Monday, May 9, 2011

weekend: survived

Both summer weddings now done - wa-hoo! Both were really beautiful and the bride and groom are, in both cases, just fantastically awesome people. This one was in Gettysburg, so the DH and I decided to make a weekend of it. We came up Friday afternoon, checked into our hotel, went to the rehearsal dinner (the bride and groom generously invited us because - I think - I was asked to bring up the gifts, but I'm not 100% sure. Anyway, it was a lovely dinner, in the historic Dobbin House).

We got to bed at a decent hour, and the next morning we got up, went swimming, met friends for lunch (scored the lunch table with the super-awesome Franciscan friar: WINNING!), and headed to the wedding. Despite the fact that my hips have been, ahem, expanding, I was very happy with my dress, a cute little springy black cotton number with lovely embroidery that I picked up for $10 with the tags still on at a thrift store. Luckily it was only snug around the rib cage, giving me the illusion of a trim figure with no giant tummy (at least until I at my body weight in Skittles later in the evening...don't ask). I even danced (rare for me) but I do not want anybody to see those pictures (very enthusiastic photographer, who estimated she got 4000 shots), because I always look so darn awkward. I can feel myself looking awkward. I'm a terrible dancer. Ah, well. The lovely girlfriend of mine who most vastly outshone me is single, so that's for the best.

Sunday we got up at a decent hour, had brunch at the Lincoln Diner, and then headed to the Lourdes shrine at Emmitsburg, where we said a prayer in front of the blessed sacrament in the tiny chapel, doused ourselves with some non-miraculous-but-still-grace-bestowing water, and lit votive candles. Then we headed to Mass at the shrine, which is gorgeous. Before we left Emmitsburg, I made my husband stop at the antique mall with me. It was a well-priced antique mall (puts the ones in the DC area and even Charlottesville totally to shame in that respect), but was heavier on trinkets (as opposed to furniture) than I would've liked. I didn't find any furniture I couldn't live without, but I did find a full-length fur coat. I generally don't like furs - the Michelin Man proportions, the sometimes garish colors, the occasionally icky texture - but this is an even brownish black, has a trench coat silhouette, and is the softest thing ever. And in perfect condition, with a Saks tag. (It's not an antique - it looks pretty new.) My internet research indicates that it is probably a sheared mink, and would be worth north of $4000 new. I paid $35. I hope I find an opportunity to wear it.

After the antique mall, we hit the Candyland roadside ice cream shop and managed to catch our buddies (who had skipped the antique mall and driven on ahead). Our traveling companions for the day were the other infertile couple we hang out with, and the couple married a year ago who are due in July. She (that is, the gal who's expecting) has been more gracious about the situation than I could have imagined possible - though that doesn't make it easy for me (or our other friend) to see her walking easily through the firsts of marriage and motherhood that we should have had, to have the innocence and lightheartedness that I know now I'll never have.

Today I got this email from her:
I believe my mom recently mailed out invites for a Baby Shower that she is throwing for me. I definitely didn't want to leave you out since you are a dear friend, but I wanted to let you know that I would never be offended or anything if you chose not to attend (and please don't feel like you need to send a gift). I don't know what it's like to carry your cross, but I imagine that attending this type of event would not be a favorite way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Your friendship means a lot to me, and I don't desire to put friend in a situation that would be uncomfortable. Of course, if you'd like to attend, I'd love to see you...but I just wanted to let you know that I would more than understand if you chose to opt out. I pray for you and [my DH] often.
I almost (almost) wish that she were really rotten so I could feel justified in wishing her ill - it's too much that she's so blessed and also so gracious, right? But what an extraordinary friend. How could she know what it's like to be here? I don't know that I would think of it, if I hadn't been through it. I didn't even wish her a happy Mother's Day, and I spent the day with her - I wasn't trying to be mean, I just didn't have the strength to deal with the inevitable hideously awkward conversation. I wasn't planning to attend the shower (and still don't intend to) - she may be gracious, but at least a significant minority of her other guests are guaranteed to be clueless. But I think it's only fair I get her a nice present. On one of the days when walking through the baby section of Target does not fill my mind with tempting thoughts of arson. (It really does depend on the day.) And find some way to tell her how much I appreciate her thoughtfulness, without sounding like a melodramatic loon.


  1. That is very kind of her. What a good friend.

  2. Interestingly enough, I had a similar situation this weekend. My teaching partner has been my "fellow infertile" all year (though, not really, as she just started trying in August). She has listened to me vent and cried about other people's announcements with me. On Friday, she sent me an email letting me know she was pregnant. She wanted to give me a chance to accept the news on my own, as she knew it would be difficult for me. It was, it is, but now I feel even worse, because she's being so damn nice about it.

    Hugs to you -- and kudos for making it through a very challenging weekend.


  3. Your friend sounds wonderful. If only all our fertile friends were so empathetic and compassionate.

  4. Extraordinary friend is right. Wow. Now to just get others to follow her example... :)

  5. Those references to G-burg landmarks Dobbin House and LD's bring back memories. I graduated from G-burg College. LD's was a popular place for us. I loved sitting by the windows and watching the trains pass by. You've put me in the mood to make a trip down, visiting my old stomping grounds, and take a drive around the battlefields.

    Your friend is an incredibly thoughtful person to warn you about the shower invite and let you know that she understands as well as she can. That's a rarity.

  6. The note was lovely, really lovely. It deserves to be a "how to do it right" on an etiquette site.
    Congrats on the thrift shop find. (Your weight in skittles?!?! I don't think my gums/teeth could withstand all that undiluted sugar at a go.)

  7. Last weekend, friends of ours who were infertile for 2 minutes before getting surgery and conceiving immediately thereafter, asked us to be godparents in a very sensitive way. Once we accepted, the father then went on to ask if I would a)help plan the shower, and b)go shopping with them at Buy Buy Baby, and give my INPUT on items. Ummm, what input??? You want someone there to say repeatedly, "I have no idea which one to get, I have never had the opportunity to shop for these things."???

    I mean, really?

    But your friend sounds like a really nice person.
    What a genuine note she sent you.

  8. LOVE the coat. Can't wait to see it. What a steal.

    That was a super sweet note written with delicacy. A rare find.

    There's a Target near me. Let me know if you want to brave it together.

  9. I love Mt. St. Mary's and the shrine. It is one of the things I miss the most about living in MD. Wow, that was a very thoughtful email from your friend.

  10. That was a very lovely note that your friend wrote you and sweet of her to realize what boat you are sitting in. I'm impressed. I had a couple of pregnant friends who became "avoiders" and they just kind of dropped me out while they were pregnant instead of talking to me about it.

  11. Wow, what a terrific and gracious friend!!!

  12. You are so lucky to have such a sensitive friend! We have well-meaning friends, but none have ever had as much tact as yours to send such a beautiful email. Now they just ignore us.

    I'd love to see a pic of this fab coat, if you get the chance. ;)

  13. You have an amazing friend! Glad to hear you made it through the weekend!