Just…can’t…do…it

Shit.

Yesterday was seriously, before the evening, one of the best days of my life. I ignored Mother’s Day, pretty much, which is easy enough to do in a college town on a rainy day when school’s out. If there had been lines at the usual brunch places, I’d have just pretended they were the usual lines. But it was pouring, so I didn’t even have to imagine anything. JJ worked and Baby Man and I went out, because he has a wonderful weather guard on his stroller and our apartment is too small for a gray day. And because I’m remembering how few the spring days are around here and how I spent so many of them last year holed up and scared inside.

I don’t want to miss a thing. Had we not lost Natan would I have been so pressed to be conscious of the fleeting nature of every moment with my baby son?

Baby Man and I went to a coffee shop and he napped for awhile in his stroller. Then napped for awhile on my lap. All the while I read a book about the Hungarian Revolution. When Baby Man woke up he sat for a while on my lap. I continued to read while he slapped at the pages. He is far more into my books with their white pages and black letters than his own colorful (anti)-tomes. Then more out of my concern than his, we stopped reading and cuddled for a long while, and he ate. We practiced sitting up on his own and then he flirted with the girl on the couch across from us. He got bored and we left.

Fast forward to the evening and bedtime. He finally agreed to one of my long-held dreams and let me rock him to sleep, singing to him with my terrible voice. He likes to rock but rarely actually falls asleep for the night that way – he tends to get upset as soon as I put him down.

Seriously the best day.

But there was a moment in there earlier in the day when he was napping and I was in the kitchen washing the dishes, that my thoughts wandered from him. I have been planning a trip to my hometown, which has to involve seeing S and her son. As the days get closer I am reluctant. I’m not sure if her son can be around other children, and I am not excited to drive 45 minutes each way for a visit without Baby Man. Not so much because I don’t want to be away from him as not having him there will leave me somehow exposed, vulnerable. It’s easy to not talk about the elephant in the room with him there. Also, I want to bring my mom for another shield, and well, if I can’t bring Baby Man he obviously has to be somewhere else, with someone else. I thought of an even better plan for a shield though. And to prevent the annoyance of a long drive to the country when I will only be there less than 72 hours and have so many (other) people (I want) to see. If the baby can be around other kids, why not get two other friends and their kids together at my sister’s? So that’s out there as a possibility.

But that’s still just talking around what upset me yesterday as I did the dishes. Tash’s post over at Glow in the Woods today really hit home, and at what I was going through 24 hours before she posted it. S is so clearly in the bad 1/3. And just as Tash wrote – it exploded 6 mths after. And it was almost a year ago at this point that we stopped speaking after she made my pain all about her and my being a bad friend to her.

And where are we now? We are speaking and it has not been spoken of. And I can’t do it. And I feel like I am betraying Natan and all of us grieving parents by just tacitly agreeing to ignore it. But I know she will not apologize. That other post a couple of days ago? She will not surprise me like he did. She won’t. For f’s sake when I tried to talk to her about how she abandoned me after my miscarriage she got all weirdly defensive.

I know if I bring it up I will be the bad guy. Because my baby’s dead, buried, gone, no one cares anymore. She’s dealing with the stress of a sick baby. Why should I add to that? I shouldn’t.

Why am I still whining about this? I set myself up by being the good person – although it’s more likely seen among the masses as not being a bad person – and calling her in the first place.

The thing that worries me the most is that I might have made it seem like our conflict was petty, or less important than her crisis, when I dropped it so quickly.

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13 responses to “Just…can’t…do…it

  1. To start with: I told my therapist I didn’t want to see a family member any more, and she responded that she rarely advocates separation like that with family unless there’s abuse involved. To which I responded, “damn.” Which made her laugh. But really. If I could, I’d walk away from my people who didn’t apologize because I’m tired of it too. I’m tired of faking it, being the fall guy, being the one on the hook to act a certain way and closet my feelings. I’m tired of NOT being able to talk to about it because they’ll freak out and won’t talk to us again for 5 months. And like your S, they also have their plate full with the big C, and strangely I’m not horribly sympathetic given what they’ve done to us. I’ve tried defending their actions because of their problems, but I don’t think that’s a good excuse.

    I really believe there are just people in this world who can’t handle this stuff, and their way of dealing with it is to insulate themselves into a happy place. And god forbid if you fuck with the happy place. I’m so sorry B., that you’re on this path. If it were me, and she weren’t my child’s grandparent’s, I’d probably say goodbye and wipe my hands of the whole thing.

  2. it sounds like you had a wonderful mother’s day with samuel. it was so nice to read that.

    re: S, is there a way to talk to her on the phone and get it all out prior to seeing her? or write a letter? or drop her entirely? depends on how much you need her to remain in your life, and you shouldn’t feel obligated to maintain the friendship b/c of your long history.

    my 2 cents…it’s all so hard. i haven’t spoken to a college friend since last oct, after she was a no-call/no-show to the girls’ memorial in nov. she doesn’t even know about my pg. she’s all wrapped up in herself and being single at age 36. goodness.

  3. That Golden Rule is a real bitch sometimes. Here you are behaving so beautifully toward S. when she acted the polar opposite toward you. You deserved better to begin with, and it is so obvious that S. ought to be groveling and apologizing ten times over again now.

    But,I have a hunch that if a friend of yours was in this exact situation with someone else, it would seem simpler to you to decide what should come next. You probably wouldn’t advocate staying in a relationship that felt so unequal or otherwise demeaning to your friend.

    So, I guess I’m saying be your own good friend now. And if S. has some epiphany about all of this at a later date … well, she’s still got your number. She can seek you out.

  4. you’re not whining. and at the same time, it sounds like you’re quite right…she’s not going to get it, not going to get that her struggles with her son do not in some way trump your grief with Natan or excuse her lack of support.

    i think you’ve said before you can’t really cut her off…thus making the wound fester all the more. and you can’t talk about it with her, at least right now…that sucks, Beruriah. totally sucks.

    i’ll tell you, my stepmother and i sadly have something of this in our relationship, since Finn died. i keep trying, and sometimes all’s well, and often i get hurt. and there’s no talking about it and no total escape from it. for me, for what it’s worth, what i’ve decided is that the wounds are mine, not my son’s…so i’m not being untrue to him by dealing with this woman’s issues by ignoring them most of the time. i’m not 100% sure it’s true, but it makes me less tortured.

    oh the Nile, beautiful river. and i the Queen.

  5. I completely understand what you mean when you say it feels like you are betraying Natan. I have exactly the same feelings about 2 of our family members. I’m just going to throw my two cents in here. When it is family members, you almost just have to put up with it, and do your best to keep the relationship distant. But, in this case, she is/was just a friend (Please don’t think I am trying to belittle your friendship, I’m just sayin….) and you know what? Friendships end all the time. For less reasons than you have. I think it was wonderful that you at least called. But, honestly, why continue? Maybe you should ask yourself why you feel you should see her. Guilt? Obligation? Do you want to salvage the friendship? It sounds to me like you wouldn’t feel good if you continued the friendship ignoring the elephant and she won’t quit ignoring the elephant. I know she is going through terrible times, but honestly, it doesn’t mean you have to do anything.

  6. Thanks all.

    Thing is, Ms. G., she’s not “just” a friend. This relationship is 30 years old at this point – and it’s really so many relationships. Families aren’t just legal, biological entities. Her parents call (called?) me their second daughter and vice versa. Imagine that instead of friend I’d called her my cousin – my mom’s FAVORITE sister’s daughter. They eat dinner together almost nightly. Severing our relationship, which I did, means potentially avoiding each other across our parents’ backyards and at parties and holidays for the rest of our lives.

  7. Avoidance may be a good idea. You shouldn’t have to carry around these bad feelings and deal with more as you continue to interact with her. I would focus on you, Josh, Natan, and Samuel, and the family and friends that are positive forces in your life. It doesn’t mean you have to completely ignore her (at family functions), but she doesn’t have to matter as much anymore.

    Sounds like you had a wonderful day. I’m glad for you!

  8. Sheesh… I don’t know what to say. It all sounds so hard. I know it would all be entirely different if she had acknowledged ANYTHING when you stepped up to offer her support when she needed it. But she didn’t, and it sounds like she never will.

    What to do with that? I really don’t know.

    Just know you can write about it here, and we will all rally around you with all of the love and support we can muster.

  9. OH! I forgot to say that your day with Samuel sounded heavenly. He sounds like such an even tempered little baby. I don’t think I could have ever had an outing like that with Pumpkin at that age. She was a feisty little baby! But, the reward in the end is that she grew into an easy toddler, and is now a charming 3 year old. Phew!

  10. Hmmm…well that complicates things a bit. I knew the friendship was long, but I didn’t know you would still have to see her whether or not you wanted to. Well, I guess in that case you can treat it like family. You can be cordial, but distant. Of course, you have to find the thing that makes you most comfortable, I just sense that reaching out to her more than you have causes you more angst than the friendship is worth.

  11. Is it possible to move her into an acquaintance category? A very distant cousin? So that when you do see her, you can be cordial, but you don’t have to call or to go out of your way in any other way? Would it also make you feel any better to have a talk with her mom? To explain to her why you have to pull away? That one seems like a relationship you don’t want to sacrifice, and if I remember history correctly, she might get it. Sorry if I am way off base there.

  12. I fake it with a lot of people and it just isn’t fair. I shouldn’t have to be the designated emotional adult all of the time. I need a break.

  13. Antigone got it right on. Faking it seems like the path of least resistance. But yeah, sometimes I just need a break.

    Julia, good plan. I think I’ll do what I’ve been doing, still talk, but just try not to care about what she says.

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