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The Big News


Dear Lilo,


Last night, your mother told me she is pregnant. Well, it didn’t quite go down that simply. The rest of the immediate family had already heard the news, but because we were busy celebrating Papa’s 80th birthday, and I was at work much of the time during your mother’s surprise visit from your current home in Georgia, it left little time to share the exciting news with me. Mama Franny had flown your Mom and Auntie Kalia out to surprise Papa for his birthday. Little did anyone in the family know, your Mommy had her own surprise. She planned to wait until after Papa’s birthday before telling us her news to avoid taking attention away from his celebration. After that, there seemed always to be something going on, so she held onto the secret from me even longer than she had initially planned. One clue that something secret was afoot was that your mom wasn’t drinking alcohol during her visit. She explained that she was on some sort of cleansing diet. Mimi and I bought her story because it sounded like something your mother would do—or any of us in the family or anyone in Southern California would do. Plus, your mom is good at fibbing (more on that in future letters), so she quickly convinced us—or at least me. Your Mimi Cha Cha kept quizzing your Mom on what kind of diet she was on, so your Mom wasn’t sure if Mimi Cha Cha knew what was really going on or if she was curious about the diet. We would find out later that she wanted to learn more about the diet.


Yesterday morning, your Mom, Auntie Kalia, and Uncle Connor went to Disneyland for the day. I was to pick them up on my way home from work. We got home, had dinner, and sat around the table making small talk. At that time, everyone at the table was in on the news except Mama, me, and Uncle Conner (I’m not sure if he was in on the secret then, but I know your Mom didn’t want me to be hurt by Conner finding out before me, so he may have known and played dumb, or he hadn’t heard yet same as me). Mimi Cha Cha had been told earlier that day, and the news was revealed to Auntie Kalia—and maybe Conner—at Disneyland. They were all waiting for the right time to fill me in. Mimi Cha Cha wanted it to happen as soon as possible because it was killing her that she knew and I didn’t. Your Mom tried to tell me before she told her grandparents, but Mama was lurking around that evening, staying up and drinking wine with us much later than her usual bedtime. Finally, at about 10 p.m., Mama said good night. Kalia strongly suggested that Connor shower, and he took the hint. Now, it was just the four of us sitting around the table. A nervous energy was present, with none of the three not knowing how I would take the news. I, of course, felt nothing out of the norm. I was eating jelly beans by the handful as usual and thinking how nice it was to have the four of us together again at the kitchen table.


Looking at me, Mimi Cha Cha said, “There is something that Felicia would like to share with you.”

My mind went first to the dark side: that your Mom had cancer. Then, I pondered pregnancy as a possibility. As noted earlier, your Mother had not touched alcohol since her arrival. I began to wonder if the cleansing diet was an invented reason. I came back to cancer because there were tears in everyone’s eyes—except mine, for once—and the mood seemed sullen. Plus, there was your Mom’s medical history to consider. She had been through some rough times medically. Given all that and the apparent mood at the table, I descended the dark path. I didn’t say anything. I looked back and forth between Mimi Cha Cha to my left and your Mom to my right. Auntie Kalia was directly across from me at the other end of the table. Now they were all talking to each other. I don’t remember much of what they said, but I think they were mildly debating how to tell me. They were stalling.


Finally, Mimi Cha Cha went silent; I focused on your Mom. She looked at me and said, “I’m pregnant!”

I didn’t speak but quickly realized that might not send the correct message, so I asked, “How do you feel about it?”

“Good, I want to have the baby.” She said. Zero hesitation.


I was happy for her and for me, too. I am open to whatever your Mom and Auntie Kalia want to do regarding children. Kids or no kids, I would be happy either way, but the news of a grandchild did bring a smile to my face, and I immediately imagined how I would spoil you. With everyone relieved, crying and discussion ensued, and we eventually went to the essential topics: Baby names, how many diapers per day are needed, and how Corina and I want to be addressed, given that we aren’t fans of the traditional names Grandpa and Grandma. We would later come up with Mimi Cha Cha (Mimi for short) and Pops. You’ll end up calling us whatever you want and can pronounce. It was a wonderful experience that night at the kitchen table in Huntington Beach, where we had sat so many times before but hadn’t done so together for quite a long time. The next night, we went to dinner with your Great Uncles Kelly and Marco to share the news with them. They are also extremely excited.


I look forward to meeting and spoiling you,

Much love,


Pops

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