The light turned green and I turned left onto Route 114. I've always hated driving with someone from my immediate family in the passenger's seat--call it a fear of being judged, but I just crumble under the pressure. Accordingly, my left hand turn was a rather ginger one, full of thoughts of Driver's Ed and several unnecessary head checks to all of my blind spots. Once safely on the road, I resumed the conversation I'd been having with Becky, my older sister.
"So, you and Scott are trying to start a family?"
"Well, we're at the 'if something happens, cool, if not, okay' stage"
"Are you okay with that?"
"I want it more than him right now I guess. I dunno." I caught her shrugging her shoulders and staring out the window in my peripheral vision. We drove along in silence, she thinking the loudest thoughts I'd ever heard and I paying careful attention to the speedometer, making sure not to go too fast on the straight, flat road. The whooshing of trees passing by the car was the only sound until Becky broke the silence again, "I do have some names I'd like though," she said with a sparkle in her eye.
"Oooo, tell me!"
"Well, we were thinking Charlie for a boy, for Grampa, you know..."
"And for a girl?"
"Ali Sophia. Scott's grandmother's name was Ali, but do you think it would be confusing with the spelling? Should it be one 'l' or two? Cause I don't want her going through school and everyone thinking it's pronounced 'Al-eee'."
I continued to speed down the road, my thoughts now focused more on thoughts of little baby girls and all the hypothetical doting I would do on Becky and Scott's hypothetical daughter. "Ha, like in 'Aladdin'. No, I think they'll get the idea whatever way you spell it. It's a rite of passage to have your name scrutinized in school anyways. How did Scott's grandmother spell it?"
"I don't know...are you going to stop for this light?"
My thoughts drifted back from the land of pink tu-tus and hair ribbons to focus on the light which had once been green, was now yellow, and was currently threatening to turn red at any second. I slammed on the brake pedal, the anti-lock brake system kicked in and Becky braced herself against the dashboard while I muttered some rather un-Christian terms under my breath. The car skidded to a stop directly under the traffic light, halfway out into the three-way intersection. I looked to my left and met eyes with the driver of a blue pickup truck who held a Dunkin Donuts cup in his hand and a look of unbelief in his eyes. "Uhhh....." I sputtered (seriously, it's the pressure...I'd never missed a yellow light in my life up until that point).
"Ugh, just go, it's pointless to stop now!" Becky scolded.
I picked up what was left of my pride and continued down the road, leaving some rubber on the pavement as a memento of our distracting conversation.
Partly out of curiosity and partly out of the need to change the subject from the lecture that would have ensued if I hadn't, I asked the only question I knew would distract Becky from what had just happened, "So, when do you think you'll actually start this family?..."
Two years later: Alli Christine Hanson was born on June 27th at 7:52pm Eastern time, coming in at a hearty 8lbs 10oz. Mother, Baby, and new Father are all doing well, and the new Auntie (who is perched safely in front of a computer and not behind a steering wheel) can think once more of bows and dresses.