I finally met the matriarch of the lovely (though churchy) Pakistani family across the street. She saw me in the front yard, washing out the bathroom trash cans with the hose, and she came over, arms wide, to welcome me to the neighborhood and apologize for not having us over. Very sweet of her, and I counter-apologized for not having them over, and we chatted a little, until she gutted me with a completely innocent comment.
“We do not see you outside very much, only your husband, working, working. We were thinking maybe you…” Her hands went to her abdomen and mimed a growing belly. “Maybe you were expecting and so are staying inside more.” I blinked and shook my head, mumbled “no, no, not quite yet,” with a weak smile and a look around for Dave to rescue me. “Because,” she continued, “we know you are recently here, we are old and we do not have little children now, we can help with the baby, help when you are expecting.” I thanked her profusely, not sure if this was a cultural gesture, a Christian one, or just this family’s way.
No, dear neighbor, I am not expecting. In fact, I’m currently having a bitch of a period and I’m already past my daily dose of ibuprofen just to keep me standing up straight. I’m not pregnant, just a little fat around the edges. I’m never outside because I don’t have much work to do in the front yard and I’ve got tons to do inside my home to keep it clean and functional. I’m sure she meant no offense, but I was completely at a loss for words.
Luckily, Dave joined us just then and we discussed the neighborhood and old houses and renovations that take more work than expected, and she took her leave by offering us God’s blessing to keep us healthy and bring us (more elegant Pakistani pregnant-belly mime) when we are ready.
I think I’ll let the front garden go to hell this year, or at least until I lose some weight, in case other neighbors approach me and make offers of child-care services for my as-yet-unconceived babies.