I whispered to Jonah as we stood outside of his mom's house. It was Friday night and Jonah had just proposed the night before. Of course, I called my parents as soon as we'd gotten home that night. They were beyond ecstatic. But, since Jonah's family was so close by he wanted to tell them in person.
“You know, you'd think that by being on live T.V every night things like this wouldn't make you nervous.” I smirked as I watched him repeatedly fix his shirt. “Jonah, you look fine.”
“It's a Jewish mother thing, you wouldn't understand.” He exhaled a deep breath before knocking on the door. “They literally obsess over marriage the minute you're born.”
“Well I guess Jewish boys have that in common with Southern girls.” I joked and Jonah finally managed to crack a smile.
The minute we heard the door knob turning the nerves jumped straight from Jonah to me. I reached down and grabbed his hand and he squeezed it tight.
The front door hadn't even swung completely open before Anna had practically jumped into Jonah's arms. I let go of his hand and stood back. She was a tiny frail woman compared to him, but she still some how managed to devour him into a hug.
“Congratulations!!” She squealed with excitement! “Oh, my sweet boy! My baby's a grown man now!”
I giggled to myself as Jonah shot me a look of confusion. He hugged her back and tried to calm her down. “Ma” He said politely, but she was still covering his face in kisses. “Ma!” he said it a bit louder this time finally catching her attention.
“Oh, Joni” Her head tilted back to look up at him while her hands softly cradled his face.“You just made me the happiest mother!”
“Oh my, God, Ma!” Jonah began laughing at the ridiculousness of the situation. He was nervous about sharing the news and she'd already known this whole time. “How did you know?”
“Let's see” She pretended like she was thinking about it to emphasize her sarcasm. “You asked your sisters to be here for dinner on a random Friday night.”
Jonah laughed and gave her another hug “Yeah, I guess I kinda gave it away with that, huh?”
Anna shook her head as she leaned out of the hug.“Maybe if you came over more often you wouldn't have spoiled the surprise!”
“Oh, come on, Ma. I'm here all the time!”
“Lynn!” Anna broke her tunnel vision away from Jonah and noticed that I was standing a step away. She threw her hands up and embraced me into a hug. “Mazel Tov, my dear!” She kissed my cheeks and held my chin as she spoke to me. “I've prayed every day since Jonah was born that he'd find the perfect wife...”
Jonah brushed his shoulder against mine. “See, I told you.” he whispered
“...And I couldn't be happier that it's someone as sweet, beautiful, and caring as you.” She gave me another hug. One that was so bone crushingly tight that I could actually feel her emotions. She let go and looked at me one last time. “My God, you look so radiant tonight, absolutely stunning.”
“Wow” I tried to smile, but I couldn't because my lips just wouldn't stop trembling. I did that weird thing where you close your eyes and pout until your face muscles start cramping. I tried to say, “That's the nicest thing anyone's ever said to me.” But, instead, I began crying and it came out more like “That...nicest...said...to...me” With gasping breaths interjected between each word.
I covered my face with my hand to hide my ugly cry. “Babe” I heard Jonah's calming voice as he tried to loosen my hand from my face.
“Oh, honey!” I felt Anna's hand rub my shoulder. Both she and Jonah wrapped their arms around me and gave me a hug.
I apologized profusely once I was able to finally catch my breath. “I don't know what's gotten into me. I never use to cry like this” I tried to explain while wiping away my tears. “But, I've been crying like a baby since Jonah proposed.”
“These Cohen men” Anna shook her head trying to cheer me up. “They can do that to you!”
We went inside where Anna had a few pre-dinner snacks ready for us while we waited on Casey to pick Amanda up from the airport. I went to the powder room and tried to salvage what little mascara I had left on my lashes.
I heard a knock on the door before Jonah peered in. There were sounds of dishes clanking against each other around the corner. Jonah whispered asking if I was okay. I told him everything was fine, but he hesitated to believe me.
I fixed my makeup up and joined Anna in the kitchen. She made Jonah's favorite Italian chicken with what looked like a million sides. I helped her plate all the food and set the dinner table when Amanda and Casey finally showed up. They had the same reaction as Anna.
Amanda came flying through the door and snatched my hand to see the ring. “Ho-ly shit!” She squealed once she saw the ring. “Who knew Joni had it in him!”
“Very funny, you knuckle head” Jonah pushed Amanda's head causing her to stumble back.
Casey took the opportunity to push Amanda out of the way completely. “Let me see! Let me see!”
I couldn't help but laugh. Every time I came to Jonah's family's place I always felt a sense of love and admiration that I'd been lacking in other parts of my life. My parents were always working, or going to social events, so our house was empty growing up. It never really bothered me, I mean, it still doesn't. I just never knew what it felt like to have so many people around.
“Ma, did you tell them?” Jonah asked trying to pull Casey away from my hand. He'd gone into a sudden defensive mode.
Amanda responded instead,“We figured it out when you asked us all to be here for dinner.”
“Is it that obvious?” Jonah shook his head.
Casey let go of my hand and consulted Jonah. She placed her hand on his shoulder. “When you barely ever come home and you have a pretty little girlfriend, it kinda makes it obvious.”
Jonah shrugged her hand off his shoulder. “Case, how much more am I suppose to come home? I'm here all the time!”
She smiled and squinted her eyes at him as she patted his face. “Mazel Tov, baby bro.” Casey turned to me, “I'm really not surprised, Lynn. I knew you'd be my sister since the moment Jonah started talking about you.” She gave me a hug.
“I feel like I should wish you luck more than anything else” Amanda chimed in. “Jonah's annoying as hell.”
“Trust me, I know.” I smiled at Jonah. Amanda and I both laughed and high fived as he rolled his eyes. “But, he's also perfect in every way” I pulled Jonah towards me and gave him a kiss. He smiled between kisses knowing Amanda was totally hating this.
“Okay, gross” Amanda walked to her seat at the dinner table. “That is not how I saw this ending.”
The rest of dinner was spent telling embarrassing stories about Jonah. Anna was the only one defending him, but even she had a story to add in from time to time. Casey and Amanda insisted I tell one too as an “initiation” to the family. Jonah took it like a true champ. He laughed along and occasionally told it from his point of view.
After dinner we sat around the living and continued our conversations. It was starting to get late and Amanda was exhausted from her flight, so she headed to bed early. It started a domino effect and slowly, one by one, everyone left until it was just Jonah and I snuggling on the couch.
I stood up and began stretching. It'd been an exhausting night. “I think we should go. Everyone's asleep.”
Jonah yawned. “I don't think I can make the drive back. Why don't we just stay here tonight?” He asked as he ruffled his collar away from his neck. He looked completely different than when he walked into the house. A lot more relaxed. The top few buttons of his shirt were unbuttoned, his hair was messy, but still adorable, and his shirt was almost untucked from his slacks.
I smiled at him and agreed. I was exhausted too.
As I waited for Jonah to get up I fiddled with the record player. I remember Jonah telling me it belonged to his dad. And how when he was a kid he'd always wake up at night to find his parents dancing in the living room.
He walked up behind me when he noticed my fascination with the records. His body was pressed up against my back as his arms slide around my waist. I held my hands over his. “Tonight was perfect.” He whispered and kissed my neck.
“You know what would make it better?” I whispered back. He pulled away when I looked at him. “If you danced with me.” His grin grew from ear to ear. It was always his request to dance, but tonight it was my turn to ask.
He held my hand as he raised it over my head and spun me around. My dress perfectly circled around me and I couldn't help but smile. He placed his hands on the small of my back as mine rested around his shoulders and slowly, without sound, we began dancing.
“Heaven, I'm in heaven” Jonah quietly sang in my ear. “And my heart beats so that I can hardly speak.” His voice was so sweet and melodic we didn't even need the music. “And I seem to find the happiness I seek.” He kissed my head where his was resting. “When we're out together dancing cheek to cheek.”
I could feel tears forming in my eyes. I'd been so irritated every time I felt myself crying, but not this time. This time it felt natural.
I quickly blinked back the tears when Jonah and I caught Anna in the doorway. She was smiling and blinking her eyes just as I was.
“That was the last song I danced to with your father.” She said to Jonah.
“I know” He smiled.“You danced to Sinatra's cover of the song.”
Anna smiled, dazed by the memory. “Your father would be proud.”
“I have a lot to thank him for.” I nudged Jonah. “He made you into the perfect husband without you knowing. And I'm sure they'll be days in the future when his impression continues to influence you.”
“I have no doubt about that.” Anna came up to Jonah and I and gave each of us a kiss on the cheek. “You're already like him by marrying a woman smarter than you.” Jonah blushed as we laughed.
We left Anna's house early the next morning. Both Jonah and I had work to catch up on. We spent most of the weekend avoiding what was really on our minds: My doctor's appointment.
I couldn't believe it was just a few days ago that I was panicking to know whether I was pregnant or not. And even though I still didn't know, I couldn't have felt more calm. Like, everything that happened in the last few days was suppose to ease me into knowing.
The weekend past without our knowledge, and before we knew it Jonah and I were sitting in my doctor's office waiting to hear the news. We sat alone and quietly stared at the wall of vagina posters. Or maybe I was unconsciously staring at them while Jonah awkwardly stared at the floor. I can't really remember.
Every now and then my leg would start shaking, causing the thin sheet of paper between my leg and the exam table to make a crinkling noise. Jonah would place his hand on my knee to calm me down. But, the minute he let go it would happen all over again.
Jonah's grip on my knee tightened when we heard the door knob turning. He didn't realize he was doing it until I placed my hand over his and he let go, grabbing my hand instead.
“We have some great news!” Dr. Adler, a petite brunette with an unnaturally loud voice, walked into the room announcing.
Jonah and I perked up and stared at one another with wide eyes. “Great news, how?” I asked and continued talking a mile a minute the way I always do when I'm nervous. “Like great news you can go about your regular life? Or great news your life is about to change forever? Because honestly I've thought long and hard about it and I'm ready for either.”
Dr. Adler laughed at my nervousness. She'd seen this one too many times.
“You are?” Jonah asked. “Because I'm ready for either if you are.”
“So you're ready to have a family?” My chest was rising and falling heavily without my consent. We really should have had this conversation before.
Jonah stood up next to me and rubbed my back. “I am.” He said without a flinch of regret. “So, what's it gonna be?”
“Yes, Dr. Adler, please tell me or else you're gonna have to send me to the emergency room!”
Jonah and I squeezed each others hand and I stared at her in a way that I've never looked at anyone. Fearful...anxious...hopeful...scared.
She folded her arms across her chest and paused for a moment, curling in her lip. Dr. Adler gave us one last look before she smiled and broke the news.
“Congratulations, you're pregnant!”