Sunday, June 29, 2008

What's up with my t-shirt


One night, at a bar with a rather large group of women friends and acquaintances, I called Charlotte my dead daughter. I was being sarcastic and crass about it, and the words stung. Someone else was telling a story about a woman who had her tubes tied, was totally against having another child, got pregnant anyway, and named the baby Charlotte. I let out a whoop. I shouted it out. I couldn't help it.
There are these moments, where it just all seems too awful and unfair to be simpering and sympathetic and self-pitying, where the injustice rears its ugly side and rude words come out. I don't like the word dead, and I never use it about my child. It sounds mean to me. Too finished, too over, too done. But here I said it anyway, because I wanted it to sound awful. As it came out, it burned my tongue, seared my lips. I wished I could un-say the words, yet at the same time they matched so nicely with the story of this unwanted Charlotte, who I would lap up in a minute, and take in as my own. (would I, though?)
Another woman, sitting across the table, said, "So is that what's up with your t-shirt?" And yeah, that is what was up with my t-shirt.
A very nice conversation actually ensued, and I appreciated the willingness of "the ladies" to incorporate my trauma into their beer night. It made the evening feel particularly welcoming to me, and I'm not being sarcastic there. The subject might have been raised on a bitter note, but I do always appreciate a chance to talk about my girl.

You know the whole six degrees of separation thing, or sometimes it's two? I have this idea, which is that I am going to post here a list of events, places, etc. that comprise me as a person. If you have anything in common, or you KNOW anyone who has anything in common, please post it as a comment. I think it would be fun to see it turns out that anyone's paths have crossed with mine and we never knew it (or if the people we know's paths have crossed). Meanwhile you will learn a whole lot of random facts about me you probably don't really need to know.

- Grew up in Wellesley MA
-Went to Wellesley schools
- Vacation every summer on Lake Simcoe, Ontario
-Went to Camp Menotomy in Meredith, NH for about 12 years (Girl Scouts! Yeah!)
-Worked at Chesapeake Wildlife Sanctuary in Bowie, Maryland
-Went to Middlebury College (98.5)
-Worked at Lands Sake Farm in Weston, MA
-Did a study Abroad program in 1996 in New Zealand through SIT.
-Worked for Peggy Nelson, sociology professor at Middlebury, helped with book "The Social Economy of Motherhood" (in case you have ever read this, and it's good, if you are a single mom or interested in them. I did most/all interviews)
-Worked at Whitford House Inn in Addison, Vermont (even took it over for a few months with Greg, while the innkeepers were out west for awhile)
-Went to Smith College (2001)
-Worked at the Common School in Amherst MA
- Sisters went to Colby College and Williams College, grad schools at U of Miami and U Mass Medical.
-Parents went to McGill University
- Mom from Montreal. Grandfather worked at Montreal General for 50 years. Grandfather has sweet cottage in Austin Quebec.
-Dad from Toronto and Hamilton ONT. Ended up in states because he was sent by SunLife (the company that unknowingly, with this transfer, changed the entire course of my life)

So there you go. Anything ring a bell? Ever been near any of those places?

Good night. Sleep tight.

7 comments:

Janya said...

At this point, I don't see any similarities, but I bet there'd be quite a few once we scratched the surface.

I still wonder how I got here...I know I found you through Erin, but I still can't remember how I found her. I remember being enchanted by the lovely, raw, honest, loving stories you both wrote about your babies (Charlotte and Birdie) but being terrified by your stories, too.

Then, about a year later, I found you again, but I don't know how. So that makes me wonder, why am I really here? Other than loving your writing, what brought me here?...

Rebecca said...

Hmmm...nothing obvious in those connections yet. Let me tell you about my only trip to Mass. in 1994. Accepted for an MA program at Simmons College in Boston. Went to visit the city in July, trying to find lodging and decide if I wanted to relocate there. Crazy hot and humid that year. I stayed in the Simmons dorms and toured the city and, by Friday, thought "forget this- I'm not living here" (for a number of reasons) and ended up on an Amtrak to Salem instead where I spent a lovely day sightseeing. Ate at a cafe there where I had the best fresh blueberries I've ever tasted. Toured the Hawthorne house and the witch museum and memorial park...ever been there? Lovely. So no connections yet but maybe, somewhere out there in the ether, we've been to the same places. Oh- and my grandfather's family is from Toronto-- so we're both part-Canuck from way back!

Meg said...

The only thing I can somewhat say is the same for me is that every summer we go to a convention at UMASS.

Also, I just thought you might like to know where I came from, too. I found this wonderful blog through Catherine Newman's. You left a really nice comment and I clicked on your name. I'm really glad I did, because you have made me really enjoy and not take for granted my family and to understand my close friend who lost a baby herself. He lived for 1 hour. Thank you for all you do.

Kim said...

A friend did her Master's at Smith, which I thought was so amazing (we're from KY), because I only knew the name from White Christmas...

"Alright. So she didn't go to college. She didn't go to Smith."
"Go to Smith? She can't even spell it!"

I love that movie...

(Found you from Erin's blog.)

mommymichael said...

totally off point, but kind of talking about the "6 degrees of separation"... On last comic standing, one comic told a joke about

"you know how they say when you sleep with one person, you sleep with everybody that they slept with, and everybody that they slept with.. and everybody that THEY slept with....

so does that mean i've slept with Kevin Bacon?"

alexis said...

My oldest sister graduated from Smith. I went to her graduation and OMG is that school and city so beautiful in the month of May...

mm said...

Found you through Erin... who was a person I read to try and help comprehend(not that I can truely!) my friend R's two wee ones who are babylost.
Anyway, Lake Simcoe in 1983. and family in Montreal. Both my elder siblings were born at Montreal General.
hmmmmm some crossing of paths for a gal in the Canadian Praries