Saturday, February 23, 2008

Lonely Together

Your eyes are sad eyes, mine are too.
Doesn't take too much to see what we've been through.

But dry your eyes now, you'll be just fine
We can drown our aching hearts in this glass of wine
Well I hate to say "what's done is done"
It's just two can ease this pain much better than one.

Why are the terms "housewife", "soccer mom", and "minivan" incentives for pity or disdain?

Is there anything greater than seeing your child excited to go to school? And just as excited to see you pick them up? That smile when they see you as they wake up from a nap? It's true the old saying - the hand that rocks the cradle IS the hand that rules the world!

The last quarter of 2007 promised to be packed. I can live with stress if my schedule is planned and Pete and I check in frequently for changes. Social events interspersed with the holidays, other obligations and a big family reunion a short drive away were all on the menu. My folks were staying with us for a couple of weeks to see their granddaughter and then drive to the reunion together, and then celebrate Thanksgiving.

In the midst of this craziness, at the beginning of November, I discovered I was expecting Baby #2. Pete and I were over the moon! For a lot of reasons we didn't think we could have more children even though we wanted to raise siblings. Our daughter learned to say "Big Sister". My parents were happy they would have another grandchild to spoil. They arrived at our home and planned to rest before packing up my Mom-Mobile for the reunion weekend.

I'm usually tired at the beginning of pregnancy. But my knees were weak. Then there was the pain. Then the bleeding. Then the night in the emergency room, the day I spent on the couch while Pete was at work fighting fatigue after looking after me. My folks were an Abbott & Costello routine. Mom never had any problems carrying me, so she didn't know how it felt when something was wrong.

The night before the drive to the reunion was an ER night. I ran down my symptoms and timeline to the doctor, who smartassed me about whether I had everything timed to the minute. "Sweetheart, just listen, OK? Stop blowing me off. I was in here last night and I'm telling you, something is wrong!"

I dozed off. Thirty minutes later Doctor Smartass returned with a subdued demeanor.

"This looks like a miscarriage. Your hormone levels have dropped by half in less than 24 hours. The nurse will be in soon with some more information." She stroked my leg before leaving. Pete was in shock. I started to cry. I am so used to being told that I'm overreacting to little aches and pains a part of me was waiting for the reassurance that the baby was fine. But I knew on the way to the ER.... he was gone.

The nurse showed up. Doctors and nurses don't like delivering bad news any more than patients want to hear it. My discharge reports were written up. Pamphlets on "pregnancy loss", information on local support groups. Medical advice: this early, there was probably a major chromosomal problem, it would be impossible for the baby to survive. Even if you could save him, you wouldn't want to. How no one talks about it but 25% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. I knew all of this. Pete didn't care, he just wanted me to get home and for both of us to rest. We were told not to travel anywhere for the next few days in case this oh-so-natural process took yet another turn for the worse. Great. Our reunion trip was cancelled, too. The medical staff avoided looking at us as we left.

I went straight to bed at home. Pete spoke to my folks. He told them to go on ahead without us. Tell them anything, but don't kill the party. We need to be alone. Come back afterwards we'll have Thanksgiving. Can you see her? No, really, LEAVE HER ALONE!!

We had two full days alone with our daughter. Pete took most of the parenting duties from me so I could rest. But nap times were reinforced and extended - we needed the time together.

More boredom. I finished a digital art project I had been procrastinating on. Maybe there's something on TV. I flipped through that grid dozens of times. 500 channels on the fucking satellite box and there's "nothing on".

I looked through the DVR grid of recordings I was keeping for "someday". We lay in each others arms and watched De-Lovely, a musical biography of Cole Porter. We sobbed quietly during the scenes where Linda Porter was dying. Life was so fragile. We'd both seen death before but the film reinforced how suddenly it came.

End. Delete. Next.

Toward the bottom of the grid was an entry I made months earlier but just didn't get around to watching: Barry Manilow: Manilow Live! I recorded it from the hi def channel when I saw it on the grid for "someday" when I needed some background music. Barry's music got caught up in the musical exile years earlier. Strangely enough, except for his TV specials, I had never seen him in concert. Even after the "exile", concert dates were announced and I wanted to see him and there was always a conflict. We moved to Georgia during his "Farewell Tour" and missed every possible date. Then by the time I knew he was set up at the Vegas Hilton, we had a baby and we don't want to go running off to Vegas when children need us more. So I gave up again; I wouldn't be able to see the show live. I got over it, like everything else I got over.

"Pete, I want to watch this. Don't laugh, OK?"

"I wouldn't laugh at that, hon. My mom had Manilow going all the time in her hair salon while I was growing up. I listened to him too. Watch whatever makes you happy." He really meant it.

I start the recording and within a couple of seconds a wave of wonderful memories came flooding back. Barry's music was a staple "after school" rotation. Hearing the concert open with "Could It Be Magic" was like seeing an old friend again that hadn't seen you in a while, but never forgot you or stopped caring.

Halfway through the song, he stops to do his opening schpiel.

I hope you're feeling great, and if you're not, I'm here to make you feel better!

It was like a light went on. "Do you realize it has been forever since we've been out to a concert? Not just a freebie, I mean something we were really into," I asked.

"You're right. We need to plan to do that. We need something good to look forward to."

We enjoyed the rest of the tape and were sure to save it. One high point was Chickieboo from BFE having a thermonuclear meltdown on stage during "Can't Smile Without You". What on Earth was with some of those signs?? The flirting with the first few rows on "Somewhere in the Night" melted some of the ice I put up around my love of music years ago. The guy doesn't even have to try to get a rise out of these women, and what's worse, he knows it! Pete's interest was rekindled with "When October Goes" and the entire Sinatra set. (Another record I missed.....) Maybe it's time to go back and find all of these again.

The folks returned Sunday. We got through the week visiting and not talking about what we have come to call "my ER visit." I got Thanksgiving dinner on the table - the first time I did it single-handedly. I slept for almost two days after that holiday. Mom & Dad went back home Saturday after Thanksgiving and we were back to recovering. I had no intention of doing my usual social things outside of the house. We were going to make it to Christmas and New Years', then see what happened.

Sunday afternoon as the baby had her dinner I got on the internet and pulled up Ticketmaster's website. I didn't know who was coming to town but I was going to find something that we both liked and come hell or high water, we were going to just let loose and enjoy ourselves and to hell with what anyone thought.

The first search engine result was Barry's "Music & Passion" in Atlanta on January 19.

Credit card, fast typing, seat search, best available, floor seats-YEA!!-more typing, confirmed.

I ran down to the kitchen with the confirmation to show Pete. I must have looked insane, grinning.

"He's in town??? Then we're going! We both need this. YOU need it," he reassured me.

"You're OK with going to a Barry concert?" Of course he was. Once the secretaries at work find out about this he's going to be considered the nicest guy alive and they'll prioritize anything he wants.

"Of course, whatever makes you happy." Again, he meant it.

"Even if I'm throwing myself at another guy?" Even I can't tell if I'm only teasing or not.

He smiled the way he does when the baby is trying his patience but it's so cute he can't help himself. "Sure. Go crazy for one night, it's OK." Another strategic move. Let Barry get me hot and bothered for 90 minutes and then reap the benefit at home afterwards. All he has to do is drive the car.

In one of the lowest times I can remember, a ray of light came on and brightened not only the current sadness, but started to dispell past losses too. That show was recorded around 2000 or so. Years later it made a positive impact no one could have predicted. I could almost feel a long-forgotten part of my soul beginning to regenerate.

1 comment:

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