Thursday, April 15, 2010

Where I am Now: Two Years Ago

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

"For the last time, I'm not wearing white." I crossed my arms sullenly, and could actually feel my chin starting to jut out with anger. "I'm four months pregnant and getting married in a courthouse. I don't think we're fooling anyone."

My mother lowered the white linen dress, returning my stubborn look with one of her own. "It's your wedding, Becky. What do you want to wear, then? A pair of Levis and a tank top?"

I actually had to bite my tongue to keep from responding honestly. Well, actually, yes.

"I just... I don't know. I don't want to wear all white. It's important to me. " I pulled my baggy shirt tight against my swollen stomach, making it appear absurdly large for my barely 4 month pregnancy . "I think we've missed the boat on white."

My mom slowly returned the dress to the hanger, then brightened immediately. "Cream? What about cream?"


We'd broken the news to my parents on Easter Sunday. After all, who can get upset on Easter, after a beautiful church service, right? My parents had invited The Bean and I on an afternoon cruise around the San Pedro harbor, and we figured the timing would be about right. The Bean was a nervous wreck; even more so than I was. Crouching at the top of the boat, he hid behind the mast and sucked down forbidden cigarettes one after another like they were the oxygen he needed to survive. He smiled guiltily at me when I caught him for the second time. "I'm quitting, I'm quitting. I just need to settle my nerves. This is the last one." Extending my hand, I dragged him down behind me to the cockpit to face my parents. I cleared my throat nervously.

"Um, so... you guys got any plans for Friday the 11th? About 3 weeks from now?"

My mom's eyes narrowed, picking up on my nervousness immediately. "Why?"

I glanced over at the Bean, who was doing an impressive impersonation of a mute.

"Well, uh, we were wondering if you guys might want to come to the wedding." I glanced at the Bean again, hoping he would chime in. He gave me a quick hand squeeze and a tight smile, so I figured it was up to me to forge on.. "You know. Uh, our wedding."

My parents froze, glancing at us, our tightly gripped hands, our obvious nervousness. They waited half a beat for us to finish with the punchline, not understanding that we'd just delivered it.

"Wait. What? Are you serious?" My stepdad looked confused; my mother looked aggressively curious.

"Uh, yeah. Actually. We're serious. We're getting married on the 11th at the courthouse. We, uh, wanted to know if you wanted to come."

My parents stared at us in disbelief, silently, still waiting for the punchline.

I took another deep breath, and figured I might as well give it to them.

"Oh. And, uh, we're also pregnant."

I watched the understanding dawn on in their faces, as if I had been speaking in a foreign language and had finally brought out a translator. "Baby? A baby?" My mom's face lit up like a light bulb as she leaped over to hug me and my stepdad gave a short bark of a laugh. As far as reactions went, it couldn't have gone any better.

How did the reaction go with my potential new-inlaws? I have no idea. After the way The Bean chickened out in assisting with my parents, I dumped the responsibility of informing his parents squarely on his lap.

Besides, I felt like I had already survived more than enough embarrassment/awkwardness where they were concerned.

Oh, what’s that?

You think YOU have embarrassing meet-the-parents stories?


No you don’t.

You can NOT top my story.

I double-dog dare you to come up with something that can surpass the awkward feeling felt by all as we:

A: Sat in the living room
B: Avoiding each other’s eyes
C: While trying to make banal nice-to-meet-you conversation
D: In desperately loud voices
E: In an attempt to cover up the extremely loud, rhythmic squeaking of the sweet little next-door lesbian couple who decided to (of course) that very moment (naturally) have some REALLY LOUD, athletic, strangely long-lasting sex.

I’m waiting... Anyone? Anyone?

Does anyone out there have a meet-the-parents story that’s worse than that?

Is that a hand I see in the back of the room? No? You were just scratching your nose? Oh, sorry.


Wow, that’s a surprise. Nobody raised their hands. What a shocker.

Yeah, so the next time you think you’ve been in an awkward situation, I want you to think of me. Remember me huddled awkwardly on my slightly stained sofa, pulling my long sleeves over the Sea Bands that were helping to hide my pregnancy-induced nausea, answering questions about my job and my schooling in a desperate near-shout, and doing my best not to tap my foot along with that old-fashioned Murphy Bed rhythm.

I can’t remember who it was that suggested we head out to dinner, but you should have seen us all leap to our feet in unanimous agreement. You would have thought we’d all been goosed. I’m pretty sure none of us was actually hungry, but we almost had a traffic jam as we fled down the apartment stairs, bumping shoulders as we spilled through the narrow doorway into the thankfully-silent courtyard.

We made it to the restaurant in record time, and just about the time my nerves were starting to settle, I moved my hands wrong and my about-to-be-Father-in-Law (not that he knew that) saw the Sea Bands.

“What’s on your wrist?”

I froze. It took everything I had not to pull my sleeves down in an obviously guilty gesture. “What these? These are Sea Bands.” In an attempt to seem nonchalant, I pulled my sleeve up, flashing them at him before quickly rolling the sleeves down. My almost-father-in-law looked at me, his husky-blue eyes intent.

Aren’t those for nausea? Aren’t they the things you wear while on a boat?”

I gave him a watery, wavery smile. “Uh, yeah. Yeah they are.” My brain raced for an explanation. Maybe he’d just ignore my vague answers?

Ha. Ha ha ha. I crack myself up sometimes.

“Why are you wearing them? Are you sick?” He stared at me, eyes studying my expression. I felt like I was being interrogated by the CIA.

“Well, uh, I do have problems with nausea from time to time.” Actually, it’s all the time. “It’s just a side effect.” Of being pregnant with your grandson. Surprise! “It’s not that bad, though. Just a little side effect...” I trailed off, hoping he would get the hint.

“Side effect of what?”

“Of, uh, a condition.”

“A condition? Like, a sickness?”

I could feel myself starting to sweat a little. In desperation, I ventured off the path of half-truths and into the scary territory of outright lies.

“A side effect of some medication.” I fixed my eyes on him, hoping he’d get the hint.

“Medication? What kind of medication?”

Obviously, this man did not take hints well. And with that we began a verbal dance.

“It’s just some new stuff that the doctor put me on.”

“What’s the name?

“I can’t really remember… it’s some new stuff.”

“Do you remember the classification?”

"I’m not even sure it’s going to work out for me. I don’t’ really like the nausea side effect, so I am probably going to ask him to find something else.”

“ What does it treat?”

Just as I was frantically searching my mental database for another vague non-answer, my dear, sweet, heroic potential mother-in-law happened to glance over. She took in my wide eyes, and the intent, bulldog expression of her husband, and she pounced. “DAVID! Leave her alone. What are you asking her? Nevermind. Leave her alone.” She gave me a small smile. “Just ignore him. He always asks too many questions. Was he interfering? Sorry, it’s none of his business.”

I gave her a shaky smile. “Oh, it didn’t bother me. No worries. Do you want some bread? Do you like living in Arizona?” And with that, we were back on neutral territory.

Can you blame me for having The Bean take point on breaking the news to his parents? He says it went smoothly, and since I don’t really want to know if it didn’t, I left well enough alone.

Besides, I was in the process of dealing with my family, where we currently experiencing a complete and utter breakdown in communication.

Here is what both the Bean and I distinctly remember saying that Easter Sunday: “We love each other. We’re getting married. Would you like to come? Oh, and on a completely separate note, we are pregnant.”

Unfortunately, what my side of the family heard was: “I’m pregnant. I’m frightened, and I have no idea what I should do! Please give me advice! Otherwise, I guess my only recourse is to marry this complete stranger…. Gee, I hope this isn’t a bad decision. Oh, well! Here I go!”

It took forever to calm that furor down, and by the time I had finished solving that issue, we had another problem to face:

Unfortunately, no matter how much she protested that she loved the idea of a courthouse ceremony, my Mexican mother wanted a wedding. Somewhere along the way our simple civil service with two witnesses had morphed into 20 friends and family, some who were traveling down the night before, and all who would require feeding and some sort of entertainment afterward. I didn't really feel like planning a party, but even I had to agree that I was under some obligation to feed them.

So I threw the only kind of party I know how to throw: I went to Costco and loaded up on Hebrew National All-Beef hotdogs, Kirkland brand generic cola and purple/orange soda, hot dog buns and a couple of bags of chips. I stopped by the store and picked up a couple of stacks of firewood. Voila. Party planning complete. It may not have won any classiness awards, but I knew that people wouldn't leave hungry.

That left us with: The Dress.


My mom slowly returned the dress to the hanger, then brightened immediately. "Cream? What about cream?"

I lowered my eyebrows, feeling my face return to the sullen lines of my high school years. "No cream or white unless it's got some other colors on it," I snapped. "I just want... A dress. Not a wedding dress, but just a dress. It's a civil service, and we're roasting Costco hot dogs at the beach afterwards. I'm not even buying name brand soda. We're looking for a regular dress. You know. Something to feel pretty in. Something I’ll wear again. Something that’s not going to make me look like a stuffed sausage in 60 yards of lace and sequins in a color that makes no sense."

In a tacit agreement to keep from wringing each other's necks, my mother and I decided to look on opposite ends of the store.



Blogger AareneX said...

Uh-oh. Why do I get the feeling your mom is gonna win this?


perhaps because my WV word today is PLINGI, which obviously means
"the white shiny pearly things sewn onto the cream-colored dress that your mother insists you wear for this wedding despite your wish to just wear jeans and a t-shirt."

April 15, 2010 at 4:20 PM  
Blogger Veronica said...

You! Write faster.


April 15, 2010 at 5:21 PM  
Blogger phaedra96 said...

Wedding of the century....right?

April 15, 2010 at 6:32 PM  
Anonymous WarsawMommy said...

Waiting! Waitingwaitingwaiting....

April 16, 2010 at 1:29 AM  
OpenID oregonsunshine said...


Oh boy! I can mostly relate to your predicament. Only, for our civil ceremony, my husband, Bad Pants, gave me exactly 2 hours to be ready and meet him at the Judge's office (not his chambers as he is still a practicing attorney in another county). I wore my older Ariat lacers, a nice, white blouse and my ratty barn jeans because that's what fit (I was also pregnant) and that's what I had in such short notice as the rest of my clothes were still packed in a box- somewhere, since we'd just moved. Let me also mention that we lived an hour from the judge's office and I was scheduled to be at the barn for farrier day. Our witnesses were the BOs that we'd only known for 3 weeks. No friends, no family, not even our respective children who were at school that day... Yeah, his family still hasn't forgiven us or totally accepted me.

So, I got to wear the jeans for you. My wedding dress, for the simple family ceremony we had planned for later (with a friend officiating, not a legal officiant), is still hanging up in my closet, unworn. Tragedy after tragedy struck that first year. Miscarriage the day after our wedding, life threatening illnesses and the repossession by the bank of the home we were renting. If I were superstitious, I'd say it was from wearing jeans.

April 16, 2010 at 10:29 AM  

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