The first couple weeks of August, Kate frantically tried to finish everything on her many lists. One day, after spending Teddy's entire nap time cropping pictures and slapping them in a scrapbook, she declared to Mister, "I've got to get this done now! After this baby comes, I'm not going to be able to do anything. ever. again!"
Mister just laughed, "That's what you said last year, remember?"
"Yes, I know. But this time it's true!"
But soon, Kate was running out of projects. She had finished her wedding scrapbook. She finished Teddy's first year scrapbook--as far as she could, at any rate. She had organized the baby clothes and resorted them multiple times. She rearranged the babies' room. And her own room. And probably would have done the living room and basement as well if Mister hadn't had that skeptical you're-just-going-to-make-me-move-it-back-again look. She had been working on learning to make Indian food and pizza. There were 25 freezer meals in the chest freezer. And one day, three weeks before her due date, she found herself wondering what she should do.
All this free time--Kate just had to come up with a way to use it before the baby came and she wouldn't ever have another chance! She thought about a new list of projects to work on. Cleaning and organizing...they always went on the list first, and never seemed to come off. Her regular scrapbook of their life together was woefully behind. She could work on that. And she could work on her writing and journaling. She looked lovingly at the baby quilts she had made and considered.
"Mister," she asked when he walked by, "What do you think about me making a big one of these for our bed?"
He gave her a blank stare. Was it a trick question? "Uhm," he said, with the sort of caution that instantly told Kate what he thought. "wouldn't that be kind of a big undertaking?"
"Yes, I suppose it would." Kate felt deflated, their bed suddenly denuded of its pending glory.
"And you were trying to cut back or finish up big projects, right?"
"Yes, I suppose so."
"And you were trying to clean things up and not make more scraps and messes?"
"Welllll," she said, sensing some logical flaw in what she was about to say, "it could be a kind of roundabout way of picking up. If I make something with the fabric, I don't have to put it away or store it!"
"Hmmmm." Mister wasn't buying it. "And how long would this project take?"
Kate was stuck there. "Probably a few years? It could be for our tenth anniversary!" (They were coming up on their fifth.)
Mister just laughed. "How about," he said, offering his own suggestion, "you go for a walk, and then read or lie down for a little while before making dinner?"
Kate sighed. "Yes, I suppose that would be better..." She just felt so antsy, wanting to start and finish things. To make lists and more lists and accomplish them. Not a day too soon, Kate's mother, Laurie, arrived on the 19th, just in time to provide some extra company and balance and save the Miller household from a major overhaul.
Laurie helped keep Teddy in line, helped Kate at the grocery store, helped with the dishes, and generally...helped. She distracted Kate by reading Peter Wimsey novels aloud, and dreaming up extravagant plans for future girl-dates.
"Just think!" She would say, "Little Susie will stay home with us and drink cocoa and knit while Teddy goes hunting with Papa!" (She never seemed to run out of "S" names to guess, ever since Kate and Mister had revealed that the initials they had chosen were S.A.M.--in part an homage to their Best Man and Maid of Honor, who were both named Sam.)
Kate would ignore the stream of names unless her mother pointedly asked (as she often did), "Is it Susie?"
"No," Kate would reply almost instantly.
"How about Stephanie?"
Kate paused. "Yes, that's it."
Laurie looked up, but saw only Kate knitting away on her latest project. "Really? You're just teasing me!" She accused.
Kate laughed, "No, you actually guessed it. I admit, I didn't think you would..."
"I guessed it! I guessed it!" Laurie crowed. She was supremely pleased with herself. "And Sylvia! What a beautiful name! Oh, I'm so excited. I can't believe I guessed it!"
Friday morning, the weekend before the due date, Mister took Kate out for brunch at a stellar new breakfast place they had discovered. It was perfect, and delightful, and they couldn't help but talk about children the whole time! They even talked about talking about children. It was especially nice to get a date in, since Mister had once again planned to be gone the weekend before the due date. Last year, he went to Atlanta to be in a wedding. This year was not so extreme--he was driving an hour away for the church's men's retreat. Kate didn't expect any problems. After all, last year, she delivered Teddy a week after the due date.
That afternoon, Kate got a call from a strange number. It was Mister.
"My phone doesn't have service out here," he said. "I just wanted to give you this number, in case you need to call. Are you feeling okay?"
"Just fine. I'll let you know if anything happens, but otherwise I'll just see you tomorrow evening. I hope you have a good time!"