After we left the sand dunes, we still had a long drive ahead of us. We settled in and hit the road for the last time that week.
We drove until we came to the Capulin Volcano in New Mexico, and stopped for one last adventure along the way. I'd never seen the inside of a volcano before. We paid $5 and they made us leave as soon as I took one picture because a storm was moving in, and the volcano is struck by lighting on a regular basis.
We also stopped at the tiny country store to pick up a souvenir and give thanks that we didn't live in a small town in the middle of nowhere. We spent our time browsing the store, listening to a customer complain to the cashier that Obama was a Muslim terrorist. She was in a wheelchair, and looked like she was living off the government. Irony.
We drove a few more hours until the mountains started to disappear, and everything started to look like home, again.
Finally, around 10:30 at night, we were home. We kissed the cats hello and climbed in our comfy bed for the night.
While we were away, my Mom had filled our fridge with all my favorites. Homemade yogurt, a fresh loaf of bread she baked, khoresth badam joon, and plates full of veggies from our garden - it had been busy growing while we were busy hiking.
Nothing feels better than coming home, again. I will leave and see every bit of the Earth just to have that feeling of home, after a long week away.
When we got back, I felt like I was a different person. Physically, I felt like I could run a marathon after what my body had been through. I would hop on Elsie and ride 20 miles without breaking a sweat, and I was excited to see where my body could take me over the next few months.
My huge surprise came Sunday morning, when I decided to take a pregnancy test. My period was two days late, and I couldn't shake the feeling that we had brought something more than pine cones and pictures home from Colorado, that week.
It was July 25th, 2010, and my life changed forever.
Later I would tell Michael that I wanted to remember everything about that moment. The way I felt, his reaction, the way the sun was coming through our bedroom windows. It would be our only first time to live in that moment - the one where we found out that in 9 months, we would be parents.
The story goes that I took the test alone. I didn't want to stir up any unnecessary feelings if there was nothing to even fuss about.
But there was something to fuss about, and I panicked, trying to think of any way to tell Michael.
So I did what I've always known how to do. I wrote him a letter.
I typed it in notepad, in tiny typewriter font after I got home from my bike ride. I left it on the bed and asked him to come in the room while I hid in the bathroom. He picked it up, furred brow, and I buried my face in a towel, not knowing what to expect. And he smiled. And shuffled on his feet like he does when something makes him so happy that his emotions can't keep up with the anchors at the bottom of his legs.
He came to pick me up, and kissed my head. He called me Mama.
It was been 4 months since we've been home from Colorado, and I wrote him that letter. Little baby, we still can not wait to show you the world.
On a trip into the middle of nowhere, we were forced to find ourselves in these rocky mountains and lungs full of fresh, cool air. When you are older, I will pull out these photos. One week spent pushing myself to places I didn't know I could go. All to get ready for you, baby. One day, when you are older, I will tell you all about the story of us.