The line

I am still pregnant.

I spend most of my time largely ignoring the fact that that phrase belongs to me.  But then I find myself wide awake in the early hours of the morning, submerged by the stream of possibilities.  The fingertips of my mind frantically trace the thread of this pregnancy, senselessly trying to undo the heavy tangle of knots, searching in vain for the free end, the conclusion.

I remind myself that I won’t find the answers in that twisted filament.  Only time will tell if the line is short or long, smooth of heavily frayed.  I can only grab on and trace its contours day by day, propelled by equal parts fear and hope.

I have never known birth without death.

But I know that, from one end to another, not a single piece is mine to control.  This is a lesson that I mastered long ago.  If only it were as easy to accept.

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Erice

In order to escape the scorching heatwave that descended upon us during our last days in Sicily, we took the funivia up to the very lovely historical town of Erice.  I understand that there are quite a few interesting things to see there but we stuck to the inside of the bakeries and ice cream shops.  Taking it very easy, we wound our way through the old streets to the castle at the top of the mountain and spectacular views of the rolling hills and seaside below. g is a huge fan of staircases and he found a long flight of stairs to the side of the castle that he absolutely had to explore.  Of course, G and I followed and the stairs led us to a small path carved into the side of the mountain.  It was clear that someone had gone out of his way to lead us somewhere but it wasn’t the least bit clear why.  The path ended abruptly at the base of the castle.  There was nothing but a small metal grate.  Peering inside I saw a hollow cave and a small statue of a woman.  I offered my greetings.

Later, as we sat at a local coffee bar, I read a little bit about the history of the town.  It turns out that it had been an ancient center where people came from all over to worship the fertility goddess, the venus Ericina.  I sent a request to her on behalf of all the lovely ladies I know from this space who could really use her help.  And then I stepped in to use the bathroom before we began our trip back to where we were staying.  It was then that I noticed, for the first time since g’s birth, clear signs that I was ovulating.  The combination of events was just too strong to ignore.  It seemed that I was being sent a message: “this could happen for you”.  “Last call”, I think I added.  I suddenly felt ready to try.

The next few days were filled with late nights with old friends and G and I didn’t get so much as a chance to talk alone.  The moment passed and I later marveled at the folly of my thinking.  Even if I were lucky enough to become pregnant again, I have an abysmal track record.  I would be almost 40 by the time the baby would be born and we are in absolutely no position to take on the extra burden of another child. Silly me, indeed. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

I have been feeling strange as of late.  Jet lag seems to be hitting me unusually hard this time and I have had random waves of unexplained nausea.  I’m not exactly sure when my last period was but I wanted to calm the voice in the back of my mind that chimed in loudly this morning when I woke thinking of McDonald’s breakfast sandwiches.  I decided to take a pregnancy test just to rule it out.

Positive.

Positive!!!!!!??????????????

And I’m not even sure how she did it.

La bedda Sicilia*

It was our only chance to carve out something resembling a real vacation.  We would need a reprieve from the hordes of hungry grandparents and the grande raccordo anulare so we decided to escape to Sicily for a few weeks.  There was also the matter that it is relatively close and the fact that G’s entire family is from the island, his parents transplanted to Rome to establish their working lives just around the time of G’s birth.

It was heavenly.

Sicily is stunningly beautiful and culturally wealthy beyond measure.  It is a model for pretty much the entire history of western civilization in an area just short of 1,000 square miles – surrounded by gorgeous beaches and the Mediterranean at its best.  But perhaps best of all, it isn’t mine.  Despite my ties to G and his family, I was just a visitor.  We stayed on an incredible beach in a part of the island run principally by organized crime but to me the ill effects of years of m.afia rule on the lives of ordinary Sicilians are words on a page, theory.  I don’t know enough to actually feel them.  Sometimes it’s nice to simply sip granitas and gorge on arancini without paying attention to the fact that the country’s economy and government are falling apart and the reality that the resulting austerity measures will take a toll on Italians for years to come. Sometimes it’s nice to just build sand castles and be with the people that you love.

Thank you Sicily.

 

*Sicilian for Sicily, the beautiful.

Casa dolce casa

We are back after what feels like half a lifetime away.  I’m happy to report that none of my worst fears about our trip materialized and most of it went as well as I could have hoped.  We are in post-vacation coma (a complex mixture of jet-lag, culture shock, fear of resumption of responsibility and relaxation lobotomy).  While making the transition back to our “real life” poses it’s challenges, I am thrilled to have a break from the stringent demands of family, family and more family (Italian family no less). I am also looking forward to getting caught up on your lives.  I have sincerely missed you all.