Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Sunday Dinner Tradition

If you're Italian, you probably grew up going to "Sunday dinner" with your family. 

There was macaroni, wine poured into juice glasses, crusty bread for mopping up sauce. You'd eat a big meal early in the afternoon and then, there was probably napping of some sort.

For me, Sunday dinners were spent at my grandparents' house. I would run up the stairs and burst into my grandmother's kitchen, shoes scraping on her linoleum floor. The entire house smelled amazing, a mixture of garlic and tomatoes. She'd be at the stove, wooden spoon in hand, wearing her apron. I'd rush to her, throwing my arms around her legs and just breathe everything in. And when no one was looking, she'd sneak me a fried meatball and send me on my way to play.

Sundays meant time with family.

They still do, but it's so hard to find the time to dedicate an afternoon to cooking and relaxing, and just enjoying each other's company. 

There's always an errand to run, a load of laundry to be done or a chore to be finished.

But I want Baby M to grow up surrounded by family and traditions. I don't want him to ever feel we're too busy to do something, or that weekends – the time we'll really get to spend with him – is for rushing around and mindless tasks. I want him to feel like that time is all about him. Spending time with his family. I want him to know family traditions, so we have to start now.

This past Sunday, I hosted a Sunday dinner. 

I was up early at the grocery store, buying the cans of crushed tomatoes and the meat for the sauce.

My father-in-law made two big batches of homemade pasta.

I fried 50 meatballs and made the most delicious meat sauce with pork, sausage and braciola.

We had two servings each and bottomless red wine.

We played bocce.

And it was a perfect afternoon to bring back tradition.

Life at home. A laugh a minute.

There’s a subject that’s taboo in our house: the butcher block counter top.

When we renovated our kitchen three years ago, Mr. KK wanted to build a butcher block counter top in our island. I’ve seen the inspirational photos…it will be gorgeous! Key thing to note is the future tense here: WILL BE gorgeous. Because it hasn’t been built yet. 

But we don't talk about it.

So in the interim we have a lovely piece of plywood serving as our counter top (sexy!).

But we don't talk about it.

And because this construction isn’t perfect, there’s a small opening in the counter top area that goes into the abyss between the cabinets.

But we don't talk about it.

Because we clutter this counter top with everything from dishtowels to snack mix to fresh-picked vegetables, it’s no wonder one of our tomatoes went rogue and rolled right off that fancy plywood into the dark abyss.


So I did what any self-respecting woman would do.

I left my husband a note.

And the next morning, he took the plywood counter top apart and rescued the tomato.

But, hey, we don't talk about it.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

At least strangers aren't touching me.

One thing I don't think I'll ever understand is the strong desire for strangers to go up to pregnant women and touch their stomachs.

What the hell?

When we saw our surrogate at 20 weeks, it was amazing to see her belly. Our baby was inside of that belly! So surreal!

And even though it was MY little one inside of her stomach, I asked for permission to touch her belly. I mean, if someone was going to touch me, I'd like a little warning.

In what universe does it feel normal to walk up to someone YOU'VE NEVER MET BEFORE and rub your grubby hands on their baby bumps? I’m not sure how or when it became acceptable to just walk up to a stranger and touch them; in fact, I’m pretty sure if someone came up to me and touched me – ANYWHERE – I would not be cool.

Obviously not being pregnant, I haven’t had to deal with stranger touching.

What I have encountered is just plain curiosity…in the form of comments and questions regarding our “situation”.

Some are worth sharing...


"Did your husband and your surrogate…you know.." (insert creepy wink-wink)

Um, no.


Doctor: "You know, I just don't know how a woman can carry a child all that time and just give it up like that."

Said to our surrogate by her doctor RIGHT IN FRONT OF US.

Hey kook pot, I can hear you!

Can they take medical licenses away for asinine comments?

(I swear, our surrogate is not keeping our baby. We're kind of holding her to that :)


“So…do you know what you’re having? Did you get to pick the gender?”

It wasn’t like selecting a piece of candy out of the bin ("Let's get the blue one!"). 

It was science and random, just like everyone else who had babies.


This conversation was had with my lovable 93-year old Grandmother who – God love her – is just trying to understand how this whole situation works. Because back in her day, well, you might not have known you were pregnant until a baby just popped right out of you. You could have been in the grocery store when it happened.

Gram: "So I have a question. Did they take Rob's…um…his…"

Oh man, tell me this conversation isn't happening. Duckies and rainbows! Duckies and rainbows!

Gram: "…did they take his…um, his genes…" (PHEW!) "…and then mix it with yours?"

Yep. Just like making a cake.


The setting for this one was the IVF clinic as I filled out paperwork before a procedure that was filled with a zillion questions.

KK: “They want to know if I’ve had sex with monkeys.”

MR. KK: “There’s no way they're asking you that.”

KK: “Well, not in those exact words, no. But more or less."

KK: (a minute later) "Do you think people who DID have sex with monkeys admit it on this form? I mean, that seems like information you might want to keep to yourself, no?”

(And the answer is no, I've never had sex with monkeys.)

But I LOVE getting asked all of the questions, because it allows me to talk about something that is so exciting! 

We’ve had our lips zipped about this whole process for almost 6 years – SIX YEARS PEOPLE – not talking to anyone about anything. We are two awesome secret-keepers.

So my advice would be to ask away. I’m a pretty straight-forward person; so if you ask me a question that’s a little too wacky, I’ll tell you. 

But for the most part, we want to share our journey with you. It’s been long and painful and happy and sad and filled with uncertainty and wonderfulness…all at the same time.