Dispatch from the Road

If there is one thing I have learned through bed rest, early delivery, and 6 weeks in the NICU, it is humility. (Maybe that’s the wrong word, but cut me some slack as I write this on my phone at 4:00am while I’m pumping in the dark.)

I’ve learned there are limits on what I can do myself and sometimes it is okay to ask for help. So when the great mold capper of 2015 began, Mr. O and I asked our families to take us in. Through the weekend, we’re staying with his aunt. And through next week ( yes, this whole shit show is going to take a WEEK to clean up) we will be staying with my dad who is spending the summer about 3.5 hours away.Mr. O’s aunt is one of the kindest people I know. She is like a second mother to him- Mr. O grew up down the street from her family and she looked after him while his dad worked nights. So she didn’t bat and eyelash when we asked to stay.

The funny thing is that she still lives just down the street from Mr. O’s dad. (Who, it is worth noting started talking to us again after Chick was born. Which, it should also be noted, I find almost as rude as the whole not talking to us thing. Like now that we have bequeathed him with a grandson, all is forgiven. Bite. Me.) We aren’t staying with Mr. O’s parents because there is literally no room for us- Mr. O’s dad has a bit of a hoarding problem. But that is a story for another day.

Last night, we went over to Mr. O’s dad’s house for dinner. This was Chick’s first outing since leaving the hospital. Of course, the first thing Murre wanted to do is hold check. Kittiwake was running around taking pictures with flash. Murre was grinning from ear to ear.

And I wanted to punch him in the face.

My kid is not a tourist attraction. Nor is he a Kardashian being chased by paparazzi. He is a premature baby who needs food and sleep right now, not to be lit up like the goddamn Fourth of July.

I literally wanted to rip my child from Murre’s hands because he was playing with Chick. In my defense, Chick was on the verge of a meltdown because he was overdue for a feeding. You can’t hear your baby crying with hunger and not want to rush in an fix it. That’s what the baby hormones pumping through your veins are for. Instead, I mostly bit my tongue and watched the baseball game on TV. It KILLED ME, and not just because I find baseball exceedingly boring.

There is this weird vibe with Mr. O’s folks. I don’t know how to explain it exactly. There is this sense that seeing Chick, holding him, is their right. Murre in particular never once asked how he could help when we were in the NICU. The question wasn’t “How can we help?” but “When can we visit?” What we needed wasn’t visitors in the hospital, which was the only time we had alone with Chick. What we needed was someone to pick up groceries, bring over dinner, or help putting together his nursery. Murre and Kittiwake only checked in to see when they could see Chick.

Interestingly, Mr. O’s mom has struck a better balance. Yes, she still wants to know when she can hold him, but she also helped straighten up the apartment and brought over pizza. Perhaps I underestimated her, but I never saw this coming and I’m grateful for the support she’s given us as a family.

All this rambling has made me realize that I’m still really mad at Murre for his whacked out temper tantrum over the baby shower. Mr. O has even made peace with it all. I have not.

In my most honest moments, I resent him immensely. Murre chose to isolate and alienate Mr. O and me when we needed him. Now that we have something he wants, he flips a switch and gets to be back in our lives.

My mom does not. Though not perfect herself, she wouldn’t have pulled a stunt like this. She couldn’t be here because she is gone. The “decision” to be a part of Chick’s life wasn’t hers to make.

Then I just get angrier. I realize this says more about me than it does about him.

I’m rational enough to know that there is no correlation between my mom being dead and Murre’s ridiculous behavior. Maybe if things had been different and my mom was still here, I would be able to brush it off as Murre just being crazy.

As is, I want to tell him to jump off a fucking bridge.



  1. julieann081 · July 27, 2015

    I’m so sorry that you’re having to deal with all of this. 😦 I just want to say that I hear you and I am sending so much love your way. ❤

    • thecommonostrich · July 28, 2015

      Thanks- I’m trying so hard to count my blessings. Luckily we have people in our life that look for ways they can help!

  2. AdoptiveBlackMom · July 27, 2015

    Don’t people suck? 😦 I can only imagine all that you’re feeling and going through with the new baby, being displaced while you’re trying to get settled and then having to deal with an a-hole on top of everything else. Take some deep breaths and tackle one thing at a time and don’t stress your self out too much about dude. If’s one thing I’ve learned about being a parenting is that you have to put up with a bunch of other people’s ish and that they will disappoint you immensely on a regular basis. Don’t even bother having expectations; save yourself the pissed-off-edness and stress.

    Sending you hope and love (and having a beer in your honor).

    • thecommonostrich · July 28, 2015

      Very true- people will do whatever they want, regardless of the expectations we have set for them. I was just really surprised because Mr. O is so much closer to his dad. And the fact that I can’t go home and retreat to my own space doesn’t help matters…

      In addition to beer, please also have a massage and pedicure in my honor!

  3. labmonkeyftw · July 27, 2015

    I am glad you have a place to stay! I was worried you’d be in a hotel, and while seriously-out-to-lunch in-laws are no party, a premie in a hotel without a kitchen sounded like a terrible way to spend some days.
    Right now, I think you should just get through this by any means necessary. Be angry when you are angry. Be exhausted. Ask for help. Snuggle your Chick, and watch him grow. Once life resembles something remotely normal, and you have some sense of control – your own house, a schedule, etc., then you can decide what to do about parental politics.
    I do know of two sets of new grandparents who never raised a hand to help other than to fawn over the child, and then when asked to pitch in were more than willing. Sometimes they haven’t thought of it, and sometimes they may not want to impede on your life/independence without permission. One friend just started asking them to do stuff, and the other sent a taut email stating they would not be welcome if they were going to be massive burdens themselves (after a visit in which they were just two extra people to cook for and clean up after). Once you guys are settled, I am sure you will find a balance that keeps you from simmering in resentment in their presence for the rest of their lives (I hope, anyway).
    Hugs to you in this upheaval moment!

    • thecommonostrich · July 28, 2015

      As always, you bring up and excellent point. It is possible that they just need to be asked. And in truth, they haven’t been all bad. They did help us go to IKEA right after Chick was born because I still had to be pushed around in a wheelchair. But even the way that came about was weird- they basically followed us to the store from the hospital without saying that they were going to help out.

      I also need to remember that right now we’re in survival mode. Hat means calling in favors, making sure Chick is fed and healthy, and trying to stay as sane as possible. I can sort through the idiotic family politics later.

  4. My Perfect Breakdown · July 27, 2015

    It’s taken me 5 miscarriages to realize that I hold very deeply onto the loss of my mom and that I have immense emotions around other’s poor relationships with their children/their parents. I’ve discovered that while Mr. MPB’s parents have been deeply hurtful to me on multiple occasions I push Mr. MPB to them because at least they are alive. Or I get angry because how can a parent treat their child poorly, at least they have a child, shouldn’t they do everything they can to be amazing?! Or siblings who fight, it just kills me because at least they have their sibling. So, all of this is to say, I believe you will correlate a lot of your emotions with Mr. O’s dad to your mom. If you are anything like me, you will feel extraordinarily upset/frustrated/sad/anger/etc. about the way he treats Mr. O and you Chick. So, I guess what I’m saying is that this is all normal. And I know many of these feelings all to well, and they still drive the way I think and act 18 years later.
    Sending you love my friend.

    • thecommonostrich · July 29, 2015

      So true. As odd as it sounds, I’m constantly surprised at the levels her loss affects me at. My internal rebuttal to just about everything is “Oh yeah? Well, my mom died.” Especially when it relates to parents and children. Of course, I could never say any of this to Mr. O’s dad.

      It puts things in focus in a different way, I guess. And not just with family/ parent thins either. In other ways, I’m starting to see how much of an impact this has had on me.

  5. lovingthemarriedlife · July 27, 2015

    All I can offer is hugs! I’m so sorry that you are having to deal with this! I do not blame you for feeling the way you do! I would be in the same boat as you! I may not be in your shoes but personally I bend over backwards to help my family and when they don’t reciprocate the same kind of devotion it really hurts… I also think that while Mr.O has forgiven and moved on as his wife you saw the pain that his father caused him and that is going to be harder to move past especially now that you are a mama bear yourself! Huggs!!!

    • thecommonostrich · July 29, 2015

      Absolutely- I’m still sorta mad at him on Mr. O’s behalf. The weeks he spent trying to understand what was going on, the unreturned phone calls, the realization that his dad could just cut him off… It was hard to watch and I know that is all part of my current resent fest.

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