Thursday, September 23, 2010

Is it wrong?

This weekend I'm going home to visit my parents. I haven't seen my Dad in nearly two months, the longest I've gone since he had his massive stroke. I talk to my Mom on the phone nearly every day and my Dad any chance I can--he doesn't communicate well on the phone and our conversations are brief and limited, at best.

I miss my Dad. I need to see him.

So why am I dreading this visit so much?

And why haven't I learned my lesson? That family is precious. That they can be snatched away from you in a millisecond and that you can never, ever go back.

I try to remind myself about that and cherish my Mother.

But instead, she drives me crazy many days. She doesn't understand why I don't talk about the adoption. She thinks I'm over my infertility. She doesn't think it could be hurtful to tell me about my 40 year old cousin's oops baby. I get irritated with her.

The other day I dreamed I was yelling at her--full on screaming--as we went through forms that were related to our adoption. She was crying and I just kept on yelling. I woke up feeling like a horrible, horrible daughter.

I want to keep such a positive enlightened perspective. That time spent at home helping my Mom out, sitting with my Dad, doing whatever with them is a precious and lucky thing.

But instead all week I've been dreading going. Dreading the drive. Dreading giving up my weekend. And then I feel guilty.

I know in some ways I'm just scared. Scared to see my Dad again. It's amazing how shocked I can feel each and every time I walk into his bedroom and see his shrunken, frail body in the hospital bed. You'd think I'd be used to it now.

I'm not.

You'd think I wouldn't get teary starting up his tractor mowing his grass playing with his dog watching his television driving his Gator...all without him.

But I do.

You'd think I could cut my Mom more slack. But sometimes I think she forgets that that is my father wasting away in the back bedroom of their home. She probably thinks I forget that it is her husband. I think she forgets that I'm still sad--devastatingly sad some days--over the loss of that wacky little kid I know Mr. LC and I would have created together. That I'm sad that my child will not know my Dad in a very meaningful way, if at all. Infertility is a forbidden topic now. Been there, done that.

Families are so complicated. Mother/daughter relationships are so complicated. I laugh--bitterly--when I think about how hard I am fighting to have a child of my own have such a fiercely complicated relationship with me one day.

To resent me and love me and be annoyed by me all in the same breath.

But I guess it's what we're all fighting for, huh?


  1. beautiful post. You really made me think - and feel grateful for the time I've been able to spend with a sick family member lately. Families are so hard. Rewarding, but as you said complicated. And trying to have a family...also amazingly difficult for some of us (and infuriatingly taken for granted by others).


  2. Families are hard, and don't think it is not just you, or yours. Everyone has issues like this (and if they say they don't they're full of it!) but that what family is too - all the emotions, felt. Family brings out you - your best, your worst. I think that's why we all want it so much, why we work so hard for it - we want others with whom we can be our most true self with. For better or worse, right?

    Have a safe trip.

  3. There is nothing quite like family dynamics--specifically mother/daughter relationships. I struggle with many of the same feelings with my own mother. I don't know why things are so complicated. They just are. Things ebb and flow between us, and I've come to accept that, but it's tough sometimes. And grief, from both sides, can really ratchet up the emotions in an aready delicate dance.

    I totally get where you are coming from.

  4. This is so not wrong. You are touching upon complicated relationships and emotions. I wish that IF and adoption were subjects that you and your mother could talk openly about. It is so sad to hear you talk about your father, I cannot imagine how much you miss him and how bitter sweet it is to know he will not get know your child and your child know him.
    I hope this weekend and visit bring you some peace. We are just a few mouse clicks away if you need support while you are there to get through.
    I hope you get to give your father a giant hug.

  5. You would be a strange person if your visit didn't bring mixed feelings. I reckon that any normal parent/child relationship has its ambivalences at every stage - think of the teenage years when we still really needed them but couldn't wait for independence!

    What you said about your mum forgetting that it's your dad in that bed struck a real chord with me. When my dad had cancer, that's exactly how I felt. Hard as it must be to watch a partner lose their independence, to watch your dad - the person who was so strong, so protective, so in charge - lose all that really makes you feel like life is changing. But you're right - it must be hard for them too. I think grief (and I reckon that watching a person you love get so ill DOES bring grief) can make us selfish sometimes. It's so hard to see past what WE are losing.

    But your child WILL know your dad one way or another, because you are his daughter and you will talk about him and you will be like him in ways you will pass on - and in ways that don't require genetics. I'm expecting a donor egg baby, but I know that my granny's love of silliness and my great-uncle's (by marriage, so no genes there either) love of storytelling will be things I will share with this baby. I'll shut up now - but your posts about your dad always make me feel such empathy for you.

  6. I have similar thoughts about my own mom. I recently asked her how she feels when her friends talk (and talk and talk) about their grandkids, and she admitted it sort of bothered her seeing as she doesn't have any grandchildren. I just wanted to see if she could even possibly understand how I feel about the whole baby thing. So, she does a little bit, but not completely. But she does know what it is to have lost a child, albeit a grown one, but all the same, I try to remember to cut her some slack.

    It also must be heartbreaking to see your dad and not be able to help him the way he needs help. I can't imagine. But I hope your weekend goes much better than anticipated.

  7. I can only begin to imagine what you're going through with your dad, it would just crush me to see mine like that. I can imagine your relationship with your mother however, it sounds a lot like mine. She didn't even know we were trying or anything about our IF struggles, we just don't talk about things like that.... Maybe it's our job to learn from our relationships with our parents and make it better for our next generation.

  8. what a beautiful post. i think it's normal (if there is such a thing) between struggling with guilt & happiness when it comes to our mothers. they want to protect us, to comfort us, & to guide us. when they haven't been through the IF struggles that we have - it's so hard for them - even if they can't express it. they also are the easiest people for us to lash out on when enough is enough. thinking of you during such an emotional time in your life.

  9. I'm so sorry about your Dad. I hope all goes well this weekend and that you get to spend good time with him. I know what you are saying about your Mom's comments. My Mom and I have been through that, too. It is so painful because I tend to expect my Mom of all people to understand about infertility rather than act like it's not a big deal. And the comments about other people's babies...yeah, those can sometimes rub me the wrong way, too. Isn't the whole parent-child dynamic amazing/beautiful/crazy/insane??? :) We'll just have to remember these times when we're holding our children. Hang in there this weekend.
    P.S. Totally didn't know Into The Wild was one of your favorite neat! Great movie!

  10. Oh gosh, it's totally understandable that you would have mixed emotions about your trip. I'm so very sorry about your dad. My grandma had a stroke and I used to be depressed for days after visiting her (she lived in Minnesota). I used to feel incredibly guilty because I couldn't wait to leave. It really is less painful when it's not right in front of you.

    My relationship with my mom is very complicated too. Sometimes it's almost a love-hate relationship and my infertility has really strained things between us at times. I get incredibly frustrated that, for example, my hairdresser seems to be able to say something comforting to me about my infertility, but my mom always manages to say the wrong things.

    Please don't beat yourself up for how you feel. The important thing is that you're going. I hope that your visit goes as well as possible. We're always here if you need an emotional outlet.


  11. I totally hear where you're coming from. As you know from some of my posts, my mom and I don't have a sunshine and butterflies relationship most days.

    Families are precious, but they can also be complicated and hurtful in both intentional and unintentional ways. And "precious" doesn't cancel out "hurtful". So please try to stop beating yourself up over how you are feeling - you have legitimate reasons for having those feelings.

    Honestly, I have to say that whenever I picture R's and my child in my mind, it's always a boy. We even have a boy's name picked out but not a girl's. I think I would be perfectly content with a house full of boys. I really think it's because I don't want a repeat of my relationship with my mother, and I tend to think that boys' relationships with their mothers (and even their fathers) tends to be a lot less complex than mother-daughter relationships.

  12. Good luck this weekend, my friend - with your mom and your dad. I know it will be difficult to see him, and I'll be thinking of you.

  13. I am the last person to say I understand the relationships among family members. They are always fraught with love and hate, jealousy and envy and respect. Its nuts. I will never understand. So, you are definitely doing the right thing by trying to analyze what is making you not want to go this weekend...but, cut yourself a little slack. You can't be perfect. Most of us revert to angry teens around our parents, so you are one step ahead already. My mom still has no concept of how my IF journey shaped me. She never quite understood why I was scared of another m/c...because that would just never happen again...I mean, it was a fluke those other 3 times, right? So, moms were just totally made to frustrate us.

  14. Your feelings are totally normal. I have a close relationship with my family as well and so I can only imagine how difficult it is for you to see your dad. My family also thinks I'm also over the IF stuff because hey, we've moved on DE. The comments still hurt, but I have to remember that they were made innocently. You are such a strong, loving, caring and beautiful person and have given me so much support over the past year. THank you.

    I hope the weekend is better than expected.

  15. I do remember your posts from long ago, when your dad was first ill and how determined and hopeful you were to see him live, despite all medical predictions to the contrary. You were so grateful that the doctor's were so wrong. He did live.

    You would have been in agony if he'd not made it. When it's difficult, hang on to that. And give your mom a big hug.

    This lady has a great blog about being a family. I am in love with what she's doing with her "A Common Love" program. Thought you might be interested...

  17. I am so sorry that you have to deal with any of this. My MIL is pretty sick - and is not going to get better this time. She drives me crazy - long story - but I am going out of my way to visit her and to do things with her...((HUGS))

  18. I hope it's all going ok- I've been thinking of you.

  19. Perfectly articulated as always...

    I don't have much to add except that the most important relationships in our lives require love and attention and work. You have to be willing to work at them and it is completely understandable how sometimes you get tired of working at things. Why can't it just be all on its own sometimes? My Mom drives me crazy a lot of the time but I appreciate so much what she has done for me these past months and I couldn't have gotten by without her help and her support. Sometimes it is not in the way that I would want it but I accept that it is support in the only way that she knows how and it is better than having no support at all. It is completely complicated how family feels about family but in the end, better to have family than not right?

  20. I can totally understand why you would dread going to visit your parents. Family dynamics can definitely be extremely complicated, and we all have these issues in our own way. It definitley sounds like you are doing the best you can manage.

  21. been off the internet so getting this late.

    Ummmm... yeah. I had to actually sit down with my mother and explain the six losses to her, and why adopting didn't mean that all that stuff was now over. She didn't kiss me and say 'NOW i get it!' but it was therapeutic for me, at least. Gaaaah.