Or at least that is how it felt. Really they were all just trying to be polite but all I could think was a silent prayer over and over that I would not say something that would embarrass Chris or get him in trouble. I love that Chris tells me things. But I have proven either brilliant in these situations or epicly offensive. I don't seem to strike a medium. So there I was. what do I say? They told me that they enjoyed working with Chris and I said of course they did. I knew he was wonderful but I worried that they didn't know it. And then worried that I had said something that would get him in trouble, I clammed up and mentioned that Was that the wrong thing to say? Was that presumptuous of me? I mean, the CEO was right there. The CFO then tried to cushion, saying that of course that is why I married him. But then all I could think was 'I didn't marry Chris because I thought he would be well off' so of course I said I married him because he was good looking. It was a love at first sight kind of thing for me, but he took some convincing. Then they said that the girl always feels that way... and oh no, there I was. Now not only did I marry him because I thought he was going to be wealthy, but because I was one of those marry desperate type. I didn't want to sit there and explain that I had actually been very opposed to getting married at all I didn't want to sit there and explain that I currently couldn't stand motherhood, that I was desperate to be in a fulfilling career. That when I looked in the mirror all I could see was an exhausted, aging, mind numb, bone weary, lonely, insignificant mom who hated what she saw.
I think I felt the full weight of my confusion. I was exhausted. I haven't slept well at night at all these last few nights. I try to sleep but I just can't. it is the worst. and when I finally do, Isaac cries, or Esther cries and cries and cries till I have basically spent the night sleepless and on the floor in her room. I haven't eaten properly in months. I think my sisters are convinced I have an eating disorder because when I snatched a minute to talk on skype and stuff a hastily thrown together sandwich, my sister complemented me on eating something. Particularly something nourishing. It was awful to realize that I look like that to other people. But I do have an eating disorder. It is called a load of kids. I also have a bladder disorder. I go to the gym every morning, in large part because if I don't I have to wait to pee till Isaac takes a nap and Ethan and Esther are not going to cry and bang down the door because they can't reach me. Realistically I have to just wait till everyone is in bed that night. Sometimes I can when Chris gets home.
Anyway, sure, I have a sleeping disorder and an eating disorder and a bowl disorder. And in spite of that, I was standing there. Trying to think of something, anything that would not embarrass Chris. I complemented Gary, that Chris missed working with him, not that he was unhappy working where he was, he is always happy, but he misses you. Oh no! I have said too much. Panic. Chris is a good man, a great husband and excellent father. And I had nothing else to say. I couldn't think of a single thing to say that I trusted myself to say in a way that would not create a problem.
When we had first walked in with our twins people asked if twins run in the family. They always do. I have failed that question in the past. Ending with an epic 'it was fertility, but the problem was me, not Chris. Chris is a fertility God, fertility god, fertility god' yeah, I didn't say it three times but I might as well have. That was another work party at a different company. So when they asked again, everyone sat there expectantly. And they actually waited the five seconds of silence while Chris and I stared back and forth at each other, remembering last time. We struggled to think of the right thing to say. Finally I said simply that they were fertility twins. and that the infertility ran in my family. And that if they ever wanted to hear a painfully awkward story about that particular question to catch me another time. It is kinda funny when I say it now. But it was just a reminder of how bad I could be at these meetings.
Why was I there? Why was I so out of place? I was so far away from that intelligent accomplished woman I always had set out to be. Why was I there?
And now I sit here running over the later conversations and... why didn't I say this or that? Why is it that at best I am a fortune hunter or simply a marriage hungry baby maker? Or either a trophy wife or a nag? And how can that possibly be when I was so bright in college with so many opportunities? How can that be? I am working. I have been, till I have become a stuttering awkward fortune hunter with an eating disorder?
And so, my dear friends, what is my recourse? What are the sensible actions I have taken to rectify my confusion and desperation? I am soaking my sore tendentious feet, and with a hot cup of coca in my hands, I am watching pride and prejudice. Isaac is restless anyway. He keeps waking and crying and fussing. Parker started wandering the halls crying because he had a bad dream. He had a nightmare that I had disappeared.
After snuggling in with him, he put his arm around me and pulled the blanket around the both of us. I told him that I will always be here, loving him. Even while he is at school, even always, even after we are both old and I have died, I will still be here doing my best to help him. Because I am his mommy. And that is what I do.