Right now, Sea is sitting in our kitchen finishing the “We’re Expecting!” cards that we will mail to most of her family members and a couple of mine. (I suspect that people are going to think they’re wedding invitations at first glance!)
We’re getting to that time when people tell people. I know this because a host of other people’s ultrasound photos and “Due in October!” announcements have appeared on Facebook, and “Due in November”s are surely not far behind.
Sea and I aren’t that forthcoming, and it will be a long time before anything shows up on Facebook. Still, there were a couple of close friends who didn’t know, and several family members– most notably Sea’s parents, brothers and grandmother, and my sibling.
Earlier this week we told our former roommates: a gay couple who we lived with for over seven years. We lived together in a state of harmony almost unknown to roommates, and only moved apart when we went to buy our house. We still think they’re great, and definitely wanted them to know. Not to mention, they’re going to be some of the very few men in young Bingo’s life and, if Bingo has a penis, will be called upon to teach him how to pee standing up.
We went to the condo they now live in for some long-overdue hanging out. We ate dinner, watched a movie, and talked about many other things. As Sea and I got up to leave, I decided this was probably as good a moment as any to tell them. “So, news: We’re having a baby”. The more stoic of the roommates looked a little teary and smiled warmly at us. The less stoic of the roommates shrieked repeatedly– a high-pitched scream that could have shattered glass and prompted his stoic partner to laugh and comment, “Our neighbors are going to come over here in a panic! ‘I heard a woman screaming!! Is everything okay?!!'” Though most of the shrieking was unintelligible, I’m pretty sure that there were a few utterances of “Oh my God!” Once he had calmed down, we answered the usual questions with the usual answers: I’m pregnant, fertility clinic, anonymous donor. He then asked if we were going to have “You know… one of those things?” We paused, wondering what he was talking about. Genetic testing? A C-section? “You know,” he explained, turning to his partner, “one of those things that your sister had when she was pregnant. That party.”
The more stoic roomate’s eyes lit up with understanding. “You mean a baby shower?”
We all laughed.
Though Sea tells me that I need to work on a less abrupt delivery of the news, their reactions were still really great.
Today we told my sibling.
My younger sibling and I are very different people. I live a calm, boring life of long term monogamy, home ownership, Netflix, and evenings of board games with friends. My sibling lives halfway across the world, loves and sleeps with everybody, and is almost perpetually drunk. All of these factors make it very difficult to get in touch, so when Skype began chirping at me this morning I knew it was time to tell. I listened to my sibling talk about heartbreak, plans to move to the countryside and write, long workouts that had resulted in bulging muscles (shown to me proudly on the screen). Finally, a pause, then: “So, what’s new with you?”
My sibling’s eyes widened slightly and filled with tears. “You’re having a baby? You’re having a baby! Hey guys, my sister is having a baby! Where’s Sea?! I want to talk to Sea! My sister is having a baby!” Random people, roommates perhaps, appeared behind my sibling shouting congratulations. One, inexplicably, held out to the computer screen an avocado. A gift? Eventually the strangers disappeared and my sibling continued to talk. Some gems from the conversation:
“You need to paint your laundry room! Yellow! A gray house is no place for a child to grow up!”
“Your kid needs to know how to fight! I’m going to teach it how to fight!” (This was said while jumping around and shadow boxing.)
“I’m going to start finding baby things on the street!”
“Don’t think weird things, ‘cause your kid can feel it.”
“I promise I won’t do anything bad to your child!”
All of this while still crying. Granted, the words are strange. But what mattered more to me was how thrilled my sibling was, the genuine excitement. That’s how I feel about most people’s reactions: I’m still not totally comfortable with people’s shrieks, the questions that we answer again and again, the ways in which this feels like coming out again. But an old friend’s enthusiastic squeals or my sibling’s joy filled tears make me smile. Bingo is still smaller than a fig, and only a handful of people are even aware that Bingo exists: but I already know that Bingo is going to be so very loved.
Now, to mail the cards.