Three years ago, Cade and I reconnected and eventually married. Life was hard. Living with a recovering addict wasn’t easy and some days started and ended in tears, but it was worth it. The love we shared was more than I imagined it could be. We grew together. Helped each other. Loved one another.
And now? Well, now we’d made a baby and Cade had no idea. After a weekend of what I now know was morning sickness, I’d ended up at the doctor’s office where a quick test shocked me. It wasn’t planned. Cade often said he wasn’t sure he’d be a good father, but I knew it was his insecurity. We’d talked about it, but there were no definite plans on the table.
Looks like things changed.
I found myself holding my tummy, knowing a piece of me and a piece of Cade had created a new person. A new person whom I would carry and we would raise. It was daunting to think about, but also exciting.
It was Valentine’s Day and I knew Cade forgot. He forgot everything, but it was fine. I was used to it. He remembered the important dates; our anniversary, my birthday, the day we met. Valentine’s Day wasn’t a necessity and I didn’t mind being the one to surprise him on this holiday.
I cooked steak, green beans, and mashed potatoes. He was meeting with Reid after work, so I had some time. After digging through my closet, I found the baby box my parents had given me long ago when I played with dolls. I opened it, tears filling my eyes when I saw the onesies and blankets Josie and I had played with. So many memories flooded my memory. A soft purple blanket, a pink gown, and a blue hat. Would we have a boy or a girl? My first appointment with the OB was in two weeks and I so hoped we got an ultrasound.
The door shut and I heard Cade greet Hamlet. I stuffed the blue hat in my pocket and rummaged through until I found the matching pink. Hiding it as well, I walked out to greet my husband.
“Hey, baby,” he smiled. He placed his hand on the small of my back and drew me in for a kiss.
Baby. The word made my heart flutter.
“Did you have a good day? How’s Reid?” I asked. I took his hand and led him to the kitchen.
“It’s Valentine’s Day,” he groaned. “I’m sorry.”
I laughed. “It’s ok. I knew you’d forget it.” He smiled, but he looked upset. “Sit,” I demanded.
He obliged and sniffed. “You made steak,” he said excitedly.
I grinned and nodded. “I did. For you.” I turned to make the plates and heard his chair scrape across the floor.
I spun and shook my head. “Nope. Sit.”
“I don’t want you waiting on me, babe,” he said. “What are you doing?”
“I have a surprise,” I said coyly. “Sit.”
He raised a brow, but did as I directed. I pulled an extra plate out quickly, arranging the hats on it and hiding it in the microwave. We ate, holding hands occasionally between bites. He told me about his day, caught me up on Reid, and seemed to relax. Once we finished eating, I pushed my plate away and smiled.
“Dessert is in the microwave. You want to get it?”
He patted my knee before jumping up. “Of course! I’ll do the dishes, too,” he said, taking our plates.
I turned, watching him. Naturally, he took forever. He washed the dishes and dried them. Slowly, but surely he got around to the microwave. “What do we need for it?”
“Just open it and you’ll see.”
He pulled the handle and gasped. I stood then, going up behind him and wrapping my arms around his waist. He held a hat in each hand and he was shaking.
“Francesca???” His voice was panicked and he turned to me, eyes wide in fear. “What is this?”
I shrugged and smiled. “I’m pregnant.”
He looked at the hats, then me, then down to my stomach, then to the hats. He held one in his palm, then in front of my belly. “How?”
Smirking, I said, “Well, Cade, you know when we do that thing…?” I started
“Francesca, no. I’m serious.” He walked back to the table and sat, head in hands.
“I thought you’d be happy,” I said, tears threatening to fall.
“Baby.” His voice broke and he looked up. “I’m so happy, but what if I fail? What if I’m like my dad? What if it inherits the alcoholic gene?”
I joined him, linking hands. “Cade, we’re in this together. We’ll deal with whatever comes our way. We created a human. A little, tiny human.”
He cried then and nodded. “I know,” he said. “I know!” He dropped from the chair, moving mine so he sat in front of me and lowered his head to my lap. His hand rubbed my tummy and he gazed at my stomach lovingly.
“Hi, baby. I don’t know what you are, but I know you’re loved. I’m so scared right now. My heart is pounding so fast,” he said. He stopped his hand from moving. “But I’ll get over it. I’ll be ok when you get here. I’ll do everything I can for you. I’ll be everything I can for you. Just like with your mommy.”
I cried freely until I was basically sobbing. He wrapped his arms around me and we held each other for a long time, talking about if it was a boy or a girl, and how excited we were to go to the first appointment.
We were both insecure and unsure of becoming parents, but we both knew we wanted it. We loved our baby and had only known about it for a day. I couldn’t wait to start this new experience with Cade.