This Is Only A Test
This Is Only A Test
First things first, the most exciting thing going on right now was the grand opening of Kennedey’s gallery. Jay and I offered to invite some of our industry friends to the opening, but Kennedey preferred things to be as “organic” as possible. Meaning, she didn’t want people with a lot of money coming only on the recommendation of our word. Jay’s done a lot to help her with the marketing and promotion for the gallery. Despite her objections, several of our industry connects would be attending the opening.
I told Kennedey she needed to stop tripping. She wasn’t selling out in the least. Even so-called rich celebrities could have an eye for art, not just the folks who ran in her circles. Besides, if others saw that some of these influential figures owned some of her artwork, it could get her name out there. More people would be aware of her visionary work and appreciate what she does for a living.
Kennedey didn’t have to be too upset, some non famous people who lived on the islands were coming to the opening as well as her friends. Daddy came back to town to support Kennedey. He told us he came into a windfall last month. His sports equipment sales sky rocketed and he was able to replenish his savings and some of the money he had before his heart attack. Kennedey and I were relieved because we worried about the amount of money he has spent, traveling here and to Miami for the wedding. Daddy said not to worry, because he wouldn’t miss Kennedey’s opening for anything in the world.
“Why do you look so nervous Kenney? I told you, you need to take a breath and calm down. You have to talk to a lot of people tonight, girl. It won’t look that good if the artist and owner of the gallery is sweating buckets and can’t put two sentences together. Just chill,” I tried to encourage her. “Don’t you think that’s what I’m trying to do? Reagan, this is the biggest night of my life. Some of my most profound pieces are going to be judged. It’s not like when I conduct rallies and protests. I’m bringing attention to social and political issues, now the focus is solely on me,” said Kennedey, nervously.
“No, the focus in on your art. As long as you keep it that way and appear charming, you’ll be alright. Just look at this as one of those rallies. You’re bringing attention to the issue at hand, which is your artwork. At the same time, when you’re up there rallying the crowd and giving your speeches, you’re very compassionate about what you are saying. People believe you. People are drawn to you because of your sincerity and knowledge. It’s no different tonight. You love your art, it’s what you’re passionate about. Just channel that, ” I said.
Kennedey looked at me and briefly smiled. “You’re right, I can do this. I’ll just be me. Thanks, Reagan,” she said. “You’re welcome and congratulations,” I replied. Kennedey turned on her heel and made her way to the front of the gallery. Before I headed into the main showroom, I made a quick stop in the ladies room. I haven’t been feeling well the last couple of days. I felt fine earlier, but not so much right now.
The gallery opening party was very successful. Taina, Jazz, Lana, Bailey, and a few of my business associates came. Jayson and a couple others Jay invited also attended. Kennedey’s home girls, Maya and Monica flew in to see her new gallery and a few other artsy people she knew around IP. Several of our friends and associates purchased some of Kennedey’s work and for those who didn’t assured they would make a great recommendation to the people they knew in the art world. The Isla Paradiso Herald covered the galley for their art and society section with a glowing review the next day. At least with the amount of money she made tonight, Ken could get the monkey off her back for a while. She still had a lot of expenses and much of this money was going back into the gallery.
I hated seeing my sister have to struggle. At least when I became a model, she didn’t have to worry about keeping a roof over her head. Kennedey never liked that I paid a bulk of the bills and she insisted on paying her way even if it meant she stayed broke. Now she was going to get the recognition she deserved. I didn’t know a lot about art, but I knew I liked her work a lot better than some of the stuff I’ve seen at the Guggenheim when she dragged me there once. I wasn’t an “artsy” person, so my opinion didn’t carry much weight.
The artistic types here tonight raved on and on about how unique and fresh Kennedey’s eye was and that she had a particular artistic expression that you don’t really see nowadays. Much of Kennedey’s work she chose to display today was African and Caribbean inspired. Although, she did share some of her impressionistic pieces and sculptures, whatever that meant. A couple of people said her work was very capable of ending up in some of the world’s most famous art museums one of these days.
Kennedey’s paintings drew from all types of different styles and influences, but she wanted to put the African and Caribbean pieces at the forefront first because she said it was under-represented in the more “popular” art world. “See, Kennedey, I always knew you would make it, baby. I’m so proud of you. ‘Wish I could stay longer,” Daddy said to Kennedey. “Thank you. I wish you could stay longer too. You always believed in me,” replied Kennedey, looking a little tearful. The look in Daddy’s eyes was nothing but pride. It was great seeing Kennedey’s dreams becoming a reality, she deserved it.
I checked out some of Kennedey’s newest paintings and mingled for the next couple of hours. I was extremely tired for some reason and told Ken I had to duck out a little early. Kennedey was concerned that I didn’t look too well and told me to make sure I got some rest. She didn’t have to tell me twice. Kennedey thanked Jay and I for coming said she would check on me tomorrow.
Daddy was only in town for that one day for Kennedey’s opening. I was feeling better and a couple of nights later Kennedey invited Jay and I over for dinner with her and Micah. Jay and Micah have ran into each other on multiple occasions when Ken was still living at the house. Other than saying a quick wassup, neither one of them said much to each other. I didn’t believe Micah was petty enough to dislike Jay on account of his brother.
Jaylen and I arrived at Kennedey’s around seven. “You’re my first official dinner guests,” she said, gesturing us into the living area. Kennedey was still in the process of decorating the house. I could tell she’s done a lot more to the space since she first moved in. It was very much a house suited for an artist.
After we said hello to Micah, I went over to say to the cats. I picked Sammy up, he’s gotten a bit heavier in the last few months. He’s always reminded me of Garfield, a little chubby, loves food, and a little snobbish until he warms up to you. Tinky was younger than Sammy, therefore he always followed in behind him. He does pretty much the same thing as Sammy, only he’s friendlier right off the bat.
Kennedey told me she wanted to show me a piece she did some months back. It was a portrait of our mother. I thought it was beautiful and sad looking at the same time, I told her. “Yes, I wanted convey feelings of longing and sadness when I made it. I was kind of inspired by all these dreams I was having of Mom at the time,” replied Kennedey.
That surprised me, Kennedey hasn’t mentioned any dreams about Mom to me. She began describing what happened in the different dreams she was having and how she and Mom talked. I knew Kennedey suffered as much as I did when Mom left, but we handled her absence in different ways.
We went back into the living room and talked while we waited on dinner to finish cooking.”How do you like crib so far?” asked Jaylen. “It’s cool, you know. I could use more space, but it suits my needs,” replied Kennedey. “That’s what matters. The opening was a success. Everyone I knew loved your stuff. Maybe I can commission a piece for Tomo in the future, I’ll pay you for it of course,” said Jaylen. “Cool, I mean, if you think my art would fit into your club,” replied Kennedey. “We might want to add a couple of abstract sculptures to the spot, something a little edgy,” said Jaylen.
Everything Kennedey made for dinner looked so good. I finally had my appetite back and I was ready to chow down on a full meal again. “Micah, how’s the band and music coming along?” asked Jaylen changing the subject. Micah cracked his knuckles. ” Music is fine, we’re working on different things. Artist driven, organic sounds, that sort of thing,” replied Micah.
“Did your band ever play in Brooklyn? Cause like a year ago, there was some little underground club down the block from Ave. I remembered a sign that said a band called Oligarchy Rebels or something would be playing. Was that you?” asked Jaylen. I cringed, waiting for Micah’s reaction. Micah looked taken aback and Kennedey shifted uncomfortably in her seat. Jay and I weren’t any kind of dummies. Getting the name of his band, Edge of Anarchy mixed up with Oligarchy Rebels was a huge faux pas in Micah’s eyes. One being completely different from the other.
Kennedey later told me that Micah considered Jay’s slip up to be somewhat insulting. Kennedey didn’t think it was a big deal and Jay apologized at dinner when he realized his mistake. Things were still a little on the icy side between us. Ken has assured me Micah wasn’t tripping with us or anything. I figured we all needed time to warm up to each other.
The food Kennedey made was really good, but it wasn’t sitting well with me. After we got home, I went into the den and poured myself a cup of tea, hoping it would help me feel better. “What’s wrong, baby? You never drink tea unless you’re sick,” asked Jaylen. “I’m not feeling good. My stomach is upset,” I replied. Jaylen looked confused for a moment. “Do you want me to get you anything from the store or something?” he asked. “No, I’ll be alight,” I answered, shaking my head.
One evening, Jazz and I had special VIP passes to a concert. I was looking forward to going, but I’ve been feeling like crap all day long. I canceled all my meetings and conference calls to stay in bed. I was hoping if I got a little more rest, I would feel up to going tonight.
Jay still wasn’t home when I woke up from my nap. My stomach churned. I felt hungry and nauseous at the same time. I needed to try to eat something, but the thought of food made me want to vomit. I took a couple of sniffs around the kitchen. There was something not right with me. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but it seemed like my sense of smell was heightened these last few weeks. Almost everything I smelled made me gag. I took some anti nausea medication and poured myself some ginger ale. I ended up texting Jazz, letting her know I wasn’t up to going to suggested she take someone else.
A couple of weeks later, we were back in New York. Jay had business with his brother and I had a shoot for the cover of Ebony. Yuri came along with me, which was really sweet of her to do. I felt like I had the stomach flu throughout the shoot and I couldn’t wait for it to be over. All I wanted to do was go back to the apartment and go to bed. Yuri kept looking at me all day, asking if I were okay. I told her I was, I just couldn’t seem to kick this bug or whatever it is.
Jaylen’s parents invited us over for dinner at their newly renovated house they recently moved into. It was nice and spacious and not too far from where they used to live. Yuri informed me she was still working on the design. She’s made great progress so far. Before Kennedey’s opening, Yuri had a chance to purchase some of her work. Kennedey kept a few of the originals she needed for the gallery, but sold her the reprints and a few other original pieces.
Kennedey was so excited to make her first official sale as a gallery owner. Privately, I thanked Yuri for purchasing some of Kennedey’s work. Yuri assured me she didn’t view it as a favor or anything to me, but she was truly blown away by Kennedey’s art. I couldn’t blame her, I still had some of the paintings Ken did in the house.
Normally, I would offer to help Yuri in the kitchen, but I was too dang tired and my stomach was still funky. I grabbed a box of crackers and a seven-up and sat in the living room with the Jay, Amarre, and Kevin. I half listened to them droning on about the upcoming football season, who has a good team this year and who would make the playoffs. Not that I was interested in anything they were talking about, but listening sort of distracted me from feeling crappy. I glanced over my shoulder at Yuri in the kitchen. The woman could really throw down. I knew whatever she was cooking would be good, but I had no appetite.
I excused myself to go lay down in the guest bedroom. I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.
I woke up about an hour later. I still didn’t feel one hundred percent. Maybe taking a bath later on would help, I thought to myself. Yuri knocked on the door asking if she could come in. “Are you okay, sweetheart? I’m worried about you. Do you want me to bring you any dinner?” she asked. “Thanks, but, I’ll pass. I’m still not over this cold or bug. I’ll just eat some noodles or something later,” I replied.
Yuri looked me over with a curious expression on her face. She then asked what kind of symptoms I was having. I told her everything I’ve experienced. One day, I’m fine and the next, I’m not. I complained how frustrated I was, being sick at work and I couldn’t bring my “A” game to my shoots. Yuri nodded in compassion. She told me not to overwork myself and to get as much rest as possible and make sure I’m eating even if I don’t feel like it.
Jay and I had a nice visit with his family, but I was happy to be back in my own home on IP. Bri was at the house, trying to convince me to go to the mall with her. I told her I was not up for anything right now. I had to finish this last load of laundry. After that, the only thing I wanted to do was spread out on the sofa and watch all the shows I had stored in my DVR.
“Girl, you been sick for a minute, Rea Rea. What’s bothering you?” asked Briah. I began to list all the varying symptoms I’ve had off and on over the past several weeks. “Ugh, I never get sick, especially when it’s warm outside. I’m so tired all the time. I don’t feel like doing jack. Jay certainly ain’t been getting any lately either,” I replied.
Briah stared at me, her mouth slightly opened. She shook her head in disbelief. “Rea Rea, please don’t tell me, you don’t know what’s going on, girl!” exclaimed Briah. I looked at her, I didn’t have a clue as to what she was getting at. “What? What are you talking about?” I asked. “Heffa, yo’ ass is pregnant! Have you even thought about that?” asked Briah, incredulous.
I was dumbfounded. I didn’t know what to say or what to think. “How is that even possible?” I asked, not expecting an answer. “Hello? You been ridin’ the rodeo, ain’t you? You and Jay ain’t celibate,!” shouted Briah. I was stunned. “The thought never occurred to me,” I thought out loud. That would make a lot of sense, considering my symptoms, whoa. I’ve been so caught up in work and everything else, I didn’t even think pregnancy was the reason I was so sick all the time.
Briah suggested she go pick up a couple of pregnancy tests. I hardly heard her when she left. I went into the living area and waited for Briah to come back. “Rea Rea, go pee on these sticks, girl,” said Briah, once she got back from the store. I snapped out of my daze. “I don’t know what to do. I’ve never taken a pregnancy test before,” I said.
“Well, I have. I wasn’t pregnant, though. Look, just read the instructions very carefully. Shit, you got a college education, it ain’t rocket science, girl,” said Briah. “Aren’t you going to stay ad help me?” I asked.
Briah looked thoughtful. “I was thinking about it, but then I thought the first person who should find out, is Jay. He yo’ husband and everything now,” she replied. Bri was right, Jay should be the first to know. The instructions shouldn’t be too hard to follow. Briah hugged me before leaving and told me to call her whenever I had the chance. I locked the door behind her made my way upstairs.
I took both test and dropped them into the sample cups filled with my urine. I waited for what seemed like the longest five minutes of my life. Finally, after the time was up, I slowing turned around to see what the verdict was. I could literally hear my heartbeat pounding in my ears.
To say I was shocked would be an understatement. I let out a small scream. I couldn’t believe it, I was pregnant! I’ve never been pregnant before, never had a pregnancy scare. How in the world…well I know how. A rush of varying emotions came over me. Shock, happiness, joy, hope, fear, everything. What was I going to do? How was I going to tell Jay? We didn’t want to try for a family for at least a couple of years.
Although Jay and I have had a discussion children, I never told Jay that I felt unsure about bringing a child into this world. It wasn’t that I didn’t want children, I feared what I would do to a child. What kind of mother would I be? I mean, look who I had as a role model. I didn’t want to screw up an innocent baby. What if the baby came out like me? A little diva and spoiled as hell? I know I’ve come a long way, but still. My poor father had to put up with so much for so many years. It would be the ultimate payback if there was a junior Reagan Leeds running around.
I was my mother’s daughter, there was no denying that. So much of Apollonia was in me, it was a scary reality to live with. The part of myself I ran from for many years, the part of me I’ve battled time and again to overcome. My mother never really made it a secret that she didn’t want a family. She often reminded my father she only got married because they had a kid on the way. I grew up feeling like I was the reason she gave up her dreams.
It’s not that Mom went around saying these kind of things everyday, but when she went in on my father, she really went in. Her tongue and clap back was so damn cold, it would make The President cry. I definitely inherited that from her. There used to be a time, no one was safe from my mouth. Females used to step up to get shut down on the regular. Unlike my mom, however, I usually only clapped back at someone after I’d been provoked. But I’ve learned to control myself better now.
All of these thoughts raced through my head. My mom could be so mean, did that make her a wicked person? Could someone pass this trait down to their children? Was I really her deep down? I made my way back downstairs. I became dizzy thinking about my mom and the quick flash of what life was like when I was growing up.
The combination of pregnancy symptoms, hormones and those painful memories had me feeling all over the place. My stomach was doing flip flops I walked over to the window, staring out to the seemingly endless ocean. I stepped back, catching a reflection of myself and gasped For one brief moment, I saw my mother staring back at me. I tried shaking her image out of my head. I began to break down once I realized, just like my wedding, my mother wasn’t here for me.
When most women or girls are pregnant, they seek out their mother’s comfort and advice. What was I to do? Of course I wanted my baby, but the thought of becoming a mother scared me. I would be responsible for a whole other life. Someone else would depend on me for everything. I was still working on getting my own stuff together. All I knew, was that these last few “break downs” I’ve had ever since the day after I looked for dresses, have been because of my mother. I brought my hand up to my face and I noticed how badly it was shaking. I told myself to calm down, that my mother and I weren’t the same people. What she did, I didn’t have in me. Her indifference became my resistance. My resistance to turn out like her.
I could never imagine myself leaving my own child., but I had little confidence in my ability as a mother. As much as I tried to quiet my fears and insecurities, a little voice kept telling me I was the same as Mom. I shook my head again. No, it wasn’t true, I told myself.
I looked down at my stomach and rested my hand over my abdomen, massaging it. “I hope you’re not too disappointed, I’m your mommy. You see, I haven’t always been the nicest or sweetest person. I didn’t start out being that way. I’ve gone through so much in my life. Someday when you’re older, I’ll tell you about it. I know I’m a better person now and I’ve started to love myself again. Even still, I have doubts about so many things…,” I paused for a moment, thinking about the worst screw ups in my life.
My eyes began to well up in tears. “I’ve always wanted to be a mommy, I’m just not sure I know how. I don’t want you to worry though, because I promise I’ll be the best mama any child’s ever had. I can’t be Apollonia, I can’t be her. Now that you’re here, my job is to love and protect you. I don’t know anything about being a mom. Let me apologize in advance for any shortcomings I’ll have in the future. One thing you can be sure of little baby, is that I’ll never leave you,” I whispered.
I began to feel calm and serene when I thought how this little person inside of me was part of Jaylen. This was our baby. I began to imagine what he or she would look like. Staring up at me, smiling and cooing, not judging me at all. Just knowing I was their Mama and the only look in their eyes, was that of love. The tears continued to pour down my face. I was going to be someone’s mama and Jaylen was going to be a daddy. We’ve only been married a few months. I knew Jay wouldn’t be angry, that wasn’t in his character. Actually, Jay would be very happy, shocked, but happy.
For some reason, I went to get my old bear, Pinkie. I would have to get used to carrying a baby around and my bear was like my baby when I was little. I laughed to myself thinking how protective of Pinkie, I used to be.
I looked at the time on my cell, Jay wasn’t expected to be home for another couple of hours. He’s been in a meeting all day with Amarre, Jayson, and their new general manager. I was anxious to tell someone. I thought about calling Briah or Kennedey. No, I couldn’t do that, Jay needed to know before anyone else. I thought about the last period I had. I realized I was way past due and couldn’t believe I didn’t notice it earlier. I felt very sleepy all of a sudden. I curled up on the sofa and dozed off, waiting for Jay to get home.
I didn’t even hear Jaylen come into the living room. “Hey, baby. You feeling okay? How are you feeling?” he asked. I sat up, rubbing my eyes. “Yeah, I’m okay,” I answered, yawning. Jaylen sat down next to me. “Sorry it took me so long. I didn’t expect the meeting to go on this long. You hungry, boo? Have you gotten your appetite back?” asked Jaylen. The butterflies began jumping around in my stomach as I contemplated how I was going to tell Jay the big news.
I opened my mouth, but no words came out. I sat there and stared off into space. What do I say? Jaylen, you’re going to be a daddy? Jay, I’m knocked up? Boo, we have a new dinner guest, only they’re not a guest? All the different ways I could tell him ran through my head and one didn’t seem easier than the other. “Ma, did you hear me?” asked Jaylen, snapping me out of my trance. Jay calling me ‘Ma’ startled me. Sure, he’s called me that hundreds of times before, but now it took on a whole new meaning. “Huh?” was all I could muster up as a response. Jay laughed a little. “What’s up, baby? What’s going on, I’ve never seen you like this, so out of it,” he said.
I took a deep breath, I really had no idea where to begin. I looked up into Jaylen’s expectant eyes. I supposed the best way to say it, was simply to say it. “You know how I’ve been so sick lately? Well it’s not so much that I’ve been sick, it’s more like I’ve been pregnant,” I said, slowly. Jay’s eyes grew wide as saucers and he didn’t blink for a moment. Jay was completely dumbstruck.
I twiddled my thumbs, patiently waiting for Jaylen to say something. Finally after what seemed like an eternity, he began to speak. “Uh…are you sure?” stammered Jay. I nodded my head. “Well, that’s at least what the two tests say. I think we should see my doctor to confirm it, though,” I replied. “Yeah, that sounds like a good idea,” agreed Jaylen, trance like.
Jay seemed to snap back into the present. He then turned to me, looking deep into my eyes. “I can’t believe it. You’re telling me I’m going to be a father?” he asked, his whole face lit up before I had the chance to answer him. A grin spread across his face, flashing his big pearly whites.
“Are you okay You’re not upset?” I asked, feeling unsure. “No, how could I ever be upset? You just told me you’re carrying our child, Reagan. I mean, that’s crazy, Ma. I’m outside myself right now,” replied Jaylen. I smiled, I felt so relieved. “Well, we talked about waiting you know, at least a couple of years. You’re doing a lot in your career, and look at all the things I have going on. A baby is going to change everything,” I said. “I know we talked about waiting, but sometimes these things just happen when they happen,” he reasoned.
“Look, I know birth control isn’t one hundred percent effective. But I was so careful. I never missed a day,” I said. “Ma, well I guess someone else is going to be calling you that soon. On the real though, boo, I can’t believe this is us right now. I don’t know how, but everyday since you told me you would be my wife, you’ve continued to make me happier than the day before. This baby is going to be everything, mos def. Part of you, part of me, the world ain’t going to be to handle it!” laughed Jaylen. His eyes did the little dance I’d fallen in love with. I proceeded to tell Jay how late my period was and I didn’t notice because of my crazy schedule and everything else I was juggling.
Jay couldn’t stop smiling and looking at me. He put one arm around my waist and gently began rubbing his other hand across my belly. Jay knelt in front of me. “I’m getting a proposal night flashback,” I laughed. “Hello in there…I’m you’re daddy. I just wanted you to know your mama and I can’t wait to see you. If you’re a boy, I’m going to teach you everything about being a man, if you’re a girl, I’m going to teach you everything about men and to stay away from those suckas,” Jaylen spoke into my stomach. I laughed. “You’re so crazy, Jay,” I said, rubbing his head.
Jaylen looked up at me. “Everything’s going to be fine, boo. Don’t worry,” he said. “I know. I guess I need to see my doctor as soon as possible. We want to make sure everything is okay before we start telling our family and friends,” I said. “Okay, that sounds good. What day are you thinking?” asked Jaylen. “I’ll call my doctor tomorrow and make an appointment,” I answered. “Cool, just let me know, Ma. Wow, yo, I can’t believe it. I’m gonna have a little shorty running around here. Shoot, my kid is gon’ be fresh like their Daddy. I don’t know if the world can handle both you and I in one little package,” mused Jaylen, laughing. I began to laugh too. Watch out everybody, Baby Powers: Run The World.
My boo was so sweet. He’s always treated me like a queen, but he was already in caretaker mode. I followed him upstairs and watched him run me a bath. Jay asked me if I needed anything before he went to make us a little dinner. I hope he’s just as giving when my hormones start acting crazy.
My stomach was doing flip flops when I woke up this morning. I didn’t really want to say anything to Jay about how upset I was when I thought about my mother yesterday. I’m sure Jay had his own fears about becoming a father, they probably just haven’t sunk in yet. I didn’t want to burden him with my feelings about my mother yesterday.
I needed to talk to someone whose advice I could trust, who knew me and knew the situation inside and out. I longed to talk to my father, but it would have to wait until we saw the doctor.
I was able to get an appointment with my physician the following afternoon. I was extremely nervous, but I couldn’t take anything to calm my nerves. I didn’t even want to drink any decaffeinated chamomile tea.
We bypassed the waiting area and came in through a private entrance because of “who” I was. The nurse escorted Jaylen and I into an exam room. We patiently waited for my gynecologist, Dr. Davis, she was also an OB. Finally Dr. Davis arrived and greeted Jaylen and I after I introduced the two of them. “Reagan, my assistant is going to come, so we can get a sample from you,” said Dr. Davis, handing me a specimen cup.
Once I returned from peeing into the cup, Jaylen helped me back onto the exam table. After washing her hands, Dr. Davis came over to examine me. I couldn’t really tell what she was thinking from the expression on her face. Dr. Davis finished her exam and looked up and smiled at us. “Well, I can tell you are definitely, pregnant, but we’ll wait on your labs first,” she said. Jaylen leaned over to kiss me. “Yeah, boo, it’s official now,” he said, smiling. I smiled back at him, gently massaging my belly.
Dr. Davis reviewed the test results and confirmed what we already knew. There was a little baby Powers on the way. I was still dazed that there was a little person growing in me. Hearing the news from my doctor drove it all the way home. Jaylen and I were both giddy with excitement and we had about a million questions. Dr. Davis patiently sat and answered everything we could think of to ask her. She also gave us a lot of information about what to expect, the dos and don’t s, and when I should have my first OB follow up visit.
Jaylen wanted to know what if anything, he could do as the father. “Your main job, Jaylen is to support the mother. Expectant mothers need a lot of support and encouragement. You should also know that everyone will rally around the mother during the pregnancy. The mom’s attention will mostly be on the baby. Sometimes fathers can feel left out. It’s not because they’re selfish or anything. Not all men feel this way, though and it’s perfectly natural. So, in other words, yes Mommy needs attention as much as possible, but we can’t forget that Daddy does too,” said Dr. Davis.
I looked over at Jaylen. “Awwwhh, boo, just let me know if your feeling left out,” I teased him. Jaylen laughed. “Okay, I hope you just remember that when your hormones are going crazy and I’m getting on your nerves,” he replied.
“Again, congratulations. Do you have anymore questions?” asked Dr. Davis. Jaylen and I couldn’t think of anything more at the moment. Jaylen stood up to hug me. “Thank you, thank you so much, baby,” he said, nuzzling my ear.
Dr. Davis wrote me a prescription for prenatal vitamins before we left. “Maybe we can stop somewhere for lunch, Ma,” said Jaylen as we walked back to the car. “My stomach is still kind of queasy boo. I think I will just have some soup when we get home,” I replied.
Jaylen started to laugh. “What?” I asked, curious at what he found so funny. “I was just thinking about my Mom’s reaction when we tell them. She’s going to be through the moon, you already know,” replied Jaylen. I giggled a little to myself, something told me, Yuri would be just as happy as we were with the news.
I still could hardly believe that I was going to be someone’s mother. Jaylen and I discussed on the way home, how we were going to tell our parents the news. We decided to tell them at the same time in order to be fair, after all, they were all going to be grandparents. Jaylen called his parents, telling them he wanted to set up a Skype session with them, while I called my father and told him the same thing.
Within fifteen minutes we were set up in front of the computer looking at our parents’ expectant faces. “Hi, Daddy. Hi Yuri and Kevin,” I greeted them all. “Hey Gingy, how’s my baby?” asked Daddy. For a minute there, I thought he said how’s my baby? Like he was asking about his grandchild. I told myself to calm down, how could he possibly know?
“So you called us, wanting to speak to us via Skype. What’s up?” asked Yuri, with a glitter in her eye. It was almost as if she was onto our little secret. Maybe being a mother herself, she knew already. On top of that, Yuri has dropped hints about wanting a grandbaby ever since the wedding. Jaylen told me some weeks back his mother had baby fever and was eager to become a grandmother. Well, Yuri’s wish had come true. Jaylen and I looked at each other and faced the computer screen again.
“Uh, well we wanted to talk to you because, well Reagan is pregnant. You’re going to be grandparents!” announced Jaylen. We held our breath, waiting for their reactions, which was almost immediate. “I knew it! I told Kevin, the only reason y’all had all of us on here, is because you’re pregnant!” cried Yuri. I looked at my father, he looked both happy and surprised. “That’s wonderful, honey. I can’t believe it, my baby’s having a baby,” beamed Daddy. My eyes began to water. Initially, I was afraid he might think it was too soon for me to have a baby. It was possible he felt that way deep down inside, but he was hiding it very well.
We told our parents about tests yesterday and my doctor’s appointment today. Daddy wanted to know everything the doctor said about my health and my pregnancy so far. Yuri, while eager to hear the technical details too, wanted to discuss possible nursery themes, colors, baby shower ideas, names for boys and girls, pretty much the whole nine.
“Jay, you’re going to be a father now. I guess you’ll be coming to your old man for advice. Fortunately for you, you have a stellar example in me,” laughed Kevin. “Yeah, I know Pops,” replied Jaylen. Yuri continued to spit out her ideas for the baby and by the time we were ready to end the session, she already a blueprint for the first three years of our child’s life. Yuri also didn’t have any problem with reminding Jay that she told him babies come at the most unexpected times. “I know a few very good realtors that can get you top dollar for that oversized man cave high rise. A baby needs a home. We need to move on this as soon as possible. I’ll make a few calls. Reagan, sweetie, as soon as you’re feeling up to flying we can all go out looking at houses. I’ll compile a list, so you two won’t have to worry about that. Don’t worry, I’ll come out there as soon as I get the chance. I need to make some adjustments in my schedule. You’re definitely not alone!” exclaimed Yuri.
Yuri had some great ideas, but it was dizzying and way too much this early on. “Mom, Mom! Calm down, the baby ain’t coming tomorrow. We’ll worry about all of that stuff later. Don’t call any realtor right now, okay? Look, Reagan is pretty tired and she wanted to call her sister,” said Jaylen, trying to keep the frustration in his voice to a minimum.
“Sorry, son, you know how overly excited your mother can get,” laughed Kevin. I looked over at my Dad who has remained fairly quiet. He seemed to get a kick out of listening to Yuri raving and going on about the baby. Daddy wasn’t going to say too much in front of other people before speaking to me, so it didn’t surprise me, he didn’t say much. I was determined to speak to him in private as soon as I got the chance. I needed a certain kind of assurance and my father was the only who could give it to me.
“This is my grandbaby, Kevin. I’m just trying to make things as convenient as possible for everyone,” said Yuri, laughing. By the time we logged off, Yuri was making plans to come out here within the next two weeks and promised me I could count on her for anything and everything. While her offer was very generous and I did look forward to having a woman with experience around, I had a sneaking suspicion, Yuri may get just a tad overbearing. I loved my mother-in-law, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.
I remembered Bri telling me to call her when I got the chance. Instead, I decided to call Kennedey up first. Afterall, she was going to be an auntie. “Hello?” Kennedey answered on the other end. “It’s me, what are you doing?” I asked. “Just cleaning up,” replied Kennedey. I took a deep breath, I knew Ken would be happy about the news.
“So, guess who’s going to be an auntie?” I teased. I didn’t hear anything on the other end of the phone for a moment. “Oh my goodness! Rea! You’re pregnant? How? When did you find out? Does Daddy know?” Kennedey all of a sudden started firing off question after question. I began to laugh. “Whoa, chill. I think you know how. I found out yesterday. Jay and I went to the doctor and she confirmed it. Yes, Daddy knows, I just told him,” I replied. “Wow, I mean, y’all weren’t planning to have kids for a couple of years though. Boy, is this a surprise,” remarked Kennedey. “True, but things happen,” I said. “Oh, I’m so happy for you, Rea. You’re going to be a good mom and I’m going to be the auntie that spoils her nieces and nephews!” laughed Kennedey. “Yeah, and when your niece or nephew starts acting up, I’m gon’ send them right on over to your house,” I said.
I ended up staying on the phone with Kenney for over an hour. We took a very long and funny walk down memory lane. We laughed and talked about some of our earliest childhood memories. How, when we were toddlers we fought over our toys. Kennedey liked to mess with me and when I got her back, she tried to play an innocent victim. Kennedey and I wondered if it would be a boy or girl and speculated who the baby would take after. We seemed to make a conscious effort to not mention mom too much. My sister knew me well and she knew that was a sensitive subject right now. Kennedey would wait for me to come to her if I wanted to talk.
As loud as Briah screamed into my ear, I thought she was going to bust my ear drum. Needless to say Bri was very happy for me. “See? I knew you was pregnant, girl. What did I tell you? Rea Rea having a baby!” she loudly sang. I laughed at Bri’s enthusiasm. She was so supportive and I knew Bri was just as happy for as if it was her own baby.
Bri wanted to know all the details about my appointment and Jay and Daddy’s reaction. She then started talking about baby shower plans and picking out what she called “sexy” maternity wear. “Not that ugly mess they be trying to peddle to pregnant women. Why folks think just cause a woman is knocked up, she wanna be looking like Henrietta or some pilgrim?” wondered Briah. My cousin would’ve wanted to talk for the rest of the day, but I told her I was tired and needed to lay down. Which was basically true, I really was tired.
After I got off the phone with Briah and went upstairs to take nap. My stomach had other ideas before I went to sleep. So it begins.
Amarre came by the house a little later on that evening so Jay could tell him the good news to his face. “Awwwhh man, son. I can’t believe you’re going to be a dad. I’m happy for you and Reagan, Jay,” said Amarre. “Thanks, A. I know it’s crazy. We wanted to wait, but things happen. I’ve never been so excited about thing before. Getting married was one thing, but yo, this is entirely different! You’re going to be an uncle, son!” said Jaylen.
“I know. Man, I just hope if it’s a boy he looks like me,” laughed Amarre. “Um, you realize we’re twins?” replied Jay, laughing. “Yeah, but people can tell us apart now that we’re older,” said Amarre. “Whatever, yo. I’m still the cuter one of us!” said Jaylen, cracking up. Amarre later congratulated me on bringing the first grandbaby into the family. I thought that was very sweet of him to do that.
**** TWO WEEKS LATER****
As overjoyed as Jaylen and I were about out baby, I still had that nagging sensation that I wouldn’t be a competent mother and maybe I was too much like Apollonia. No, I didn’t feel like having a baby dashed any of my dreams. Matter of fact, having a baby gave me so much hope and made me happy. I just didn’t know if I would not how to “mother” a child.
Sure, I had a natural protective instinct and I always looked over Kennedey and fought off bullies and I worry about her even now. But does having that instinct make me fit to be a mother? There was only one person that could answer my questions and knew my mom better than anyone else, that was Daddy. He called me up a couple of days after I gave him the big news to tell me he would be coming for a visit.
“Hi, Baby, how are you feeling?” asked Dad. I could hear the concern in his voice. “I’ve had some morning sickness and I’m tired all the time, but other than that, I’m okay,” I replied. My father knew me better than anyone and he wasn’t buying what I was telling him.
“C’mon, Gingy. I’ve known you since you were born, I know when something is bothering you. I could see it in your face. It’s your mom, isn’t it?” he asked. I let out a deep sigh. “Yes, I don’t know what to do or to think, Daddy. You knew Mom better than us. I mean, she just never seemed ‘present’, you know what I’m saying? It was like she wanted to be somewhere else all the time. This may sound stupid, but can mothers pass along those kind of genes?” I asked, worried of what the answer might be.
“What genes, sweetie?” asked Dad. “You know, Daddy. Mom never had a desire to have kids. She didn’t really have any maternal instincts. When it came to taking care of us, she did what she was supposed to do. Then the few times she seemed interested in us, it left me so confused. Did she really love and Kennedey and I?” I anxiously wondered.
Daddy was quiet for a moment. “Reagan, listen to me. If you’re worried that you will be the same kind of mom as your mother, you won’t okay? That’s not in you Reagan. The mere fact you are so concerned for your baby, shows just how much you love that child already. You’re already thinking about how to be the best mom you can be,” replied.
“How do you know that?” I asked, wiping a tear away.”Because I know you, Reagan. You have a big heart, you love your family. You’ve learned to put others feelings ahead of your own. That doesn’t mean you’re a doormat now, it just means you don’t always think about what makes you happy and no one else,” Dad assured me.
“But…but Daddy, ‘member how you sometimes would say I had so much of Mom in me? I never really thought of that as being a good thing,” I said. “Reagan, I’ve also told your sister she has your mother in her too. The times I said that in the past, it wasn’t so much that I was saying you were a ‘bad’ person, because you’re not. To be perfectly honest, you’re mother isn’t a truly bad person deep down inside. You’re feisty like Apollonia and you have a quick tongue and wit just like her. Those things don’t mean you’re hateful or spiteful. I know you were angry for a long time and the way you acted out, mirrored some of your mother’s behavior, sure. The difference is, you felt an overwhelming sense of guilt and shame when you thought about your actions. You often didn’t channel your anger in the best possible way. That’s because you didn’t know any other way. I take much of the responsibility for that.
After she left, I should have taken into consideration you and your sister’s feelings about leaving Miami so soon and what effect it would have on you moving to a place like Appaloosa. I reasoned it was best for all of us to move, but really it was best for me because I felt the need to get away from everything that reminded me of your mom. I couldn’t escape thinking about her, though. Every time I looked at you girls and saw the pain in your faces, I saw Apollonia,” answered Dad.
“But, Daddy, you were only trying to do what you thought was best for us at the time,” I said. “Yeah, initially I thought that was true. Don’t get me wrong, I thought a change of scenery would be good for all of us, but deep down I wanted to get away and not face the problem. I knew you and your sister were suffering. I wanted to help you and I tried, but it wasn’t easy knowing how to help two teenage girls. When y’all were little, we could talk about anything, but things became a little different once you and Kennedey started growing up. I thought I was doing the right thing,” said Dad.
“You’re being too hard on yourself. You did what you had to do. You were there for us, anytime we needed you. No one is perfect, Daddy. It was a confusing time for all of us. Mom up and left you with all those responsibilities, no warning and out of the blue. You were and still are a wonderful father,” I told him. “And you’re going to be a wonderful mother, Reagan. Not all of your mother’s traits were bad, baby. You had other things in common. You both loved to dance. She was the life of any party, just like you. Apollonia had this magnetic energy that just pulled people to her. She nearly got everything she wanted, also like you,” said Dad, slightly laughing. “Yeah sure, except what she wanted more than anything else, to be a famous dancer,” I replied.
“I don’t know, Reagan. Yes, I knew your mother, but she was still somewhat of an enigma to me. There was a part of herself she never let anyone get close to. Not me, not her kids, or her family,” Dad informed me. It was surprising to hear Daddy say he didn’t know everything about Mom, although they shared a bed and a home for many years. Daddy has told us in the past how charismatic Mom was and how people tripped over themselves just to be a part of her circle. She was considered the most beautiful girl on campus. The guys went crazy over her. A lot of the girls didn’t like she got so much attention. Mom had a ton of female haters, but she kept a few hangers on who wanted some of what she had.
I’ve also heard stories of her being downright vicious back in college. Our father never really talked about that, he saw Mom through rose colored glasses at the time. I asked Daddy before how mom managed to keep friends since she alienated her family. Was it fear or love, I wondered? The tea I heard about Apollonia and her ability to cut someone down to their very knees with her mouth, made it seem as if I were spewing sonnets to the people, who unfortunately were on the other end of the Reagan Leeds clap back. I had no interest in acting out like that now, but most De-Sais had that capability, even Kennedey.
“Gingy, bottom line is, yes, you have your mother in you, that’s inevitable, she’s a part of you. But what she did and how she acted while you girls were growing up, is nowhere in your bones, okay? That will never be you, sweetheart. There’s no book on how to be a parent, Gingy, it’s trial and error. This baby is going to know nothing but unconditional love. Not just from you and Jay, but from me, Kenney, and the family on both sides. I need you to know that, okay, Reagan?” Dad, emphasized the question. I held back the tears I felt coming on. I was quiet for a moment. “Okay, Daddy, okay,” I furiously nodded. Daddy and I stood up. I wrapped my arms around him, squeezing tightly. “Thank you, Daddy. I love you so much,” I said. “I know baby, and I love you too,” he replied.
I felt a lot better after talking to Daddy. What he said made a lot of sense and his assurance gave me a lot of hope. He was definitely right about the love I already for my baby. I curled up with Jaylen on the sofa in the den. Daddy was out for the evening, he went to have dinner with Kennedey and Micah.
“You feeling okay, Ma?” asked Jaylen. “Yeah, I’m just sleepy. I know it’s only seven, but I feel like I haven’t had any sleep in days,” I replied, starting to doze off. “I guess that’s just the way the body is telling you to rest. Carrying a baby takes a lot out of a woman, from what I read,” said Jaylen. “That’s true,” I said sleepily. I thought it was so cute when Jay went out and bought all these pregnancies the day we found out about the baby. I purchased some of my own too and I’ve been doing a lot of research online. Jaylen gently massaged the small of my back. “I love you, Reagan, you and the baby are everything to me,” he said softly. “I know, me too,” I agreed before drifting off to sleep.
The woman sat at her table, turning on her computer. Tapping her long finger nails, she waited for her slow internet connection to load the page she was searching for.
Isla Paradiso Herald Arts Review
Grand Opening of The Leeds Gallery Wows The Islands
By Isaiah Mallard, staff writer
“I recently had a chance to attend the grand opening of Isla Paradiso’s newest art gallery, The Leeds Gallery. I met Kennedey Leeds who’s a newcomer on the art scene. With so many trends coming and going in the art world, it’s refreshing to see someone so young who seems grounded in her artistic expression and vision. Kennedey Leeds isn’t simply creating art that is popular in the moment, only to change her vision with the tides. Miss. Leeds informed that she chose to display her work derived from many countries in Africa first for the opening. She plans on displaying more of her pieces she considers “abstract expressionism” in the future. Miss. Leeds’ aesthetic is powerfully descriptive in both her use of color and technique. She has a gift of juxtaposing different…”
After reading the review of Kennedey Leeds’ gallery opening, she logged off the internet and quietly shut down the computer.
***Author’s note, I would like to reiterate, that at no time did Reagan not “want” her baby. Because of her experiences growing up with Apollonia, Reagan feared she wouldn’t be a good mother. Apollonia and Reagan felt very differently when they found out they were expecting their first child, respectively. Thankfully, Reagan was able to talk to her father and he calmed her fears.
***Reagan did conceive her baby in the hot tub in my actual game. Some of you may already know, she’s been a mother for quite some time now.
***I don’t proclaim that the art cc in Kennedey’s gallery is my own. My own cc “The Ebony Woman” that’s displayed has been seen in Reagan’s and other character’s homes in my story.