Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Or Not Yet

It's been exactly a year since I began this blog, so of course I had to write today. I thought I'd be reporting at least this month's answer to the babies or not question, but at this point, I still can't say for sure. I also thought this might be my final post. Now I'm not so sure about that either.

By my calculations, taking into consideration a later ovulation than usual, I should begin to bleed any minute. I back up this prediction with the pregnancy test I did yesterday, which returned an unambiguous not.

This is false hope. I know I should resist its seductive charms, the dream of J~ and I, laughing and crying and hugging in the bathroom when we see the positive test, the photograph of the result I'd post on this blog, the beautiful child, maybe another two years later, rounding out our happy family.

Every now and then I drop a dollar on a lottery ticket in order to spend a few days fantasizing about what I'd do with the winnings. Most of the fantasies are about nice things I'd do for my family and friends. When the drawing rolls around, I get a little thrill thinking, Maybe this time I'll actually get lucky! Then I see the winning numbers, which are not even close to my numbers, and I feel, briefly, derelict, and then silly for ever having hoped in the first place. Better to have spent that dollar on a pack of gum. Better to have spent my energy actually doing nice things, albeit cheaper nice things, for my family and friends.

If I still haven't begun to bleed in the next hour or so, I'll ask J~ to pick up a pregnancy test on his drive home from work. False hope must be dispelled by any means necessary. As soon as possible.

In the meantime, life goes on.

Speaking of which, I just called J~ (I'm a slow writer) and while we were talking, I began to feel that tell-tale slow-building crampy feeling in my gut. No blood yet, but I know where this is heading. Oh well.

I expected I'd be filling today's post with profound summations of what I've learned this year. Looking back over recent entries, I see I've already covered that ground.

All that remains now is to describe the visual in my mind that accompanies this momentous post: the sun, big and deep orange, dropping toward the far-off horizon, streaming golden light over the desert sand (Don't ask me why the desert, just notice that I've written "Babies or Not" in the foreground sand). My silhouette in the distance -- head high, plodding away on horseback (better: camelback!). The music swells as I disappear into the golden light, and, as if on cue, the sun sinks below the horizon. As the light changes to cool, blue, calm, the music trails away.

FADE TO BLA-- no wait! What's that on the horizon?

It's me, running back through the sand, unwilling to give up the blog, or the hope of my thankfully still-monthly roulette. I scrawl one more word in the sand. After "Babies or Not" I add:


Wednesday, November 22, 2006


This past weekend, J~ and I drove north, to a bed and breakfast near Northampton, Massachusetts, for a much-anticipated getaway. This was my stomping grounds nearly twenty years ago, when I first began to wrestle with my identity as an individual, as an adult.

On our first night in town, while I reminisced about the old days, not all of which were good-old days, J~ moderated a stressful extended family health-crisis/divorce drama via cell phone. We managed to enjoy each other's company over dinner, in spite of our hunger, exhaustion, and mutual anxiety, not to mention the excruciatingly slow service, the loud and crowded room, the somewhat too-sweet Asian-fusion fare, and the drift of our dinner conversation into the state of the world and the tragic plight of so many of its peoples.

We stopped spontaneously on a busy sidewalk afterward, with sirens and traffic and cold wind and people all around, marveling that in the midst of all the chaos and violence and pollution and eager angst, we can still find a peaceful oasis within each other's gaze.

Last time I was in Northampton, I was still working out who I wanted to be, sorting out where I'd come from, and developing the internal fortitude to find happiness without guarantee of more happiness to come. Until this trip, I've always thought about my relationship with J~ in the context of my relationship with A~, comparing the two versions of my married life. In both cases, my primary relationship focus is the man. But suddenly I saw the even more primary relationship -- with myself -- and its much longer and more solidly upticking evolutionary curve. I realized afresh just how constant and unpredictable is the phenomenon of change.

However fleeting the moment may be, I thought, the moment is all we have.

So we ducked into a jewelry store, partly because it suprised us to find such a shop open until nine -- we had to experience it to believe it; partly for the atmosphere (it was quiet and warmly lit, with high ceilings and ornate woodwork -- a long-ago bank lobby); but mostly to look at wedding rings.

In the next two days, I took J~ to my favorite restaurants (India House, and Paul and Elizabeth's), on my favorite hikes (up Mount Norwottuck, and through the pine forest behind Hampshire College), and on a walking tour of downtown Amherst and Northampton. We returned to the jewelry store, this time with purpose, picking out a matching pair of simple, not-too-shiny white-gold bands, which will be custom-made and mailed to us in the next few weeks.

We can't wait to wear them.

In the meantime, there is Thanksgiving.

Speaking of which, thanks to all of you who wrote me with congratulations on the wedding, and appreciations for this blog. It means a lot to me to hear from you. Wishing you the best this holiday.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Looking Forward, Looking Back

At this moment, my stepson is in the next room, being the typical twelve-year-old: doing homework (i.e. cruising iTunes). My man is at his men's group, getting and giving that good ole manly support. I am just home from the gym, curled up on the couch with my laptop propped on a pillow, feeling content.

The only clouds on my horizon are my ex, who has basically dropped off the face of the earth, and J~'s ex, who errs in the opposite direction, sometimes calling J~ three times in a day, imagining she and I are friends or will become so, while going wet-noodle limp in terms of holding up her end of the parenting bargain. But she lets J~ know how much she appreciates all he's done for her, and how sorry she is for her part in the downfall of their marriage. I'm glad he's receiving that healing salve, but I can't help but compare, and it makes me sad. Could twelve years of relationship truly go down the drain with just a "Thanks for everything. Keep in touch"? I guess so.

Tonight I will prepare myself a peaceful, solitary meal (my boys have already eaten). I'll compose my Thanksgiving shopping list. I'll file a few papers, and, come nine o'clock, herd B~ upstairs to brush his teeth and get ready for bed. J~ will return and we will have, as he puts it, "functional sex" (as opposed to the passion-driven sex we've been having all weekend, our first alone since marrying two weeks ago). Tonight is prime pre-ovulation time for my menstrual cycle.

I looked at my fertility chart a few minutes ago, and noted that my next period will be due November 27th or 28th. If it doesn't come, I'll be doing a pregnancy test by the 29th. The timing couldn't be more perfect. Exactly a year ago on that date, I sat down and began this blog, still reeling from my recent miscarriage, unclear as to whether there would ever be another pregnancy attempt in my life.

I could have never predicted the changes this year would bring, not the least of which is that I'm happy, and that the question (Babies, or not?), as well as the mantra, (Doing well... Babies or not.) are still very much alive.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

We Did It

It is Saturday morning. J~ has made his ritual Saturday morning pancakes. Tomorrow, no doubt, he will make his ritual Sunday morning omelet. I am fresh out of the shower after a frosty four-mile run, feeling good, and still struck, as I have been since four nights ago, that a subtle but significant change has been made in my life.

No, I am not pregnant.

After dropping B~ with his friends for some downtown trick-or-treating, J~ and I stopped by Town Hall (it's open late on Tuesdays) to register me as a voter and to pick up a marriage license. Luckily for us, the office was abuzz with pre-election day preparations. Four women bustled behind counters and desks and a couple of men worked in the lobby area, setting up voting machines and tables and such. One of the men was the registrar of voters, also the dog warden, and several other positions he rattled off too quickly for me to retain. He and one of the women (the town clerk) handed me papers and pointed to where I was to sign. "I could marry you right now," he joked.

"Okay," we said.

Once it was understood that we were serious, he shrugged and smiled and said, "Alright. I'll do it," and performed a no-frills no-charge ceremony, consulting a paper-bound booklet for the procedure. "This is the first time I've done this," he admitted, having us raise our right hands to solemly pledge our "I do"s. He read the official questions and pronouncement straight from the booklet but ad-libbed his final line. "You may kiss the bride!" he laughed, and we and the bewildered and delighted women behind the counter laughed along with him.

J~ kissed me, and we held onto each other a long moment, while cheerful bustle resumed around us.

Two weekends from now we'll grab our chance for a mini-getaway. Maybe we'll find some wedding rings. Until then, and probably for a long time thereafter, I expect I'll continuee to be struck in random moments like this, by how modestly fabulous my life has become.