Posted in Boy

Waiting for Headlights

My little brother gathered up his things, jeans, flannel shirts, sweatshirt at 4:30.  Hat, scarf, gloves, current favorite toy, Transformer or remote control car or video game or Walkman, all haphazardly shoved into his duffel bag. By 5:00, he was always completely ready to go.  His father was to pick him up at 6:00…it was his weekend.

He barely ate dinner on those nights, he was too excited.  He was so quiet, playing in his mind the weekend ahead.  He had been thinking about it all day.  He would have two nights and two days until his father would bring him back home.

I remember how he sat at the dining room table, his feet not quite reaching the floor.

His dirty sneakers, worn, the white rubber trim flapping as he swung his antsy legs. Purchased too big to last just a bit longer, but worn before he even grew into them.  Laces pulled tight, double knotted.

And he waited, focusing on his black digital watch as the minutes crept by.

He would alternately stare out the window, waiting to see his father’s headlights as he turned off the road and drove up the driveway, and put his head down on the table, intently listening for the sounds of his father’s tires as they crunched down the gravel driveway.




At 6:15, my brother would call him. Of course there would be no answer. He would tell himself that his father must be on his way to pick him up.

At 6:30, he would call him again.  No answer. Perhaps he was just running late.

Again at 6:45, 7:00, 7:30, 8:00.

Finally he would reach his father, who would act genuinely surprised.

He had forgotten. His weekend?  Really?  Was my brother sure?

Well, it was so late. Perhaps they could just do it next weekend? No big deal, right? Okay, buddy?

As each weekend slipped away and my brother grew older, his response to his disappointment changed.  From tears and anger, to withdrawal and deep pain wearing the cloak of indifference.

And each time his father overlooked him, a piece of my brother’s innocence broke away.

His willingness to believe in others, diminished.

I watched my once-tender and silly brother erode until the day arrived when his father was no longer his hero, until no one really was.

He was left behind, abandoned by his father, who had begun a new life, with new responsibilities and new children to look after.

A disposable boy, my brother.

This post is part of my NaNoWriMo memoir and is in response to both Red Writing Hood prompts at The Red Dress Club.

Gender Disappointment, Unanswered Prayers, and Getting Lost

Today I looked at my sweet boy and I realized that there is simply no way to express just happy he has made me.  He is sweet, he is soft, and he is incredibly affectionate.  I cannot believe how lucky I am to have him and to be the mother of this baby boy.

I haven’t always felt this way.

When we had our nuchal translucency test at twelve weeks pregnant, the sonographer was certain that we were having a boy.  I remember feeling as though she had punched me in the stomach.  {I had honestly never even contemplated having a boy.}  I was choked up, but managed to hold it together until I was safely in the hallway with my husband, at which point I completely fell apart.  I had just been told that we were having a healthy child and I was crying like a lunatic because that healthy child was a boy.*

Then I remembered reading that those early ultrasounds were unreliable, and we couldn’t possibly know for sure what we were having until we were eighteen weeks along, at the earliest.  I told myself that if the baby was, in fact a boy, we would, of course, accept him and love him.

A friend of mine, when her child is pouting or having a tantrum over something, says, “You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.”  This is the mindset I had, I reminded myself to be grateful, but it the back of my mind, I prayed that we would learn that we were having a girl afterall.

Then, at the eighteen week ultrasound, the sonographer showed us the irrefutable proof that we were having a son.  There was no doubt. 

As I was coming to grips with the idea of having a boy and grieving the fact that we weren’t having another girl, I told myself that we would have to try for another baby.  I felt as though I wouldn’t be complete until I had another daughter.

Then, after a long pregnancy and many difficult months after his birth, I grew to love this little boy every bit as much as I love his sister.  This didn’t surprise me, as I never questioned whether or not I would love him.  I had just always questioned whether he would be enough.  Day by day, the love I feel for him has grown to a point where I shudder at the idea that I was ever disappointed. 

In the About section of this blog, I described my love for my children this way:  “Katie is everything I always knew that I needed and Matthew is exactly what I always needed, without knowing that I needed it.”  I couldn’t have known how my heart would swell at the thought of him.  

There is a part of Garth Brooks’ song, “Unanswered Prayers” that speaks beautifully to the way I feel now.  He sings:

     Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers
     Remember when you’re talkin’ to the man upstairs
     That just because he doesn’t answer doesn’t mean he don’t care
     Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.

This is exactly what Matthew is–one of my greatest gifts.  I could have never imagined just how much I needed him and how much he would fill a spot inside of me that I didn’t realize was empty.

When I was young, my mother used to say that the best part of going on a road trip was getting lost.  She said that when you stray from your route, you see and experience amazing things that you hadn’t planned for.  She couldn’t have been more correct. Though Matthew wasn’t on the route that I had mapped out for us, he has proven to be the most amazing of surprises.

Would I trade him for a girl? Not in a million years.

We never lost sight of just how fortunate we were to be having a healthy baby.  We miscarried a child just three months prior to getting pregnant for Matthew and we were so incredibly grateful to be given another chance.

About me

Nichole Beaudry @NicholeBeaudry Location: Northern California
Each and every day, I strive to appreciate the wonder, beauty, and whimsy in the small moments, the moments that, when strung together, form a lifetime.
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