I hate you right now, but I love you always

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.



  1. Jenny F Scientist · April 3, 2015

    What. The. Hell. Way for them to act like affronted three year olds.

    • thecommonostrich · April 3, 2015

      Yup. Interestingly, I’m not really mad at them as much as I am shocked by their complete lack of perspective. And who lacks perspective? Three year olds.

  2. julieann081 · April 3, 2015

    I’m really sorry you have to deal with all of this right now. I wish people could all just come together to support the three of you. Hugs! ❤

  3. thecommonostrich · April 3, 2015

    Thanks, dear. I think on a certain level I’ve decided not to deal with it. I’m hurt, sure. But I also do not have the patience or emotional reserve right now to indulge this. I’m going to be kind to them, reach out to them again once the dramz has died down, but I’m not beating myself up over any of it.

  4. My Perfect Breakdown · April 3, 2015

    I am so sorry this happened!! I am devastated for you. Clearly they do not respect how important it is to you to have your entire family come together for your child. I also have some idea how lonely it can feel at important life moment without your mom to call, cry and laugh with, and I think that makes everything just a bit more sensitive and generally harder. Sending you love and hoping his family comes to their senses, although from what you’ve said I suspect that won’t happen.

    • thecommonostrich · April 6, 2015

      It’s maddening, really. I’m so surprised at their complete lack of perspective. It isn’t that I don’t think that they have a right to feel hurt or uncomfortable about the situation. But it is amazing to me that they would cut off communication with someone over this one thing.

      File under: Parenting Cues Not to Take from Your Parents

  5. lovingthemarriedlife · April 3, 2015

    I’m wwow this is rough I’m sorry that you are going through such a reaction to something so small! my family has many problems to but having my love revoked has never been a worry either! I really hope Murre comes around and realizes what he is doing to his son!!! Best of luck for you!!!

    • thecommonostrich · April 6, 2015

      Yeah, it has been a bit of a wake up call for me. As much as my family has been difficult to deal with over the last year, I’ve never worried about not loving each other. Even when things were bad, I knew they would pick up the phone if I needed them. I’ve definitely found a new appreciation for my loony family through all this.

  6. Tracy · April 4, 2015

    You don’t deserve this kind of treatment at all. I’m sorry that adults older than us are acting like children. Too bad you have class & won’t kick them in the balls. (That may/may not have been too harsh but what the bloody hell?!) ps. Are u on Twitter?

    • thecommonostrich · April 6, 2015

      HA! I can’t say that I haven’t had the impulse to kick them in the balls. But seeing as they won’t even talk to me, I don’t think I’ll be in close enough proximity to begin with.

      I do wonder what I would say to them if they do try to talk to me or Mr. O again. I don’t want to perpetuate some family feud, and yet I’m not convinced I’ll be lady-like either. We shall see…

  7. pajamamommas · April 4, 2015

    As if you didn’t have enough going on right now!
    I wonder if all of the yelling and screaming and threatened disownment is what my family therapy professor called a “change back reaction.” As in, your in-laws have a particular unhealthy pattern that they are really stuck in (all of that stuff you describe about having to chose sides and to ally yourself with whichever faction of the family you’re with). Your attempt to do something differently, even if it’s a completely reasonable thing to expect (like to all be in the same room together at an event that is theoretically about supporting YOU), is freaking them the @^&#@ out. This makes them work really hard to get you guys to fall back in line with their familiar way of doing things. I went through a similar thing recently with my parents. Their particular weird pattern is different than the one your in-laws have. But their reaction to our trying to do something different from the (really strange) way that they are used to doing them sounds awfully familiar (as in, lots of yelling and screaming and threatening to never come visit us again).
    So sorry that you are going through this. It sounds like you are doing an impressive job of not taking it personally (it’s definitely about their weird family dynamic and not about you). But no wonder you are feeling orphaned. I hope that Mr. O’s family comes to their senses and finds a way to support you at a time when you need and deserve family support.

    • thecommonostrich · April 6, 2015

      OMG, yes. Over the weekend, I thought this same thing (only I had no idea there was a name for it!) The dynamics are shifting. They’re not comfortable with it, so they are trying really hard to make things go back to how they were. But this isn’t going to happen, because babies really do change everything. Not just for us, but for how we interact as a larger family.

      I’m sort of torn between waiting for them to change their minds and just quietly closing this door. I want to be the bigger person, but at the same time, I also know that I need to move to a place in my life where I’m excited and happy about this new chapter. If they can’t be happy for me, I can’t wait for them to catch up.

  8. AdoptiveBlackMom · April 8, 2015

    OMG. My sister and I have a phrase that she came up with a few months ago: Some folks are so damn “grown and petty.” I mean really…grown-tail folks getting all the heck bent up over a party–a party for someone else, a party for family members. All because it’s not the party *they* want to throw? Really, really, really petty.

    O, hopefully they will come around and act right. 😦 Sorry you’re enduring this.

    • thecommonostrich · April 8, 2015

      “Grown and petty.” I totally get this. I mean, I can see this behavior coming from a toddler, but grown adults? It’s completely insane.

      What I’ve come to realize is that this isn’t actually about the party at all. It’s about… something else. Not sure if it a loss of control, disappointment at not playing the role either of them wanted, or what. Regardless, I have so little interest on playing therapist so they just need to figure their shit out on their own.

      • AdoptiveBlackMom · April 8, 2015

        Yes, I recommend letting them figure it out on their own AND avoid the drama. The loss of perceived control can be a big deal…just look at my own posts from just over a year ago…my mother. God Bless her she’s *still* as drama filled as ever but I just take a step back from time to time. Good luck!

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