At 34 weeks, every endeavor, no matter how tiny, is an adventure for your mother. Why shouldn’t it be? You and your growing home are expanding like a black hole, chewing up all that space that used to set aside for her small intestine and gallbladder. They’re now shoved up into her left ventricle. They have nowhere else to go.
Getting into bed is a nightly quest. Before attempting this, your mother carefully arranges a wall of pillows like they’re Lincoln logs, stacking them two high along the edges of her sleeping area. On the far edge, she has her body pillow. Then, to support her back she wedges in five more pillows to give her relief. She has to leave an opening in the pillow levee to crawl into bed. When she does, it’s my job to fill in the space behind her with pillows.
Your mother carefully maneuvers into sleeping position, occasionally crying out, “BEACHED WHALE! BEACHED WHALE!”
This means she is stuck. Turned sideways, she can’t use her leverage to move and her abdominal muscles are useless to help her lift up. At this point, I am her abdominal muscle. I grab her hands and help lift her into position.
Five minutes pass. Your mother continues to wriggle and turn, trying to find that one perfect angle that means she can get some rest without having to worry about her neck not moving properly when she wakes up in the morning. She finally finds it and lets out a sigh of relief.
“I love you,” I say.
“I love you, too.”
There’s a hug, a kiss and I turn out the light.
In the darkness, your mother curses softly. Yes, your mother curses. And it sounds like butterfly wings flapping in a meadow.
“What?” I ask. “What is it?”
“I have to pee.”
And the adventure continues…