In early 2007, I went to Mendoza, Argentina for a week to visit my friend, Megan, who had decamped to South America with her family for an adventure abroad. While I was looking forward to my first trip to South America, the opportunity to spend time with a dear friend had me most excited.
Megan met me at the airport, and on the taxi back to her place, she regaled me with the adventures she had planned for us. A hot spring known for its amazing mud baths, horseback riding, wine tasting. Lots of wine. It all sounded like a perfect vacation, except one thing.
“I’m pregnant,” I blurted, much to the surprise and joy of my friend (and me, I think). I was very early along; it was too soon to share the news widely, but this was the friend in whom I could confide a big, life-changing development like a baby. After the appropriate amount of celebratory hugs and cheers, we discussed adjustments to our plans. My road to that pregnancy had not been without its share of potholes, so no matter how acceptable mud baths and horseback riding were for pregnant women, I wasn’t taking any chances.
We replaced horses and mud with sightseeing, an asado, and lazy afternoons sitting in cafes eating empanadas (I discovered that the baby really liked them). I watched Megan and her husband closely, as they interacted with their young daughter, trying to pick up parenting tips. Megan and I also did a fair amount of wandering about, exploring and getting to know her new hometown.
One day, we stumbled upon a small shop filled with children’s clothes. The owner was an energetic young man who had designed the merchandise himself. He was enthusiastic to have customers and thrilled when I made a purchase. I was so newly pregnant, just beginning to comprehend the idea of a baby, that everything in the store was meaningful. I remember thinking how my baby could wear this or that someday. Since it was too early for me to know if I was having a girl or boy, I bought small t-shirts for each possibility: one blue, the other pink. On impulse, I picked up a nightgown for me that matched the pink t-shirt. I carried the purchases home to Boston, put them away in a drawer, and waited.
I wore the nightgown as I waited for the baby one to be born, and then baby two—a boy and a girl to wear those t-shirts. R grew out of his years ago, but G can still fit in hers. She put it on for bed tonight, dancing around her room.
“Mama, where is your nightgown?” she asked. “Let’s be twins!”
I saw G’s belly peaking out from under the shirt, a sign it will soon no longer fit. When that happens, I’ll pack it away, with R’s blue t-shirt from Mendoza and with the other baby and kid clothes that hold so much meaning that they therefore must be kept.