Tuesday, May 27, 2008

On the losing end...

...of a nasty stomache virus.

Here's hoping that today marks the end of it all.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Another farewell

I squirmed with discomfort when my office-mate responded to the sad news that my cousin's wife miscarried again with "My sister hasn't even gotten that far."

Admittedly, I have not miscarried. I also haven't experienced true infertility (our diagnosis of secondary infertility between the boys was too short lived to count for much). So I can't say that I have much personal experience with either situation.

Nonetheless, I cannot help but feel the comment was inappropriate. Because I don't think my cousin or his wife count themselves lucky to be able to get pregnant but not bring home a baby. And I don't think my office-mate's sister would be very thrilled to get pregnant and lose the baby, either.

Maybe I am wrong (feel free to contradict), but I can't imagine how miscarriage could ever be construed as better than infertility. The both suck in equally shitty, though slightly different ways.

Oh well. My office-mate also makes other inappropriate comments. And mispronounces the word "sometimes". Not exactly bosom-buddy material.

But, sheesh.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Not Really Any Closer

Another week passes between posts. Oh well. I hardly imagine anyone out there is hanging on to my every word. Gardening (yay!), BB, and cruising in my new Corolla - well, that takes up time!

Back to business - Thanks for all of the advice re: the BIL/SIL situation. I think it would be worth while to "talk it out" a bit here.

Firstly, we do see each other on common ground a few times a year. We pretend that nothing is amiss and then carry on our merry ways. I don't know why, but I feel like that is not enough. I guess it doesn't match up to that Hallmark-family image that I have in my head. The question is starting to become "what is enough and what is reasonable to expect?"

What I do appreciate, though, is that I am not the only one in this type of situation. I admire those of you who have had the guts to say "it's not worth it" and let it all go. But I am stuck in that place where my mind and my soul are warring against one another. My head says "OK, maybe this is just how things are going to be and it is time to feel like that is enough." My heart says "NO! Families are supposed to be close, care about one another, and spend time together. You just haven't tried hard enough yet."

In truth, I haven't really tried to repair the damage caused by the distance of the past 3 years. Partly that is because I don't know where to begin. I don't know if I am blowing things out of proportion. I don't know if I am being self-centered in wanting more out of the relationship with my in laws; more than an afternoon here or there and a cursory family dinner at Christmastime. Not every family is close; I have to realize that.

Partly, the reason I haven't tried is that I am chicken-shit. I don't want to make things worse. And I think it would be easy to make things worse. (Defining worse: I imagine a scenario where I bring up the topic of the estrangement, they play nice, pretend that they have no idea what I am talking about, and then really make sure they stay away from the crazy emotional woman with no sense of propriety. I do get the feeling that my in-laws prefer the "lets pretend everything is okay" way of life and wouldn't appreciate any sort of "OK, let's deal with this" conversation.)

One of the hardest things about this is the contrast between my own siblings and my siblings-in-law. Though, admittedly, I wasn't always super-close with my own siblings, I have always had a sense of closeness with them. And, these days, I talk to them all several times a week and we are always trying to find ways to minimize the hundreds of kilometers between us. I guess I want that with my in laws, too.

I think what is happening is that I am reaching a cross-roads. I am soon going to have to make a decision. I am going to have to either let it go or try to make it better. Neither option is very appealing at this point.

I'm no longer looking for dead-baby-support from them. All I want is for our families to spend time together (which we do actually still enjoy, despite the void in the intervals) and for our kids to get to know each other.

But maybe I should let it go.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Thanks, a Dance, and a Questions

Thank you for all of your comments - you have me thinking and a post is brewing.

Until I find a few moments, I will leave you with my happy dance. My new car is here. If you see me this weekend, I will be driving around in this:

Now, a burning question. I sing:

Ring around the rosey,
Pocket full of posies.
Hush-a, hush-a.
We all fall down.

What words do you sing? Did you know it varies by region?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Off my chest

There are very few people that I have been unable to forgive for the stupid things they have said or done. Generally, I don't hold a grudge very long. I may be upset for a reasonable period of time, but as the waves of time wash over my anger, it fades, quiets and disappears.

For example, when I called my high school friend from my hospital bed and she suggested that C. was a test child, you know, so that I "would know what it was like to be pregnant." - well, I actually don't hate her. Mostly I feel sorry for her. How can you really blame someone for having the emotional maturity of a 16 year old when all she worries about is when can I see the coolest new band in Vancouver? She is an emotional child; I don't hate her. I'm not even angry anymore. (more bewildered, actually...).

Sorry, off on a tangent there.

But I just read this post and it has me thinking about that third that have behaved in a way that I would never have imagined it possible. And there are two faces that are burned into my retina, smiling and happy and so out of reach; people who should have been there, but weren't.

When the phone call went out to my BIL/SIL on that cold, dark, impossible January night, I tried to be reasonable when they told us they couldn't come. They couldn't bring their young children on a 2 hour road trip on such a cold night. I tried to ignore the voice in my head that was pointing out that almost every other person in the room had travelled the exact same distance, in the exact same weather, at the exact same time.

When my BIL arrived alone the next day, I tried to understand his reasons for not bringing his wife and my nieces - people who I needed to hold in my arms and to hold me. He probably gave reasonable explanations - I honestly no longer remember.

I still struggle to understand why they chose not to bring the kids to the funeral. But that was a parenting decision that I am forced to respect. Though I do respect it, I missed the living, beautiful faces of my nieces on that horrible, horrible day. And I felt like the questions I was forced to answer in the weeks that followed might have been curtailed by having the girls there.

There was no doubt in my mind, however, that they would be there for us, no matter what, and that they would understand. My SIL won a battle with cancer in her early 20s, but lost her ovaries in the process. They built their family through adoption. They would know something of loss and of starting over. In this train of thought, I leaned as heavily as a thought I could. I leaned like someone who needed to be carried.

I wasn't sure what was happening when they didn't seem to be checking in on us as much as I thought they might. Or why it suddenly became harder to get them on the phone.

A couple of months passed. Then came the conversation with my SIL when I shared an experience that was very difficult for me and she tried to make me see it through the eyes of someone much further down the road of grief. I was hurt that she tried to push me like that. I didn't say anything, but I think she sensed my hurt and that was when the Great Deep Freeze of '05 began.

When I called in July and left the message on their machine (Hi, it's me. We aren't doing very well. Maybe we could come on our days off and spend some time with the girls - take them to the water park while you are at work. I think it would do us good to spend time with them), and we didn't get a call back... well... I knew the Deep Freeze was now in full effect.

She was tired of me. Maybe, they were tired of us (don't know about that, though. Maybe it was all me...)

Since then, we might see them 5 times in a year. Maybe talk on the phone 3 times. A mere fraction of our previous interaction. Sadly, these were people that I thought would be one of the foundations of our lives. When I married my husband, I was thrilled to be gaining an older brother and sister. Advice, camaraderie, growing families together - it was going to be like a Hallmark movie.

Where are we now? They screen our calls. Last year, my BIL declined to become BB's godfather. My husband and I speak resentful words about them in the privacy of our own home. Every interaction with them seems to bring a new low.

I don't know what to do. The obvious thing would be to talk about it, right? But, talk about WHAT? It's like the early years of Global Warming - no one had any proof. Scientists couldn't point to statistics and data and explain exactly how they knew what was happening. It is all stuff that happens in unspoken and unremarkable ways.

There are no specifics. I suppose I could say "I think you don't like me much. I think you screen my calls. I think you avoid me. I want to be your friend and your sister and an involved aunt, but you don't seem interested. I want my son to know you and your children. I want the Deep Freeze to end."

However, studied in the bold light of day, that type of conversation seems like utter nonsense. I cannot think of any scenario wherein I would feel any sense of assurance that this conversation would get me anywhere. I just don't think it would fly.

So, if you've stayed with me this long, I have to say I don't know what to do. Maybe there is nothing to be done. Maybe I need to get about the business of getting over it and moving on (ha!).

I am sad that these people aren't in my life the way I expected.

Thanks for listening.

P.S. Of course, there are so many intricacies and subtleties that I am glossing over here. I understand, intellectually, many of the choices they have made over the past 3.5 years. It's my heart that is calling foul, not my head. It is all complicated and layered and drives me to distraction.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Fits and Starts

I don't know why, but I have been feeling quite sorry for myself the last few days. It is because C. isn't here, but he wasn't here last week, either. I don't know why this week is so trying.

On the other hand, it feels like spring might be here to stay. An hour with BB in the sunlight, under a huge, blue sky, is perfection - like I am watching a made for TV movie.