There are times when I’ve seriously wondered if I would be better off having fled into the woods upon announcing my pregnancy. Like when women in royal courts would be put into seclusion once their pregnancies were announced.
If only I was a Tudor Lady… Because I would have forced myself into baby quarantine weeks ago. Of course, I also probably would have ended up beheaded at some point. But I digress…
What has brought on this desire to retreat from life entirely? BABY. SHOWER. As you may recall, this all started with the announcement from Mr. O’s step-mom, Kittiwake, that there would be two baby showers– one for her side of the family and one for Mr. O’s mom. After much discussion, we decided that this wasn’t the way we wanted to go. Mr. O called Kittiwake and explained that we just wanted one big celebration with people we love. It seemed to go over well.
Reread that sentence. It seemed to go over well.
On Monday, Mr. O and I sent out an email to the three party planners (Kittiwake, Mr. O’s Mom, and our friend Sparrow) with specific directions. Mr. O’s Mom would take venue research and food. Kittiwake would take decorations and cake. Sparrow would be responsible for the invitations and “general logistics” which is short for keeping track of all this while Chick slowly eats my brain. (Pregnancy brain is a real thing, folks.)
On Tuesday, Mr. O gets an angry and fairly incoherent call from Murre (his dad.) I wasn’t there so I have no idea what happened. All I know is that it started off with “I’m really pissed at you…”, followed by “I feel like you backed me into a corner…”, followed by a diatribe of all the sacrifices Murre made Mr. O that he just doesn’t appreciate. Followed by more yelling. At which point, Mr. O told Murre he was being a bully. And then there was more yelling. He may or may not ever be speaking to Mr. O again.*
Fascinatingly, neither Mr. O or I were able to understand exactly what all this was about. I presume it has something to do with the baby shower business, but the words “baby” or “shower” were never uttered. There was, apparently, just a lot of yelling.
I was on my way to coaching my girls running club when Mr. O recounted this, so I couldn’t do much besides offer support to Mr. O over the phone. What I will say is that I was gobsmacked by this. Murre is certainly known for having a temper, but it doesn’t come out often. I’ve seen him really mad once or twice in the 15 years I’ve known him. And though I don’t agree with how he expresses his anger, I’ve always at least understood where it was coming from.
This is mostly crazy bullshit. I think. I’m not entirely sure. It would be helpful to know, wouldn’t it?
A few days later, I got an email from Kittiwake. To summarize, she has decided not to help in planning the shower. She doesn’t have the energy or the desire to change her baby shower plans. (These are her words, not mine.) She didn’t expect her baby shower proposal to be shot down in favor of our larger (and not as traditional) version, which was the very thing she decided she didn’t want to do.
Between the two, I prefer the measured email to the yelling phone call. But either way, Mr. O’s father and step-mom have made it clear that they are not interested in being a part of this. I know that this is “just a party” and I shouldn’t take it to heart, but WTF?
As I sorted through all this, I was hit with this feeling of being alone. I’ve been feeling this for awhile, which I know has a direct correlation to my mom’s death. My sister has been great in her way, and my dad is slowly emerging from his grief. But the truth is there is no substitute for my mom. Not to mention that my immediate family is hundred of miles away. It all compounds to feeling a bit orphaned.
In the back of my head, I did take some solace in Mr. O’s family. No, they are not “my” family, but they have proven to be very loving and supportive. All three of them.
And then this happened. In an instant, they’re pulling back because apparently a party didn’t go their way? (Seriously, am I missing something?) I know human beings are flawed and unreliable, but as cray cray as my family is, I’ve never felt that they would literally stop talking to me– even when there are times when I wished they would.
I don’t mean to pit my side versus Mr. O’s side. Sure, there are decisions that his family has made that I wouldn’t– but then again, there are choices my own family has made that I don’t want to repeat either.
There is a lesson here in the value of unconditional love. I’ve thought about this so much since my mom passed, how in many ways this was the greatest legacy she gave me. My family is not perfect. Oh, let me count the ways… But even in the midst of arguments, slammed doors, and the occasional name calling, I never once doubted I was loved. No matter what dumb thing I did (and there were many,) there was never a threat that this love could be revoked at any time.
“I hate you right now, but I love you always.” That about sums it up.
*It is worth mentioning that this threat to never talk to Mr. O again is a real one. Murre has done this with other family and friends. We’ve always been able to successfully not get in between any of it, but witnessing the Freeze Out is still really difficult.