What I Really Did During My Christmas Vacation
Wednesday, December 13
Short on patience, I write this post. Red laser beams of irritation continue to shoot from my eyes for the next three days.
Friday, December 14
I wake up feeling so tired that I can hardly move. Sadness and depression have engulfed me, seemingly out of nowhere. I do not want to go to work, but I have opening duties that morning and will be the only one there. I drag myself in wearing the fugliest outfit known to womankind.
I arrive to find that one of my co-workers has shown up early. “Oh!” I say. “If I had known you would be here, I would have called in sick today.” She asks if I’m okay and to my complete mortification, I burst into tears.
She sends me home. I spend most of the day alternating between napping and weeping.
I wonder if I should call a therapist.
Tuesday evening, December 18
I return home to a message from the public library. They say that a disc from my last book-on-CD is still missing. I call back and very tersely explain that I returned that disc two days ago and that I walked up to the check-out desk and handed it to a woman with glasses and shoulder-length blonde hair. “She told me she would take care of it,” I say, my voice wobbling. “I guess she didn’t.” The woman says she will get to the bottom of it.
I hang up and cry.
Wednesday evening, December 19
Mike suggests that we start packing for our holiday trip to Georgia and Florida. My eyes fill.
“What’s wrong?” he asks, surprised.
“I don’t want to pack!” I weep. “I don’t want to drive to Georgia and Florida! Why can’t we just stay here, on the couch?”
He hugs me and says into my hair, “Are you harboring a bun in your oven?”
I laugh, and then I cry. Again.
PMS for sure.
Early Friday morning, December 21
Departure day! Mike is outside, readying the car for our trip to Georgia. I get out of the shower and notice something strange in my reflection. I won’t go into details for the sake of the male readership, but it is enough to make me suspicious. I take a pregnancy test, expecting to feel pretty silly when it comes up negative.
A few minutes later, I glance down at the test. Is that a second pink line? It’s very, very faint. But out of all the pregnancy tests I’ve taken in my life, I’ve never seen even a hint of a second line before. I run to the window and shove it open.
“MIKE!” I shriek, waking the entire neighborhood. “MIKE, COME QUICK!”
He runs inside and up to our bedroom. “LOOK,” I yelp, shoving the test at him. “WHAT DOES THIS LOOK LIKE TO YOU? IS THAT A SECOND LINE I THINK THAT’S A SECOND LINE!”
He holds the test up to the light, turning it this way and that.
“It looks like it could be,” he says, thoughtfully. We stare at each other.
Then we load the dog into the car and drive to Georgia.
Saturday, December 22
It’s the morning after we arrive at Mike’s brother’s house in Georgia. We make a plan to go to the local Wal-Mart for a digital pregnancy test. “It will either say PREGNANT or NOT PREGNANT,” I explain to Mike. “There won’t be any ambiguity.”
But first we have to get past our sister-in-law, Wendy. Wendy is high-energy and very observant. It’s hard to put anything past her.
“Wal-Mart?” she asks. “For what? I’ve got lots of extra stuff around here. Maybe I already have what you need.”
I doubt you have pregnancy tests, I think. She and Mike’s brother have three children and are decidedly done with reproducing.
“Uh,” I say, brilliantly. “Uh, I just need some…uh, personal items. Don’t worry, it’s fine.”
“Okay,” she says, giving me a close look. “Are you sure? Because really, I probably have anything you could need, so just let me know.”
“Thanks, Wendy,” Mike says. “But we’ll just run to Wal-Mart. I need to get gas, anyhow.”
We escape to the car. “She thinks I need tampons but that I’m too embarrassed to ask for them!” I huff. “What, am I in seventh grade? Why didn’t we just say that we needed dog food?” (theirs is a no-pets household)
At Wal-Mart we buy a Clearblue Easy digital pregnancy test, which I take the next morning.
It says PREGNANT.
Sunday, December 23:
Mike decides to tell Wendy and Adam the good news, since we’re leaving the next morning for Florida. They are ecstatic.
“Thank God!” Wendy breathes. We all look at her.
“Well, you’ve been so tired, and you took that mysterious trip to Wal-Mart,” she explains to me. “Last night I said to Adam, ‘I’m afraid Liz has Lupus or something! She keeps taking naps!’”
Adam, who is a doctor, smiles wryly. “Her little bit of medical knowledge is a dangerous thing.”
Monday, December 24
Christmas Eve at my parents’ house in Florida. I take a regular pregnancy test, since the results on the digital tests only display for 24 hours. There are two obvious lines. I cap it, wrap it, and hide it under the Christmas tree.
Tuesday, December 25
We wake up and engage in all the usual traditions… stockings, mom’s breakfast casserole and sticky buns, the calling of the relatives, and finally the slow, methodical opening of the presents. When it appears that the pile has at last been demolished, I pull out the slim package that I hid in the tree skirt. “Oops, one more!”
Dad lets Mom do the honors. I kind of overdid it on the wrapping (really, it doesn't take much to adequately cover a pee stick) and it is taking her freaking forever to get it open. My heart is nearly exploding from my chest as she keeps pausing to hold out the package to their dog, Benny. “What is it, Benny?” she asks. “What could it be?” Benny sniffs intently, his ears standing at attention. OMG, pee! She gave you PEE!
Mom does not seem to receive this canine communication.
Finally, finally, she rips off the last layer of wrapping paper. She stares at the stick in confusion.
“What is this?” she asks. “Is it…an X-Acto knife?”
My dad leans over for a closer look. “Yeah, some kind of tool?”
Mom turns the stick over. Suddenly she gasps and claps her hand over her mouth, her eyes searching my face.
“What?” Dad asks. He looks from her to me, trying to figure out what’s going on.
I look at Mom expectantly.
"WHAT IS IT?" Dad asks again, thoroughly befuddled.
“YOU’RE PREGNANT!” Mom screams.
I nod, and that’s all it takes. She is laughing and crying and jumping up and down. Later, she asks if she can keep the pee stick.
I guess she really wanted grandchildren.