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I’ve been friends with Pashmina for, shit, what 10, maybe 12 years now, she was my coblogger for the pre-Aunt Becky days and she’s the only reason that I met The Daver. We’ve managed to stay friends for all of this time, and she wanted to show her appreciation for all that I’ve done for her (read: flaming case of The Clap) by asking me, nay, INVITING me gently to read at her wedding.

Thrilled that I didn’t have to stuff myself into a bridesmaid dress like a shimmery encased sausage, I readily agreed. I didn’t so much care WHAT I read, just that it didn’t involve dyable shoes.

Weeks before the wedding, she – like the Type-A freak-a-leak she is – called to regretfully inform me that I wouldn’t be getting a copy of my reading stuff until the night before. Because the priest was writing them.

Not being Catholic myself, this didn’t send off any warning bells like it would have with other, more normal people.

After huffing it to the rehearsal on Friday, I was shocked to learn that I would be reading the “Lord Hear Our Prayer” part of the service. When I told this to Daver, who knows the church much better than I, his jaw dropped open like a sea bass and he started laughing. When he finally stopped, after seeing the quizzical look on my face, he sputtered,

“You’re…” *snort, snort* “You’re leading THE PRAYERS!” Then he erupted into another gale of laughter as the realization seeped into my brain.

Now, I’m a fan of organized religion, despite not knowing much about it, and I love the rituals and the kneeling and the singing, but this, this was Pashmina’s way of getting back at me for making her wear a strapless dress to my wedding.

I’m probably the least qualified person on the planet to lead prayers in a Catholic wedding.

No, seriously.

The wedding, though, was lovely, and I found myself misting up when she walked down the aisle. Here was my FRIEND, the one that was busted by the Jesuits with me, and she, well, she was in the puffy white dress and aww….

And the leading of the prayers even went fine. I did not erupt into a fireball of flame and ash at the altar. I did not wear my own wedding dress, as previously threatened. I simply read the lines, prayed, and then sat back down before bounding off to drink with some old friends.

Because I dropped out of Girl Scouts after realizing that even at age 8, I had no aptitude or interest whatsoever for crafts or cooking, I am never prepared. So during the three hour break between wedding and reception, I sent The Daver off to find appropriate cards.

He did, although I don’t remember what they said, only that I wrote “Happy Birthday, Steve!” on the outside after I was chastised for not properly addressing it.

(my point was: who the hell ELSE would I be getting a card for or giving a card to AT THAT MOMENT IN TIME?)

(answer: apparently, Steve)

The reception was a total blast. We got to hang with old friends and drink, eat delicious meat twinkies (tiny, mini meat sandwiches) and watch other people get drunk. With the exception of the woman who came up to me mid-bite, while she waited in line at the buffet, and demanded to know what I was eating in a fairly unkind way, it was fucking awesome.

And that lady? Just weird.

I hadn’t spoken to Pashmina until today because I was giving her time to both consummate the marriage and enjoy her honeymoon (bitch), and I figured she was kind of people-d out.

She called me today to discuss, sandwiched in between her bragging about her tan (bitch), the card that I’d gotten her.

Specifically, the check I had written her.

My initial thought was, “SHIT, did it bounce? I had money in the account!” immediately followed by “shit! Did I make it out to the right person?”

But no. My check didn’t bounce, and I absolutely did spell her name properly (after 10 years, even my dumb ass has learned to spell some things). Let’s just say that I pulled off the ULTIMATE Feat Of Awesomeness.

See, now, when I’d written out the check, I engaged in a revolting and juvenile past time of mine. Whenever I write out a personal check to a friend, I make sure to include something special in the MEMO box.

My favorite, and easily most common is “Funky Butt-Lovin'” but that night, I’d had a migraine (same as I do now, WHEE!) and couldn’t quite remember.

So instead, I wrote in the MEMO box: “Butt Sex” figuring she’d get a chuckle out of that among the “CONGRADULATIONS (sic)” and “Wedding” (which I saw on many of my checks from my own wedding). I hadn’t thought about it since.

But no, Pashmina hadn’t forgotten it. Not at all.

Turns out that as they’d deposited their checks, Pashmina had made some sort of addition error (I will blame her English degree (s) on this one)(somewhere, she is flicking off the computer as she reads this) and the bank had An Issue.

An Issue, of course, that had to be corrected IN PERSON at the bank. So, like the adult she is, Pashmina marched into the bank to figure out what the hell was going on.

The clerk couldn’t figure it out, save that one check had not been accounted for, so he signaled his manager over. His manager, who took one look at the Problem Check and said to Pashmina, “You got a check for BUTT SEX?”

The bank stopped. The bank stopped and the bank listened and then the bank burst out laughing. Tellers doubled over in their lanes laughing, tears rolling down their faces as they had to explain and apologize to customers for their inappropriate behavior.

Like a rock in a stream, Pashmina stood there, probably cursing my mother for birthing me, and certainly cursing herself for inviting me into her dorm room to hang out. She alternated between laughing herself and trying to appear unfazed and unflappable, and the matter was, at long last, after several calls to corporate, settled.

Pashmina, payback’s a BITCH, eh?

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There are always about 40 sides to every story, right? I told you my side of the butt sex story here (as well as back in September). This is Pashmina’s side.

For simplicity’s sake, I tell people that Becky is my college roommate. This is not entirely true, as she lived two doors down from me, but she might as well have lived in my room, seeing as how SHE SPENT PRACTICALLY EVERY WAKING MOMENT STEALING OUR BEER. YES YOU, BECKY.

We have been friends for 10 years. It would have been, in fact, 10 years ago this fall that I was all, “Can I smoke in here?” and Becky was all “sure!” and her roommate was all, “SMOKING IS FOR PEOPLE WHO WANT TO DIIIIIIIIIIE.” So, it’s true that I’ve known Becky a long time.

It is also true (she denies this) that when we get together, your Aunt Becky and I suffer from revertigo. This is to say that when we get together, we behave like the 19 year olds we once were, which is to say that our collective average age when we get together is about 12. Dick and fart jokes are the norm, and whenever Bones and I leave an afternoon with Becky, he lovingly tells me, “You guys are fucking ridiculous.” It’s true. I am.

It would not surprise you, then, to learn that for our wedding, Becky made a check out to us and wrote in the memo “Butt Sex.” It certainly didn’t surprise ME, and Bones and I got a good chuckle out of it when, a couple days after the wedding, we went through our gifts so that we could deposit any money before going on our honeymoon.

I slipped the check into the pile, deposited it, and Bones and I spent a week in the Caribbean. (ed note: Bitch)

When we came back, I had a letter from the bank. I opened it, and it contained three things:
1. A notice of error that said (and I quote) “Check Enclosed, Not Listed. Account Debited.”
2. A copy of the deposit slip
3. A copy of a check from your very own Aunt Becky, for Butt Sex.

Being that the whole thing was cryptic and confusing, I called the bank for an explanation. They told me I would have to go into the particular branch where we had made the deposit, since they didn’t quite understand either.

Not thinking anything of it at the time, I put “Bank” on my list of errands and headed over. Whatevs. I walked up to the teller, explained my confusion politely, and asked if he could provide me an explanation. He guessed at something. I asked a follow-up question. He called over his manager.

His manager came over to the teller window, looked at the documents and said–louder than she needed to–“OMG, who wrote you a check for butt sex?!”

The bank stopped for a split second and then erupted in peals of laughter around me. Me, I was caught between wanting to fall over laughing and being totally irritated that THE CHECK THEY PULLED OUT HAPPENED TO HAVE THE WORDS ‘BUTT SEX’ on it.

There were several other checks for identical amounts, but no, the bank and to pull THAT ONE for me. Thanks, Bank. Thanks for making me explain that my college roommate decided that this would be a hilarious thing to do.

I mean, it’s one thing when she writes me thank you notes that read “Dear Aunt P, Thank you so much for the Beer and Crack Whore money you gave Alex for his 2nd Birthday.” It’s totally another to have to take a check for Butt Sex to a business.

I explained that my college roommate had a sense of humor, in a way that implied that I didn’t while the bank continued to laugh around me.

Said the Teller, “Do you think maybe they didn’t deposit it because it said– because of the memo line?” (by now, the stern-faced, Chicago-bred security guard was smiling)

Manager, “Um, let me call corporate and ask.”

aw, fuck.

So, I took a seat and waited while the manager called the corporate headquarters and explained the situation and my confusion. Then I heard her say clearly, “Oh! Yes, it is Paisana!” She pulled the phone away from her mouth and said to me, “He remembers you!”

Oooof course he does.

A few more minutes with corporate–and several tellers who had to explain to the PEOPLE DRIVING THROUGH THE DRIVE UP WHY THEY WERE LAUGHING–later, the manager called me back over to her desk to explain to me what corporate had told her, assuring me the whole time that no, corporate had not rejected the check for Butt Sex.

She was very happy to use the words “butt sex” freely, too, and every time she said it, the security guard got a chuckle and EVERYONE IN LINE looked my direction with a “WTF?” expression.

She then explained to me that my error had been in addition (I had added the check twice) and we went through the deposit slip line by line until I was satisfied that my bad math–and not bank error–was at play. I thanked her for the explanation and she said to me, “Tell your friend she’s funny!”

She’ll appreciate that.

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Band Back Together is doing a wall of remembrance as well. Please visit if you can. We’re also calling for submissions from our pregnancy, baby, child  loss mama and daddies this month. Any issues logging in email bandbacktogether@gmail.com.

When I first started blogging, I found myself fitting in, not with the other mom bloggers, but with the fringe groups. The infertility bloggers, the baby loss bloggers, the special needs bloggers – those were people I could identify with much more so than the people I was supposed to fit in with. Maybe I hadn’t lost a child, maybe I hadn’t struggled in that very same way, but I had struggled in my own way.

We were the outsiders. The misfits. We had stories that no one wanted to hear about. Elephants sat at our tables, in corners and we were forever on the outside of normal, looking in. It’s the natural progression, I suppose, that I would create a space for us to gather. I’m proud of that. There are many of us outsiders. So many more than I’d thought.

When my daughter was born sick, it was no surprise that it was these people that came to my side with swords to help me slay my dragon, fluffy tissues to wipe the tears, and a barf bucket for when it all came to be too much.

I have an email folder that I’ve carefully saved every email I’ve gotten from that time that someday, I will print out to show my daughter. Most of the emails are from the people like me. Like most of you. The outsiders. The people who have been through hell but know how to make the ride a little…easier.

Today is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss day. Every year, I do a Wall of Remembrance for the people who have picked me up, dusted me off and wiped the barf off my face when I needed it most.

For that, I owe them everything.

According to the Center’s For The Disease Control’s Website, about 1 in every 100-200 births in the United States results in a stillbirth. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 4 million stillbirths occur yearly worldwide. One in every four diagnosed pregnancies ends in miscarriage. The numbers for neonatal and postnatal deaths run into the tens of thousands.

Those numbers seem large to me, but even after having to take a statistics class to get through nursing school I can’t say that I’m much of a numbers person. My son, he likes numbers, which is why he’ll be off saving the world, one string of code at a time, while Your Aunt Becky sits here, mouth breathing and occasionally wondering aloud, “Is the INTERNET working?”

Numbers aren’t my thing. People are my thing. 1 in 100-200 sounds like a hell of a lot bigger number when you attach faces to those numbers. Faces, stories and names. People. My friends. My nieces, my nephews, their parents. Tables forever missing one. Lives cut short. Unlived.

Still born. Born still.

My friends. Their children.

Today, we remember.

Shale

Matthew

Charlie

Cora

Thalon

Maddie

Peyton Elizabeth

Hannah

Sarah Kay

Paige

Ashley

Hannah

Baby Morgan

Baby Twin lost at 8 wks

Kiara Jolie

Jellybean

Baby C miscarried at 12 weeks on 1/7/07

Robin

Brian

<3 speck, Peanut, and Bean <3

Mindy’s three angels

Baby Jersey Girl Gets Real

Caleb

Gabriel

Anne & Jed’s babies

Sydney

Athena Rose Moore – 24 weeks Gestation (2nd loss, only one named)

Baby 1 – 9 weeks

Baby B – Twin to my 13yo, 12 weeks

Baby 2 – 9 weeks

Baby JP

Kathlyn

Baby Cherry

Nicholas

Ellis

Tevin, Taylor & Tristen

Elijah Michael

Brenna

Kherrington Faith

Baby H and Baby Boy H

Kalila

Baby J A and Baby J B

Anna

William

Robert Alan

Isabel Grace

Maddy

William Henry

Lilee

James and Jake

Aodin

Selena- lost pregnancy at 9 weeks

Callum

Sarah

Connor

Liam

Samuel

Jacob Lane

Caden

Masyn

Olive Lucy

Seth Milton

Abigail Hlee

JoeJoe Sherman

Baby Nick

Gabriel Anton

Ryan

Jonathan

Devin Alin

Jacob and Joshua

Baby K, Gabriel Connor, Christian Elliot and Andrew

Emmerson

Baby Kuyper

Mara S.

Nathan Michael

Eva and seven additional losses

Timothy, Taea, and Thomas

Kyle S.

John Addison

Raime, Elora & Connor

Ava and Nathaniel

Rose

Micaela, Angelica, and Frankie

Donald Angus

ETW’s seven losses

Becca’s twin siblings

Piper Isabelle

Libby’s Baby

Baby Cline

Addison Hope

Ryne Moyer

Marcus Reeves

Julian Ulysses

Becky

Caleb

Sean Isaac

Clayton and Skylar

Jessica Anne

Paul James

Ashlynn Brooks

David Lee

Babies Boone

David

Olcott-Lueke angels

Baby A and Baby B twin girls

Baby Girl B and Baby Boy A

Becca’s Twin Siblings

Jackson

Kaitlyn Grace

Brennan

Ellery

Robert Daniel

Quinn

Josie Ree Smith

Isabel

Issac

Samuel and Amelia

Draven Fredrick

Baby George – stillbirth

Eva and 7 other losses

In memory of my baby girl, Kaela Alexandria, 7 months and 4 days old when she passed.

Luke – stillbirth

Baby Ari, August 21, 2000.

Baby 1, August 2004, miscarriage. Baby 2, September 2009, and little baby girl Addison, accidental suffocation, 2008.

Ethan

Iris Rose, respiratory problems, three years old, April, 2012.

MTGracie – Her two little forget-me-nots.

Baby Roessler, miscarriage, 7 weeks gestation

Noah Issac (9/1999) and Angel Faith (6/2005)

Lidia Faith and Ronnie Jo aged 7 and 3 at time of death on 12/2/2010. They passed away in a house fire.

Our sweet baby Ava Rose, miscarried at 13 weeks on Oct 3, 2007. I will never forget. <3

Mackenzie. She’d have been 19 this year.

Patrick and Anthony, born at 22 weeks gestation. They would be 19 1/2, if they had lived.

Isabella Joy (miscarried in April 2003).

Thaddeus and Clara

Zephyrus Atiyyah

———–

I’ll add any names to this list so if you’d like me to add a name, please don’t hesitate to email me at becky.harks@gmail.com or leave a comment.

At Band Back Together, we have a Wall of Remembrance as well. Remembering, loving these lost souls is so very important to me.

At 7 pm tonight, October 15th, A Day To Remember, I will burn a candle in memorium.

Dona nobis pacem.

(give us peace) Lord, give us peace.

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