Katy Haden was not in the mood for Christmas. She was nearly nine months pregnant, about to host her parents for the holidays in the cozy two bedroom house she lived in with her sister, and she was having a hard time training the new girl who was going to take over for her when she went on maternity leave.
That’s right. Katy, the perfect middle daughter of two missionary parents, was pregnant and single. The whole story was a bit of a mess, but fortunately, things over the last five months had gone much better than the first four months had been. Her only issues these days were heartburn, not being able to sleep at night, constantly needing to pee, her parents crowding into the house for two weeks, and getting the new girl to understand how they entered billable and non-billable hours into the computer.
Here it was, five days before Christmas, and she had a lot to do. Tomorrow was her last day and then she could finally put her feet up. Well, only in theory. Her Christmas shopping wasn’t done, the tree wasn’t decorated, and the crib wasn’t put together. Oh, and she needed to get a car seat too. And tonight she would be driving to the airport to pick up her parents. They were flying in from China and they had lots planned for the next two weeks.
Katy sighed. Just this morning, she had seen her Obstetrician and she said that even though her due date was this coming weekend, it didn’t look like the baby was in any rush to get here. She was measuring quite small but the baby was very active. So active that Katy hadn’t had a decent sleep in about two months. Every time she got up to go to the bathroom, the baby would wake up and kick and do somersaults for hours. Oh well, as long as she didn’t have to work, it wouldn’t be quite so imperative that she sleep. Mat leave was probably going to be a breeze compared to being pregnant and working full time.
Katy’s attention was called back to the computer screen and the trainee in front of her.
“Here?” Tara asked.
“No, the next tab.” This was only about the fiftieth time she’d had to tell Tara the correct tab to enter in the billable hours.
‘Patience, Katy. Patience. This is just your hormones talking. And lack of sleep. And stress.’
It’s not that Katy didn’t love her parents. Oh she loved them all right! Growing up with her parents had been amazing! Even though her parents hadn’t travelled internationally as missionaries when Katy, Julia, and Zach were kids, they were always involved at church and active in financially supporting missionaries in organizing fundraising events. Katy and her siblings had probably heard more missionary stories than all of the other church kids combined. As fascinating and miraculous as the stories were, it had scared Katy into staying in Canada. There was no way she was going to bring the Bible to savages in the depths of the African jungle. No, someone else could do that. Her job was to support missionaries financially here in the comforts of a first world country. Unfortunately, not everyone in her church supported her efforts when they found out she was pregnant. Pregnant, unwed, and no boyfriend to marry. She had even been asked to leave the Missions Committee. When she complained to her mom about it, she hadn’t gotten any encouraging words.
“Well honey, give them time. Not everyone is used to seeing a pregnant teenager in church.”
“Mom. I’m 24 years old. I’m not a teenager. I’m a self-supporting woman with a career who happened to make a really bad decision. Everyone makes bad decisions. Only mine is currently highly visible.”
“I know honey, it’s not fair. And I’m sure if whats-his-name had stayed around and married you right away, they wouldn’t have made such a fuss.”
‘Ugh!’ Katy had clenched her jaw tight and refused to respond. Everyone was always trying to marry her off. You’d think that in the modern world they lived in now, people would be used to seeing single Moms raising families successfully.
Well, everyone at work was happy for her. It was the church, the so-called Christians, who had given her the hardest time. Go figure. Even so, Katy refused to take it out on God. It wasn’t His fault. Sure, she didn’t make it to church very regularly, but her excuse was that she needed the extra rest. She was running around at work five days a week and it took to Sunday at noon for the swelling to go down in her ankles. Julia was pretty understanding, especially since she was the one who massaged her swollen feet for her. Her dear sister. Julia was a quirky, self-employed web designer. She had taken one year of College and then had entered the online world as a freelance copy writer and self-taught herself all her web skills she now possessed. She had done more in her three-year career than Katy would do in her entire lifetime. Julia’s success was evident. She owned the small house that they lived in together. Katy just hoped that some day, Julia would step out from behind her computer screen and get a husband.
‘Oh no, what’s happening to me? I sound like Mom!’ Katy shook her head and focussed on the task at hand.
‘Heh, Tara’s doing it! Fiftieth time’s a charm, I guess.’ Katy stretched her chest up as a bubble of air got caught in her esophagus or something. This baby needed to move down and now! Sometimes a walk helped.
She stood up and said to Tara, “I’m going to take an early coffee break and stretch my legs. Wanna come?” She hoped Tara would say no and fortunately, she did. Tara was a nice enough girl but she chattered on and on about all the Christmas decorations. Katy just wasn’t in the mood. She usually loved Christmas, just not this year. One more reason why she was happy that tomorrow would be her last day. She could stay in the house and look at the undecorated Charlie Brown Christmas tree that Julia had put up in the corner of the living room. And as for shopping, she figured that gift cards for everyone would have to do. Surely her family would understand.
‘But I do need a car seat. Maybe I’ll just get that now,’ she thought to herself as she stepped into the stairwell and walked down four short flights. Someone had put mistletoe in the elevator and the last time she had ridden in it, the delivery boy had tried to make a pass at her. She had just pushed her huge belly in the way and said, “Did you need something?” in a way that made it clear that she was never going to kiss him. She had almost felt bad when he had blushed crimson red and turned his face away from her. She could see the back of his neck and his ears were just as red as his face. That boy needed to dress better for the crazy weather out there. Maybe he spent all his time riding up and down elevators rather than delivering the documents he was so highly trusted with. Maybe she should report him to her boss. Nah, better not. It was bad enough she was having a miserable Christmas. Why drag other people down with her?
Stepping into the cheerfully decorated lobby, Katy took a deep breath. The scent of fresh pine and the cooler air coming in from the sliding front doors made for an amazing combination. The security man nodded politely at her and Katy nodded back. If she was quick, she could make it to the department store that was two blocks away and get that car seat now. Tara could reach her on her cell if there was something she needed.
Part 2 continues here.