The wait (to love you forever…)

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I’m a big ‘ol ticking time bomb. Any day this baby could make his or her arrival and the wait will be over.

We’re in the in-between phase. The hurry up and wait. The preparing to prepare.

I never thought I’d look like this.

Jessie Maternity 2

I never thought I’d feel the kicks or the hiccups inside my belly or the panic that I HAVE to get the microwave clean or I might spontaneously combust.

Never thought the arches of my feet would ache like this.

Never thought I would understand the way a body wakes you up every two hours in preparation of what’s to come.

Never thought I get this big.

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I just watched a cow in the pasture trying to get up from a rest, with a ‘one, two, three…heave, ho…’ sort of technique and I could relate to her.

I watched another one attempt to lay down, and I nodded my head in solidarity.

It’s weird. And most of the time it’s not so pretty. Just last week I had a mental breakdown about moving the board games from one closet to another.


And my poor husband can’t find a thing in the kitchen because, according to him, some crazy pregnant lady keeps rearranging things.

I don’t believe him. I have no recollection of such acts. I tell him maybe it’s him who’s going crazy.

He doubts that theory very much.  

I don’t know who’s rearranging the kitchen, but I do know I have the strongest urge to vacuum right now. And last week I felt just as urgent about capturing a few photos of what the two of us look like in this phase of ‘pre-parenthood.’

So I forced my little sister to take some, right after I finished the donut she brought me from town. The poor thing didn’t know what was coming, but she did a great job (and she’s not even the sister of mine who’s an actual photographer).

Anyway, in a couple weeks (or tomorrow or the next day) we will be three.

But here we are, still just the two of us (sort of) and counting down the days.

I don’t think my husband has ever taken a better photo, he’s just sort of radiating, a smile as big as his wife’s belly.

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For a long time there were only your footprints & laughter in our dreams & even from such small things, we knew we could not wait to love you forever.
-Brian Andreas-Storypeople

Sunday Column: Dreaming of horses…

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Coming Home: Dreaming of horses, the best gift a ranch kid can get
by Jessie Veeder

A funny thing happens when you’re in the home stretch of your first-ever pregnancy. Between all of the unpleasant symptoms we’ve all heard about — the heartburn, the aches and pains, the insomnia — you suddenly find yourself with an overwhelming need to purchase a festive Christmas baby hat because the most important thing in the world is being prepared for this new baby’s first Christmas photo under the tree.

It’s all you can think about, never mind that you don’t yet have the car seat properly installed or a single diaper stocked up. If you have this hat, you will be ready.

But three days later when that handmade Rudolf hat with the red button nose arrives in your mailbox, you’ve completely forgotten that 5 a.m. panic order altogether. Because you’ve already moved on to the next obsession.


And lately, for me, three weeks away from my due date, I’ve decided I should really be thinking seriously about this kid’s first horse.

It’s not logical, I know, not in the sequence of things anyway. I mean, I have a good few years to find the right animal, one I can trust to take care of my firstborn as he sits tall in the saddle beside us, chasing cows or checking fence, honing his skills and his way around this place.

But to have a horse of your own as a kid is a unique and life-shaping privilege, one not granted to every child, and one I want to give to mine. Because I remember how I was one of the lucky ones. I inherited an old red mare from my grandma. Her name was Rindy, and she was short and squat with just the right amount of attitude and a rough trot.

I would ride her bareback in the summer, learning about balance and patience as I searched the tree lines for raspberries, leading her to big rocks or side-hills to help me swing my short legs up on her back if I happened to climb down or fall off.


I broke my arm tumbling off Rindy.

I broke my foot jumping off her in a youth rodeo.

I won “best groomed” at a sleepaway horse camp because she couldn’t find a mud hole to roll in like she did at the ranch each time I groomed her the night before a 4-H show.

I put red, white and blue yarn in her mane and rode her in the county fair parade.

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I rode double, or triple, with my best friends on her back, trotting through clover fields, seeing how fast we could go before we all tumbled off, leaving her grazing a few yards away as we rolled around on the ground laughing.

And in the fall I would saddle her up, pulling the cinch as tight as I could around her round back, and she would puff out her belly to trick me into thinking that’s as tight as it would go only to let the air out once I climbed on, her way of controlling her comfort level, I suppose.

Oh, that horse was something. But that’s the thing, anyone who had a horse of their own as a kid will tell you stories like these about an animal that helped raise them in an environment that has the potential to be intimidating for a kid.

But a horse out here gives a kid some power. I felt like I was worth something on Rindy’s back, like I could help move a cow through a gate or learn where the fence lines run. I had a partner, a big companion that gave me new abilities. I was stronger and bigger up there. I was capable.

Who wouldn’t want to give that gift to a child if they could?

And so I have that Christmas hat in the drawer, we’ve set up the crib, I’m washing onesies and putting away diapers, and late at night, when the world is dark, my husband’s chest rising in sleep next to me, I lie with my eyes open in our bed, a hand on my swollen belly, waiting on this baby and dreaming of horses.

Maternity Haze

She will be a mother.

So my big little sister is having a baby. I say big sister, cause she’s older than me. I say little because she’s smaller. Much smaller. Petite. Lovely. Fragile. Like a porcelain doll.

You know, the opposite of me.

And we’re all laughing around here because this woman, this ballet dancer who wears nothing but dresses and high heels and red lipstick, this woman whose wrists are about as big around as spaghetti noodles and who is the epitome of feminine, (you know the opposite of me) is having a boy.

Well, “it” hasn’t popped out yet, so I guess anything can happen, but you know, they are pretty sure…

This is a big deal around here, not only because it’s the first grandkid and it will be funny to see how it all turns out, with the trucks and boogers and snakes and noise and dirt and squirt gun fights that come with boys, but it will also be the first boy to have entered the picture since husband first started driving his Thunderbird out to see me when we were 15.

Poor pops.

Anyway, I have been an aunt now for a while to three wonderful little girls, so I know something about what it means. Like candy when they want it and projects that involve glitter and pink and taking them swimming and saving them from their mean uncle who makes them finish all of their macaroni and clean up their crayons. I know a thing or two about giving the kids what they want.

But I have to say, I wasn’t prepared for this: watching my big little sister–the one who forced makeovers upon me, who made me her own personal baby doll (until I was the age of 4 and I started beating her up), who baby-sat me when our parents were out of town and let me have popcorn and Oreos for dinner–preparing to become a mother.

I heard the news eight months ago and smiled, but the reality of this life-changing situation doesn’t kick in until you see her each day, her small graceful frame that treads so softly on this earth slowly taken over by a life. Each day, she glows a little more, each day her belly more swollen and her back arched a bit further, dresses stretched a little more snugly across her torso, until the one sad day when her husband outlaws her high-heals and we all know what happens next…

But she has never looked more beautiful.

And my big little sister has always been beautiful. Seven years my senior, there was this adoration, this mystery, this absolute intrigue that she would exude to me, an Olive Oyle-esc adolescent, all arms, elbows, fuzzy hair and bad t-shirts who wanted nothing more than to wander the hills alone picking berries and singing at the top of my lungs.

I was a wild child. My sister was civilized. I was a bit unkempt. She was polished. I was a tomboy who belched a little too loud and a little too often. My sister was a lady who I was certain had never even farted. I was an earth tone. She was sultry red. I loved dogs. She loved cats. I was a Pippy Longstocking. My sister was Marilyn Monroe.

We were perfect opposites, and even though I ridiculed and tortured every boy that she would bring home and complain when she would take too long in the bathroom, my big little sister never scorned me for my differences. Yes, there was the occasional bribe to let her experiment on me with makeup and eighties hair and she did pay me money to let her shave my gorilla like legs, but I think mom may have been involved in that one (God bless her).

But, she never made fun of my Garth Brooks posters, the 101 Dalmatian sweatshirt I wore until the seventh grade or my earthy, over-the-top poetry. No, she never made me feel ridiculous, she just embraced her quirky sister and took advantage of the fact that I had no problems playing the male role in all of her dance routines that we, unfortunately, captured on video (thanks to the filming capabilities of our much younger sister) …

Yes, I may or may not have donned a fake mustache and suspenders in many a home movie.

And that’s what I’m saying here. Those days don’t really feel so far away do they? I mean, wasn’t it just yesterday that we were arguing about whose turn it was to unload the dishwasher? Didn’t she just get after me about tormenting our little sister? Didn’t I just eat the tuna noodle salad she always made for us when she was babysitting? Didn’t she just leave the house for college? Didn’t I just eat a piece of her wedding cake?

I know at 27 I might be too young for this type of nostalgia, but I guess these big moments, you know, the ones that change everything, bring it out of me.

And as we prepare for the little bun’s arrival, and big little sister cooks him a bit longer, and pops is planning ways to steal him away and mom is thinking about how she’s going to dress him, and little sister is vying for babysitting duty, I am standing here, mouth agape, watching helplessly as the world flies by at a thousand miles an hour.

Because I don’t know if I will ever be a mother. I don’t know if I will ever get to worry about what color to paint the nursery or who to choose as Godparents,  how to dress the baby for his first Christmas, what sport he will play or if he can make it through his first sleepover. I don’t know these things.

And that’s ok.

But I do know one thing. I know my big sister, the one I used to beat up, the one who borrowed my 101 Dalmatian sweatshirt for “nerd day” at high school, the one who laughs at my stupid jokes and never gets a word in at the dinner table, is going to make all these decisions and more with the grace, style and compassion she has always possessed–just with a bit of spit-up on her dresses and boogers in her hair.

She will be a mother next month.

This I know.

She will be a mom to a little boy and I will bring the fake plastic snakes and squirt guns.

And I couldn’t be happier.

Thanks sister, for letting me splash your preggers self all over this page. And thanks for trusting me to capture this moment.