I was mostly stressed about attending the reception, but I was also stressed getting ready. All the clothes in my closet fit my pre-pregnancy body and I don't have my pre-pregnancy body back--yet. I am so glad that I was able to find something to wear that I felt relatively good in. The stress of getting ready could have completely ruined our night if I hadn't.
On our drive into the city, Hugh and I talked about our anxiety and nervousness. I even shed a few tears in anticipation. When we got to the reception, we were greeted by the groom and the groom's parents and were able to offer them our congratulations. Hugh's buddy married a wonderful girl and they seem, over-the-top, happy. We really are thrilled for both of them. This aside, I was still feeling awkward and nervous. As we waited for the bartender to get us a drink, I felt the tears rising to the surface. The poor bartender didn't know what was going on. I was getting close to bawling when she asked me what I wanted. Hugh grabbed my hand and led me to a table where some of his friends sat. I felt a bit "out of body". One of Hugh's friends did a great job of trying to get me involved in the conversation and it took all I had to respond.
Eventually, a guy Hugh played hockey with and his wife walked over to the table. Hugh and I stood up and Hugh introduced us. The conversation was of the "I haven't seen you in while" kind and Hugh's friend asked, "So, you have 2 kids now?" Thank-goodness Hugh answered that we just had Calder. I had been thinking about this moment happening all day, but did not think to prepare myself as to how I would answer.
Almost immediately after that, another couple walked over to greet us. I knew this couple and the wife, Kayla, gave me a hug and immediately said, "I am so sorry. I am so sorry." This was my tipping point. I started to cry and it took me a few moments to get it together. Kayla just held on tight until I had myself composed. Her husband, Scott, then stepped in and hugged me as well. This was the turning point in the night for me. It was at that moment that I needed the acknowledgement of Tripp. Kayla stood with me and asked me how I was doing. It felt good to talk to her. As we spoke, the wife of Hugh's friend who asked if we had 2 kids came over. The first thing she did was apologize for her husband. She said he knew. She had been reading my blog. He just, in that moment, slipped. I truly felt there was no reason for either of them to feel bad. That isn't the first time we had to address the one kid or two question and it certainly won't be the last. It wasn't said to hurt us. It was just simply a slip. It happens.
Very shortly after this, another girl came up to me. She said she knew Hugh and I recognized her husband. She said something, I can't even remember what, and I started bumbling something about Tripp out. She touched my arm and said she knew. She and her husband had sent a card.
I felt at ease. I was now in the company of 3 wonderful women, two of whom I had just met, who knew about Tripp. And not only did they know. I knew, they knew. They were kind and asked questions. It felt good to have Tripp in our conversations--with all of our other kids. We are moms and moms talk about kids.
I even got about a minute alone talking to the bride. She has experienced a loss and could relate to the anxiety I had about being out in public. It felt good to have my feelings understood.
As Hugh and I drove home that night I began to think about what made the night turn out as well as it did for me. Ultimately, I think it came down to the acknowledgement of Tripp. I needed that. It felt good to talk to those women, even when we weren't talking about Tripp, because I knew that they knew about him. I didn't have to guard what I said. I could say things like, "before Tripp was born" and talk about the things Calder and I are doing while I am on maternity leave.
I guess, yesterday, I learned how I want people to act when they see me for the first time. I want them to give me a hug, like Kayla did, and say, "I'm sorry." I don't want people to worry about making me cry. If I do cry, it is because the tears are so close to the surface, already. The hug then, is probably exactly what I am needing in that moment. I also know that hugs from acquaintances and strangers feel just as good as hugs from friends. You don't have to be my best friend or a member of my family to give me a hug.
With this said, I also know that people need to do what they feel comfortable with when they see me. Some people might not feel right giving me a hug or saying anything. I do understand that. I guess I just want people to know that hugs and "I'm sorry" are great and that if they feel comfortable with that, so do I.