As a child, my one consuming fear was a tsunami. I don’t know when I first heard of the huge tidal wave that could decimate an entire island, but it still has the same effect on me when I think of it. My chest draws in and my breath gets short. I can see it make a tide pool of the beach, disappearing the waves until an unimaginably huge wave starts rising up from a half-mile out to sea and grows larger, as large as a 10-story building, until it crashes over me and everything.
She was due on December 2, but family history suggested she might be late. I was late by more than a month (probably a miscalculation) and both my children were 10 days late. So we waited, through balmy early December, past the full moon, past her paternal grandfather’s untimely death (Oh, he wanted to hold her!) until the first big snowstorm of the season brought on contractions that could not be dismissed as false labor, even by a haughty male obstetrician.