I give thanks for many things. Many of them are you.
The girl paused, one hand on her belly, the other holding a can of tuna fish. There was something about her face that caused the old woman to leave her shopping cart and approach her.
“Are you alright my dear?”
“What? Oh, I’m fine. Just feel odd, that’s all. Perhaps if I sit down,” the young woman mumbled, setting the tuna back amongst the tidy rows and then leaning against the shelves.
There in the canned meat aisle, she began the journey to motherhood in earnest as a tiny puddle grew around her feet.
“Let’s get you a seat, darling. It looks like it’s time to meet your baby,” the old woman said.
“What? It can’t be. It isn’t time yet,” the young woman said. Her voice was brittle with panic.
“Everything will be alright. Who can we call to come get you?”
“My mother. But I have the car. How will she come get me?” Any more words were halted when her belly demanded all her attention.
A flurry of activity ensued as the young woman was ushered from first one place to another. Phone calls were hurriedly made and bags even more hurriedly thrown together and into cars. Miles away, tears welled in eyes and slipped down smiling cheeks. Soon, all that was left in the canned meat aisle were two orange cones warning shoppers to be careful, that floors are slippery when wet.
So many slippery things when a baby is being born.
Hours passed but not as many as expected. Five weeks too soon, but not a moment too late.
Then the grey skin pinked with a first breath, and a mother’s tears fell full of thankfulness.
Much later, two new mothers met. So many features in common — long honey blonde hair, blue eyes, a mouth made for smiling. The older of the two leaned over the younger woman leaning against the many pillows of the bed. Grasping the girl’s hand, she whispered against the mussed hair, “I give thanks for many things. Many of them are you. Thank you. I will be the best mother to her that I can be. And she will always be very loved.”
She kissed the girl’s temple and then left the room, hurrying down the hall to the incubator where her new daughter lay hooked to machines.
It would be three weeks until the baby went home to her family made real by lawyers and papers and the tears of a young woman.