When I was a month away from my due date, I took an infant care class at the same place I took the lactation class – the place that kept addressing the Husbands. My new class was two Tuesday nights. I had signed up for this class at the same time as the lactation class and even after my odd experience with Pam, I was looking forward to it. Besides, my dear friends were taking this class with me – it was exciting to be pregnant with my friend and imagine our children growing up together.
I got to the boutique store and thought maybe the lady at the desk would remember me from last time, but she didn’t. I said my name to her, “Evie.”
She squinted at me and then nodded, “Oh yes, you are the one here alone!”
Great. She remembered me. And it did seem like she was shouting?
“Yep,” I responded, looking around to see who was now staring at me.
The older woman handed me a pre-written name tag that said Edie. Ugh. My whole life people have though my name was Edie. I corrected her. “It’s Evie.”
The woman was flustered as she made me a new name tag.
I went into the back room where I’d taken my lactation class and saw many tables set up with two chairs and a baby doll at each. I picked two tables close together for CE and her husband HiLo (a poker nickname, of course.)
There was no beer at the refreshment area, but there were tons of cookies and sweets -just what I needed. I was at 32 weeks and had gained 32 lbs. and counting.
Pam, the instructor peeked her head in the room. There were a few other couples sitting at their tables. Pam nodded her approval to the students and then saw me. “Oh, hey,” she remembered me. “Um, I was thinking you could sit there.” She pointed to a lone table against the wall, apart from the other tables. A table that had one chair at it while all the rest of the tables had two.
Not knowing how to take this, I said, “I wanted to sit here, so I could be next to my friends.”
“Oh,” Pam looked thrown. She gave me a little scowl. “It would just be better if you sat there. See, there’s one chair.”
I was super annoyed. I mean, it’s not like being told to sit at the back of the bus, but… “I’d really like to sit here so I can be near my friends.” It was now my job to stand up for all single moms. Let me pick my own chair.
Pam decided not to make more of an issue of this and she reluctantly came over to my table and removed the chair next to me and put it at the far away freak table.
Soon, my friends showed up and sat at the table I’d saved for them and I was happy.
The class went along with minimal drama. Couples diapered and swaddled dolls, taking turns, while I had a doll all to myself – a single mom perk. There was a lesbian couple there and I was please to hear Pam say “Partners, make sure you take a turn,” “Partners, bring home dinner.” But then she slipped back to Husbands. “Husbands, you have to change just as many diapers as your wives.”
After class, my friends and I went out for pizza.
The next week I showed up for class, I noticed a new face – woman not in last weeks class. I did what I always do when I see a pregnant woman… checked her ring finger – no ring. . After all the fertility clinics and classes and pre natal yogas and stuff, I’d still not met any single moms by choice. I always looked, I always asked… and even though I was always told, “We have tons on single moms here…” I had not encountered one.
As I entered the classroom in the back, Pam saw me. She’d beat me to the seating arrangements. “I have a special seat for you!” She said, waving at me.
I almost turned around and left. I was so angry. Can’t she just leave me alone?
The chair was at the same table I was at last week, but there were two chairs this time. “Oh, and this chair is for you,” Pam said, looking behind me, to the new woman. She clapped her hands together with glee, “You can sit together because you are both here alone!”
It was embarrassing, for sure but I was curious. Was this woman single? Was her husband or partner just not coming? My new desk partner smiled at me and took her seat. It was then I saw her name tag said Edie.
Pam gave lessons on car seats and baths and feedings and Edie and I shared a doll quite well together.
When Pam opened up the room to questions, a husband raised his hand and asked, “What happens if after a few weeks, my wife starts to let herself go? Like she doesn’t even wash her face for three weeks?”
It was one of those moments I have (more frequent than you might think) where I revel in my soloness.
Pam stared at him as he continued to babble about his wife letting herself go. His wife next to him didn’t seem to be embarrassed by his question, though she should have been. “You should be taking the baby everyday so that she does have time to wash her face!” Pretty good answer to a stupid question.
Pam reminded all the husbands (and lesbians) to be supportive and helpful of their wives. Then Pam looked directly at me, “And because Evie is a single mom, she’s going to need to get her family and friends to help her out, right, Evie?”
I nodded. “Yep.”
I gave a little shrug to Edie. I still couldn’t tell what her story was and she didn’t say anything. She was really nice. We had a good time together sharing our doll. How was I going to ask her if she was single, without sounding like I was hitting on her?
“Do you want to have lunch sometime?” Edie asked me.
“Yes!” I said and we exchanged numbers.
“We can trade stories of how were got to be single moms,” Edie said.
And there it was. I’d finally found her.
We did meet for lunch. It felt like one of my blind dates, except this one was fun.
Our two year olds are friends now too.
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/curiosdusteye/5954839324/”>Calidenism</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>
I love this story! Thank you for sharing. I, too, look at pregnant women’s ring fingers and am also interested when i see they are empty. There is a kinship to us who are going it alone – by choice or not. This perked up my day.
Thanks so much! I’m so glad you enjoyed. It’s fun to make life’s awkward moments into stories that make people laugh!