December 6, 2000
Out in the Open

Today's Pic
It's over!
One year ago (or thereabouts): "Mom! We're going to get in trouble! The rope's there for a reason!"
   

"Well, that's all we have. Now, do you have any questions for us?"
"Actually, I do have one issue. That is, I'm pregnant."

The evaluation itself had gone pretty well, aside from the fact that I was surprised by the unexpected presence of Boss-Zilla; I'm still not sure why she was sitting in, since it wasn't expected that she would. It scared the tar out of the other youth librarian, I can tell you that much. It did make my task feel a little more like ripping off a Band-Aid with one raw yank rather than in many small but painful tugs. Now I could inform them both at once instead of making a separate field trip after the initial news was imparted.

So I blurted it out, just like that, feeling my cheeks turn bright red, but somehow managing to maintain what felt like a calm expression on my face. I had wondered, going in, what words I would use; the only advice I'd been able to wrangle out of a last minute conference with Tech-Girl was not to beat around the bush. Suddenly, my moment had arrived, and I didn't have anything prepared except...the obvious.

There was a brief moment of unbearable silence, and then Boss-Zilla said, "Congratulations!" I exhaled the air from my lungs, and heard myself begin to babble, telling them what a surprise, but a welcome one, that this baby was. Boss-Lady wasn't meeting my eyes, and her hand was shaking a tiny bit; the unanswered question hung in the air.

"The baby is due in early June."

Now there was a giant exhalation from all three of us. Boss-Lady said, "Well, that is bad timing." Boss-Zilla nodded, but quickly put in that we would find a way to work around it.

I continued to babble, as I tend to do in horribly uncomfortable situations. When I mentioned that I had been trying to hide my first trimester exhaustion when Boss-Lady took me to task for sitting, Boss-Zilla grinned and called her "Cruella." I still hadn't been able to catch Boss-Lady's eye; she was shuffling through calendars and pulling out the library's personnel manual to read about maternity leave. As it turns out, this will be the first baby born to library staff in about fifteen years, so everybody is learning.

Boss-Lady twice tried to ask me whether or not I would be returning after the baby was born, and both times I fended her off, saying that I preferred to make that decision later on, as things "firm up." I could tell that she suspected the truth, that I'll be leaving, and was frustrated by my noncommittal response. Her hands were still shaking. Her mouth said "congratulations," but her face was poker straight.

I suppose I couldn't have asked for much more, in the end.

   

A few minutes later, I was surreptitiously placing a sign on the table in the staff lounge:

Quiz Time!
Guess which library
staff member is
EXPECTING?

It wasn't long before tongues were wiggling and rumors were flying. The most popular guess was actually Tech-Girl, who, being in the process of potty-training her young daughter, was thought to be preparing her family for a new arrival. I fended off any guesses that came in my direction with laughter, saying that my money was on Mr. Skittish. Boss-Lady, for her part, actually giggled and whispered, "You've really got them hopping!"

The secret was out in a few hours, though. Everyone was tickled pink and full of congratulations. It turns out that a few people had wondered a few months ago (one said that the thought had entered her mind when I went to get the blood test, and I said that I had to go be tested for anemia), but had dismissed it without much consideration. All were impressed that I'd managed to hide the nausea and exhaustion relatively well.

We were also able to tell the news to the church choir. We'd had to hold off on telling anybody at church since the old Boss-Zilla sings alto in the choir with me; one word of the pregnancy, and she would have been in the library the next day, whispering to anybody who would listen. The choir was having a small party after practice, and when discussion turned to politics and "pregnant chads," Eric cleared his throat and said, "Speaking of pregnant...we are!"

Of course, everybody there claimed that they did already know. Geez, you dip the wafer in the wine instead of drinking from the cup, and everybody takes notice...

   

Boss-Lady was at home sick today, so I took the opportunity to interrogate the one librarian with whom I knew that she did speak about my pregnancy. According to the librarian, Boss-Lady was happy and excited for me - not exactly the impression that I personally received, but the proper response to give to someone else who was obviously pleased about the matter.

I should stop worrying. I have stopped worrying. I'm not going to think about this anymore, unless she gives me a reason to do otherwise.

   

Today's source of annoyance: a junior high project involving research into one of several holidays from different countries. The kids who were assigned Ramadan or Hanukkah lucked out, but what on earth is "Zen Festival"? I searched on the web, and the only thing I can find is a series of raves in the desert. Somehow, I don't think that's what the teacher had in mind.

I hate the fact that I'm getting a headache over this. The kids come in here, all hyper about having to do "research," and they become quite upset when they can't find scads of information. We scramble to find them books, and they make frantic copies to take home and read.

The report is to be 250 words. I can sneeze 250 words. It's just not worth the effort to get upset, yet here I sit in front of a pile of printed web pages, trying to find just one more source of information on Dong Zhi and driving myself nuts over it. Methinks I need a good, long nap.



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