I also thought a little time as a couple would be nice since it took us 40 years to find each other. But my husband was eager to start a family, so the morning after he proposed, we were walking on the beach and I threw my birth control pills into the ocean in a dramatic display of love and good faith, and it made him so happy that I had to resist the urge to run screaming into the surf to recover them.
I'd always wanted to have a baby…in five years. I'd been saying I wanted to have a baby in five years for about 20 years. I just never felt ready. But ready or not, on day seven of our honeymoon I felt nauseous, and, thinking I had a stomach bug, I stayed in our room.
We were in South Africa on a safari, and they had warned us to keep the sliding doors to our bungalow locked because of the monkeys, but I thought they meant when we were out. And I was in, curled up in bed, when all of a sudden I heard the door open. Then I heard this thump thump thump, and I got up and looked into the living room, and there were seven monkeys throwing food around, and they froze as if I had just walked in on a teenager's party. And the funny thing, looking back, was that this was my fear. This is what I thought it would be like to have children. This is why I never felt ready.
Cut to the day of the "termination." We were already distraught, and then on the way to the appointment, we got pulled over by the police because my husband didn't see a woman walk into the crosswalk. I did see the woman, but she was on the other side of the street, plus I was trying not to say anything, as my husband had taken to charging me five dollars every time I told him how to drive, so the policeman pulled us over and said, "Are you trying to kill someone?!"
And I was thinking, "Yes, actually. That's exactly what we're trying to do, and if you would let us go, we could get on with it."
I remember, the rest of the way to the clinic, I was pissed at my husband for not seeing the woman, and he was pissed at the policeman for being such a dick, and the truth was, we were both just pissed at the universe for giving us this gift that we had to return.
But now, thanks to Jackson Hole, we were getting a second chance. And this time, when I took the pregnancy test, I was praying for a positive result rather than dreading it. But it was negative.
That was in the morning, and then a few hours later I was reading Newsweek and the next thing I knew, I was eating a gingerbread house.
The gingerbread itself was pretty hard. I think it was made in Korea and not meant for eating. It came from a kit, one of six kits my friend purchased for a gingerbread house decorating party, so I had decorated alongside five women who were all mothers, some several times over, one with her newborn son in tow, and I know it's not a competition, but my gingerbread house was the best. I had decorated the roof with white icing, sour balls, red Twizzlers, and green gumdrops, none of which tasted very good. And what I really wanted was the door, which was made of Hershey's Special Dark chocolate.
Maybe you're wondering why I didn't just pull the door off. I tried that, but the icing is like glue, and the door was stuck to the front of the house, and the whole house was stuck to a foil-covered piece of cardboard, so you had to eat the roof before you could eat the door.