Note from SweetPoyzin: Hi all! I’m happy to release the first of (hopefully) many bonus posts.
There are so many things that happen behind the scenes (read: in my head) that never make it into the blog for one reason or another. Some scenes give deeper insight into the events that you do see on the blog while others are just silly moments between my beloved characters. Many times, I just drop a scene because I didn’t get enough screenshots to make it worth posting and they get scratched.
Due to the lack of screenshots that caused the issue, these posts won’t have any pictures. However, I spend so much time with them in my head, I think they deserve to see the light of day regardless (but I’m biased). To make it a little more aesthetically pleasing, I will post the headshots of the characters mentioned at the top of each post. I apologize for the fact that some of these snippets are going to be a little dated but then again perhaps they will bring back some good (or bad) memories.
Now, without further ado, I hope you enjoy learning about Annie’s (very) early days as a McNamara.
Two months after our return from France I found myself standing in front of my bathroom mirror, sobbing. My baby boys were just days away from heading off to college and little Ellie Jayne was about to start middle school. Even worse, I was going through menopause. I could no longer deny the fact that there was no going back. I was getting old. Time waits for no man, er, woman, and neither does breakfast. I pulled myself together and headed downstairs to cook up one of our final breakfasts as a family.
Several weeks later, with the boys in college and Ellie Jayne in school all day, I had nothing better to do with my time so I made an appointment to visit my gynecologist to discuss the “M” word and what I could do about it. After the usual “fun” of blood draws, urine tests, and enjoying conversations about the weather while she had her metal tools all up in my business, Dr. Lawrence called me for a private meeting in her office. I braced myself for the worst possible news. I mean, it was only par for the course as far as my life was concerned.
“Well, Mrs. McNamara, I’m happy to tell you I have good news!” I let out the breath I didn’t realize I had been holding. “You’re pregnant!”
I stared at this woman who clearly misread my chart. Obviously, she could no longer be trusted as a doctor since she couldn’t even read.
“I’m sorry. You’re mistaken, Doctor. I’ve suffered from infertility for years. It took us 10 years to have our daughter. I’m not pregnant. I’m menopausal.” Duh.
“On the contrary, Mrs. McNamara. These results don’t lie. I’d be happy to run your blood and urine again but you are most definitely pregnant.”
“I don’t understand. I’m almost 45. It just doesn’t seem possible after all the trouble we went through to get pregnant with Ellie Jayne.” I was dumbfounded and, honestly, unsure how I felt about this little revelation.
“Let me ask you this: Did you mother or grandmother have infertility issues only to have a baby later in life?”
I thought for a moment. “Well, my grandmother had no issues producing children, early in her life or otherwise. My mother did struggle with infertility though. My little brother is adopted but then she went on to have two more children naturally. I guess she was older. I had moved out by then so I don’t really remember.”
“Ah ha! There’s your answer. There’s this strange phenomenon we call the ‘fertile forties’ where women see a peak in their fertility later in life. Many women miss the fact that they might be pregnant because they assume a missed period means they are starting menopause.” Dr. Lawrence paused and looked at me closely for a moment. “I can tell this wasn’t what you were expecting to hear from me. You do have options, Mrs. McNamara. I can provide you with some pamphlets before you leave.”
I left the doctor’s office with a prescription for prenatal vitamins and pamphlets on my options. Unfortunately, I was all too aware of the options that were open to me having walked that road before.
Pregnant. At 44-years-old.
How did this happen?
Well, you know how it happened. That night in France when you and Finn decided to throw caution to the wind. Yeah. You know, the exact opposite of what you tell Owen and Aiden to do in the same situation.
Ugh. I did not need my brain weighing in on my teenage stupidity right now. I needed a distraction. I really needed a drink but that card was off the table at the moment.
I didn’t know what to do. So I went to someone who did.
“Penny! I didn’t expect to see you this afternoon.” My dad wrapped me in one of his patented bear-hugs.
“Hi, Daddy. Um, can we talk?”
“What a silly question. Of course we can talk. Hey! I’m talking now.” Oh my God. The dad jokes never end regardless of how old he gets. “But I know you didn’t come here for that. Come on in, kiddo.”
We sat down and Lucinda made us some hot chocolate and put out plates of cookies. She must have recognized my need to just talk to my dad as she had a sudden need to go to the grocery store. After eating cookies in silence, I told my dad everything about my appointment earlier.
“Hmm…that is a pickle. Well, what do you want, Penny?”
“I want to have this baby.” I did? I paused and thought about all this would entail. Yes, I really did want to be a new mother again “I don’t know what Finn wants though.”
“He doesn’t know? He didn’t go with you to the appointment?” My dad looked like he was ready to tar-and-feather my husband.
“Why would he, Daddy? I thought I was going through menopause!”
“Oh, well, yes. Er. Well, why did you really come here, Penny.”
“I’m scared, Daddy. I’m almost 45. What if I can’t give this baby as much of myself as I gave to Owen, Aiden, and Ellie Jayne? What if I’m too old to play with the baby? What will happen to the baby when I’m gone?” I only realized I was crying when Dad came over to wrap me in his arms.
Lucinda had returned from her “errand” almost magically. She broke the silence.
“You’ll be fine, Penelope. When that baby arrives you’ll find energy and life you didn’t even know you still had. You’ll run around and play soccer and when you fall into bed at night with your knees and back aching you won’t even care because your child went to bed happy and healthy. And as for what happens later, don’t you even worry about that. This new baby will be so surrounded by the love of family that there will always be someone around even if it isn’t you.”
I had never been so grateful for Lucinda as I was in that moment. I instantly knew why fate pushed her into this family. I jumped up from my father’s lap and hugged my step-mother fiercely.
“Thank you, Lucinda. I love you.”
“I love you, too, dear. Now, if you’ll all excuse me, I have to go pick up the boy from school.” She winked at me as she grabbed her cane and hobbled down to the bus stop.
“Oh, Penny, before you go.” My dad disappeared into his office and I heard him rummaging around in his trunk. When he returned he was holding a nasty-looking, smelly, black flower. “Here, take this with you.”
“What the hell is this?!” I mumbled through my shirt sleeve as I tried not to gag.
“It’s a death flower. Your mother grew them in her garden when we were first married. She gave it to me before she passed. It keeps Grimmy away.”
“Daddy. Don’t you need it? What will happen to you if I take it?” I backed away from my father’s outstretched hand.
“Well, the way I see it, I’ve lived 96 years already. I was 83 when Lucinda and I had Garrett Jr. and I’ve seen more grandchildren and great grandchildren than I could have ever imagined. I’ve lived a long life. I miss your mother. Don’t tell Lucinda that though. I love her, too, but your mother…she was my soulmate. I’m ready for the next adventure, Penny.” My dad thrust the smelly flower at me once again. “With a new baby on the way, you need this more than I do. Please, take it, kiddo.”
Reluctantly, I reached out and took the flower from my father.
“Thank you, Penny. Now, go home and tell your husband the good news.” He lead me to the door. He hugged me tight and my tears stained his shirt. “Oh, kiddo. I’m not going anywhere just yet. I’ve got a new grandbaby to meet! No more tears, Penny. We’ve got lots of time left.”
I wish I believed him.