Sunday, August 25, 2013

Mothers without mothers

A dear friend of mine is pregnant. She shared with me a few of her fears and it brought back a lot of mine. Of course, the bottom line is that I had a very successful pregnancy -- I have a healthy baby to show for it. But it was very difficult for me. I bled a lot, not in large amounts but frequently, so I was always going in to see if anything was wrong. And it never was, but I was so afraid. I remember crying in the car many, many times. Not safe, by the way.
Now, three years later, crying in the car again, I think I can finally put all the pieces together.
When my mom died, I figured (subconsciously) that the worst thing that could happen to someone I love (and by extension, to me) had happened. I've talked a lot about how when I was taking care of her, I would literally jump out of my seat whenever the phone rang. And the day she died, I stopped jumping, for what I thought was ever. It's the converse for people who lose someone suddenly, I think. Once they get that call, every call thereafter holds the potential for horror.
But today I finally realized that it's more than the phone calls. When she died, I cut myself off from caring that deeply about anything. I kept my distance.
But a decade and change later, it was impossible to keep my distance from my own baby, growing inside me. It's primal. And the more I cared, the more scared I got. The last time I had cared for someone -- literally cared for them, took care of them -- she died. It was my only record -- when I take care of someone, that person dies. A hundred percent. So I was waiting for that to happen again.
When my mom died, a guy at the paper I would very soon leave said, "One day, not today, you should check out 'Daughters Without Mothers.' It's for women who have lost their moms." Well, I never did. But I wonder if there's a group for mothers without moms. Because I could really use that right now.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

In which everyone grows a little bit

Jeffrey's parents were in town last week. Jeffrey and his mom went shopping for Abbott's birthday one night; I couldn't go because I was home with the soon-to-be-3-year-old. But through modern phone technology, I was able to see everything they'd bought -- the I Love My Grandpa and I Love My Grandma books, the three (three! He is a lucky kid!) Play-Doh construction toys, and the big pink bag they'd bought to put it all in.

Pink is Abbott's favorite color. He told us maybe a month ago, and I've had a little bit of anxiety about it, I have to confess. And it is a confession in the truest sense of the word -- I feel ashamed of the anxiety. I'm afraid someone is going to say something shitty to him, and I'm afraid of the decisions I might make because of that fear. I haven't really told a lot of people (ashamed of that, too), only people I have considered to be "safe."(the heck does that even mean?) And I wasn't sure whether Jeffrey's parents were going to be on that list -- his dad, especially. No reason to believe he wouldn't be safe; I just didn't think there was any reason to tell them.

But here we were, with a pink bag. And an automotive shirt with pink notes. So, Grandma was on board. Ok. Grandpa was always the question mark.

The next morning, they came over a little bit late; they had to do some more shopping. Grandma came in first, with a gigantic red polka-dotted bag that I had not seen in the pictures. Where was the pink bag? I didn't even want to tell them! And now this!

As Abbott started pulling apart the red bag to see what was inside, in walked Grandpa. Carrying the pink bag of course. Then Abbott pulled all his gifts out -- all wrapped in pink paper. That was what they had had to shop for that morning. I even think Grandpa pointed out the pink on the shirt when Abbott opened it.

People sure will surprise the shit out of you if you let them.