Monday, July 26, 2010

Jelly Belly

Wherever you are, I hope you are not beating yourself up over that comment. If it makes you feel better, I thought I was pretty hot in my empire-waist-tank-dress-and-rolled-up-jeans ensemble. And I will wear that outfit again.

I am visiting my BFF in NorCal, and when we walked through the gates of the Oakland Zoo, I had that feeling I would run into someone I knew. You spotted us just before we exited, looking very much like you did in high school twenty-odd years ago, with a mane of honey-hair and that radiant smile. I hadn't seen you in a decade or more, but I instantly recalled your kindness.

Even as you explained you were admiring me from afar, what with my pregnant glow.

Except, no, I'm not pregnant.

I patted my Food-Baby Belly and laughed as I set you straight. Only twenty minutes earlier Little Sis had haphazardly patted my stomach and then cocked her head: "Mama, what's in there?"

I wanted to reassure you by happily continuing our conversation, but your stricken look suggested you would prefer an emergency evacuation of the area. And as my buddy noted, the air around our conversation had grown heavier post-the-partum part. So we said our goodbyes and left you to gather your four daughters and give yourself a swift kick in the ass.

But I hope you didn't. Because, see, I would rather be me than you just then.

One time years ago in a long line at The Gap, I struck up conversation with a woman behind me who appeared to be about eight months pregnant. I broke my rule of not assuming pregnancy (but this time it was So Obvious!), and cheerily inquired, "When are you due?"

"I had my baby four weeks ago," she muttered into her chest.

Oh heck, really?

(I actually love myself for not saying that second part).

As it turns out, there are no spontaneous trapdoors at The Gap which eat alive Moms Who Should Know Better Than to Say Stupid Sh** to Other Women. We come to expect the ignorant and rude commentary from older and younger ladies at the grocery store, from innocent kids, and from hapless members of the other gender on occasion, but issuing from sisters of our own generation?

Yet, here I am, guilty, and I haven't completely lived that moment down.

Platitudes, backtracking, effusive explanations: none of those make embarrassment better. A quick apology and internal note to self is the best antidote.

And in this case, my friend? Your embarrassment far exceeded mine. If I had any at all, that is. For when you approached us, you noted I looked wonderful, that I appeared comfortable in my own space.

I'll call that "pregnant with promise and confidence," and take your compliment home with me.

So next time I see you, please don't let Phantom Baby come between us. My gut (amply full of good instincts) tells me we have bigger things to worry about.


Ms. F said...

You are so cool...Lately I've been pissing myself off by caring too much about what other people think/say, and your post inspires me to just take things the way I want to interpret them instead of fretting and analyzing and feeling hurt. Very cool.

Mama Deb said...

Love it!
My favorite oopsie was when I was buying a six-pack of beer and the lady carded me. I thanked her for thinking I was under 21 and she stupidly said, 'I'm carding you because you're pregnant.'
Uh...didn't realize one thing had to do with the other, and when I explained that I was not, she flippantly said, 'Well, you just can't tell with shirts these days.'