And then there were two

I adore my nephew.  I would give my life for him because I love him so and because I’ve no children of my own, he is the closest I’ll ever come. (I’m no weirdo.  I do not – nor ever have – fantasized or pretended that he is MY child.)

My nephew needs a sibling.  He is, because of all of us who love him, a spoiled boy and would do well to have a life-long buddy with whom to share everything with.

My sister and her hubby have been working on it for some time and as much warmth as it gives me to say she shared last night she learned yesterday morning is 6 1/2 weeks pregnant, I am equally (as usual) as heartbroken.

She was terrified to tell me.  But we are sisters and she knew she had to share her news.  In terms of our family, she & I pretty much only have each other.  

She told me in a panic.  By sending me a text message which included the sonogram photo and an apology for delivering the news that way but admitting she didn’t know how to do so.

I was 10 minutes away from meeting a friend for dinner.  Which I can now tell you is not enough time to recover from the shock.  

I know she didn’t mean to hurt me.  I believe 100% she had no idea how to tell her only & big sister that her dreams of adding a sibling for my nephew are coming true, while my heart aches for even one child – an ache that cannot be fulfilled.

I know I will love and spoil the new baby.  I know my heart will hold lots of pride for him or her. 

But I also know my heart can not be filled by my sisters wonderful news.  Her news that where there was one, there are now two.

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I know what you think

  

You think I am moody, or selfish, or maybe, you just think I’m a bitch. You think your announcement has nothing to do with me, and therefore should not affect me.  That I should respond appropriately and smile and congratulate you, then ooh and ahh along with others.

You think it’s personal that I could not get more than one word out of my mouth, or even smile. It hurt your feelings when after sitting for as long as I could – which felt like days had passed to me – I excused myself and not only left the room, but left the office.

What I want you to know is I may be moody.  I can be selfish.  I often scold myself for being bitchy. I want you to know that I know your announcement has nothing to do with me.  And I want you to know that my reaction to your announcement in kind, has nothing to do directly with YOU.

What I want you to know is that more than a year after I was told I can not have children, I am not regularly able to watch television.  I go days & weeks away from social media and decline most invites from friends to avoid announcements like yours, photos and videos of babies & children.  

I want to tell you that I cry more than once a week – like last Friday night, at a busy restaurant, while having dinner with friends and their 3 month old.  And that more than once a week is an improvement from more than once a day. 

I want you to know that while I can be obsessed about my young nephew, I sometimes am not able to spend time with him because his little face and sweet voice hurt me deeply.

If I thought you could even remotely grasp the pain I felt ripping through me when you called an “office meeting” to announce you are pregnant with your fourth child, I would tell you that my entire body began shaking.  That I began to sweat. That I needed to run, but that I couldn’t move and then, when I could move, I knew I would be thought to be the asshole, so I sat and I endured for as long as I could. 

If I thought you could fathom how I struggled to breathe, or how I barely made it outside of the building, dropping my cellphone while trying to place a call to someone to talk me off the ledge, I would tell you that it was then that I sobbed.  Hunched in the corner of the downstairs lobby near the bathrooms.  The tile floor was frigid cold, but all I could think of was laying down there.  So I fled to my car, and sat crying on the phone with my husband, knowing there was nothing he could do but desperately needing the sound of his voice.

I want you to know that I cried again when another co-worker sent me an email later, acknowledging how shocked they were with your news, how it was delivered and how they said they were praying for me

I want you to know that I cried my entire 50 minute drive home. And that I went straight to bed when I got there.  Drenching my pillow in tears.  Then sleeping.  Then waking and crying.  And waking and crying. Cursing God.  Cursing my body.  Cursing the hand I’ve been dealt.

I want you to know that I’ve been up since 3am drinking coffee and looking for a new job just to avoid being in the presence of a pregnant woman while at work, 5 days a week for the next 34 weeks.

I know what you’re thinking about me, you think I am jealous and you wonder why I can’t just be happy for you.  

I want you to know that I AM jealous.  And while I think your news is lovely for you & your family, saying I am “happy” for you would be wrong.  Because I can’t remember the last time I was happy about anything.  

I want you to know that moving on with my life as a non-mother is not enough for me. Having the freedom to do whatever I wish with my time & money because I’ve no one to care for or plan a future for, brings me no consolation.  That going to work and returning home to care for only my husband – no matter how deeply I love him – and our home, does not completely fulfil me.  And though I know there are temporary things I could do or participate in to try to fill some void, they will not replace the longing in my heart to be a mom.  To have a child to love & care for forever.

So while you think I am jealous and moody and selfish and bitchy because your announcement has nothing to do with me, please remember that I know it doesn’t.  Which is why it does.

Blank Spaces

My thoughts on everything are just that. Blank spaces.

We took a trip to Las Vegas a few weeks ago.  Aside from a couple good meals, all I looked forward to was getting home.  Saturday night was spent in the hotel room.  5:30 on a Saturday night.  On the Las Vegas strip.  And I’m watching movies on my iPad. Blank.

Our annual Thanksgiving camping trip? Blank. It was neither fun or boring.  Mostly the same faces. Same weather. Same food. For some in our group, it was a trip of “first times.”  Not even the addition of my sister, brother in law & nephew made a difference in my overall feelings. When it was over, it only felt routine. Drive. Set up. Eat, drink, clean up. Drive home. 

The upcoming Christmas holiday? Blank.  I don’t care to send out greeting cards.  What could I possibly say about our last year that hasn’t been said the last several years?  “Here’s another photo of our dogs, but we wish everyone a Merry Christmas.”  Or, “Happy Birthday to Christ, who has done many great things for lots of people but chooses to bury some dreams so deep in our hearts and never fulfill them?”  I’ve opened zero cards sent to us, where I used to display them in our entryway.  I’m not even curious about them because I already know they are photos of everyone else’s families over the course of another year. 

I don’t care to decorate the house – something I’ve done for years. As a college student with tinsel & beer tabs, a 20-something year old with Dollar Store finds and even after my first marriage ended in shreds, I would venture out on my own, put a tree in the trunk of my car, blast the Christmas music and decorate the whole house in my Pj’s. 

This year, I bought a smaller, “table top” tree at a nursery and a vintage tin pail I found at the antique shop in town….a look I found on Pinterest.  I forced myself to make the purchases in a conscious effort to  get in the spirit.  And yet a week later, the tree sits in the corner of the family room, no decor, barely watered.  Blank.

I do not look forward to gatherings, gift exchanges or sweet holiday movies.  Because MY life doesn’t end like those movies do. I am exhausted of faking a smile.  I have a sweet, strong, loving husband and a cozy home.  And yet, I cannot recall the last time I felt happiness.  The last time I laughed from my core in sheer joy.

I am full of sadness, broken pieces and of fear that what’s left for me in this life will not be quite enough.  I am full of blank space.

Stop Asking How I Am

Here’s the thing….there are three types of people who ask how I am. 

1. The person who doesn’t really care, but asks in a socially appropriate conversational way.  

2. The person who cares, but has a preconceived expectation I should or will answer in a certain way. 

3. A person who cares.

If you are a person who falls into any of these categories….stop asking.  And here’s why….

Person from #1:  It’s not that you aren’t polite and simply being conversational, it’s just that I KNOW you don’t actually care.  So as much as society thinks it’s polite, it is more a waste of your energy and mine to respond than it is worth in politeness points.  Be original.  Ask what I think about the weather, or the like.

Person from #2:  Quite the opposite of person from #1, I know YOU care.  But I also know how awkward it will be if I answer truthfully.  I know because I see your fear when you ask the question.  You are hoping that if I am not okay, that I will lie and say I am.  Most folks do, don’t they?  So, avoid the awkwardness and the burden it will put on us both, just don’t ask.

Person from #3:  Of all of these people, you care deeply.  I know you do.  I feel it.  I wish you wouldn’t ask how I am either.  Because you should already know the answer.  

I realize the request makes me the bad person, the bitch, the whatever….but I think the point is, if you don’t want to know the truth, the real answer to the question, then don’t ask.

Unbelonging

There is a medium in which I exist.  A space not fully defined.  A life with little reason.  A place of unbelonging.

I do not belong at the company picnic.  Where the men shift weight around the barbecue or cooler, discussing the work and cracking jokes at one another’s expense. And where the women gather at one table, talking about the small town daycare options, making lunches and t-ball practice while keeping one eye on the bounce house at all times for their little ones.

I do not belong at the beauty salon.  Sharing congrats and “you look amazing” compliments and stories of how, “when it’s over, you just can’t believe that your body could do such a thing!” While the nail technician rubs her perfectly round belly and bites her lip in anxiousness.

I do not belong at the office.  Where everyone else has a special schedule to accommodate school pick ups and jog-a-thon meetings.  Where calling in sick applies to not only the employee but for their children and where the childless must accommodate vacation times for those with. But those with do not for the childless.

I don’t belong on social media.  Where my online life has little meaning because I’ve not a child to give it as much.  Where “there is no better feeling” than sleepless nights.  Where my life is incomplete since I do not have a family of my own for whom the waiting & struggles were well worth.  And where the rest of the world rushes by, one post post or one photo at a time, while mine is frozen still – with no changes or new news to report.

I am unbelonging.

Night

Night is time for the stars to shine. For friends to gather in loud, fun places. 

Night is late dinners, later movies and frozen yogurt.  It is time to kick back, be lazy or even prepare for the next day.

Night is cuddle up, snuggle in, kisses and sweet dreams.  Night is a time for sleep. 

Night is also dark.  Quiet and lonely.  It is solitude unmatched.

Night is the daily reminder that the light will always dim.  Night is tossing, turning, lay on the couch.

Night is tear filled. Wishing. Hoping. Realizing there is nothing to hope for.

Night ends.  Night returns.

Your Pregnant Belly, A Love Story

I stood on the beach not far from you, but enough so I thought your glow couldn’t physically touch me.  I knew that the rays would burn if they grazed my arm.

I watched, knowing your every movement would cause me deep pain, but I couldn’t peel my eyes away.  Your hormonally thick hair, in an easy ponytail, a perfectly comfortable but fitting t-shirt dress for your eight months to be displayed and your 20-something year old legs…thin, but strong enough to carry your tiny + baby frame.

The moments came, as I knew they would, when you rubbed your belly in mid conversation, then stopped and just like a shield, held your hands in place around your bump.  You would smile. The deepest happiness exploding from the corners of your mouth.

And I thought awful, jealous things. I thought desperate, sad things.  And I swiped tears away, pretending that sand had blown in my eyes. 

But mostly, I thought how beautiful you were.  I wondered if you knew how lucky you were.  And I thought how I’d give anything to be standing there, with my hair in an easy ponytail, in a perfectly comfortable but fitting t-shirt dress for my eight months to be displayed and shielding my belly while smiling – the deepest happiness exploding from the corners of my mouth.