Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Where I Vent. Just a Little.

mom: how was your week?
me: how was my week? why are you asking me this? what are you wanting me to say?
mom: oh
mom: [ten minute monologue on weather forecasts and variations between here and the eastern shore, sprinkled with "you know..." every fourth word. Kids at home: please do not pick up this annoying vocal tic.]
me: [audible huffing. non-audible eye rolling.]
mom: what do you think about going out to dinner for Xmas eve?
me: I think what I told you last week when you asked me. I don't care. I don't care where. I don't care.
mom: well, I just thought it would be a good idea since your brother is really the only one that enjoys my cooking and M. never eats what I make anyway...
me: that's right. I forgot. It's all about you.
mom: oh
mom: well, we're going shopping for our open house this weekend. You know you and M. and your brother and everybody [everybody meaning my brother's girlfriend of several years whose name they can never remember] are invited.
me: of course I know. Know that it is the last place I want to be and the last way I want to spend my husband's days off.
mom: well, we're not expecting you, I just wanted you to know...
me: I know. Thanks.
mom: well, here's your father...
dad: hi. everything ok?
me: NO! NO THEY ARE NOT FUCKING OK. Why are you even asking me this? Why are you wanting me to say everything is ok? And please, please don't tell me its not raining in Delaware. I already got the full report.
dad: ok. fine, m. I'm gonna go.
me: no. stop. no. I'm sorry for yelling. Don't go away mad. It's just...Things are not ok.
dad: I know. I know. I just don't know what to say. Just know I love you.
I do. And I know they love me. But conversations with my parents work my last nerve on a good day. This one, filled with small talk, underhanded digs, and flotsam was not one I wanted to have as I am surrounded by blank Xmas cards and birth announcements. Trying to figure out who should get what. Which folks get both? For whom are the announcements appropriate? Just family? Friends and colleagues? Those that already sent their sympathies? Is that too much of a double dose? Are there expectations or perceived expectations around announcements? [I don't want there to be. I just want to share the few images we have of Isob*l and Jov*ta with people who I know would have loved them.]

These are the questions I am struggling with this morning. That and whether or not to bathe (don't worry. I'm thinking yes.) Not where I want to eat on Xmas eve or how to politely decline the xteenth invite to my parents' open house without hurting their feelings.

And I know many of you will tell me that now is not the time to care about other people's feelings; that it is entirely appropriate to take care of me and M. right now. I get that. And 99% of the people around me do too. But somehow I am still stuck with navigating my parents' easily- hurt feelings. I felt this in the hospital when they drove down to see us. I feel it now. I feel it all the fucking time.

At the hospital, I felt bad because we weren't crying in front of them. After 36 hours of tears and hard decisions, we just didn't have any left to pull up on cue for visitors, you know? My mom's response: "it's ok. you're just numb." No. You are wrong. Numb is the last thing that I am. I am so far from the numb that I were I were and wish I would stay that way for a while. I just don't choose to share or display my grief with you right now at this moment.

And of course I didn't say that. I just sat and I fumed. And I let things fester. And I could see M. was festering too.

When we got home, she called almost daily until one night when I finally did cry. After that, she seemed placated. Soothed by the fact that I wasn't in denial. She announced she wouldn't call me for a couple of days. I passed the test.

And now, things are completely in reverse. I am expected to respond to their mundane comments with mundanity of my own (sorry. is that a word?) And I can't. I simply can't. I know they have no idea what to say. Most people don't. And I know there are times when I am so relieved, joyful even, to have a normal conversation with friends and others who stop by, call, write, etc. But it just feels like there has been no transition, no gray area with my parents. Nothing to move it beyond. Either we mourn dead babies or we pretend like they don't exist. One or the other.

And I just can't do that. My world is not that black or white.

You might say, hey, m. Why don't you talk to your parents about all this? Why not just put it all out there? Maybe this will all bring you closer.

Hmm. Well, yes. Nice idea. And one I have given some thought to. But based on previous attempts, I don't see it panning out all that way. You see, I tried that a few times before. Once when I thought my mother was being an absolute ass to M., once when I located documents and letters revealing more than I had even known (or been told) about my adoption. And these all ended as hysterical, hyperventilating, who-can-scream-louder-harder-faster-before passing-out-for-lack of oxygen fights. I finally cave because it all just wears me out and I know the end result. My mother crumples in sobs and poor me's and "you always talk down to me"'s and "I never know what to say to you"s and a few weeks later, we are back to talking about the weather.

So, no good.


I think it's time for my daily walk. I can't wait to go to the doctor's tomorrow to hear that I probably should not have been walking this soon. "Light activity only" for the first two weeks my papers say. No exercise for at least six weeks, it also says.


So, the one time I have time on my hand, the time where I really, really need some constructive distractions, and my options are incredibly limited. Like I said, we see two sets of doctors tomorrow, and hopefully walk away with some answers (if possible) and some (hopefully) revised postpartum timelines and instructions.


Somewhat Ordinary said...

M, there isn't much I can say other than to tell you that you are handling this amazingly. You have a whole world of women that are here for a listening ear.

I think you are probably fine to walk. If it makes you feel better than to hell with what the docs say!

Anonymous said...

I agree with the last poster, go out and walk. Walking is still a great way to clear my head and relieve some stress and it does a body good. I think it would due a world of good for you - when your body says it's had enough then that's the time to stop. Just don't push yourself to hard.
And I agree, you and M. are amazing people. Well, we already knew that but wanted to reiterate it again.
Go ahead and send the announcements, we'd be honored to be included in the "mail to" pile.

Love You Both,

Mo said...

parents are tough sometimes at the best of times. based on what you shared, I can see why you're left fuming. it's so so tough.

i'm so sorry you're going through this - especially at this time of year.

Ryan's Mommy said...

The holidays always seem to intensify everything, don't they? Especially family tensions.

RE the announcement: I think you answered your own question. Send them to the people who would have loved your girls. I don't think it's possible to make a mistake there.

annacyclopedia said...

By all means, walk. As long as you are listening to your body, you will be fine.

Parents. It is so hard to deal with them when you're grieving because they are grieving too, and they just become useless to support you, no matter how good their intentions. That is my experience at least, and I can totally relate to just holding somethings back from family even when they are pounding on the door wanting to be let into what I'm feeling. It's just hard - they should be the ones who can comfort you the best, but instead you wind up trying to shield them from the fury of your feelings and in doing so, trying to comfort them.

Wishing you peace with all that family stuff that is so complicated, and some clarity from the doctors tomorrow. You remain in my heart and in my prayers.

michelle said...

I don't have the magical words to make it all better - or even a little better - I wish I did. But just a note to say - I am here thinking of you.

I hope the walk helped in whatever way it is that walks usually help.

Polly Gamwich said...

I'm sorry, parents suck - at least mine have a lot left to desire. I can't imagine the conversations you've had to endure.

Thanks for venting.

Amy said...

I may not have any words of wisdom, but I promise I won't talk to you about the weather. (((hugs)))

nancy said...

I think it's hardest when dealing with our parents. We want them to say the PERFECT thing. We want them to GET IT. But they are just human, and we get so fucking annoyed. I am so hard on my mom all the time and I know I'll be in for years and years of guilt over it. I think telling your dad to not go away mad was awesome. He knows you are in pain. He isn't holding it against you. He knows. He's just like most of the human planet and no one knows what to say.

Hrm, what should you do while you've got time on your hands? How about find out how many licks it takes to get to the center of a lollipop?

Skerry said...

No advice for dealing with your just gotta go with your gut on this one. Just a thought though....are you an only child? Did your parents choose adoption due to their own infertility? If so maybe their ability to love and grieve for your girls and for them to understand is hard for them, whereas you have loved your girls since before you knew them. Does that make sense?
Send the announcements to the people that love you, M & your girls. Speaking as an "in the computer" friend I would be honored to see pictures of Isobel & Jovita. I hope your walks are filled with peace.

Anonymous said...

I think walking sounds like a necessity for your sanity doing more good than any possible bad. Its constructive and fairly mindless if you want it to be.

Oh those parent conversations sound like complete hell. You did get in some good zingers.

Others have already said it, you two are amazing. But then again, it probably doesn't matter much, there are so many other things you'd rather be true today.

I think of you everyday and promise never to discuss the weather when you don't want to:)

wifethereof said...

I think I have a similar relationship with my mother. I'm still thinking about you. Take care.

Dani819 said...

Ugh. These weeks are so tough. No exercise, no hot baths, no stress relief at all at the time when you most need it. Walking wherever you can does help. I find that if you can do it somewhere close to nature, it helps a little more. There's more room for what you feel, somehow.

As to parents, there's often no winning- taking care of them by letting them take care of you when you just want to not have to worry about anyone else. Enough to make you want to scream. Over the past few weeks, I have found that this is a great place to do it- so many people will hear you and understand.

Kami said...

I went through this with my mom (haven't seen my dad in years) too. People don't know what to say, what to do, but I still can't forgive her.

I'm sorry.

Dora said...

I think our moms are related. I can just imagine my mother telling me I'm numb if I didn't share something emotional with her. Such arrogance!

Been meaning to stop by. My thoughts have been with you.