Saturday, May 17, 2008

The club that has no welcome committee...

The music teacher at our school is about to complete his first year there. He is a wonderful guy that has brought life back into our programs and he has filled our children once again with music. Before him, we only had assistants like myself that did not care whether the children truly learned the love and beauty in music. They were only concerned with getting through the class and taking a much needed soda break. This new music teacher is rather pleasant to look at, and his energy and charisma is contagious, so of course every single woman in the whole school rushes to his side batting her lashes as she offers to carry his soda for him. He is of course married and just like that perfect guy, he takes the attention graciously and humbly and goes on about his next class.

I had caught wind from somewhere in the building that he and his wife were expecting. I suppose now that I must have heard it from him or just imagined it because several weeks ago the whole faculty was aflutter with the news of a baby in the works. There were of course pictures to be passed and everyone just gushed over how exciting things were. She was only eight or nine weeks at the most apparently (although I disagree with that according to the pictures and such).

He came to pick up my mom's children for music that day and couldn't help but proudly pull out his pictures to share with everyone. My mom, not thinking at all, calls me over and encourages me to coo and purr with everyone else. I tried to smile and look really busy, but of course that didn't work. I ended up looking at the pictures and awww'ing with everyone else. I hope it wasn't too obviously strained.

Fast-forward a couple of weeks and spring break was right in front of us. At lunch there had been jokes of there being a "burrito in the oven" due to their Latino/Spanish heritage. I avoided the teacher's lounge during that week but didn't avoid hearing how they had planned to fly up to see her parents during the break and announce their news. I immediately cringed thinking that wasn't wise. What if something happens. I realized that thought only came to those who were jaded by experience and I quickly changed my thoughts to something more manageable for work.

Two days before spring break we came into school early and there was a group of teachers whispering at the end of the hallway. They wanted to know if we had heard. Well of course not. Music man and his wife had lost the baby. I was not prepared for that. It was like someone throwing you a bowling ball at full speed and you managing to catch it in your stomach just as it hit full force. I couldn't let anyone there see the way I felt. No one knew we were trying (much less that we had been for 5 years). These were my coworkers but they were more importantly my mom's coworkers and all of them were much closer to her in age. They associated with her and I knew they wouldn't understand.

That day they took up money for Music man and his wife. They bought a gift card for them. Everyone figured that would be the best thing as they were still planning on going to see her parents. Every time someone mentioned it I felt like I had been sucker punched. It was a hard day for me. I felt their pain so acutely. I wanted to yell at these people that they didn't want a gift card or flowers. They wanted their baby back. They didn't want to see crowds of people and hug everyone and nod as the sympathetic "Oh poor you" look was cast their way.

At the same time, I found it (and still do) impossible to look him in the eye. I wanted so much to go and tell him I understood. I had been in that trench for years. The pain he felt was horrible and that I was there for them. I couldn't do it. Each time I ran into him I would duck tail and run. I couldn't face him or deal with the pain he brought to me. I hated the thought that I seemed callous or uncaring but the fear of dragging up years of heartbreak overruled those worries.

I wanted to ask where my flowers were. I wanted to know who cared about my baby. My mom very quickly donated to help Music man, but when we lost our first she showered me with things like "It just wasn't time," or "Well, you all couldn't afford one right now anyway." I heard things like "Well you all are so young and there is plenty of time for that." Each month I suffer through a negative test or the arrival of Flo silently behind the safe closed doors of our apartment. My husband and my internet family being my only comfort.

I guess I have finally reached that bitter place I had always hoped I could avoid. I remember someone talking about Music man and thinking to myself, "Well, another one joins the club." I thought how sad and unfair it was that there was a club that had no welcome committee. No one wants to shake your hand in this club. They want to hide from you and lick their own wounds.

Have you ever found yourself in this situation? How do you handle it? I hope I am not the only one that feels this way. Maybe someday I can go shake his hand and let him know how sorry I am that he and his wife were forced to join this wretched club....

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