You know how people tell you you'll look wonderful during pregnancy? You'll have that special "glow?" Well, I'm calling bullshit. Either that, or I'm still waiting on mine. No part of me feels glowy when I reach inside my closet and find I have nothing I can comfortably fit into to wear for the day. Nor is there anything glowy about getting out of breath and winded doing a "hike" (let's be honest, it's a walk) that didn't even used to get my heart rate up. And you know what? I definitely don't feel glow-y when I go bathing suit shopping to find a suit I can fit into so I can swim at my gym. Ain't nothing glowy about what I'm seeing in the mirror. Not. a. thing.
I always thought I'd be one of those pregnant women who loved being pregnant. After all, I've wanted to be pregnant and have you for as long as I can remember, so it only made sense. I yearned to feel my belly grow, to rub my hands over it in a circular motion like I'd seen other pregnant ladies do. You can't tell me that doesn't sound like fun. But you know what? The truth is I don't feel that way. I'm no less ecstatic about having you-- I can't wait for five (looooooong) months from now when I'll finally get to cradle your little body in my arms and make annoying cooing noises that will make all my friends hate me. But for now at least, the joy for me comes when I hear your heart beat thumping away, sounding cute and little just like you; from when I think I might feel your little body moving inside mine. It definitely does not come from my tights clothes and expanding belly. Not yet anyway.
My 18th week of pregnancy coincides with Purim this year. It's unbelievable to think that around this time next year I'll be celebrating Purim with a 6 month old you in my arms. This year, I celebrated with you in my belly by taking you to your first Megillah reading at the synagogue. Purim is the most joyous of the Jewish holidays, a day where it is literally considered a mitzvah (a good deed) to be happy and share that happiness with others. Noisemakers, costumes, and cookies are all a part of the festivities. Oh, and alcohol (for those who can indulge, of course). It is literally a mitzvah to get drunk on Purim. Does that make you excited to be Jewish or what? Since I wasn't able to partake, I ate extra cookies to make up for it. I had to, you know, because it's a mitzvah.
Purim time is always full of happiness for me, as I hope it will be for you. I remember exchanging mishloach manot (baskets filled with gifts of food or drink exchanged on Purim between family and friends as a sign of love and friendship) with friends at school-- how much fun I had picking out what to give and then opening up what I got in return. I remember music in the hallway between classes with rabbis carrying students on their shoulders and dancing around. I remember color war-- the week leading up to Purim when the school got divided up into 5 teams of different colors, with competitions and games for the first 3 hours of every day. I remember the Purim carnival ending all the festivities, when the school gym magically transformed into my idea of heaven and I would die trying to win tickets for prizes I'd forget about a few minutes after I got them. Your grandma and grandpa gave me all that joy because of the school they sent me to, the community they surrounded me with. I hope I can give the same to you.