Wednesday, February 27, 2013

1,000 posts

A few weeks ago I reached 1,000 posts.  Yay me!

My grandfather

George and I visited my grandfather last week.  I'd like to say it was a lovely visit.  I'd like to say that George bonded with my grandfather.  I'd like to say I feel like the visit was worthwhile.  Unfortunately, I can't.  My grandfather is miserable.  He is exhausted.  He is lonely.  He is depressed.  He is ready to die.  I think he has been since my grandmother died in 2010.  I think I could handle all of that if he hadn't gotten mean, but alas, he is so unhappy to still be alive that he is unpleasant to be around.  That makes me really, really sad.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

It takes a village

Archer is out of town for three days and two nights, which means I'm on my own with the boys.  I've had lots of help though.  Our lovely neighbor came by this morning to walk Wild Man to the bus stop, so I wouldn't have to take all three boys out at 7:20 in the morning.  She is doing the same thing tomorrow morning.  My good friends are picking Bear up at preschool this afternoon, so I don't have to drive across town again.  Then they are joining us for dinner.  This weekend I'm going out of town; I'm taking George to meet my grandfather, who is 88 and in really poor health.  Another good friend has offered to keep Wild Man and Bear, so they aren't in the car all day as Archer goes to and from Big City airport.  It definitely takes a village, and I'm glad we've found one in CU Land.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

The fallout

It seems the fallout from last spring's drama at CU continues.  I've just been notified that unless I can get one of the two departments to agree to run the travel course I designed (which doesn't really fit in either department) I will be forced to return the money.  There are days when I seriously wonder if this is the place for us.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

The baby I wasn't sure I wanted

In November 2011 I discovered I was pregnant.  We were not trying to get pregnant, and if I'm being completely, brutally honest, I'm still not sure how it happened.  I mean, I know how it happened, but the event, as it were, was brief.  It was, in fact, not even completed because, as I recall, Bear woke up screaming literally seconds after it had started.  Following an evening together, with a lovely dinner that Archer made for us and at least two bottles of wine, we had, apparently, done just enough.  Thus, I blame George's conception on one too many glasses of wine, a momentary lapse in judgement, and, well, fate. 

I was less than happy about being pregnant, as I wrote here.  I was, in fact, horrified. I cried for two weeks.  I called my best friend daily, who reassured me that I could manage.  That it would be okay.  That we could afford another baby.  That I had really wanted a third child but convinced myself that I didn't.  After three days of such phone calls, my friend said to me what I had been thinking but wouldn't allow myself to say outloud: "M, if the thought of another baby makes you this unhappy, you don't have to have it."  In that moment, my dear, lovely friend offered me what I couldn't, what I had refused to offer myself: the space to consider what my life would be like without this unexpected third child. 

I imagined life very much like it was: a good life, a happy life.  Working, parenting Bear and Wild Man, being with Archer, traveling.  I talked to Archer, who remained largely silent throughout my emotional turmoil.  I talked to my doctor.  I had bloodwork.  I did the research.  I talked with another dear, dear friend who had made the horrifying, gut-wrenching decision to end a pregnancy over a decade ago.  I made an appointment.  I knew Archer didn't want me to, but I couldn't see a future in which we weren't both so stressed out by work and by finances, struggling to be the parents we wanted to be but couldn't be because we were so constrained by time and by resources.  I couldn't see a happy ending.

Then, my wise, honest, loving friend, who had been through it before she had her children, said, "You will want to keep it a secret, but this is big.  You won't be able to keep it a secret forever.  Somehow, I think, Bear and Wild Man will find out, or perhaps you will want to tell them.  Can you explain it to them?  Can you answer their questions?"  I knew I couldn't.  More importantly, I knew I wouldn't be able to answer my own questions, to address my own what-ifs. I would never be able to believe that Archer, whom I know only wanted me to be happy and excited, had forgiven me. Twenty-four hours later I cancelled the appointment.

Now, well over a year later, George is six-months old.  He is a happy, blue-eyed, wiggly, giggly baby.  He has completed our family.  He is the piece we didn't know was missing. He has transformed each of us in big and small ways, even Wild Man and Bear, who are both more compassionate, a bit more patient, and so loving to him and each other.  Now, I look at him and I get emotional.  But not for the reasons you might think. 

I don't regret that period, that whole horrible, dreadful time when I wasn't sure I wanted him.  I realize now that was part of our journey, his and mine.  His unexpected arrival made me stronger, made me a better mother in many ways.  I'm more protective of my children now, of my time with them; I'm more empathetic and, perhaps, more understanding.  In those dreadful, dreadful weeks--and even in the emotional months after I decided to go through with the pregnancy--I realized that, despite all my fear and worry, I was fortunate enough to be in a position to go through with an unplanned pregnancy.  I don't take that good fortune for granted because not everyone has it.

In those gut-wrenching weeks, I learned firsthand,  something I had always suspected: choosing to end a pregnancy is not an easy decision.  It is not a decision that is made lightly.  It is agonizing and horrific and vomit-inducing.  Those of us who have been in such a position to contemplate such a decision, let alone make it, and go through with it judge ourselves harshly, perhaps daily for a long, long time.  But I know now, again as I always suspected, that sometimes that decision is what is right for that person at that time.  And the many, many women who have to make that decision, are not cowardly or desperate, nor are they cruel or emotionless, as so many people would have us believe.  They are brave.  That is what having George taught me.