I walk slowly down a deserted aisle- flanked by cheap mirrors of all different shapes and sizes. I lean on my empty cart knowing I'm not going to put a single thing in it.
There is music playing but I don't hear it. I only hear the silence. No need to make conversation. No need to be funny, witty or wise. No need to answer the demands of "Mommy".
I'm alone and trying to stretch out every minute of my outting.
I catch a glimpse of my reflection in a mirror beside me. And there I am. Shoulders shrugged and hair piled and belly spilling out.
My maternity shirt is pulled tight and the shorts pulled even tighter.
This is the end of pregnancy but the middle somehow of maternity. When clothes don't cover and nights break up and sleep runs away.
The feelings and emotions of an expectant mom full of hopes, dreams and fears is a frightful thing to behold.
I sit days later in the rare silence of nap time and try to understand and grasp how I feel.
Am I excited?
Am I scared?
Am I ready?
I don't know.
And it strikes me what this last stage of pregnancy is like...the slow click. click. clicking of a roller coaster steadily pulling you up or forcing you forward.
There's no going back.... And there's only one way out of this scenario.
Lord willing the only way out ends in explosive and powerful pain that rips new life into the world. It's amazing and overwhelming and as a new life claws its way in and scratches a place for itself, only the mommy really feels these scratches and claws in a physical way.
And God in all of his wisdom has sleepless nights ahead for you, and a new completely helpless being depending on you. You, who feels more helpless yourself than ever.
It's the way it is.
This roller coaster is one I ride blindfolded or eyes shut... hearing the clicks and feeling the cooling air as we ascend... knowing the gut wrenching thrill, adventure and near-terror could come at any moment as the end drops out beneath you... but not knowing when.
How can you really prepare for that? How can you map out how you will react on the way down? Screaming in excitement- hands in the air? Paniced scream and sheer desparation? There's no way to know and there's no getting off this ride.