You were finally out and she had a daughter. It was bliss.

This is where I tell you about your mommy's and my obsession with a television show called Gilmore Girls. I'm certain that you will become very familiar with it during your life. You can't be your mother's daughter and my niece and escape Gilmore Girls. We have a knack for relating just about any situation back to a specific Gilmore Girls episode, and believe me little Mina, we know them all.

There is one where Sookie is about to give birth and she has a serious meltdown thinking the baby is never going to come out. She runs to Lorelai's house and tells her that she's afraid she might gestate as long as an elephant (22 months) and she's jumping up and down and jiggling and just totally freaking out. When you watch that episode picture your mother's face on Sookie's body. That is what it was like. Except that your mom's freak out didn't last for just the space of one evening. No, I'm afraid your mother was like that for most of her pregnancy. She loved you very much, but she was certain to love you more once you came out.

So once you were here and she'd had a moment to collect herself she spent some time staring at you. Absorbing how beautiful you are. Marveling at the fact that she grew you. You lived inside her for nine long months and then all of a sudden, there you were. Her daughter. She stared at you and saw herself. And she saw her mother.

Your Grammy would have loved you and spoiled you so very much. She does love you and it speaks to the unfairness of life that you will not have the pleasure of knowing her on this side of heaven. But don't fret little one, I, like so many others, have lots of stories to share with you about your Grammy. Just because she isn't here physically does not mean that you won't know her or feel her love. We will all make sure of that.

There is so much I could tell you. Advice for growing up and how to deal with your mother and father. Trust me that they always mean well and want the best for you. You will butt heads, especially with your mother, but their love and concern for you will always be at the forefront of their decisions.

I can promise you that I will always be there. You can call me anytime, and when you get a little older you can come and visit. You're always welcome at my house.

I can also promise that I will always be truthful with you. Something you need to know about me is that I'm a very straightforward person. If your outfit looks stupid I'm probably going to tell you so. But don't take that too much to heart. I'm sure fifteen years from now what I wore when I was that age will look totally ridiculous too. (If it doesn't already)

If you're dating a new guy and he's a jackass I will always tell you that he is a jackass. What I won't tell you is that you need to get rid of him. That is a lesson that you will need to learn on your own. Every girl needs to go through a few jackasses before she finds prince charming. But when the jackass breaks your heart I'll be there to help pick up the pieces if you need me.

I'll leave you with one more promise. This one is for your mother as much as it is for you.

Do you feel another Gilmore Girl's reference coming on? You should.

In the final season Lane gives birth to twins and she asks Rory for a favor. When they were growing up Lane's mother was extraordinarily strict and every now and then Lorelai would go and have a talk with Mrs. Kim. Just to remind her what a great kid Lane was and how much she respected her mother and maybe Mrs. Kim didn't need to be quite so hard on her daughter. Something that Lane was afraid of was being too strict like her mother had been. She asked Rory if she would be her Lorelai Gilmore; meaning that she would do the same thing for Lane that Lorelai had done for Mrs. Kim.

So my promise to you and to your mother is just that. You see Mina, sometimes it's hard for parents, especially mothers with their daughters, to see their children making their same mistakes and not wanting desperately to save them from the pain. Except most the time lessons are better learned rather than told. It's one of those pesky facts of life.

I'll do my best to keep her grounded within the realm of reality. Because I know she'll do the same thing for me when I have children, but mostly because I love you.

I'm so looking forward to watching you grow Mina.

Much love,

Aunt Joanna


  1. i am crying like a baby.... thank you so much for everything and for the sweet letter to mina. she will hold it dear to her heart forever! gilmore girls is about friendship more than anything.... i think that is why we love it so much!!!

  2. Again what a great story teller you are. What a beautiful baby!