Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Around the Watercooler

My job is becoming less boring. Or more productive. Basically, the principal has decided I should have more on my plate (Can I get an amen? You mean, this chick is qualified and stuff?). As usual around the ol' elementary school, I overhear conversations that strike me in one way or another that would've never even caused me to bat an eye pre-doomsday.

1. Another teacher's mom just died suddenly last Friday. At 51, they just assumed she had the flu. Her two daughters found her dead on the couch that morning. It's completely tragic. As soon as I heard the news, I felt such empathy for her and just knew that I'd give her a big hug when I saw her next. As I sat in the teacher's lounge, I listened to a few teachers question aloud what they were going to do when she returned. "How will we act around her?" they asked one another. I couldn't help but think that they must have had similar conversations about my return after losing Andrew. People want to be so deliberate of how to act, but they just don't know how in such cases. Losing Andrew did make me more aware of others and their heartbreak. I didn't once question how I would act around her, as I don't see her as an outcast. I see her as part of my posse-- bereaved, heartbroken, and pitied by others. I didn't find the comment insensitive, but more startling. They don't understand, but they want to. They care enough to want to and that is wonderful.

2. The beautiful, talented, sweet, and very pregnant art teacher finished up her job on Friday and gave birth Saturday to her little boy. Alive. DUH. And then another comment that I also found startling. "I can't believe she worked until the day before she gave birth! I could never do that!" Andrew was born on a Sunday, but I worked that Friday and only contemplated stopping because people kept voicing their surprise that I wasn't home preparing or something. Sure glad I didn't prepare too much. I would've worked that Saturday if schools were in session. I felt great and was active. But in that moment, when she voiced her opinion about the art teacher being some mother-extraordinaire, I felt forgotten. I knew that it would be too awkward to chime in with, "That was me just 9 months ago! I gave birth just 48 hours after last working, too!" Hah. Not allowed, Brandy. You have a dead baby so nobody wants to hear about your sad birthing story because they'll just make too many assumptions or disregard your participation or place on the mothership.

3. Again, setting takes place in the teacher's lounge. The woman I am long-term subbing in the place of is on leave because she's 12 weeks pregnant and uncontrollably vomiting to the point of hospitalization. Her other teacher friend is also pregnant at 14 weeks. Said pregnant chick pulled up photos of M's baby and then pulled up photos of her own baby by way of ultrasound photos. Dude, this was good times for me. I shamefully put my head down and wouldn't allow the phone to be passed to me as they all discussed awesome new technology that allows you to see so much-- as other teachers pointed out were not available to them 30 years ago. Yep, and that awesome technology was unable to detect a thing to save my child. Super-D-duper.

I'm not having a terrible time (despite boredom), but I am just sharing some of the stories that burned their way into my brain matter the last few days. Among other things, we've had a nice week over here at the Wilson residence. Ray's work picnic was on Saturday and it was fantastic. I appreciated meeting some people I hadn't met before and all of the families that make up his company. Sunday was a day with friends. I had a lovely lunch with 4 of my girlfriends and a friend of mine from LA (turned New Yorker) came to visit. In this time, we managed to squeeze in a couple hours for dessert and finally met her husband of 1.5 years! I'm looking forward to resting tonight...

I signed up to bring some items to school on Friday. I found incredible produce deals and plan to make the following: Asian Slaw, Black Bean Quinoa Salad, Broccoli Salad with vinaigrette (basically broccoli marinated in vinaigrette), a couple dips, some crackers, hummus, and some zucchini, carrot, and bell pepper strips for dipping. My teacher friend will be making dessert items. Better recipes for any of the following are welcome in the comments. ;)

10 comments:

LauraJane said... [Reply to comment]

I have the following comment to make: BAH.

BAH to all the babies and the mommas who are oh so confident they're going to birth living babies AND KEEP THEM ALIVE?

BAH

I stopped working at 37 weeks because I was sore and LAZY. And it was Christmas, and there's no way I was going to let those with higher seniority than me have the holidays off while I waddled to work preg and shit. BAH

Kelly said... [Reply to comment]

I worked up til the day before I was hospitalized with Natalie. Extremely different circumstances, but she was born premature. No way I could have known, so of course I was working all the way to her delivery. Dudes, sometimes you just don't know what's gonna happen.

I agree with LJ. Bah indeed. A friend on FB and I were talking about being paranoid moms (her baby is 1 week old and she posts something every 5 minutes). She's like, our moms were paranoid and we turned out to be fine adults. Yeah. So much for being paranoid over Adam. A lot of good it did. Just BAH.

Addi's mom said... [Reply to comment]

I worked Friday the 3rd. I took Monday the 6th off because I was set to be induced on the 7th but we both know I never made it to the 7th. At least if we can't chime in with people in the live baby world we can chime in here with each other :)

Caroline said... [Reply to comment]

I third LJ's BAH. I work with a girl who keeps boasting about how she's working right up until the last minute. I did too honey - right up until I thought I was in labor and went to the hospital to learn my baby had died. BAH. With Finn, I worked until Friday. was terrified of losing him over the weekend, and was induced Monday. oh to be so naive . . . never again.

Shell said... [Reply to comment]

Have to agree with LauraJane's BAH too. It is so hard at times. The sensitivity and different things you hear or people say. You just want to blurt or yell at them and say, really? But you and I both know you won't do that. The lady I worked with for two weeks back in May just had her baby last week and send a HUGE picture to my work email to her old boss. I couldn't look at the picture b/c if I did I would have lost it. It all sucks.

katie illingworth said... [Reply to comment]

I agree with all the ladies. As I approach 6 months without my Georgie-girl, I am totally sick of all the pregnant women and their naive happiness. Suffice to say I feel a little bitter lately. Of course I was that way too once, so I guess I have to keep the bitterness somewhat in check. Ugh. BAH is right.

LookItsJessica said... [Reply to comment]

"Not allowed, Brandy. You have a dead baby so nobody wants to hear about your sad birthing story because they'll just make too many assumptions or disregard your participation or place on the mothership."

I feel like this a lot. I think its super cool that you worked up until delivery. I say, if you can do, more power to you. I stopped working at about 11 weeks because I was non-stop vomiting too. Good times...

Josh Jackson said... [Reply to comment]

RE: #1: I feel so much of this now when I hear about loss. I want to hold these people's hands and talk to them about their deceased and tell them how sorry I am. I want to ask the names of the deceased. I want to tell them that I'm comfortable with death and tragedy and would talk anytime they needed to listen. I'm not sure if it's entirely for them, or maybe for them and for me, so I can talk about Margot, but it's still something. Maybe a gift her death brought me - a deeper connection to the society of the suffering.

RE: #2: It sucks so bad that all of our birth stories have to be on the down low...that they only ever get mention or notice in this community.

Anyway. Still here, still reading, still following your story.

Peace to you today,

Josh

Tiffany said... [Reply to comment]

Doesn't it suck how much everything is affected when your lose a child. You can't even make it through the dang day without being reminded that you have a dead baby.
BTW, i am jealous of your cooking ambitions. I always think I'll cook like that, but I don't...

Brooke said... [Reply to comment]

Annoying non-baby related conversation that I overheard related to quinoa! I was scarfing a quinoa salad at a faculty lunch and then a pregnant lady (I was avoiding her, obvy) said, "OMG what is that?" to her friend (referring to the quinoa) and her friend was like, "We have no idea." I did not sing the praises of quinoa, I just kept shoveling it in my mouth. I also might have been feeling angry and bitter. But the salad was good.