Wednesday, April 28, 2010

My SIL is pregnant.

Although this was expected at some point, the news was still wrapped in with a sort of dramatic pause that Peyton and I were not completely prepared for.

Irrespective of her and my BIL (because of course we wish them all the happiness and joy with this endeavor), this pregnancy generated a lot of chaos in a pretty stable/nice existence that P and I were riding. When SIL told us the news (basically in a series of texts messages in which I guessed what the big news was that she wanted to announce at a party with all her friends on a Saturday night), we were happy for them. But when we found out that they were going to announce it to the world when A) they had not been to a doctor yet (and still haven't--insurance reasons) and B) she was only about 8 weeks along I stopped cold in my tracks. Well, I didn't really stop cold, somewhere in the depths of my cranium I was screaming "WHATAREYOUDOINGAREYOUCRAZYYOUHAVEN'TEVENSEENAHEARTBEATYET!!!!!!!!!" On the outside, we swallowed our compulsions to say anything in a warning tone and only said positive things.

We had dinner plans with my friend H and her family that same night, so we missed the festivities. The next night we were having dinner with the family at a restaurant, and when we arrived (late as always), my MIL, BIL, and SIL were there sportin' buttons that said "Grandma to Be", "Father to Be" and "Mommy to Be". By our place setting were 2 buttons for us "Uncle to Be" and "Aunt to Be". It was then that my good graces flew out the damn window and I think that was the first time that my SIL realized that both P and I were not comfortable with this display. At. All.

Come to find out the buttons were complements of my MIL---who held Ronan for an hour after he was born still, who was there throughout every horrible goddamn minute of labor up until I got the epidural. Who was with us for Ronan's 2 year balloon release.

P and I were quiet through most of that meal, and on the ride home we decided that we should kindly remind my MIL that this was not something we were comfortable with---and also to remind her that pregnancy (in general) is not a happy-go-lucky topic with us.

When I called my MIL the next morning, I calmly told her that P and I were not able to participate in these kinds of activities, because it made us ridiculously uncomfortable, especially because it was so early in the pregnancy. I reiterated that we were not wanting to poo-poo how my BIL and SIL chose to handle this pregnancy, but the innocence of pregnancy has left the building for the both of us. Forever. In the vein of not being Debbie Downer, we felt it was best to not put ourselves in a position where we were uncomfortable. (Because sure as shit, no one is looking out for our comfort in this situation, so it HAS to default to us). We told her the best way for us to be supportive was one-on-one, and not in crowd form.

She seemed to understand my feelings, up until she suggested that P and I talk to someone about our feelings---like there was something wrong with feeling this way. Then I lost it a little bit. I told her that if there was any indication that women who had been through the hell we had been through did NOT feel the same way as I did, then maybe that would be a valid suggestion. But because I KNOW a whole mess of other women who feel the EXACT same way I do about pregnancy, then no, I don't need to see a shrink, thanks very much. She tried to back out of the corner she painted herself in, but it was in that instance that I realized that my seemingly supportive MIL doesn't get the hell I (and P) go through on a a daily basis, or COMPREHEND what we went through when I was pregnant with Radha. It seems, dear readers, that she too was under the delusion that Radha was the happy ending to a horrible story, not the bright spot in an alternate, fucked up reality that I will forever be living. And then I realized that she was living out a bit of her own fantasy with this pregnancy---the ability to go crazy and cutesie with the anticipation of a grandchild. Something I never let her do. And the whole thing made me really, really, really sad.

It was a terrible fall into the pit after this conversation. And I hate that something like this---something I have no utter control over---can send me over the edge. Still. Two years later.

I haven't really talked to my MIL since then. The madness of the announcements have died down. SIL still hasn't been to the doctor yet, but hopefully in the next couple of weeks.

I will continue to hope for the best while preparing for the worst.

Because that's the way I roll now...

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Welcome Spring!

Bluebonnets finally bloomed this year, after two consecutive years of piss-poor showings. The record heat and drought of last summer actually helped the wildflower season this year.

There is a tradition in Texas to photograph your children/family/dogs in the bluebonnets. Since they are usually found along state highways, it is not unusual to see cars pulled off to the side of busy highways and see children being rushed into a field, parents flailing their hands while frantically trying to set up and snap a picture, and then frantically ordering the children back into the car. All at lightening speed. A Texas version of a Chinese Fire Drill. :P

One of my college friends is starting her photography business and found a safe place in a neighborhood where someone had planted bluebonnets years before. She got permission to use the field, so we took Radha over there for a couple of shots.

For the record---the tutu was her idea :D

Happy Spring, Friends....

Monday, April 12, 2010

Signs, Signs, Everywhere There's Signs

We were in Seattle this past long weekend.

I love the Pacific Northwest, and had things gone the way I planned it, we would have been there for at least the Fellowship portion of my education. But alas, they didn't, I ended staying in Michigan and then moving back to Texas.

The last time I was in Washington State, I was at a writer's retreat for 3 weeks in 2005, and this year I felt the call to go back and decompress. So, for my 35th birthday, Peyton and I took a 4.5 hour plane ride without the girl, to reengage with adult life, and to exhale for the first time in a long time....

Tulips are my favorite flowers (I have always had an affinity for bulb flowers. I like the idea that a seed planted in the Autumn must endure the harsh winter in order to bloom in the Spring). At Pike Place Market, there were rows and rows of tulips, bringing me a kind of innocent joy that I haven't felt in a long, long time....

We ate fresh crab, drank Starbucks, shopped, laughed, and talked like we haven't talked in a long time. About life, about future, about our children.

We headed out to Whidbey Island, walked along Double Bluff Bay, and I vividly remembered walking on the same beach 4.5 years before, thinking about returning home, my future, my reunion with Peyton, and the possibility of starting our family now that school was over.

On this day, we saw a group of people walking along the beach, and Peyton, who was walking ahead of me, made an about-face and told me not to walk that way. The woman told him that there was a dead baby seal over there, and the smell was unbearable. I looked in the general direction, and could see a small outline in the sand, and a raven bending over to examine it.

It is common for me to associate seals with Ronan, as that is the literal meaning of his name--"little seal". I was grateful that the woman said something before we stumbled across it. I don't know how upset I would have been bearing witness to that.

But it was the raven that signified something more to me than the presence of a seal on that beach. Ever since Ronan died, birds follow us, and show up at the moments where grief is the heaviest. Driving back from the funeral home in silence, we saw a gigantic vulture perched on a light post with his wings in some grand contortion, looking like a bird on a crest. It made Peyton and I both take notice. When I was driving to work the first day after my 'maternity leave' after he died, a bird flew beside my car window at 20 mph until I went on the highway. When I stopped off for coffee, I walked back to my car to see a small bird hanging out by my car door. Even this past January on Ronan's 2nd birthday, a roadrunner crossed our path, and stayed there as we walked by---which is most unusual as those birds (ridiculously depicted by Looney Tunes), do in fact hustle the hell away from people (and coyotes).

The raven walked it's circle around the seal and came to spend a few moments walking with us before leaving.

Whatever the meaning, even if you take nothing from it other than a freaky coincidence, that image of the raven and the seal will stay with me forever.