Tomorrow, I’m having a baby. How strange to write that, to know that, but there it is. About lunchtime actually. Such an ordinary, everyday event. Yet such an extraordinary, primeval, earth-shattering, life-changing event too. Tomorrow I meet my daughter, a person I will love with ferocious intensity for the rest of my life.
As a child I always wanted to be different. I didn’t want to fit in, instead I strived to stand out. I don’t know why. I lived in my imagination, creating stories and imagined experiences, desperate for my perfectly fine, but ordinary, life to become extraordinary. That ambtion took me to Pakistan as a teenager to teach English, threw me into the scrum of women’s rugby, led me to lead an orangutan through the jungles of Borneo and release it into the wild. With every book I devoured, with every word I ingested, my appetite for adventure increased.
I never wanted “the norm” and so I surprised myself along with everyone else when I married the man of my dreams, a wild-hearted adventurer and lover of life. And then it all became a bit serious – we had babies, we had losses, we had job-enforced separation, we had money issues, we had stresses. We had some laughs, we had lots of joy and even the odd little adventure. But I started to feel that old feeling of ordinaryness – a statistic even. Even my heartaches were numbers – one in four pregnancies end in miscarriage. Older mums have a harder time keeping pregnancies. It frightened me.
But as I feel the last kicks of my baby before I hold her in my arms tomorrow, I know that my life is utterly extraordinary. The sheer amazingness of the girls, the joy of being loved by a great man, the thrill of being a mum. In doing the ordinary, I found the extraordinary.
Life is not made extraordinary by the things we do. Life is made extraordinary by the people we love. And tomorrow, I meet a new love of my life. Extraordinary, don’t you think?