Thursday, September 23, 2010

Everybody wants to be closer to free.

He had decided I looked like Jennifer Love Hewitt.

Which I sort of do, in that she has two arms and brown hair and I also have two arms and brown hair. 

But really, the resemblance ends there.

I think his name was Mike.  Or Ed.  He asked for my number and I gave it to him, thinking that I needed to be open to meeting All Kinds Of People.  I figured I had nothing to lose.  He was nice, he liked to read, and he had a job.  Why not?

"Jennifer Laaaaaane.  Jennifer Laaaaaaane HEW-IT" was how he greeted me when I met up with him at the bar.  Think Rob Schneider on SNL "makin' copies."

And THAT would be why not.

It wasn't that I had anything against Jennifer Love Hewitt.  It was her Party of Five character, Sarah, that I couldn't stand.

Because she was TOTALLY unworthy of Bailey Salinger's love.

I, on the other hand, was really very worthy.

Oh, Bailey.  Poor, orphaned Bailey.  I would have listened to ALL of your whining about your incredibly annoying sisters and hot brother.  And that other baby/kid, too.  I would have stayed by your side when you battled your alcoholism.  I would have Been There For You when Charlie had cancer.  I would have ALWAYS had faith in you, Bailey.  *cue a slow jam by The Cranberries*

I would have made you a seriously awesome mix tape, complete with my own (really bad) artwork.  I didn't hand out mix-tapes to any old boy, you know.  Not everyone was deemed worthy.  I put serious time and effort into the making of a mix tape, each song carefully selected for it's message, the balance of each side weighed out to give it just the right sound and feel.  The making of a good mix tape took hours to compile.  It would have been my very SOUL in music form, Bailey. 

I would have even written you a poem.  I was really good at writing really bad poetry.  Once I even wrote my boyfriend a sonnet.

Like with iambic pentameter.

And a RHYMING mothereffing COUPLET, yo. 

It was horrible.  And, in retrospect, hilarious.  And it could have been yours, if it wasn't for the Sarah-loving.

Also, the being pretend thing.  But THAT IS SO NOT THE POINT.   

I get that Sarah was cute and all that.  But honestly, didn't that doe-eyed, wholesome thing get annoying after a while?  And what the hell was wrong with the girls in your life, Bailey, that none of them could speak?  They would sputter and stammer, but between Julia, Claudia, and Sarah, I don't think you could have made a full sentence between them.  I, however, can speak in sentences that include a subject AND a predicate.

I would have been way more fun, Bay.  I would have told you dirty jokes and had Star Wars marathons with you.

Star Wars, dude.   WITH TOP GUN FOR DESSERT.

Whatever, Bailey.  You missed out.  Instead I was left to sit at a bar next to Ed.  Or Mike.

Jennifer Laaaaane.  Jennifer Laaaane HEW-IT.  Drinkin' the beers.  And losing Ed's number.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

"All your life, you were only waiting for this moment to arise."

Once upon a time, a boy was growing inside of me.

This boy did not come to be easily. There were tears, there were questions, there were doubts. There were pills and classes and needles and nurses who held my hand while I shut my eyes tight against the glaring light of a cold, unfeeling room. Life was marked in days: day 3 bloods, day 7 bloods, day 10 bloods and ultrasound, day 12 ultrasound, day 14 bloods and ultrasound, lather, rinse, repeat. There were little pieces of plastic glaring their white blank stares back at me, thrown against the wall and then later dug out of the trash, pulled apart, and held up to the light of the window in a desperate search for some kind of sign.

Please, I offered up from my knees on the bathroom floor.

Please, I whispered while laying on the crinkly white paper of my doctor’s exam table.

Please, I begged silently while planting a soft kiss on the fuzzy head of my friend’s newborn.

Soon I stopped asking for a baby. I started asking, instead, for patience. For grace and acceptance. For forgiveness for whatever sin it was I had committed so heinous as to deny me the one thing I wanted more than anything. I looked to logic and science because emotion and soul were failing me.

And then he was there.

He was a small white flicker of a heartbeat on a grainy screen.

As he grew, I waited for the relief to sweep over me. But it didn’t come. I worried about all that I couldn’t see. Each time I visited the doctor I held my breath anxiously until I heard the reassuring heavy gallop of his heartbeat. I counted kicks. I thought about the umbilical cord and pushed words like knot out of my mind.

Please, I offered up in the middle of the night, rubbing my round belly.

Please, I whispered while standing in his empty, waiting nursery.

Please, I begged silently through three hours of pushing, please, little one. Please.

And then he was there.

As I rest his soft downy cheek against my own tear stained one, I closed my eyes, breathed him in, and offered up the only words I had left.

Thank you.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Monkey on My Back (Make Mine a 3-pack)

I can feel the woman in the line next to me staring.

Shut up, lady, I tell her via telepathy.  Apparently my telepathy doesn't work in CVS though, because she continues scoping out the contents of my basket.

To show that I know she's looking at me AND MY STUFF, I stare not at her, but at HER stuff. 

Batteries, light bulbs, box of hair dye.


And we have a winner.  

She hugs her stuff to her chest and looks away, which begs the question, why, Lube Lady, are you judging me and my items when you've got a big ole tube of Astroglide in your hand?  Not that there's anything wrong with that, you know, rock out with your...self...out.  But really.  I take my things out of the basket and put them on the counter.

Box of 3 pregnancy tests.

Box of tampons.

(This is called hedging your bets, people.)

And finally, a 1-lb bag of M&Ms. 

Because either way,  I'm going to need some chocolate in order to deal.

"Um, can you not put that in the bag?" I ask the cashier after he scans the pregnancy tests.

He slides them across to me.  I slip them into my purse and feel Lube Lady's eyes on me again as I resist the urge to explain to her and the cashier dude and the rest of the people in line at CVS that my husband thinks it's absurd to buy pregnancy tests unless you're, like, really REALLY not sure and not just a little unsure.  He's more of the 'If a baby arrives 9 months later, then you're pregnant; otherwise, it's too soon to tell' school of thought.

And any woman who has ever ovulated EVER can tell you that THAT is just ridiculous.

Because, and I know I'm not alone in this, there is something slightly addictive involved in taking a home pregnancy test.  Now somewhere in the world I'm sure there are women who give themselves a nice two-week window of lateness before saying, "Gee, hmmmmmm.  That's weird.  Maybe I'll go and buy ONE pregnancy test, use it, read the results within the clearly defined time limits, and then, when there is not an obvious second line, discard the test, satisfied in my knowledge that I am not, in fact, pregnant."

I'm not one of those women.

Nope, I'm the one who, at a minute and half past the expected time, is standing in line at CVS stuffing a 3-pack of First Response Early Detection into my purse under the watchful eye of Lube Lady, while trying to mentally calculate the possible damage my hypothetical third child may have incurred over the past 14 days:  beer, wine, coffee, Advil, tuna, x-rays.  Poor kid.   

The crazy train, however, doesn't TRULY pull into the station until I get home, at which point I immediately lock myself in the bathroom, rip open the package, take the test, and then shove it under the sink so as to not be tempted to look at it before the three minute mark.

This is really super helpful.

For about 30 seconds.

So I pull the test out to make sure it's working.  And then...well...guess what?

I think I see something.

Now this is probably when a normal person might put the test down and WAIT FOR THE REMAINING TWO AND A HALF MINUTES.

But I like to take this opportunity to get up-close-and-personal with my test.  I take it to the window to look at it in natural light.  I tip it forward.  I tip it back towards me.  I find a south-facing window for the very best, most accurate light.  I squint and peer and make my eyes all fuzzy and then re-focused. 

Ohmygod I really think that maybe I might see a very light hint of something.

Around this time my head starts to hurt from all of this squinting and natural light, so I will decide that it's probably nothing and throw it in the trash.

Where I will leave it.

For approximately five minutes.

And then I will not only dig that puppy out, but I will actually TAKE IT APART. 

That right there is probably the step that separates me from the casual home-pregnancy-test-taker and puts me in with the SERIOUSLY HARDCORE TESTERS.   

In my defense, if it IS a really, really, really super faint, brand-new, only-a-nanosecond-pregnant shadow of pink tinge, then sometimes you have to strip away all that extra plastic and REALLY GET A GOOD LOOK.  And this is the hook, the addictive aspect; the maybe, the I-just-don't-know, the I think I see something.  I just need to look better, harder, closer... what, after a good 6-12 hours of checking and rechecking, I finally admit is simply a plain white strip with a single pink line.

Which is good. 

I guess.

See, I KNEW I'd need those damn M&Ms.