Who gives an “unpregnant” woman a present for her unborn baby…
It’s a box and once I swipe the tissue paper to the side with a crinkle, ruffles protrude from a tiny waist band in three layers. Bloomers; For a baby. And I’m not pregnant.
Okkkkaaaaaayyyyy, you wanted Saint Rene, you get her!
This is just one story about Saint Rene you must read. Enjoy.
The nanny I thought I needed to train has actually sent me back to school. The nanny that came to me in need of a home to clean, nutrition advice and CrossFit coaching also came to me, unknowingly, with lessons to teach. That’s probably the best part about this story, the nanny we refer to as “Saint Rene Mary Poppins/Frauline Maria” didn’t believe she had a thing to teach a mom like me who had it all together from the outside. It seems now, Saint Rene didn’t come to me, really, to learn how to lose weight, clean a house and get fit, but we both thought she did.
I need to tell you a story about faith.
Pills clicked together inside their plastic vial as I shimmied two onto the palms of my hand. Then, pinching skin underneath my belly button, I’d stab a needle into the pooch and force the liquid into my body. Another month. Another hope.
Saint Rene had been with us at least three years. This means she had helped me decorate my house for Christmas as many times, complete with a beautiful bannister strung with faux pine, pinecones and tiny birds. This says absolutely nothing about me or my creativity decorating and everything about Saint Rene’s attention to detail. One holiday, while we were off to the beach, Saint Rene stayed behind to stand in line at a craft store just so she could complete the Christmas bannister with hand made bows the size of a hub cap. Rene’s mama made wedding dresses, so she knows a thing or two about big bows. Saint Rene has told me several times to get the ribbon with the wire on either end, it’s the kind you can loop around your whole hand to make a bow so full it looks like it’s stuffed with cotton. It’s the kind of ribbon Saint Rene will stand in line for, on a holiday, while I’m at the beach because she and I both know I don’t care a thing about bows, especially now. The third baby I know is there, but not quite ready to make himself known with the usual symptoms of cramps and sore breasts, has yet to arrive. Instead, I imagine him or her here, in this house, running around my legs while we decorate the tree. I tell Saint Rene about this vision, the one about a baby boy running between our legs and almost knocking over the tree while we laugh and give him an ornament to hang. She gets goosebumps. We both know what it means when Saint Rene gets goosebumps. Something that brought tears to my eyes and not goosebumps is the finished staircase each year. Saint Rene hand wrestled those red bows on each post of the stairwell so they are perfectly fluffed and twisted, she does this for the look on my face, the tell-tale marker of someone who in fact, does care about big, red Christmas bows on each post of her staircase perfectly pinched and wound tight with matching wire. From my appearance, I stand strong with muscles and finesse, but that empty third bedroom follows my every thought, except for at this moment. I am overcome with joy at the bows on my bannister and realize they’re something I really, really want. It’s part of motherhood, all that giving and not getting in return, we just get used to pouring ourselves out until one day, when someone pours into us all the things we didn’t know we wanted, and we stand there with our hand over our mouth taking in the sight: a two year old girl with onesie pajamas pads toward me with her hands outstretched, Christmas music plays in the background and momentarily, I’m full of thankfulness. Even if my womb is still empty and that third bedroom sits, unused. My arms are full of a pudgy toddler pointing at the beauty before her.
It’s about this time, when I’m so sad, yet, so aware of the precious ages of my two children, that Saint Rene brings me a gift, not of the time and talent kind, but an actual gift wrapped with one of her famous bows. It, too, matches the blue, shiny, wrapping paper, so pretty I don’t want to tear it. It’s a box and once I swipe the tissue paper to the side with a crinkle, ruffles protrude from a tiny waist band in three layers. Bloomers; For a baby. My hands pick up the tiny diaper cover, and for just a moment I wonder if Saint Rene is pregnant, despite her vow of celibacy, like a modern day Mary, nothing would surprise me anymore from this woman. She has goosebumps, again, and we both know what that means. This time she is the one with tears in her eyes, her nose as red as Santa’s.
“You have to have FAITH!” she chokes out before walking away, humming and rubbing the raised bumps from her arms.
I haven’t said a word. Not even thank you. Because the truth is I’m a little mad. Who gives an unpregnant woman a present for a baby? It’s spiky terrain if you ask me. But one Saint Rene is not afraid to tread on with me.
“Thanks Rene.” I mumble and stuff the bloomers into the box, also suppressing tears that want to come. I wasn’t ready for Faith. I continued to wonder if this third baby, the one I had a vision about, the one Saint Rene gets goosebumps over, will ever take human form, because he’s there, in my peripheral vision, in my thoughts, and in my heart. My belly, much too flat for him to be so present. And in fact, we all thought I’d have another girl if we really had to choose. But the vision, yes, the vision of a boy was all I had. It could have been misconstrued as wishful thinking, but when I said it outloud Saint Rene got goosebumps. My Saint Rene is so connected to heaven when she gets goosebumps, it’s because we are standing in the presence of God.
I know this because Saint Rene had a vision one time of her beloved Daddy, complete with full body goose bumps. I can imagine her a regular daddy’s girl, playing music alongside him, singing those church choir songs. He died and broke Saint Rene’s heart. Her mama never remarried, he was that kind of man. The kind of man who leaves messages in her dreams for his baby girl, the kind of man who sits on a bench along the golden streets of heaven waiting for his family that side of eternity. Saint Rene can’t tell me this story without goosebumps even if she’s told me 15 times. That’s how we know it’s true. I’m convinced the cells in her body, the atoms that make up her flesh, are the fibers of heaven. Maybe we’re all made up of heavenly matter, Saint Rene just has enough faith to know it.
So, that day, when she gave me the blue bloomers for a newborn girl, we both knew our baby was close. But being human and all, it was too humbling to believe. That’s how earthly faith is, oh how my Saint Rene has taught me to have faith despite circumstances. She has that heavenly faith. That’s where the sparkly bloomers live, you know, they dance on heaven’s horizon, destined for a home in our wombs but not until God says it’s time.