A few weeks ago, I received a text from my older sister:
I need maternity clothes. Who was that friend who let you borrow all of hers when you were pregnant? Will you ask her if I can borrow them now?
I responded with this:
Um…I don’t think she’ll want to do that again. There was an incident.
My sister: I don’t care, whore! Shut your stupid mouth! (If you think this is an example of creative dialogue, you are sorely mistaken, my friend. This was an actual text. And yes, she’s always this lovely. Even when she’s not pregnant. We’re a lucky family. J )
Me: I forgot that you are normally a teensy bit grumpy during your first trimester. In any case, I think you’ll be totally fine with that one shirt that you wore every day for the entire 9 ½ months of your last pregnancy—you know, that large, billowing, striped monstrosity?
I grow a huge pair when I’m behind a computer or texting screen. I would NEVER have said that shit to my sister in person because, well, simply put, that pregnant snatch would kick my ass.
Since she was an hour and fifteen minutes away from me at the time, though, I felt that I was safe to put the phone away and reminisce.
I did not enjoy pregnancy at ALL. And I had an easy pregnancy. I had so few symptoms—if any at all—with my second son that I was scared something was wrong up until the moment he came swimming out.
Yeah, you read that right. That little bastard was two weeks late and weighed 9 pounds; he could totally swim by then. In fact, he came out holding a beer and a ciggie and swiveling his huge watermelon head this way and that, looking around for me. When he finally spotted my face, he flicked his ciggie, took a swig of his beer as he studied me for a moment, and then nodded and said, “Yep, that’s the one. This is where I belong.”
I crushed my own ciggie in the ashtray that I had instructed my doula to place on the bedside table and opened my arms to receive my new son. In that moment, I knew that the almost 10 miserable months that I had been with child were worth it to have another one so much like me. It was a beautiful moment, my peeps. Sometimes God just knows what He’s doing, right?
About 4 months prior to this touching moment between mother and son, my good friend Joannie had offered to let me borrow the maternity clothes that she’d saved, planning to get pregnant again sometime soon, from her first pregnancy. I readily agreed to take the clothes, seeing as the only reason I was in the motherly way in the first place was to take one for the team. I’d have been fine with one kid, but the hubs and I wanted to give our first son a sibling. (That little stinker owes me, too. What’s the going rate for 10 months of misery to bear one’s best friend for life, by the way?) In any case, I knew I’d never need maternity clothes again, and I didn’t see the point of buying some just to burn them 9 months later, so I took Joannie up on her offer.
Joannie’s a sweet friend; she also offered to babysit for me on the few occasions that my regular sitter was sick when I got called in to substitute teach. Yes, not only was I busy cooking my oldest son’s best friend in my womb, but I was also helping the hubs with the finances a bit by substitute teaching. I am such a martyr, my peeps.
One day, I arrived at Joannie’s house after a long, hard day of subbing middle schoolers. I’ll admit, I was in a bit of a foul mood. I had brought a library book, hoping to finish it that day, but they had so many questions about their packet of worksheets that I only got ¾ of the way through. Now I’d never get it back to the library on time. Little assholes.
Ugh. What a rough day it had been.
As I ambled through Joannie’s doorway to pick up my son, I asked her if I could use the bathroom.
“Sure!” she replied, smiling brightly and leading the way.
Always wondering if things were considered “normal” during pregnancy, I took the opportunity to ask her a question. “Did you sweat a lot during your pregnancy?”
She stopped and turned to look at me, thinking. “Not that I remember. I do remember being kind of hot at certain points, but I think that’s just because you’re carrying so much extra weight and it’s harder to move around, so that extra exertion—“
“Holy shit, Joannie,” I said, cutting her off, “I don’t care about the physics of the damn thing. All I know is that I sweat like a mofo and it’s getting embarrassing. My day wasn’t even that hard today—I mean, I sat behind a desk and read a book for 8 hours, and still, look at me.” I spread out my arms and legs so I could point to certain spots as I explained. “My pits are sweating, my butt crack is sweating, my crotch is sweating. Maybe you can explain this to me, Joannie: I’ve got a line of sweat under my boobs—which, even despite me being 6 months pregnant, still aren’t big enough to rest on my chest to make an ample boob crease. So how in the hell do I have a boob sweat line? You figure it out.”
I know. I don’t understand why I have any friends, either. And these people are normal, contributing members of society—not complete wackadoos like you’d expect friends of mine to be. When I once asked my best friend why, despite all of my shortcomings, she and our other friends hung out with me, she thought about it for a moment, shrugged, and replied, “Because you’re fun.” Alright. I’ll take that.
Joannie wasn’t sure what to say. She just watched me, blinking, a smile frozen on her face. What the hell else could she do? But I wasn’t finished yet.
“What you don’t understand, Joannie, is that if these middle schoolers catch on to my little problem, they will eat.me.ALIVE.” I could hear my voice growing shrill. “And I’m the cool teacher, Joannie. I’ve always been the cool teacher. Don’t you know that I have an IMAGE TO UPHOLD?!”
When I was finished with my tyrade, Joannie and I happened to both look down again at the same time. At my body. And that's when realization dawned: I was dressed completely in Joannie’s clothes, from the Motherhood Maternity green ruched shirt to the Two Hearts khaki capris. Even the white undershirt—my first line of defense against the awful pit stains I’d been getting—was Joannie’s.
And it was all drenched in spots of wet, pulsing sweat that almost seemed alive. As we stood there silently taking it all in, a dribble of sweat slid from the back of my knee to her carpet.
“Sweet Jesus, Joannie, I’m sorry,” I stammered, noticing the sweat rings around my calves for the first time. “At least it doesn’t smell…” I lifted up my right arm and sniffed at my pit to prove it to her, trying not to wince so it would seem at least a little bit believable. “…that bad. But you know I’ll wash them. With really good detergent. The expensive stuff. Could I borrow some, actually? All I have is Extra…”
Joannie’s a champ. She stood there, keeping that sweet smile on her face, as I stumbled to the bathroom, did my deed, grabbed my kid, and got the eff out of there.
I did wash the clothes—using tons of really expensive detergent from Joannie’s laundry room—but I’m pretty sure Joannie learned a valuable lesson that day about ever lending out her maternity clothes again.
And I’m pretty sure my sister’s on her own.