Hurry Up and Wait

comments: 331















Here we are, in Chicago, waiting for the arrival of a very special baby girl. The phone rang last Tuesday afternoon, prompting a flurry of suitcases, phone calls, housesitter arrivals, ticket purchases, last-minute instructions, and general running around the house in small excited circles, like side-by-side triple axels with barely stuck landings. But we somehow managed to make it out of there just fine. Zing!

Arriving, we found that baby had decided to wait after all — very good baby!!! Once again we are waiting for a phone to ring, letting us know that she is here! It's Monday morning at Andy's parents' house. The house is incredibly quiet. Andy's parents both left for work early this morning and now Andy and I are here alone, goofing off and passing the time, fussing with the temporary mini-nursery, folding baby clothes, playing with the kitty, walking around the lake, bouncing on the yoga ball, daring each other to see what baby formula actually tastes like, setting up baby monitors and bottle sterilizers, knitting tiny heartwarmers, trying to figure out how the baby sling works, trying to figure out how the baby carrier works, trying to figure out how the television works, checking the phone again, talking about our hopes and dreams, sitting on the back deck watching geese fly overhead through the cold, crisp air. It was not too long ago that this subdivision was a farmer's field.

On the verge of motherhood, in some ways I feel like I am suddenly, ironically, back in my own childhood. The sky looks the same as it did then, and also like nowhere else I've lived. The leaves look the same, the bare trees look the same, the leaves smell the same. The color of the light from the streetlights is the same. Passing through Oak Park on the expressway the other night I cried in the car, thinking of my dad and missing him more than I could say, thinking of how he was always here, always, always at home. Before this past summer, the last time I had been in Chicago was ten years ago, shortly after he passed away. He died in Oregon, but that never seemed right. One afternoon during our visit here last month, I sat in the park across from my old house for several hours and stared at it, and it looked just like my dad to me, and it looked like me, and it looked like my family. I felt like I was looking at people. Our life was so thoroughly there, in that place. My parents lived on Forest Avenue for almost thirty years until they moved to Oregon in late 1998 to be nearer to my sister and me (we were already there). For several reasons, I wasn't able to come back then, that autumn when they were moving. The house is in a cul-de-sac. It was strange to have to sit like a stranger, across the street in the park where the swings used to be; it was the same point from which I had looked at my house a thousand times before, pumping my legs back and forth on the swings: house closer, now farther, now closer, now farther away. I didn't dare get too close this time. I felt like I could walk off the sidewalk and right up the front stairs into the past. But I didn't want that. I could hear acorns falling from the hundred-foot-tall trees. I walked a few blocks down Linden to Thatcher and the edge of the woods, my first woods, and looked in at them. My dad had dragged us there to go walking around all the time when we were growing up, and we had mostly hated it. Go figure. I was told never, ever to go into them alone. And so I didn't this time, either. But I missed him, and wished he were here now, for all of this.

Andy's parents live farther out of town now. The suburbs stretch farther than they did when we were kids, the neighborhoods out this way a strange mix of farm fields and gated communities. I love the prairie grasses and the cornfields and the cattails that line the sides of the road. I love the the bare, black oak tree branches against the blue sky, the way the downtown skyscrapers rise like mountains. I love the rusty El tracks overhead, the busty pigeons, the wide, wide sidewalks downtown and all of the people and buses and taxis. I love the museums, the planetarium, the Art Institute where my parents met, the fancy old apartment and office buildings. I used to work in one of them, on the corner of Michigan and Madison, but that was a long time ago; I'm a tourist now. I'm absolutely amazed at and intimidated by how many expressways there are, how many lanes of whooshing traffic, how many people and malls and stores, how many things to eat. Andy is sitting in his dad's recliner at this moment, reading a book about hot dogs and eating from a gigantic wax-paper bag of cheese-and-carmel popcorn from Garrett's, which he walked into the room carrying on one arm, like a baby.

We wait, and dink around the house, and pray, and wait.


We're waiting right along side you, darlin.

This is so exciting!

Yay! Prayers and blessings for each and all of you...

Let The Games Begin!!!

I am so happy and excited for you and Andy Paulson. You will be wonderful parents!! May your wait pass quickly and may that sweet baby have a safe delivery!

Kathy McDonald says: October 31, 2011 at 10:31 AM

It won't be long now! We can't wait to "meet" her.

I am teary-eyed reading your thoughts on the past.

My dad passed away when I was six, not that that has anything to do with, well, anything. I just seem to have a masters in *loss*. That aside, the past is so fragile, is it not? It reminds me of a baby, as it is tender and needs careful handling. The past is my greatest influence, so present in everything that I do and, yet, I have to be so careful not to try and go backward in time.

Hm, strange thoughts for Halloween and a long comment too. Best wishes, you guys, and I send you good thoughts from just northwest of Madison, Wisconsin. xoxo

Waiting here too. There's always waiting, isn't there? And then it's there - that moment when the cheese-and-caramel popcorn is forgotton in the seat of the recliner, and the pacing is a different rhythm.

Your writings are so heartfelt and touching. It's such a sweet thing that you share yourself with your readers. It always touches something deep inside me. Savor every day--even the hard ones. There will be so many in the future that are incredibly beautiful.

Oh my goodness what exciting times, wishing all of you well.

Melissa L. says: October 31, 2011 at 10:39 AM

I wondered where you were! You were on the TRAIN! So happy that it's almost time. Won't be long now. Don't forget to breathe!

Blessings and good wishes for this new (BIG) chapter.

Oh my goodness! Hugs, blessings, and good wishes to all!

Oh, I feel like I'm right back many years ago when I was waiting for the same phone call you are waiting for! Now my beautiful daughter calls and I get to talk to her little ones. I'm excited for you - and praying for your waiting time to pass quickly.

thinking of yall, prayers for sweet health, safe arrival, and for all the joy that only comes from the great blessing and gift of a little much joy! And reading your post was a joy too, so beautiful. Take care Alicia, I know I only know you from reading your words here, but I just think you're going to be the dearest mama ever!

Thank you for sharing our adventure with us! I am holding you all in my heart!

beth lehman says: October 31, 2011 at 10:45 AM

we pray, too.

How exciting! Many blessings for your expanding family~

Your time is finally here...Many blessings! Many hugs.

Prayers for you and your husband as your sweet baby girl is welcomed into this world. God Bless you with a healthy child.....such an exciting time!

It's an odd combination of feelings when you see a childhood home and the area. My parents have passed away and I am very hesitant to even go and look at the house I grew up in. The area has changed greatly now but I hold it in my memory as the beautiful place it was.
I think it is so special for you to be there waiting with family and having time to be together preparing for her, the sweetest thing. Best wishes to you both - can't wait to see the picture of her!

Good things come to those who wait.

Oh Alicia, I have chills. Life with twists and tales. And moving quickly, so much beauty, the past tugs on your yarn, the future is electric with excitment, a baby, memories. No words to conjure up, to share, just chills for you and Andy, and the furry kids, and a baby to come... What a most magical perfect time. Sigh... Love, Vanessa

oh. oh. oh!!! best & warmest wishes.

Best wishes and blessings to your family as it grows to encompass new life.

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at