Procreativity

I think I had been married all of 5 minutes before I got the question: SO, when will you start trying for a child? 


Ummm…hello? Let me eat my wedding cake first, please. The short answer to this question is: I have no earthly idea. Damir and I don’t exactly have the space to put a crib, I barely have room to unpack a suitcase…where would the baby sleep? Under the bed? In the fridge? In the bathtub? On a hammock suspended from the ceiling?

What is both very endearing but mostly maddening about Damir is that he doesn’t worry about these things. He just wants to be a dad. He figures the problems will just kind of work themselves out, that all you need to have a baby is one simple thing: love (cue the “awwwww”). Meanwhile, grumpy grump over here is mentally tallying up the cost of diapers, toys, baby-proofing the apartment, food, car seats, strollers, slings, highchairs, boppies, burp cloths, bibs, onesies, lovies, numbies, teddies, pumps, ointments, bottles, bandaids, baby shampoo, thousands of little pairs of socks, rattles, sleep machines, rocking chairs, sleep sacks, and about another million things babies seem to require. And that doesn’t even begin to cover what daycare will likely cost in New York City. AND what I would need to invest in industrial strenghth spanx. Listen, I don’t even know if I get maternity leave. How can I know when I will have a baby?

So, there you go. That’s the answer you’ll get if you ask me.

Fathers.

On this father’s day, I am primarily thinking about two things:

1) How lucky I got in the father’s department.
2) How a man can brutally kill his two children along with his wife and mother in law.

I am in Boston this weekend, having quickly come up after hearing the news that a friend was violently killed by her husband. In his rage, he also killed my friend’s mother and their two small children, aged 2 and 4. If you want to know the horrific details, just open up the Boston Globe. It’s all over the news. I don’t think I can bring myself to write the details of what he did.

Mixed in with my grief is a visceral anger born in the pit of my stomach and coursing through every vein in my body. In the notes of confession he left at the scene, shortly before some lame attempt to flee, he called himself a selfish coward for what he did. Selfish coward? Those would not be my words to describe the act of murdering your own children.

So many articles and comments are floating about now, and I think I have read most of them by this point. Many have commented  that my friend likely ignored warning signs of his hidden rage… and I can honestly say that is not the case. This horror was a lightening bolt in a blue sky. No one would have ever anticipated this mild-mannered man to commit such an atrocity. Articles have also reported there was some kind of marital discord. I can say that the problems they faced were typical of a lot of married couples. And in any event…no level of discord warrants this nature of response. There is simply no justification.

It’s hard to keep myself from walking through my imaginary scene of what happened. To fill in the many blanks with some kind of narrative. I keep searching for an answer that will never arrive to a very simple question:  

Why?

The Week Before

The week before the wedding, my father, stepmother, mother, sister and her twin babies all rented a house together close to the wedding venue in Delray Beach, FL. Even my brother joined us from Seattle towards the end of the week. It was a real departure for my family, the first time my parents have “vacationed” together since they divorced around 1980. As you can imagine, having them both under one roof in the days leading up to the wedding was a real blessing for me. I use the word “vacation” loosely only because I don’t think any of us would consider those days a relaxing care-free experience. But not for any of the reasons we might have imagined in advance.

I knew the week leading up to the wedding would be busy and stressful. I had a lot of last minute planning that had to be accomplished once getting down there. I expected long lists of things to do, days filled with errand running and lots of fretting over last minute decisions and changes. But no. I had a whole ‘nother ball of wax delivered to my plate.

Shortly after Erin and I arrived in Florida, she decided to visit a walk in clinic since a cold she was getting over seemed to be getting worse, not better. The doctor diagnosed her with bronchitis, sinusitis and pink eye. Pink Eye! Immediately upon hearing that my imaginary hypochondria kicked in. I was absolutely SURE that just a pair of days before the wedding I would catch pink eye and then be quarantined from my wedding guests and a photoshop nightmare for my photographer. I spent the next several days avoiding Erin like the proverbial plague.

Sure she looks OK, but pink eye is lurking under there!

The day after Erin was diagnosed, the tooth area where I had just had a root canal started bothering me. It wasn’t horrible, but it didn’t feel right. And since I had a week in the Dominican Republic coming up, I didn’t want to risk leaving it to chance. So, I found an endodontist thanks to Google and Dad and Jan took me to see him. Funny old man, apparently he had trained the guy who did the root canal I just had done about a week before leaving for FL. He is also considered the endodontist to the stars, and even Larry David was trying to get him on the phone while I was getting looked over.

I will admit it, when he said that the tooth I had already done was fine….but the tooth next to it needed a root canal, I started to cry. When he said the price tag would be $1200, I started to sob. But what choice did I have? I consulted with Damir and my parents and we all agreed. Just get it done.

Later that afternoon, standing virtually naked in the back of a dark tanning booth letting some stranger paint me some shade of tan, as drool slipped down my chin from all the anesthetic injected during the earlier root canal, I had to laugh. What the hell is going on with me?

The house we rented, though spacious, was very interesting. If an 80’s cocaine overdose could be translated into architecture, this would be it. I didn’t get pictures of the best parts, but here you’ll get the gist below.

Though it wasn’t the most relaxing of weeks for me or the rest of my family, I truly hope we can do it again…and soon (minus the medical drama). It was so great not having to shuttle between houses or worry that I was spending too much time with one parent over another. I have a vision of shared holidays, summer vacations, birthday parties and celebrations in my head. I hope they see the same.

Settling In.

On the one hand, being home and newly married has been great. But in reality, not at all different. The biggest change since coming home is that Damir started summer semester which has him in class until about 10pm four nights a week. I miss my husband!
A lot of people are asking me if things will change with his folks now that we are married; if they’ll go back to Montenegro or get their own place to live. And all evidence, one-month in, points to no changes in the pipeline. At least not as a result of getting married. It would be great to come home to our little private nest and hold hands in wedded bliss, but that’s just not the deck of cards we were dealt. Certainly I knew that a long time ago and made peace with it before I walked down the aisle.
The other thing happening since I got home is a big feeling of restlessness– that’s not good. I need a new project now that the wedding planning is done. I have learned that when I don’t have an engaging project to occupy my thoughts, I turn inwards and pick at things that don’t need to be examined with such scrutiny. I know a few of you friends are like that too, so you can relate. The good news is I have a really great project in mind, but need to take the first steps to get it rolling. It’s something that is definitely out of my comfort zone, but totally new and exciting. No, not a baby, ha!
It’s too early to discuss ideas at this stage…I am afraid you’ll think poorly of me if it never gets off the ground. As things become more concrete, I will keep you updated.

The Flowers

One decision I really debated over in the wedding planning was whether or not to forgo the florist and just do my own flowers. I mean, we didn’t need that much…just 2 bouquets for me and my sister and seven small table arrangements.

I really surprised me during the planning process when several people advised me against it. On a bride blog that I wrote for anonymously, I got several commenters telling me I was flat out crazy. Florists in disguise perhaps?

What I can tell you is that in the end, it was awesome.


Here’s how it went:

I ordered 3 varieties of flowers on fiftyflowers.com about 3 weeks before the wedding to be delivered to our venue 2 days before the ceremony. Fiftyflowers.com were great– they were on top of the order from the moment I put in my payment.

I ordered:

— 72 Stems of Peony Pink Metropole Garden Rose (also called a cabbage rose* almost identical to a light pink peony– but much cheapr)
— 72 Stems of Piaget Garden Rose (a darker shade of pink than the Metropole)
— 100 Stems of White Ranunculus (1-5 blooms per stem)

Enough to make:

7 table settings consisting of 3-small vases of flowers, 2 bouquets, and because it turns out we had way more than I needed for tables and bouquets, we had two large arrangements for the altar and reception areas.

Our ceremony didn’t start until that evening, so it was no trouble at all to gather my ladies (my sisters, mother and step-mother) to help with the arranging. I had stored the flowers in my hotel room in buckets (actually, the room’s clean trash cans were converted for this purpose) after cutting the stems when they first arrived. On arrival the blooms looked a little sad, but once cut and placed in water, they opened perfectly and were huge, gorgeous blossoms that smelled heavenly.

The best part of having done the flowers ourselves is that each time I looked down at my bouquet, I thought of the loving hands of my sister, mother, stepsister and stepmother who all came together to do this with me.

I felt real love in that bouquet.

Wedding Recap, Part 1

It was worth every penny, ever tear shed, every ounce of stress felt in the 15 months of planning for 2 days of celebration. In short: the wedding exceeded all of my hopes.

There were so many things that I was worried about months, weeks and days before the wedding, but when the day finally came, I was calm and cool and ready to commit myself to this amazing man who I am now proud to call my husband.

Revisiting the long list of worries I blogged about months before, I am happy to report: everyone danced (with gusto!); my vendors were warm and capable; nothing fell apart; I didn’t fall down in my dress; the food was incredible; I felt like a million bucks (even if a sweaty pool by the end of the night); the ceremony was moving and true to who we are– and my brother did a fantastic job officiating; it didn’t suck. In fact, quite the opposite! Though I definitely missed my friends who were not there beside me, I was so appreciative of all the notes, texts and calls on the day of. Keeping it just small with the family was the right thing for me.

I owe so much to my parents who made everything possible, my sister who was the perfect Best Lady, my brother who officiated like a pro and my step-sister who did a great reading. I truly am blessed.

More details to come!