Our House by Melissa St Pierre

My house is one of my biggest points of pride.

I had done it on my own. I was twenty-five years old and I bought it all on my own.

I worked seven, yes, seven, jobs to get there. But I did it.

It was mine.

One afternoon, I was convinced that I wasn’t “alone” in my house. I just felt…different. Not a bad difference but that there was something going on.

I came in and put my backpack down and changed out of my work clothes, my favorite music blasting through the otherwise still and quiet house.

My cat, Edgar, came to greet me and I scratched his head and asked him about his day. He did the same for me.

It was a perfect October afternoon. I’d finished classes around 3:00 and I was the only one home. I let the dogs out and just enjoyed the mid-autumn sunshine. I threw open all the windows and let some of the incredible weather into my home. I had been feeling a little off for about a week, so I was grateful for the beautiful day. It is Michigan, so in October, it could snow.

 I’d been mostly tired, but I teach so that comes with the job to some extent.

But it didn’t stop.

Could I be… pregnant? I wondered.

It certainly was a possibility.

I’d heard once from my doctor that home tests were very effective and that a woman really only needed one to be fairly sure.

I brought the barking brigade back inside and grabbed my purse. Could I be… pregnant? I wondered.

I went to the Rite Aid nearest my home and went inside, eager to discover if my “you’re not alone” feeling was accurate.

I bought six tests.

And two of the largest bottles of water I could find.

Once in my car, I began drinking water like it was my job.  Fifteen minutes later, I was home once again and ready to start the test parade.

My doctor was right, I really only needed one.

I wasn’t alone in my house.

I squealed with delight, like a schoolgirl on a sugar rush. I ran around the house and bounced up and down with joy. I couldn’t believe it! I was pregnant! I was going to have a baby!

I called my mom and dad, and looking back, I wish I would’ve done something more fun for them. I should’ve gotten them matching t-shirts with a clever saying like “grandparents: est., 2017” Or, I should have gotten them a photo frame with “grandparent” on it. But, I didn’t.

Instead, I picked up my phone and blasted my excitement into it.

Needless to say, that energy level was matched and brought up a notch by the expectant grandparents. I could feel their delight and we made plans to have dinner together the following night. I couldn’t wait!

I knew my parents would be amazing grandparents.

That night, my dad began looking for plans to build my baby his or her own rocking horse.

My best friend screamed at the top of her lungs. Even though she was in Los Angeles at the time, I think I heard her without the phone.

“I’m going to be an AUNT!”

My people, my tribe, they were thrilled.

My mother in law nearly drove off the road when she found out.

From the moment my pregnancy was confirmed, I began engaging in dialogue with my baby.

When I parked my car at work and began the half mile walk to my office, I said, “Here we go baby, this is mommy’s school.” And I would point things out as I walked, as if my child could see exactly what was happening. I might have looked like a lunatic, talking to herself in the parking lots and on the sidewalk, but I was making my baby a part of my world.

I began reading out loud. First, Harry Potter, as every child should believe in magic. Then, I read some Elizabeth Gilbert, because every child should be their best self.

I read everything.

And, I sang.

My taste in music runs vast and deep and although I can’t admit to knowing a lot of contemporary pop music, I do know some.

I sang everything. From the emo music that runs through my soul, to the classic rock that is my core, and of course… Motown. And, because what would a jukebox be without it, a little country too.

My mom said that with children, you’re never alone again. And that remains the truest statement I’ve ever heard.

My baby is now three years old.

And she sings. Everything.

From her favorite, Lady Gaga, to Blink 182, her internal jukebox is also vast and deep.

“….you place the flowers in the vase that you bought today….” I sang to my daughter as I lifted her out of the bathtub and wrapped her into her favorite Minnie Mouse towel.

“Mommy, play that song again.”

I grabbed my phone, kept on the counter, and repeated the last song played. Crosby, Stills, and Nash came streaming out one more time.

We sat on the edge of the bathtub, my arms wrapped around my baby, and sang every word of “Our House “. Together. Her small voice interwoven with mine.  I have felt like Joni Mitchell only a few times in my life and virtually none of them involve times when I was singing.

I’ve had many visions of what my life would look like.

But that best one, the one that makes me complete, is the one where I have a little blonde firebomb version of myself. A little girl that wakes up ready to play, who likes flowers and singing and silly dances.

A little girl that makes my house “a very, very, very fine house”.

Of the innumerable things that she’s taught me in her three years so far, the most important is this:   no place will ever feel like home without her.

I am never alone. 

Melissa St. Pierre teaches writing and rhetoric at Oakland University in Michigan. Her work has appeared in The Blue Nib, Panoply, 45 Women’s Literary Journal, Valiant Scribe, and Elizabeth River Press Literary Anthology. She has also performed her work in Listen to Your Mother, a literary nonfiction storytelling showcase.

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