I sit down after replacing the receiver and take a deep breath. A grandmother? Me? Now? Is this some sick joke the universe is playing on me? Have I not suffered enough in the last two years (because, yes, in this moment I do think it is all about me , dammit!)?
I scan the perfectly decorated room imagining a baby in its midst. I am not ready for this. Jay is not ready for this! God, she certainly knows how to push those boundaries! What the bloody hell was she thinking? I am furious at her. Selfishly, not for getting pregnant but for ruining my year of peace. Damn, damn, damn.
I pick JC up from school. It has been one of his better days. “How was your day?
“Fine.” This is autism speak for an okay day, not a disastrous day. I ask what he did. “Nothing.” Then, “I’m hungry.” We perform this routine every afternoon.
“It’s not Thursday, JC, no Hungry Jacks.” He starts winding himself up, as per usual. I’m tired, frustrated, I do not want to play today. “I have something to tell you.”
“What?” he snaps. I know he doesn’t care what it is I have to say, all he wants is that damn burger.
I try to sound upbeat, nonchalant, normal. “Jay is pregnant, you are going to be an uncle.”
He looks at me briefly. “Goddammit!” I choose not to reprimand him.
“Not good news?” Why am I asking my 13 year old son? I choose to tell myself that JC has high functioning autism, that he doesn’t like change and telling him early is the right thing to do. I’m kidding myself, I just need to tell someone, anyone, what had been searing my brain for the last four hours.
“No its not.”
“Because it will annoy me.” Poor JC, people annoyed him all the time and now having a baby around would be the ultimate annoyance. I get it. “So I guess Jay and Em had sex.” I smile at the literal way his mind works.
“I guess so.”
“I’m hungry.” You have to love how with kids with autism, it is always about them.
“No Hungry Jacks, JC.”
Later that afternoon, I pop in to JC’s room. “Please don’t mention the Jay thing to dad okay? I want to tell him gently.” I am regretting telling him. He is totally unable to keep a secret. He doesn’t understand the implications of telling secrets and as such doesn’t see the need to keep them. I hope that I can grab Dee before JC lets the cat out the bag.
The dogs bark as usual when Dee opens the front door. As I sprint up the hallway to catch Dee, JC yells, “Jay is pregnant.” Goddammit! I sigh as Dee looks at me confused. I motion to our bedroom and follow him in. “It’s true, Jay is pregnant. She phoned me this morning to let me know. I have to go with her to the docs for an ultrasound to make sure all is okay as she was in hospital last night with severe pains.”
“I knew I saw Em’s car when I drove past the hospital last night. Seriously, she’s having a baby?”
“I know, it’s a lot to take in. Yes, we are going to be grandparents.”
“I don’t want to be a grandparent.” I know how he feels. “What about Em, is he going to support her? They have only been together a year. Dammit, I knew we should never have let her move in with him.” I sigh. Hindsight is crap, especially when you know it wouldn’t have made a bit of difference.
I tell him of Jay’s decision to keep the baby and her apparent nervousness at losing it, despite only being about five weeks pregnant. It seems that Em is prepared to stand by her. We both agree that this is a blessing as we know of a fair few stories of men older than 22 year old Em who would head for the hills. We thank the universe that Jay fell pregnant to a man that clearly loves her and is prepared to support her.
“How on earth is Jay going to cope? Sarah, she can’t even decide what drink to have in the morning!” Dee is right. Jay has always been indecisive, always afraid of making the wrong decision. I know in that instant that I have to support her, but I also have to enable her to make decisions about her own baby. I did my bit with her, it is time for her to do her bit with her own baby. I know this is not going to come easily for her – or me.
“It will be okay. Jay will be okay. My mom was 19 when she had us and she didn’t have the support Jay will have. It will be okay.” This is to become my mantra – it will be okay.
Dee puts his arms around me, and kisses me on the lips. “Can we just not get a break? Sarah, what about your rest? How much more do you have to take?” I love the fact that after 16 years of marriage, he still cares so much about me.
“I guess the universe thinks I am one tough cookie because it keeps throwing buckets of shit at me. I will be okay, we will be okay.”
Dee sits on the edge of the bed. He doesn’t look well. I wonder how much more he can take. I also wonder if he wishes he owned a shot gun right now, assuming this is the appropriate response for a father of a pregnant teenager. I laugh at myself. Yeah, right, my gentle man owning a shot gun. It is what it is and without speaking, we know we have to support two kids who are probably scared out of their minds right now.
“I think we should go to the house and speak to them,” I say quietly.
Dee looks up at me and all he can do is nod.