I started a new job this week. Better money, a better fit for my personality I think. I haven't yet met anyone who's to be my work BFF, but that's okay.
Two strange things have happened though....
The first was this: On Wednesday, my supervisor told me about a meeting for Saturday. I mentioned that I would have to arrange child care and he asked "can't your husband do it?" I don't have a ring on, so I don't know why he assumed I was married. It put me in a place where I had to say "we don't have one of those," and it made me feel all strange, like I had to defend my life decisions to an almost complete stranger. I was most bothered that it bothered me. I need to get past this myself if I'm to make sure my kids know we're normal, that our family is structured is the way it's supposed to be.
The second was this: A co-worker said, "your little boys are too cute!" I said, "one's a girl, but thanks" and smiled...it's a common enough mistake. Her name is fairly androgynous, and she's not getting her ears pierced and she won't leave bows in her hair. This doesn't bother me much. The co-worker asked how old they are, and I told her "17 months, but they came almost 3 months early, so they act more like 14 months." The co-worker said, "lucky you! you didn't have to carry them all that time." Without skipping a beat, I said, "What a strange thing to say...the babies stayed in the hospital for 9 weeks and one has some ongoing health problems. I'm very lucky that they're alive, but I would give anything to have carried them to term." This woman is clearly not going to be that work BFF I wanted, and I'll be lucky if she says hello to me on Monday. But seriously! In what world is having 3 pound babies lucky? I wish I could educate people without biting their heads off, but I cannot. I wish I could have one kind, informative sentence that would open people's eyes to what it's like to have a preemie (or two or more) and make them think twice the next time they encounter a preemie parent. We work in health care, so I hope this co-worker pauses a minute before she says such a thing to a patient.
These are the things that define me now. Being single. Being a parent of two preemies. Two years ago, my summary would have been much different....graduate student, rock n' roll, cowboy boots. Now it's single mama of two, breastfeeding advocate, NICU graduate family. How strange.