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I have not been able to write about last weekend’s trip to see my parents.  I haven’t been able to process it yet, and vast amounts of crap from my parents are still in my car, waiting to be processed in their own way. 

On the way home from R.I., we stopped in the sleepy hamlet of the Bronx to visit a friend from college, who now has a 4 month old daughter.  We played with the baby, ignored our crying, crated puppy, and caught up on college suite-mate gossip.  The baby is adorable, alert, smiley, and engaging.  She barely fussed, and is much cuter than her Facebook photos could have let on. 

As always, when I am with a baby – my nephew, a friend’s baby, or a baby-in-utero (a pregnant friend/coworker) – I am able to separate the child from my own potential child, lost in miscarriage.  I do not blame the child in front of me.  I am able to play with him/her, share in the joy of the parents/grandparents/mother-to-be.  Am I horribly jealous?  Sure.  But just as I’ve been keeping my personal life private for many years, I dare not share my true feelings with the mom or the child.  I do not allow myself to become weepy, though I may get a little melancholy after our visit. 

Little H.’s mom is a modern Orthodox Jew.  As such, she is expected to be fruitful and multiply.  While her lifestyle is a far cry from the baby-a-year families of more traditional Judaism, she has still endured many well-intentioned inquiries as to her womb’s status almost immediately after her wedding.  As we sat and played with little H., her mom asked me, as Mr. Apron and I have been married longer than she has, if people have stopped “asking” us yet, if they’ve stopped hinting, or looking suspiciously at my belly, or if our parents have stopped slipping us how-to books under the door.  Reluctantly, and a little sadly, I assured her they have stopped nagging.

What I didn’t say, though, was the reason our families do not ask.  Given that perfect segue, I nevertheless refrained from telling my friend about our miscarriage.  Aside from two friends who live near us, and we therefore told early on about our pregnancy (thus we had to “untell” when we miscarried), my friends do not know.  I thought that was the whole point of not telling anyone until after the 1st trimester.  It was a convenience thing, a safeguard, an old wives’ tale meant to protect you from having to break bad news when the tenuous state of the new pregnancy didn’t go as planned or expected.  Why should I tell them at this point?

Mr. Apron met up with a friend of his while we were in R.I.  As we left little H. and her mom, this prompted me to ask him if he had told his friend, if his friends knew about our pregnancy.  He says most of his friends know.  Most.  Two of mine do.  Two.  And only because, as I said before, we had leaked news of the pregnancy.  Not even when a coworker and I were trapped in the car together for an hour-long drive to Delaware for a conference, and she spoke openly about her own miscarriage, did I let a word about my own pass my lips.  Still not when another gaggle of coworkers were discussing pregnancy, miscarriage, and expressing disappointment that miscarriage was not more openly discussed.  I remain silent.  Always.  I stuff my experience, my shared feelings down, down inside me until they explode anonymously on my blog.  Mr. Apron and I talk.  My therapist and I talk.  But our current frustration with getting pregnant again only seems to prolong the grieving and make our suffering more drawn-out. 

I wish I could share with my friends.  I wish I felt comfortable sharing my sadness without feeling like it will scare them.

1).  It’s too soon to be hot.  April 26 and 88 degrees do not mix.  I am not ready yet.  We can’t just jump from pleasant spring days in the 60s to summer humidity overnight.  I’m not ready!  I don’t remember how to be sweaty and disgusting by 9am.  I’m not used to carrying my refrigerated water bottle around like a binky.  I haven’t cut my hair away from my neck.  We don’t even know how to use the air conditioners in this house.

2) A working oven is important.  When I met Mr. Apron, he had not, in the time he’d been living in his bachelor studio apartment, used the oven.  Stovetop?  Yes, for omelets.  Foreman grill?  Yes, for burgers.  Microwave?  Yes, for Salisbury “steak” “dinners”.  But oven?  No.  I brought with me, on my first trip to stay with him (shh, don’t tell the unconceived children!), a tub of homemade cookie dough, and showed him how to work his oven in the service of hot fresh cookies.  The next trip, I brought him an oven light. 

Today, our 30 year old HotPoint double- oven ruined a double batch of cupcakes, necessitating a trip to the store for more ingredients because I had baking needs.  My coworkers and friends are expecting baked goods this week.  The oven, supposed to be set at 350, suddenly shot up towards 500, setting off the smoke alarm and turning 24 cupcakes into charred lumps of coal.  Maybe that’s why the batch of meringues last week inverted and burned?  So I sat next to the oven, through the next 3 batches (40 total cupcakes in my fridge…come on over), obsessively checking the oven temperature (so glad we have a thermometer), letting precious heat out of the oven and into the 80 degree April kitchen every five minutes as I peeked at the thermometer.  But they turned out edible.  Sigh.  Guess this means a trip to Worst Buy.  As Mr. Apron reminded me, we discussed this potentiality back in November, when we first looked at the house and cringed at the appliances.  He was wary, and I was optimistic.  “If they die, we’ll just replace them as they go!”  I cheerfully replied.  Now, of course, I just want the fool thing to give me more cupcakes and stop taking my money. 

Spoiler alert:  If you have not seen “Earth”, I revel  some “plot” points.

3) The predators never get sympathy.  Well, almost never.  We saw the Disney Nature film “Earth” last night, amid the loudest house of children and adults I”ve ever witnesses.  From the curly-haired girl bouncing (but quietly) on her seat for 90 minutes to the grown man shouting out, “That’s some fish!” when the shark snapped up a seal (sea lion?), to the mother hailing the mother elephant for pushing her calf onwards towards water, “Go mama!”  Yes, really.  I wouldn’t mind the “Oohs” and “Ahhs” when the cute animals babies first poke their heads out of caves, tree trunks, or pouches.  I even may have uttered a few myself.  It was a beautifully shot movie, full of extreme close ups on the big screen.  And James Earl Jones’ narration led the audience to develop sympathies for the baby elephant as he blindly walks into a tree, the gazelle as he tries to escape a cheetah, and the ducklings as they fall with grace from a tree.  Why are we always sympathetic to the prey?  to the herbivores?  Why did no one cheer the cheetah on as he ran for his lunch?  Why did no one applaud the lions when they at last scored an elephant?  We cringed, we  recoiled, we looked away.  Only when in the final scenes of the movie, we realize the fate of the stranded, starving, and wounded polar bear, do we feel sorry for him.  We feel guilty about global warming and ice caps melting perhaps, or we feel sorry that his family is so far away, or we feel as if his plight in the unfriendly climate is hopeless.  We finally sympathize with the predator. 

4.  Dog should get PE tubes.  When children have chronic or recurring ear infections, they often get tubes to let the fluid drain.  By the time the tubes fall out, their ear canals are better able to drain fluid by themselves, and they’ve outgrown this pesky problem.  Our poor dog has seemingly unending ear infections.  We recognize the signs and symptoms:  he incessantly fwaps his head back and forth to try to alleviate the irritation, and his ear smells like a rotting squirrel carcass doused with vinegar. However, we cannot simply call in a refill on his ear medicine because we’re obliged to go down to the vet for a full wallet-cleaning.  They have to confirm our observations, run labs and cultures, tell us he’s overweight, has a heart murmur, and needs his teeth cleaned, and charge us another $150 before releasing another small tube of ointment and instructing us to do exactly the same thing we would have done if we had the ointment in the first place.

5.  Buying a house is the watershed moment for people to start nagging us about making babies.  Doesn’t matter how old we are (27 and 28), how long we’ve been married (2.5 years), how employed we are (affirmative), or how much space we have (not enough, ever).  My mother’  housewarming gift came with an enclosure that hoped we’d fill our new home with the scents of baking cookies, and, maybe someday, baby powder.  Didn’t waste any time, that one.  Others have started asking, hinting, insinuating.  So much so that I’m using new terminology on the House Tour.  My old highschool friend came to see the house last night.  We showed her the upstairs, introducing the master bedroom, the office/crafting room, and, as I’ve now taken to calling the smallest bedroom, “The Elephant in the Room”. 

6.  Shelves can be assembled while wearing a long skirt and flip-flops, using a dying power screwdriver in about an hour, so long as they’re in the relative cool of the basement and one doesn’t mind tripping over said skirt and dropping assorted and sundry items on one’s toes. 

7.  Sunday night always feels like a precursor to Monday.  And that’s always sad.

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November 2020