1974 was an emotional rollercoaster of a year for Carol Brady. Not only did her eldest son, Greg, graduate high school and enroll in college, but her husband Mike traveled for work a lot that year. The extra money Mike made did little to help Carol's lonliness for her husband. He only came home one week each month and everytime those weeks had gone by in the blink of an eye. How she wished for the life she had before when she could look forward to her husband coming home every night at five on the dot and having a house full of young children to distract her. Now there was nothing for her to look forward to in the evenings and most of her children were out working their after-school jobs, on dates or having dinner at their friend's houses.
By September, she had begun to get sick. Every morning she would throw up and get such waves of depression that she would stay in bed. Alice would make sure the kids got up in time, served them breakfast, and got them out the door. Carol didn't know what she would have done had Alice not been there by her side. She felt horrible for feeling like she was such a burden but she didn't know what to do to snap her out of this funk.
"Mrs. Brady," Alice said to her one day. "I think you should go see the doctor."
"I think you're right," Carol agreed. "I just don't feel like going by myself and I don't want to ask the children to take me because I don't want them to worry anymore than they already are."
"I'll go with you," Alice bargained. "I may not be able to drive you there but I could always call a taxi, no problem."
"You would really do that for me, Alice?"
"You bet, Mrs. Brady! I consider you a great friend and I would do anything to help you out."
"God bless you, Alice."
Like a true friend, Alice scheduled an appointment for Carol and with the taxi only one call away, Carol was hopefully going to be on the road for some kind of recovery. Carol had described her symptoms of depression, her nausea that especially hit her in the mornings and her loss of appetite. The doctor had ordered bloodwork and gave her a run of the mill phsyical. Her phsyical went fine but they wouldn't get results until the next morning for the bloodwork. He wasn't worried too much about her emotional state which surprised Carol because that was her number one concern. The doctor just told her to rest when she must but to concentrate on hobbies she enjoyed such as walks in the park or maybe painting. Carol just sighed as she thanked the doctor and headed home with Alice in the taxi.
Once they were home,she thought about her doctor's advice and decided that she should start on an idea for a Christmas present to her husband: a scrapbook. They had tons of pictures of the kids when they were babies and she thought it would be a wonderful sentimental thing to give to her husband. Carol got to work right away and after a few hours she began to feel a lot better. Huh, she thought, maybe the doctor was right after all.
That next morning, she was almost completed with her scrapbook. She stared at the last page in the back wondering what in the world should she put on that very last page when the phone rang. It was the doctor's office with congraulatory news of her pregnancy.
"What?!" She exclaimed on the phone.
"I had a feeling you were but I wanted the results to speak for themselves," the doctor explained. "Sometimes the depression can be a silent red flag for pregnancy along with nausea and loss of appetite. By calculations, you are at five weeks so you're still early along."
"That makes perfect sense," Carol said as she counted in her head the weeks since Mike had been home. "Thank you so much!"
As she hung up the phone, there was a knock on the door. It was Alice and she had an apprehensive look on her face that immeadiately softened as she saw the smile on Carol's face.
"I'm pregnant, Alice."
"Oh, Mrs. Brady!"
Alice ran to her and flung her arms around her. Carol laughed and kissed her friend on the cheek.
"You see that scrapbook over there?" Carol asked as she pulled away from Alice.
"Yes," Alice replied as she wiped away happy tears.
"That's going to be Mike's Christmas present this year and I was going crazy thinking about what I should do for the last page and now I know."
"That's beautiful, Mrs. Brady. Are you going to tell them on Christmas?"
"I think so. That's only a couple of months away and that way the due date won't be so far off for the children."
"Don't you worry about me, Mrs. Brady. I can keep a secret."
Christmas morning of 1974 was as warm and welcoming as any. All six of the brady kids were under one roof again and Mike was there, too. Though today was the day that Carol and Alice were anticipating for months. Mike had noticed something antsy about his wife's demeanor that morning.
"Are you okay?" He asked her.
"Yes, I just have a special gift for you," Carol replied, beaming.
"Well, let me see, honey," he said with an eager in his voice.
"Okay," she said as she went to grab the scrapbook from her special hiding place under the tree. The kids looked on in silence as their mother handed their father the surprise gift. Mike unwrapped it with a smile.
"Oh, it's a scrapbook," Mike stated the obvious with please.
"See it from start to finish," Carol said.
By that time, all the kids gathered around to look on with Mike as they went through their baby pictures one page at a time. "Oohs," "Aahs," and laughs were a plenty until they reached the last page. The last page was decorated with pink and blue balloon stickers with a big purple number seven right in the center. In blue colored glue, Carol had written, "Coming in June, 1975." All the kids mouths gaped open as Mike threw the scrapbook on the table and put his face in his hands. Carol shooed the kids out of the way as she knelt down to see her husband.
"We're going to have a baby, Mike," she said as she tugged his hands away from his face.
"I know," he said as tears streamed down his face. He gently grabbed the back of his wife's head and held it close to his chest. "I love you, Carol."
"I love you, too," she said as she kissed him.
"Congratulations, mom," Greg said as he knelt down to kiss his mom and it wasn't long before the other kids followed suit. They all took turns hugging and kissing while telling them that they loved one another. It was Christmas as it should be.