Several weeks ago we were invited to a friend’s birthday party which was located on a piece of private beach attached to their neighborhood community center. The open aired structure and bbq area sit atop a grassy hill that slops downwards towards a beautiful stretch of beach. Directly across the passage of water, tree covered and looking gloriously earthy as the waters of the Puget Sound lap around its shores, rests the island of Vashon. According to trusty old Wikipedia, Vashon Island is the largest island in the Puget Sound, measuring in at a whopping thirty-seven square miles. There are no bridges connecting the island to the main land, a factor that heavily plays into the islands very rural feel.
Several decades ago Vashon Island was known for its agriculture, most notably its strawberry crops. With the increase in residential development came the decrease in crops and, from what I understand, other than the occasional and personal berry crop the strawberry fields of yesteryears are gone. This small detail, however, does not stop the fine folk of Vashon to continue with their traditional and yearly Strawberry Festival, which is held every July.
And so in the year 2005 in the later part of July and completely unaware of the extinction of these fine and delicious strawberry fields, Husband and I made the pilgrimage to the Vashon Island Strawberry Festival. We envisioned fields of strawberry plants, arranged in neat and tidy rows, their ruffled leaves bobbing gently up and down in the salty breeze, stretching out as far as our eyes could see. Our mouths watered with the thought of U-pick strawberries, red and soft, sweet and tasting of sun infused nature.
What we got instead was a baby.
For it was that after we consoled ourselves with a disappointing strawberry margarita or two upon the realization that there was not a single fresh strawberry to be had at this sham of a Strawberry Festival, our conversation turned to babies. We had been having “the talk” for quite some time. Together as a couple for ten years and as a married couple for three of those, the sticking point had always been a sense of unreadiness, mostly in the financial department. We were doing alright and even regularly tucking monies away for that ever elusive time referred to as retirement. But a baby? Well, everyone knows those are expensive.
We lounged in the grass at the park watching the festival goers mill about eating festival foods and listening to festival music. There was a distinct lack of strawberry all around us. We talked of starting a family, of babies, and of how perhaps we would never really feel ready. After a pregnant pause (ha!), I looked at Husband and said something to the effect that is was time. Just like that. We walked hand in hand to the bus stop and waited along with a small group people for the bus that would take us back to the ferry.
Four months later I was pregnant.
And so while at our friend’s birthday party, looking out across the water at Vashon Island, I commented that that was the place where it all started, where we had decided that it was time to have a baby. Carter was standing nearby and overheard. He looked over at the forested piece of land separated from us by the Puget Sound, his eyes wide.
“So that is where babies come from,” he said. It was not a question, but spoken as fact with the awe one gives to a mystery unraveled. We let his statement hang in the evening air, neither one of us wanted to break the spell, neither one of us wanting to publically explain the origin of babies.
So yeah, babies come from Vashon Island, in case you were wondering. I am glad I could clear that up for you.