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Friday, July 22, 2016

Morning Sickness in America

All week we spent our evenings away from the heat, sitting in the cool of our basement while watching the Republican convention. Monty and I delighted at the Trump campaign’s inept reaction to Melania’s plagiarized speech and actually, sort -of -liked Ted Cruz after his non-endorsement.  But then came Thursday night’s speech, with TRUMP broadcast in huge letters over the larger-than-life, official nominee for demagogue of the United States of America.

I felt nauseous with fear.

Lots of people liked his speech. They didn’t see any problem with seventy-four minutes of lies, fear and empty promises. Vladimir Putin praised Trump, probably because Trump gave the sort of speech that Putin often makes himself. And David Duke liked Trump’s speech so much, he’s been inspired to run for Senate.

Because after all, if Trump could win as president, then anything is possible.

This morning I was contemplating this, trying not to panic, when Monty’s cousin Robin showed up at our door. She often stops by on her way to work at her studio, and we’ll drink a cup of coffee and share some family gossip. But today she looked sort of green.

“Are you okay?” I asked. “Would you like some coffee?” I pointed toward the fresh pot I had brewing in the kitchen. Robin took one look, put her hand over her mouth, rushed to the bathroom, and promptly threw up.

I waited until her retching sounds were replaced with the flush of the toilet, and then I wandered over to our first floor bathroom. In her haste, Robin had left the door open.

“Can you I get you anything, Robin?”

She had already risen from her crouching position and had closed the lid of the toilet. Now she sat on top of it, taking deep, calming breaths. “My purse?” she asked.

I went to the hallway where she’d dropped her purse, which was actually more like a tote bag, and brought it to her. Robin took her bag from me, stood, fished through it and found a travel tooth brush and some trial-sized tooth paste. I watched as she brushed her teeth. When she was done, she put that stuff back in her purse, fished out a sleeve of saltine crackers and a water bottle, and timidly nibbled and sipped.

“You’re pregnant?” I asked.

Her laugh sounded miserable. “How’d you guess?”

“But that’s wonderful!”

She didn’t smile in response.

“It’s not wonderful?” I asked.

Robin sighed. “To be honest, I’m completely terrified.”

I put a guiding hand against her back. “Come on,” I said, “let’s go down to the basement. It’s cooler down there, and there will be no smells from the kitchen to bother you.”

We descended the stairs and sat on the over-stuffed couch that was opposite our big-screen TV.

“I am actually excited,” she offered, “and it was planned. But the more I think about the fact that in a few months, I’ll be accountable for the life of an infant, the more scared I become.”

“You’ll be fine!” I gave her arm a squeeze. “You’re the bravest, strongest person I know. Compared to everything else you’ve done with your life, motherhood is nothing.”



It was true. After all, Robin had starred in two reality TV shows, she’d faced down ghosts and cyber-stalkers, she’d survived jury duty and she’d lost the first love of her life. But she’d come out of it all with barely a scratch, and if she could do all that, surely she could excel as a mother, especially now that she was happily married, financially secure, and successfully self-employed.

“I don’t know.” Robin took a sip of mineral water and crammed another saltine into her mouth, chewing slowly as she closed her eyes.

“How far along are you?” I asked.

“Only a few weeks. We want to wait a little while, until it’s safe to announce, so you can’t tell anyone yet, okay?”

“Nobody is supposed to know?”

She tilted her head from side to side. “I mean, even if you hadn’t guessed I probably would have told you, but only so you’d understand why I’m constantly queasy and crabby.”

I laughed. “I would’ve just assumed that you’re queasy and crabby for the same reason that I am…” I paused for effect. “…because Donald Trump might get the access codes for our nuclear arsenals.”

“Don’t even joke about that.” Robin opened her eyes and stared into mine. “And I mean it, Lucy. Don’t tell Monty. Don’t tell Jack. If they mentioned anything to Ian or to my dad, there’d be hurt feelings because I didn’t tell them first.”

“I promise I won’t tell.”

Satisfied, Robin closed her eyes again and leaned her head against our couch cushion. I put a hand on her shoulder. “Hey, relax. I know it’s hard, feeling lousy all the time, but it will get better. And you’re going to be a great mom.”

“How do you know?”

“Because your capacity for love is huge.”

She gave me a weak smile. “Nick said the same thing, more or less.”

“Is he excited?”

“Yeah. But he’s anxious about setting up a nursery and childproofing the house and making sure everything is perfect, like we don’t have nearly eight months to do all that.”

“Isn’t Nick the sort of guy who likes to focus on concrete details?”

She nodded. “It makes him feel like he’s in control.”

I leaned my back against a cushion and raised my feet from the floor, tucking them under me, feeling the scratchy upholstery against my bare legs. “I wish I had something like that, to make me feel in control.”

“I know, right?! But I’m too busy puking all the time.”

“Hey, I know what will make you feel better. Wait right here.”

I wandered into the storage area of our basement and lugged out a bag of Abby and Noah’s old baby clothes. We went through it, holding up each garment and imagining it on her new baby.

Robin seemed better by the time she left and I felt better too. I’d been distracted for an hour or so, able to forget about the months ahead, ones I knew would be filled with polling data, Nate Silver’s prognostications, and pundits talking as if Donald Trump’s candidacy was more than a sick joke gone completely wrong.

I realized that the roughly 100 days until the election will be like an endless pregnancy with all the typical discomfort, inconvenience, anxiety and pain, but and minus the joyful anticipation of motherhood. Sure, if Hillary wins I’ll be happy, but what if she doesn’t? Donald Trump wants everyone to think he’s the next Ronald Reagan, but this is no morning in America.

After his scary speech last night, he’s given us morning sickness in America instead.

Hello, Readers! Thanks for visiting November Surprises Blog! Now that the campaign season is in full swing you can expect posts to be much more frequent, but if you just can't wait for more, I've got even more good news.
Promises, Promises - a thrilling new novella that features Robin, is FREE on Amazon. To download it, click here.
There are also several other novels and stories that feature Lucy and/or Robin, click here to visit my Amazon author page.