Because my office is located in a foster home, there is a honest-to-goodness cafeteria here and honest-to-goodness lunch ladies. The are small and Eastern European and fierce with those people that they don't like.
I decided early on to make sure that they liked me.
Unfortunately, almost every single lunch they make involves meat: chicken alfredo, turkey ala king, meatball sandwiches, beef stew, hamburger tacos, fried chicken and other classics that you might remember from your own junior high experience.
Although I'm the worst vegetarian that you know, I sensed that the lunch ladies would not understand if I picked and chose amongst their creations. They were already expressing a little good-natured-but-serious disappointment that I kept walking past them to put my lunches in the microwave. So, I explained apologetically, "I'm a vegetarian. I don't eat meat."
"You no eat meat? Why not?"
"Well, it's just healthier for me."
Shaking my head, acknowledging how crazy it was, "I know. I know. But I feel better when I don't eat meat."
"OK. You have baby. Then you eat meat."
You heard that right. They told me that I should get pregnant so that I would then want to eat what they had cooked with their own two hands.
My friend A. has an Eastern European mom who is constantly giving her food and asking her when she'll produce grandchildren. When I shared that conversational exchange on Facebook, my friend commented, "When did my mom start working in your cafeteria?"
I literally laughed out loud when I read that.
The baby theme is a popular one with my lunch ladies. I fended them off for awhile when I explained that Jacob and I hadn't yet been married a year and we wanted to get to know each other a little bit before adding to the family.
But in September, they started asking again.
I don't even remember telling them which month I married!
They are a force to be reckoned with.
So, for the last couple of months, they have been eying me speculatively with a slightly suspicious look in their eyes.
"You have baby?"
I was at such a loss for an answer to this question that I broke my own rule not to justify my personal fertility decisions to anyone nosy enough to challenge them.
"Well, we're ready when God is ready."
I submitted. They won. They established themselves as more powerful in the battle for information.
Which is why I have felt terrible for the last two months in keeping my pregnancy a secret from them.
I'm sure they know by this point that I'm lying to them. They must have keenly-trained eyes for breeding women and I bet my gait has changed. Plus, I stopped wearing a belt weeks ago.
On Monday, the leader looked me up and down like she was a construction worker I was passing on the sidewalk before she greeted me.
"You have baby?"
"No, not yet."
Then, disgusted and kind of mean, she said, "So is just fat, no?"
Only my shame at deceiving her and my anticipation for telling my boss after my midwife appointment this morning protected me from feeling hurt by her remark.
On Monday, I will take her a Hallmark card that says, "I'm sorry," while I tell them the good news. They made me promise to tell them first and confided that they wanted to throw a shower for me at the leader's house.
Can I tell you how much that makes me want to weep? I am so honored that they want to extend that kind of hospitality to me across language, cultural and class barriers. It makes me feel stingy in comparison that sometimes I struggle with having a couple from church living in our guest room for three months who is demographically identical to us.
So, it's official. My new identity as an expectant mother is public knowledge. We're due sometime in early June. I'm excited and nervous and so in love with my husband. Sometimes, it becomes very real to me and the "whump!" that I feel puts the "whump" that I felt when stepping under the chuppah to shame. Jacob told me that he wanted to tell the midwife to stop holding the doppler wand to my belly because hearing the heartbeat for the first time was making me cry.
I was pretty nauseous in the first trimester but no vomiting and I could mostly function. Also, not too much fatigue. I think we got off pretty lucky but I would bet Jacob has a different story to tell. I have already pieced a quilt top and have plans to hand-quilt it to some softsoft minki after I finish the Christmas presents. Oh, the things I can make!
Since my older brother and his wife are expecting in March and my younger brother and his wife have an 8-month-old, next Christmas will be bustling with grandkids. My parents just had to wait until they were 63 years old to get that dream fulfilled. While we're on the subject, let me give a giant statement of gratitude to my parents for never pushing any of us, saying to friends and us that they wanted most of all for us to be happy and in stable relationships before we made the decisions that were right for us. So awesome.
So, I might hang out here more often, now that I can write publicly about this huge thing that happening in my life. I saw an ad in a parenting magazine that said, "With every child born, so is a potential mommy-blogger," and I have never felt such doom in the pit of my stomach. Maybe I'll reclaim the title mommy-blogger by doing what I've always done: tell stories to entertain and to make people feel like they are not alone in the world; explore spirituality based on my experiences; and share pictures of the delightful things that I come across in my adventures. If that's a mommy-blogger, I'll take it!
Then, I'll eat meat.
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