July

Dearest Baby,

Welcome to existence! You have been growing and percolating in there for two whole months. I hope you're okay. I hope its cozy and inviting because you are very much welcome. We don't get Directv, but I eat well, which means you will too. I also have wonderful taste in music, and superb taste in food. Thank you for staying at Chez mama. I have just discovered you after a run in with an avocado and a waitress who thinks she is the Queen of England, or a Prima Ballerina. I wonder if you'll like avocados or hate them. We shall see little boy or girl. No pressure of course; you just do what feels natural. Your Mama and Daddy will love you either way.

I had my weekly brunch with your uncle Jasper yesterday, and I ordered an enormous stack of plate sized blueberry pancakes drenched in a waterfall of sticky-sweet delicious syrup. I practically burrowed myself into these pancakes. They were pancakes from heaven. Then the waitress, who is not our normal server, flits up to us, and shoves a plate full of avocado under my nose. I was sure in that moment that I was going to wretch. Our waitress, Raven, sneered at me when I tried to tell her that I did not order avocados. Keep in mind, peanut, I love avocado. There is a tree out behind your grandma and pap's house, and I spent most of my childhood reading in that tree and making guacamole, with your grandma.

I kept telling Raven that I did not order avocados and that I cannot eat it, because it is a bad avocado season. She frowns at me and drawls that it is people like me wasting food and resources that could go to feed the starving and the homeless. I take offense to this. I am not a wasteful person; in fact, I frequently make huge meals, put them in Tupperware, and give them to homeless shelters. I am so taken aback by Raven, the snooty waitress who dances her way from table to table, that I burst into tears. I am crying like a lunatic. I get a good sniff of the avocado, and I think that I'm going to vomit. She turns her back to me and leaves the offending fruit on the table. I am sniffling and crying, and your Uncle Jasper is looking at me like I am a nutcase or that I have developed an odd personality disorder. He asks me if he should eat it, and I shake my head no. We didn't order it, and we shouldn't have to eat it. When he tries to eat it, I pull it away angrily, and tell him not to touch it. I felt bad for snapping at him. I love your Uncle Jasper

Raven comes back; her eyes narrow when she see's that I still haven't eaten the offending avocado. When she tells me that if I'm not allergic to it, then I should eat it because the wasting of the earth's finite resources is everyone's business. She stared at me, and I looked back at her. Suddenly I was hit with a wave of remorse.I almost wanted to cry; I felt so guilty. So I pulled the avocado over to me and took a huge bite. I swallow the horrible-smelling green mush, and for a moment Raven actually smiles at me, that is, until I vomit all over her shoes. She screeches at me and runs away.

I'm crying again, and this time it's not because I'm angry, or sad, or even embarrassed. I'm crying because my mouth tastes bad,my throat hurts, and my breath smells.

The manager, who knows your Uncle Jasper, has rushed over to us. He is trying to make apologies and placate us. You see, we are good customers. The manager offers us a free breakfast, and we leave. The car ride home is silent, but I catch him looking contemplatively at me. Your Uncle Jasper has always had a weird sense of everyone's emotions. He has a very Zen, relaxed personality, he has the same sense of self since I met him.

I met uncle Jasper in college. He had been dating your Aunt Alice for a month, and they were just coming out of their new relationship bubble. Aunt Alice had been raving to Aunt Rosie and me about the perfect man. She knew she wanted to marry him, even then. When a girl meets a perfect guy, the most important meeting is when he meets the friends.

Apparently Rosalie and Jasper got along like two similar peas in a pod. Jasper took Rosalie on some sort of coffee lovers date. They shared a love of coffee, to an almost extreme level. They tried all sorts of odd blends and flavors from various countries around the world. Rosalie came back to our dorm room a little in love with the coffee savant that was Uncle Jasper. She babbled for an hour about coffee flavors, blends, roasts and the Grinder 3000 that was now something we absolutely had to have, never mind that it's $500 and way out of our budget. Then she gabbed nonstop about some espresso maker that would set us back $1900. Don't get me wrong, I like coffee. I prefer the iced variety, but there was no way I was chipping in on $2400 worth of coffee gadgets. I can handle a line at Starbucks, but that's where I draw the line. I have never had $800 to spare for anything. This new obsession with coffee and expensive brews and machines courtesy of dear Jasper did not endear him to me. Rosalie gave him the perfect 10 rating. Jasper was perfect for Alice, in Aunt Rosie's opinion.

Alice insisted that Jasper hung the moon. It took some convincing on my part. I had watched Alice fall hard for some pretty great guys, that is until they weren't great anymore. Suddenly she wasn't good enough, or some such nonsense, and I was holding Alice together with glue and tape. I didn't want Jasper, who was by far the most charming man I'd ever laid eyes on, to come in and break Alice into a million tiny pieces.

Jasper and I went on our friend date a week after Rosalie's coffee bliss. Let me just say that it was an unmitigated disaster. Jasper took me to a rodeo; he wanted to show me where he came from. The problem with this plan was that Jasper didn't know that I would have such a strong reaction from the huge bales of hay. I thought I was going to sneeze myself silly. I did manage to maim myself. I sneezed so hard I lost my balance, and as usual, your aunts had forced me into thin heels; well I toppled over when I was on the bleachers. I fell all the way down, broke my leg in three places and sprained a wrist. The whole way home, Jasper apologized and mumbled about killing his girlfriend's best friend. I didn't see Jasper until I was all healed up. While he, Alice and Rosalie went on outings, I stayed in the dorm and worked on my finals. I wasn't being anti-social. I was being safety conscious. Something you'll learn about your mama is that if there is something for me to trip over, I will trip over it. According to Auntie Alice, Jasper agonized over what we could do once I was all healed up. He sent apology flowers, but when I sniffed them, I got hives all over my face. Alice told him to stop sending me things.

We finally clicked over an amazing breakfast at this tiny cafe that had just opened about ten minutes from the dorms. We drove so that I wouldn't trip on a leaf and break my face. To my surprise, our breakfast date was fun. Jasper and I had endless things to discuss, including civil war history and the proper way to make a hollandaise sauce. I loved him. Aunt Rosie loved him, and Alice loved him. We didn't know it yet, but Jasper loved Alice, and he was determined to marry her. That was the beginning of a spectacular friendship. That was when I gained a brother.

So your Uncle Jasper is driving me home from our breakfast, and he's got this intense look on his face, like he's thinking really hard. I close my eyes and lean my head against the window. My face is still sweaty from vomiting on Raven's black, thigh-high lace up Converse sneakers. With the vibrations from the car and Jasper's ever present classical music playing, I am lulled into sleep.

When I open my eyes again, I am home in my bed; your Uncle Jasper had carried me into the house and tucked me into bed. He spoke softly, knowing from previous experiences that if he did anything but gently ease me into wakefulness that he would be facing a very angry monster.

Jasper hands me a huge jug of water and commands me to drink. While I chug water, he rummages around in the bathroom for a moment and then comes back with a bag of pregnancy tests. I roll my eyes. Something you'll learn about your Uncle Jasper is that he was a boy scout, and he is always prepared. He and Aunt Alice have these intense premonitions and "feelings". I don't know how he knows, but it makes Christmas difficult. Even Santa finds it tricky to surprise your uncle. Only Alice and Jasper can surprise each other. Somehow Alice snuck a bag of pregnancy tests into our house without your dad and me ever suspecting anything. She's a sneaky one, your Aunt Alice.

Grabbing the bag of pregnancy tests from Jasper, I started peeing on stick after stick. A mother does a lot for her child. Peeing on a stick is totally one of those things.

Actually if we're being honest here, I peed on eleven sticks, and every single one of them told me one thing. I would get to have you. 11 sticks is true love, kiddo. Jasper held me in his arms as I cried. He was confused when my tears and sobs turned into giggling and giddiness. I don't think it made a lot of sense to him. But you don't mess with a pregnant lady, and with his intuition, he knew not to mess with me.