When we were both still in elementary school, our twin beds were close enough for us to hold hands. We did if we were scared: scared of a rainstorm, scared from a dream.
It was the sandman that brought us the sand that made us sleep. Although we never saw him, we knew he had been there by the crunchy leftover pieces of sand we’d find in the corners of our eyes in the morning.
My sister and I had it all figured out. The sandman had bags with different colored sand; different colored sand for different types of dreams. Multi-colored, bright rainbow sand brought us good dreams, happy, joyful dreams. Plain-colored sand brought us a peaceful sleep with no dreams. Black sand was the worst kind. Black sand brought us bad, scary dreams. Dreams that would wake you up in the middle of the night make you reach over, tap your sister, and ask to hold her hand.
There were a few things we could do to help ensure a restful night’s sleep full of pleasant dreams. We didn’t eat right before going to bed. We always occupied ourselves with quiet activities, such as reading or coloring, prior to bedtime. But ultimately it was the sandman’s prerogative. It was up to him to provide us with the sand, the dreams, and the sleep.
Now, I’m all grown-up and living thirty miles away from my sister. I rely on someone else, my husband, to comfort me when I panic and run to the doorway during an earthquake. It is my husband who rubs the cramp out of my right calf at three in the morning.
Now my husband and I are in the first few months of trying to conceive. There’s a certain amount of magic involved in the baby-making process. A bit of my husband and a bit of me will somehow combine to create an entirely new person. There may be billions of people on this one planet, but never before and never again will there be a person like the one we are creating.
Some higher power will determine when the time is right for a new life to take hold inside my body. Some divine being will allow me to see a little bump evolve into a larger round hump.
A Creator more powerful than I will determine if this new little life I anxiously await will be a girl or a boy. And again, there are a few things I can do to help increase the chances of becoming pregnant.
Every night after dinner, I swallow a white, longer-than-my-fingernail prenatal vitamin.
I exercise, completing my thirty-minute workout, three times a week, while listening to my hot-pink iPod shuffle.
I’ve given up my occasional peach margarita and sour apple martini.
Right now it’s a waiting game. At two o’clock in the morning, when I hear a neighbor’s baby cry, I reach out and take my husband’s hand.
As I sit on the couch and sing the ABC song with my two-year-old nephew, I smile and wistfully reach out and squeeze my husband’s hand.
When I think of a former student, a girl who loves to read and hug and sing, a girl with Down Syndrome, I take my husband’s hand and pray that this unseen baby-making force I depend on delivers a bag full of multi-colored, bright rainbow baby magic.