Seeing people around me give birth to sticky kids with ten perfect toes and cute little laughs honestly made me roll my eyes. I was so busy building my career as a teacher and performing on the weekends, creating lesson plans, characters on stage, dreaming of how to engage students while having them pass the NYS exams and figuring out how to make audiences laugh, the last thing I had on my mind was being nauseatingly pregnant and inspecting “What shade of poo?” diapers. If someone would have said to me a few years ago, “Maria, the most creative endeavor you will ever make would be Winifred Truly” I would have laughed.
I knew I wanted to be a mom, “someday”, but that “someday” wasn't exactly laid out for me. I was at a point in my life where everything had started to begin. I had dealt with an extremely heavy loss the previous summer, and with Adam had to make an extremely tough decision. The bond I had with my puppy, Ornacia was something I had truly never felt. The connection I have with my four dogs is something that is irreplaceable. With Ornacia, we were connected in a special way, though I am not spiritual in an astrological or tarot card way, I am 100% on board with fate. Fate brought us together, and what we hand was magic. And she taught me how to be a mother. As parents, Adam and I had to make a decision, one that broke me down, but made me trust my instincts. The day of her passing was the rebirth of my life.
Without Ornacia, the sweet summer went on, I still took great care of my other dogs, but had an emptiness that nothing could replace. I learned how to love with coping with loss, but took comfort in the fact that I had two years with my special pup. I started a brand new job as a third grade teacher, was performing a full season of Buffalo theater, and getting used to the fact that I was now a wife. There were so many changes I embraced, I couldn’t see myself taking on anymore.
It was always in the back of my mind I would be a mom, but could I handle it? Could I handle my biggest, deepest, darkest fear? Could I really host a small human in MY body? The thought irritated me, knowing something would be taking over and I would have no control of the situation. That I would let my body pretty much ride bike with no breaks and I would be speeding head on down the road with no choice other than to scream full voice, hair in the wind. “No” I told myself, I couldn’t possibly do it. How selfish. I thought.
But it wasn’t selfish, it was a real tactile feeling. I knew what it felt like to love something so much you’d do anything to make sure it was okay, even if it meant making tough decisions. I did that as a nanny, a teacher, a dog mom. But I still felt like something bigger was on the horizon, just waiting for me to teach me to see the world in a different way. I didn’t know it yet, but that thing was Fred.
The day we brought Fred home from the hospital, life was chaotic. There were friends and family coming in and out, bringing food and offering help while I slept through hospital exhaustion. When the nights were quiet, sitting with Fred, Adam beside me I looked at him out of nowhere and said, “ Isn’t it so weird that she’s here but nothing seems different, and yet everything has changed? It’s like she has been here all along.” That’s the only way I can describe the feeling. How is it that something so new in this universe is already an old soul? Meeting her wasn’t a first time encounter for me. It felt like, “How lovely to see you again.” Something much bigger than us in the universe brought her to me and Adam. It might be science or something from above, but before I knew I was pregnant I remember looking up at the stars one night, and feeling calm, and ready to let go, for the first time in my life. Whatever that feeling was or is, came back to me the second the nurse placed Fred in my arms. “I’m so glad you’re here.” Finally.