Friday, September 16, 2011

Start Spreading the News (June 2004)

‘I’m pregnant, I’m pregnant,’ thrums through me all day at work. It thrums through me when we meet the boys at The Urge on Friday night. Douglas overhears my order to the shirtless bartender. “Can I get a vodka tonic and a seltzer with lime?” I shout over the unz, unz, unz of the music.

“Do you have news?” Douglas asks. Oh how well my dear friend knows me: why else would I turn down two-for-one booze at happy hour? My attempt at a Mona Lisa smile dissolves into a huge grin and the cat’s leapt out of the bag. We grab pizza in the Lower East Side before the next club. The boys are all questions and agape as I have a third slice. “Cravings already,” Douglas comments.

I’ve made it to the three month mark, but we don’t have the amnio results so we haven’t told my parents. I want to tell them in person at our family reunion on the North Carolina coast but my mother’s friend Gerte is also coming. As a never married, Auschwitz survivor, she is sensitive about not having a family so I don’t want to upset her. When the Pater and I were first engaged, my mother asked me not to mention the engagement or the ring in front of her. So I call.

“Hold on, I’ll get your mother,” my father says as soon as he hears my voice.
“Okay, but stay on the phone, I have some news.”

“Mom, you’re going to be a grandmother again,” I say over the crackle of the speaker phone. I bask in their joy and the joy of telling them. “I wanted to tell you down at the reunion but I was worried how Gerte might react,” I tell my mother.
“Oh, that’s no problem, she loves babies,” she tells me.

“Does this change your plans to move to London,” my mother asks shyly.
“No, we’re still going to move,” I say as gently as I can.

My two siblings and I were adopted and my mother wasn’t involved in the pregnancies of her five other grandchildren so this is her first pregnancy. The Pater forwards her updates from each week and since my pilates partner has given me sixteen pregnancy books (I don’t understand why I need 16 ‘how to’ manuals? Haven’t The Pater and I done our bit?) I send some down to my mother. She doesn’t like them because they mostly deal in fear and what could go wrong; so she gets a book out of the library with details about the positive development of the fetus.

The Pater and I share my gluttonous disgust at the hot dog I purchase at Port Authority for the bus ride to my uncle’s house. My sister and her family are there too and I tell them all over dinner. “You’re pregnant!” my sister keeps beaming. “We know, Mom,” her kids say after she’s said it for the eighth time.

When we all arrive at the beach the next day my parents and my brother’s family are at dinner. My mother stares at my belly and pats it in wonder. “So you’re joining the club,” my brother slaps The Pater on the back in congratulations.

I wait until my parents and Gerte go to bed to have a beer. All five kids are still up and bouncing around the living room until they bounce off the sofa and my eldest nephew has to go to the emergency room with a broken toe. “This is what you have to look forward to,” my brother says to The Pater as they get into the car with his ashen faced son.

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