Wednesday, November 19, 2014

So close....

That's what I keep thinking every time I look at the calendar.  It's all so close now.  The nature of my job requires me to look and plan two to three weeks out most of the time, and I'm realizing that three weeks out is the middle of December and so close to that whole due date thing.  I shudder to even plan work related things around then because who knows if I'll be here to handle them?  This is all so unpredictable.  She could be early.  She could be late.  She could be right on time.  How am I supposed to know?  How does anyone plan?  It's terrifying.

Back in April when I was peeing on a stick, this all seemed so distant, but time has flown.  The worst part about a holiday season baby is that the holiday season always goes by super fast.  There's never enough time between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and there are always parties and gatherings to go to, so by the time you know it, it's Christmas morning and you don't know where the time went.  When you still have a fair amount of things to do in prep for a baby, that's just added stress.  Knowing that time will go so fast you won't know where it went is so scary.  I started to panic about not having anything in order the other day.  My shower gifts are all still sitting in my library, still in boxes and bags.  I have no clothes in the dresser, nothing hanging in the closet.  The room is still an empty unpainted shell.  I freaked out.  I did what I do in almost all situations where I freak out.  I called my dad.  My mom had mentioned he wanted to know if he could help with anything and I finally broke down and said yes.  I am letting him handle helping with the construction in the room.  He stopped by last night to see what kind of work we were looking at, and then said he'd be back on Thursday to work on some of it.  He thinks he can get it all knocked out in one night, but if not, he'll be back over the weekend.  For the first time in a while, I'm not in total freak out mode over that room.  I can put the crib together on my own while my husband is in class if I need to.  I can hang up the clothes, set up the furniture, put away all of the diapers and the gadgets we received, and those are all things I can do in my free time instead of having to depend on someone else to help with them due to construction issues or toxic chemicals.  I'm ok with that.

But in the end, I keep looking at the calendar and counting down to realize how little time there is left.  I've still got so much to do.  I hope I can get it all done in time.

Not that time matters.  She's going to show up when she wants to, whether I'm ready or not.

Hint: I don't think I'll ever feel ready.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

I'm a fixer

I'm not entirely sure this really relates to impending parenthood or anything like that, but this is the venue I have for getting things out of my head so it's going here.  I've been thinking a lot lately about the idea of helplessness, and how I'm not very good at it.  My husband has been reading a book that is a compilation of writing from a teen who died of cancer about four years ago.  I asked him if it was sad and he said that at times, yes, it can be very sad, but for the most part it's a teen being a teen.  Her life wasn't just about the cancer, and that seemed like a bright spot in a sad story for me.  He mentioned that there were some pieces her parents wrote that he just got to where they talked about being upset or angry for the first time.  Her father mentioned that people often say that dying is an end to suffering and they'll all be together again some day in heaven, and he said he doesn't want to be together "some day", he wants to walk her down the aisle at her wedding and he's not going to get to, and it makes him angry.  Her mother talked about her daughter being in pain and being able to do nothing to help her except sit by and watch and hope it passed.

I know that everyone's supposed to feel for the person doing the suffering in these situations, and I do, but it's the bystanders I often feel the worst about.  The people who have to stand by and watch someone suffer and are powerless to stop it.  The people who are left behind, trying to find a way to fill the gap for the loss they've encountered, and trying to find a way to not hate the universe for taking away someone they loved.  Those are the hardest stories for me to hear, probably because I'm a fixer and the idea of having something I can't help with or fix is just too much for me to handle.  It's a crushing sadness I can't even describe.

It makes me look at my own life.  My husband has been going through some stuff, probably for the past 5 years.  In some ways, I blame myself for it.  He hates his job, but when it was offered to him I asked him to take it out of fear of him being unemployed again, since the two of us had been going through varying rounds of unemployment and we had a mortgage to cover and bills to pay.  I knew he hated it there, he'd been temping for a while and every aspect of the job made him miserable, but I was so afraid of losing our house, and him not having insurance, that I asked him to take it.  Now he's been stuck there for years, and it's probably mostly my fault.  I deal with that every day.  There's a lot more going on with him, but the fact is that he's been spiraling downward for a long time and the pit has become so dark and so deep that I don't know how to pull him out of it.  I need someone to jump in it with him like that story from The West Wing, someone who is able to say "Yeah, but I've been here before, and I know the way out".  The problem is that I don't know anyone who has.  I don't know anyone who can help, and it's becoming clear that I can't help so I'm not sure what to do.  The helplessness of it all kills me.  The fact that someone I love is hurting and upset and there is literally nothing I can do to make it better in any way is so hard for me.  Sometimes I cry when I'm thinking about it, though never in front of him.  Usually just when I'm alone, trying to figure out what might make it better.  Trying to figure out what I can do to help ease his pain, and knowing nothing will, that's the hardest thing for me.  In some ways I feel like those parents of a kid with cancer.  You're angry at the world for what it's done to someone you love, and you're sad at the same time because it's not fair.  I think that's the hardest part to come to terms with.  It's not fair.  It never is.

It also makes me realize that as a parent, I'm never going to accept helplessness in the face of struggle with my kid.  I'm always going to want to try to make things better.  Maybe not personal problems she has to struggle through as learning tools, but illness.  Definitely illness.  Viruses and colds pass, but if it was serious and chronic illness, yes.  I'd rather take it on myself than watch someone I loved suffer that way.  Or even struggle the way my husband is struggling right now.

I guess what I'm saying is that for a fixer, not being able to fix things is hard.  I spend a lot of time crying lately.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Tugging at the heart strings

I think through this whole process, one of the things that has intimidated me the most is the idea of trying to parent another human.  I'm not really rolling with a super awesome track record, since it's been a roller coaster with our foster daughter the last few years and I often feel like I've failed to make any sort of meaningful connection with her.  It makes me feel like I'm not cut out for trying to parent or guide anyone else, and if I'm going to be entirely honest, my role models in this area weren't exactly the most stellar examples most of the time.  Sometimes I think my husband is much more cut out for this, because he's much gentler with offering guidance, and he's a lot less blunt than I am so people don't find him as abrasive as they find me.

The thing is, I often forget that even though my husband is a really sincere and caring person, and he offers gentle guidance to so many of the teens we have mentored and friends who have needed advice that this whole thing is probably freaking him out too.  I don't know if it's the same way, his attitude is that a lot of this stuff is early because you feed them, you change them, you keep them from dying, and then eventually you also work toward not letting them grow up to be an asshole, so it's not a huge deal.  But then I remember that he didn't have a dad.  He didn't have someone who did "dad things" and looked after him.  Sometimes he didn't really have a great mom either, so I guess his role models weren't stellar either.  The difference is that even when my mom was basically just providing me with examples of what not to do some day, his dad was providing him with no examples.  I guess if it was me in his shoes, I'd feel pretty intimidated stepping in and doing something like being a dad when I didn't know what dads are supposed to do.  I mean, obviously in my opinion, all he has to do is love her and look after her, but's something I was thinking about lately.  He hasn't said anything or talked about it at all, but I do wonder if it bothers him.  I wonder if the idea of being a dad soon just makes him angry with his own dad for being such a shitty human being.  I wonder if maybe there's a part of him that is just looking forward to having an opportunity to do better than what he was stuck with and to give his daughter something he never had.  I don't cross the line into this subject often, because I don't want to drag up skeletons that may have long since been buried, but I do wonder and sometimes it makes me very sad for him.  He deserved a lot better.  He still does.

As for me, I'm actually looking forward to watching him be a dad.  I make a lot of jokes that he's a total sucker and she'll have a pony the first time she asks for one because I don't think he'll be able to say no to her, but the reality is that I know he is going to love her so much, and I am glad to be able to give him someone to love that way.  She's already very lucky.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

All the things

Today was my baby shower.  The day I've been sort of dreading from the start, because baby showers are usually terrible and I hate going to them, so I felt bad about making people suffer through one for me but at the same time, you sort of need stuff so it's a necessary evil.  For the most part, it went really well.  There was an incident with my mother where she made a comment about me being "chubby" as part of an announcement to the whole room and I almost burst into tears, but after that everything was pretty much ok.  We did it at a hotel, so food was catered and tables were set by hotel staff.  We did brunch.  Everyone had enough coffee to fuel them for days if they needed it.  I made sure mimosas were served so everyone could take the edge off with some alcohol if they wanted to.  We didn't really do any stupid games, because I hate stupid games.  We didn't make people do anything ridiculous.  They just got some lovely food, and then I opened gifts awkwardly in front of everyone because once you're past the age of 4 there is no way to open gifts in front of people that isn't kind of awkward.  But, in the end, it was what I would have wanted it to be.  It was classy without being over the top, and casual enough to feel very "me".  I can't complain.

Now, one entire room of my house is an explosion of gift bags and tissue paper.  We are up to our eyeballs in clothes, baby blankets and diapers.  It's crazy.  I have to begin the daunting task of sorting it all out and finding a home for it, which sounds incredibly intimidating because it seems like so much stuff and so little space.  People were more generous than I could have hoped, and I'm a little overwhelmed by the number of thank-you notes I'm going to have to write in return for all of the generosity.  

Having all of this stuff lying around makes everything seem SUPER real at this point.  And it makes it seem super close, which makes me nervous.