2009 was the year I stopped taking the New York Times seriously:
Preemie Twins Cost a Lot of Money!
All Infertile Couples Are Octomoms Just Waiting To Happen!!!!
Surrogates Are Horrible People That Will Take Your Money and Keep Your Babies!
Not the actual headlines but they might as well have been. Rather than being all the news that's fit to print, these stories played off the basest of assumptions, perpetuated fears, cultural and class stereotypes and generated the comments and controversy that have editors (and sales reps salivating.)
Why don't these people Just Adopt?!
If G*d wanted you to have a baby, you would!
It's probably better you lost your baby - he/she was probably busted anyway...
Infertiles are bitter, selfish and far too sensitive! Get over yourselves!
That's enough. You know these far too well.
Sometimes you hear people with post traumatic stress disorder talk about triggers. Things, smells, instances, sometimes even thoughts that throw them back into the throes of the trauma that altered their lives.
These stories were my triggers. Heart-racing, tear-streaming, fist-shaking, immobilizing rage inducing triggers.
But damn if I don't love a good acrostic. And the crossword, well, this is what calms us. Doing the puzzles. Together. Every night. In bed. It is our life, our routine.
So the Times Magazine still finds itself in our bag as we wave goodbye to M's parents every Sunday.
This Sunday, I was shocked. Nearly knocked off my feet. Could it be? I do believe the Times finally got it right.
And I am guessing they have no idea.
There, on the last page of the Magazine, tucked away in the last paragraph of Robin Black's charming essay about being chosen for a home repair reality TV show (and then denied), lay the truth about loss:
How did this happen? Really? There were unanticipated losses, grief that enveloped us for years. A stillbirth. A beloved child with special needs. Challenges we never imagined we’d confront. None of it amusing. Nothing like a situation comedy. We’d let go of so many easy assumptions, and in the process we let other things go as well. Gradually, we adjusted, even became stronger. But the evidence of our faltering remained, the facade of our home stubbornly unable to mend itself.The honesty and beauty of these words take my breath away and all I can say is, yes. Yes, I know what you mean.
Somehow, this little confession tucked away in a larger piece feels more real to me than the shouting headlines, the confrontation and aggression of the comments section. It is not obvious. If you blink you just might miss it. But it is there. And in retrospect, colors the entire story in a new shade.