‘No Bouquet For My Grandmother, I Really Mean It.’

GABRIELLE: Saturday.

I wake up feeling sick today, nauseous and tired. I dry heave off the side of the bed uncontrollably. Todd rouses, “You OK?”

“I’m fine, just need to eat.” I scamper to the kitchen and open the fridge. Nothing looks appealing so I grab a cold Poland Spring and head to the bathroom to get ready for the day. I close the door behind me, inexplicably crouch over, rest my head on the toilet and I cry.

Saturday Afternoon.

We are at World Pie, a yummy eatery in Bridgehampton, excited to meet a potential florist. We’re seated at an oversized booth, surrounded by crispy calamari and decadent veal parmigiana. (Fortunately I’ve overcome my nausea.) In between bites, Laura, the cute and spunky florist, shows us her designs: Pale pink tea roses in potted in terra cotta, sunflowers brimming with joy in tall cylindrical vases.

“Let’s see,” she begins, “you’ll need seven bridesmaid’s bouquets and one for each of your mothers and will there be any grandmothers present?”

“Yes,” I say, “but no need to give her a bouquet.”

“Well,” Laura says, “it’s nice to give her a bouquet.”

“Right,” I add, “but I’m not going to give her one.”

Laura flips her straight blonde mane to the other side as she writes down “grandmother’s bouquet.”

“No,” I repeat, “I really mean it, no bouquet for my grandmother.” Laura smiles sweetly at me as if she wants to ship me to the loony bin.

To contextualize my grandmother, we all call her “the Godfather.” Last Passover she sat at the head of my parents’ extra long table draped with cousins, aunts and uncles, wore sunglasses through the entire dinner and did not say one word. Her favorite saying echoes Machiavelli: “It is better to be respected than loved.” She can’t stand Todd, ever since she convinced herself that he didn’t want to sit next to her at Rosh Hashanah dinner two years ago. As a result she no longer kisses him or me hello at family functions.

Trying to change the subject I ask, “What do you think about draping some beautiful flowers on the long tables instead of in vases?”

“That could work but August is soooo hot! It could be 100 degrees! And then the flowers would wilt. I remember my wedding in August. It was insanely hot! You could do calla lilies but even those might dry up in August.” Oblivious to my mounting anxiety at the prospective heat she continues, “I think it’s brave to do an outdoor wedding in August…” Todd cuts her off, “I think you’re freaking Gabby out.”

“Yeah–” I add, “the heat was my biggest concern about doing a wedding at the vineyard in the first place.” Never mind the fact that it’s NOT MY DREAM WEDDING I shriek silently to myself. “I really wanted a beach wedding,” I explain, “but everyone said if it rained we’d be in trouble.”

“Oh well, it will be nice even if it is hot!” Laura says smiling, as we get up to leave. “I’ll email you with a quote next week.” She hugs Todd and me goodbye as if we’re her best friends and walks out.

Monday morning:

The phone rings. It’s my little sister, who at 28 is not so little but to me she always will be.

“Hiiiiii! How are you?” she asks.

“Nauseous,” I say. It’s 9 am and I’m still in bed.

“You’re pregnant!” she half-jokes.

“No I’m not, impossible.” Although I think about the one time two months ago when Todd and I let it slide. But that was one time.

“Go get a test right now. Mom thinks you’re pregnant,” she adds.

“Why would she say that?”

“You spoke to Dad this weekend and told him you weren’t feeling well! Go out and get a test and call me back.” She hangs up the phone. My little sister was born wise, confident and whip smart.

20 minutes later.

I have just peed onto the EPT pregnancy stick. I actually peed onto my hand, the toilet seat and the bathroom floor but enough probably splashed onto the white ominous rod. The blue line becomes visible and soon a pale, pale blue line appears crossing the darker line creating a plus sign. Plus for pregnant. But it’s too faint to be sure. I walk into my living room which doubles as my office and I present my stick to my assistant who’s been working quietly away since 8 am.

“OK, is this positive?”

“Good morning!” she greets me with her usual youthful cheer. Looking closely she says, “Looks positive to me.” She then proceeds to read the directions which I failed to bother with: “Even a light blue line is positive.”

Feeling queasy and light-headed I excuse myself and head to the bathroom. I take a long hard look in the mirror. I notice the fine lines etched in the corners of my eyes. I see the raven roots peaking from my otherwise blonde hair. I am too busy to have a baby and I am not ready.

One time without protection, I think to myself. Perhaps this is meant to be. And then it dawns on me. Maybe this is Immaculate Conception. Maybe this is God’s child. But then I think maybe the Virgin Mary did it once with a sheepherder that she fell in love with but was ashamed and said that she was still a Virgin. Maybe once is enough.