Dh and I are watching the Spurs beat up on the Timberwolves to (hopefully) have yet another 50 win season. We are dicussing a variety of things, George Hill's naked pictures, pornography in general, whether or not we should plant roses in the tomato bed, and I mention that someone I never cared much for sent me a friend request on FB. DH confirmed he had also received the invitation and that reminded me - one of our friends has expressed interest in seeing us soon.
Normally, we would be in favor. But honestly, I go out even less now than I did before. And honestly, I have absolutely no desire to see these lovely, very nice people. And I feel pretty bad about it. But worse is that I can't think of a nice way to say, "Love to, but I don't so well around pregnant women who have had blissfully easy times trying to conceive and easy pregnancies and are having boys, so um, maybe we could wait until I'm 24 weeks pregnant or your kid is five or six months old or so?"
It always takes me by surprise that I have such a gut-level reaction to these particular people, rather than other people in my life. I spent over an hour this afternoon chatting with my friend C about her pregnancy and teasing her about how she was definitely having a girl and all sorts of nonsense. I can listen to my friend K talk about her in-utero son with nary a blink or wistful sigh. Maybe it's the distance of states?
I have avoided seeing anyone in person who might be pregnant. I have successfully avoided newborns. And I've done it all subconsciously, which is perhaps the most impressive of all.
But when we talk about these things, what I find is that it simply highlights the emptiness that exists in our lives. Oh, there is richness, and we try to fill it, but there is no getting around the empty room and the unassembled crib and the random thoughts that Gabriel would be so old and even still, the rare thought about what we will do wit him.
You know, I had something special done in honor of Gabe, something that turned out more beautifully than I could have imagine, more perfectly than I dared to hope, and Dh and I were so excited about it. We called people, I displayed it with pride. It felt good, honestly.
But coming up against a simple invitation to dinner made it dim, made it fall like a house of cards. It reminded us of how different our lives are now. People ask us about what's happening and we talk about how neat it was to do something for our dead son. And it's understandable, and it's normal and it's nothing taken away from Gabe. It's just that what we get is the leftovers, the scraps.
We're grateful for them because that's all we get. We share them with each other and we take pleasure and joy in them. But it's still not the same thing. And the reminders are hard to swallow sometimes.