If you need a laugh, dear readers, this story is for you. Although I look back fondly at the many beautiful ways in which motherhood has changed me, this story does not detail one of those memories. The road to motherhood is, at time, paved with potholes. My first pothole began before my little bundle even arrived.
Let me set the stage for you. I was in my mid-twenties and a newlywed. I was beginning my last trimester of pregnancy, had finally stopped throwing up and had yet to start swelling. (Convinced by a pregnancy book that I would have to cut my wedding band off, I had recently stopped wearing it.) I had adorable maternity clothes that fit perfectly and I was literally oozing the pregnancy glow. I worked at a bank and although I played coy, I secretly devoured all of the pregnancy compliments from my customers. I was the hot pregnant chick. I reslished every moment of it.
Because I had spent so many medicated months desperately trying to keep down crackers and Gatorade, I was now on a mission. My mission was food. All I had to do was think about something and like that, I was a woman obsessed. Spicy tomatilla salsa from the Mamacita’s? Give me a quart. Ben and Jerry’s Oatmeal Cookie Chunk? A pint a night. On one particular day, a bartender from a local pub/restaurant came into the bank to do some business. All I had to do was look at the logo on his Houlihan’s polo and like that! I had to have an order (or two) of their famous potato skins with garlic ranch dipping sauce.
After he was done at the teller counter, he came over to my desk. We had a conversation and he commented on how “gorgeous” I looked. I blushed for indeed, he was gorgeous. Stunning, actually. The other ladies and I had spent much time detailing his every last perfect feature. And for him to comment on my obviously glowing pregnant state? Such a sweetheart. Life was good.
After I locked up the bank, I drove (sped) right to Houlihan’s for my prized potato skins. Standing at the host stand, waiting for my bounty, who should walk into the lobby, but him. Him. Led by his winning smile and framed by his curly-honey colored locks, his face beamed as he strode over to me. With a wink (I swear, he winked) he asked, “why don’t you come over to the bar when you’re done here? Drinks are on me.”
Huh? He was asking a pregnant woman to come booze it up at his bar? What kind of creep was he? And suddenly, under the blinking Samuel Adams Summer Lager beer sign, it became clear. When was the last time he had seen me standing up? His only view had been my top half. My glowing, pregnant smile and okay, my voluptuous breasts. Had he mistaken my pregnant confidence for flirting? Had I been flirting? Only one way to find out.
I stepped out from behind the host stand in my adorable empire waist shirt and from the bewildered look on his perfectly tanned skin, it was evident that we were under different impressions. Unable to take his glance from my suddenly gargantuan belly, he stammered and muttered something completely incomprehensible as he slunk back to his bar full of singles.
Yes, I was married to an amazing man. The guy of my dreams, quite frankly. But there was a part of me that was kind of crushed, after his gasp and slink reaction. Yes, he was beautiful but I didn’t even have a crush on him. It was just in that instant, I realized a new stage of my life had actually begun. I was his age, but I was not his peer anymore. Fleeting thoughts of high-waisted jeans and minivans entered my mind. I resolved then and there that although I was about to be a mom, I would never stop being cool. That, my friends, the awkward moment where I kissed my life as a single gal goodbye, is only the prelude.
Back to the story. Moments after Mr. Beautiful fled the scene, my potato skins arrived. I quickly paid and dashed (waddled really) out to my car. What does a very pregnant woman do with her potato skins after she’s been pining and drooling for them all day? Patiently wait until she gets home to open the take-out box? Oh, no, my friends. There is no patience when it comes to potato skins and pregnancy.
The steering wheel was in the way, so I parked myself down in the passenger’s seat of my VW Bug and dug in. Potato skins to the average person are not necessarily the neatest. Potato skins given to a hungry, pregnant woman, mourning the loss of her single days are the definition of a hot mess. I did not let that stop me. They were so good. I think the best potato skins I’ve ever had. The cold garlic ranch was the perfect creamy balance to the sizzling, crispy, cheesy goodness.
A visual image if you will: sitting in the passenger’s seat of my very cute car, double fisting the ranch-slathered skins with grease dripping onto my delicate white maternity top, cheese literally oozing off of my chin, garlic ranch decorating my lips, I smacked and chewed and murmured in appetizer ecstasy. It was a dream come true. That is, until Mr. Beautiful appeared mere inches away from my open window to retreive his Marlboros from his way cooler, open-topped red Jeep parked next to me. Oh. My. God.
Mouth crammed full of potatoey deliciousness, all I could do was smile and volunteer a very embarrassed “hi” in his general direction. He stood, aghast, disgusted, horrified and literally open-mouthed. The contrast from sexy, confident single gal to pregnant to greasy beast, unable to find a single manner was too much for him to handle.
He squeaked something out, once again, incomprehensible and actually sprinted away from me. I felt my eyes start burning as I began to cry. I was absolutely mortified. What had happened to me? Were the skins so important that I couldn’t wait until I got home to Hulk out on them? What was pregnancy doing to me? And more importantly, what would motherhood do to me?
I had absolutely no answers for any of these questions. I was scared but I knew the reward of being a mom would be worth all of the the late night feedings, the spit-up covered shirts, and the greasy fingers…um I mean hair.