A little over a week ago, Brett, Will, Sam, Ben and I returned home from errands to find a plate of the most delicious peanut butter chocolate chip cookies had been left for us. A bit spooky that one of our neighbors (that we had never met) felt it appropriate to enter our home when we weren't there? Yes. But damn, those cookies were good.
The note attached read, "Welcome to the Neighborhood. Marvin and Jenny Coughlin, your neighbors at the bottom of the lane.". After eating the cookies, I wondered about this Jenny Coughlin. Will and I had been feeding her horses apples and carrots for a week or so now. I had done little more than caught glimpses of her in her handkerchief and long dresses, but I had seen enough to know that she probably didn't have email, if you catch my drift.
As fortune would have it, while Will and I were out for a walk today, we ran into one Ms. Jenny Coughlin, our neighbor at the bottom of the lane. Now, I've lowered my standards considerably since moving here, but I was stunned to see that Jenny Coughlin was a PYT. Perhaps my age or a bit younger, dirty blond hair, and slim. She was so friendly and seemed intelligent during our brief interaction. She was the kind of person I could see myself becoming friends with, had she not been wearing that ridiculous Little House on the Prarie garb.
She plans on stopping by for a visit soon so we can chat more and get to know each other better. Sweet. What good intentions. But, really, it won't be a meaningful or deep relationship. It's destined to fail. How will I be able to bite my tongue when she starts talking about religion? It blows my mind that a person, who seems pretty with it, doesn't believe in evolution. Like, really doesn't believe in it. She doesn't know the words to Love Shack. She covers her head to display her obedience to her husband. I struggle to find creative ways to show my disobedience.
But, the thing that really makes me wonder about Jenny Coughlin is her children, or, more noticeably, her lack of many children. She introduced me to her 2 year old son David. Her only. As I previously mentioned, she was slim. So, unless she is in the very early stages, she is not pregnant. Not peculiar by most standards, but here, getting pregnant is what these ladies live and pray for. I once read that an Amish or Mennonite wife can expect to have, on average, 7 live births. That is a lot of sex with your repressed, oppressive, dirty Amish or Mennonite husband. Even still, a pregnancy or birth here is a blessed event. So, it's no wonder that I CONSTANTLY get comments EVERYWHERE I go while dragging my babies around.
I live in Massachusetts, which lays claim to the title of "State with Highest Incidence of Twin Births", www.bostonmagazine.com/articles/double_trouble/ . I'm not used to getting this much attention for simply having three babies. They typically need to be having a ridiculously cute day, or be committing a horrendous act of misbehavior to garner even a second look. But in Lancaster County, PA, pushing twins is like pushing around a mini Britney Spears and K-Fed. Wal-Mart. Post office. Dollar Store. "Aren't they beautiful." "You have your hands full (insert chuckle that makes me want to deliver a crushing drop kick)." "Twins? What a blessing." Really, nothing could be further from the truth. I believe in something bigger than me, than all of us. But, no. I cannot and will not give JC credit for my twins. Actually, I got fucked when it came to the reproductive blessings department. I wonder if Jenny Coughlin did, too.
I hope not. My struggle with infertility was such an emotional and stressful journey for me. I feel very fortunate that it had a positive outcome, even if said outcome has created another emotional and stressful situation. That being said, I can't imagine not having been able to turn to science in addition to getting on my knees and praying. I remember so many people asking when I was going to have another baby. I remember how desperately Brett and I wanted another baby. I distinctly remember the pain of having my cervix clamped open while radioactive dye was injected to determine if it, and subsequently semen, could flow freely through my fallopian tubes.
Now, maybe Ms. Jenny Coughlin, our neighbor at the bottom of the lane doesn't want that last one. And, perhaps I'm being presumptuous, but I bet she really wants another child. Maybe she should have twins?