A week ago I had the great joy of being able to go back home to Cleveland for my cousin’s wedding. Unfortunately I was only able to stay the weekend so there was a lot I didn’t get to see and do. It meant the world to me that I got to share in Sean and Alisha’s special day though, and it also meant something else to me: I got to tell my entire family about the baby in person. It was something I’ll never forget.
I saw my grandmother first- she is the one I was most excited to tell. She has been losing her eyesight over the last several years and she was told recently that she would likely be completely blind by the end of the year. Because of this she will soon be moving in with my aunt and uncle in L.A. It was SO important to me to be in her home one more time, maybe the last time. And this time with my baby. I know it seems silly, but something in me really believes that the baby was experiencing it with me, knew we were at home, knew we were with family. That somehow the smells, sights… would be translated. Because my grandmother is going blind, it was also important to me that she get to see the baby. I don’t know when exactly it will happen to her, so I didn’t want to chance anything. I brought her a framed picture of the ultrasound. She adored it.
I got to see my entire Clark family before and at the wedding including some dear family friends that I’ve known my whole life (or close to it). Aunt Diane squealed and immediately planned her knitting. Gretchen cried. Becky stopped the car we were in and screamed. The rest of the family hugged me and patted my just growing belly. Everyone was brimming over with excitement.That experience overall was amazing and meant more than I can put into words.
The night of the wedding I laid in my hotel room bed talking to the baby in my head. I really believe that my pregnancy is a special time and that I am being heard- or at least understood. I told her that this is what I will always consider “back home”. That she met many of the people that mean the entire world to me. That she was in the neighborhoods I played in, that she saw the lake that still holds pieces of my soul. She will see this place again, see these people, but it could be years from now. My hope is that somehow, subconsciously, this experience will allow them never to be strangers, will allow her some kind of imprinted familiarity. My hope is that my baby will know the Cleveland that I know. Maybe she will remember it like this picture: present, but nearly hidden in the fog. Almost tangible. That, unfortunately, is how I remember Cleveland sometimes too.