I picked up this nervous habit over the last year. At first I thought it may have been a side effect of one of the new medications I started, but then I realized that I would only do it when I was feeling anxious. I’ve actually learned to take that habit as a sign of when I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed. When it does happen, I’ve learned to pause for a few seconds to take a deep breath and calm myself down. But since our first trip to Virginia Beach just before New Year’s Eve, I feel like my jaw has been “shivering” uncontrollably.
Yes, that’s right. We made two trips to Virginia Beach in the span of two weeks to visit my husband’s family. Unfortunately, the second trip was not a completely happy one, as my husband’s grandmother (Nanay) passed away. It was great to see all the family gather together, but it was rather difficult to get through those days.
During the 12-hour car rides to and from Virginia Beach, I managed to start on a crochet project for a coworker. She had asked me to make a hat and bootie set for a friend of hers who was expecting. And since I was on a roll with making all those premie caps at the time, I told her it would be no problem. And I do have to say that the finished product looked absolutely adorable.
I showed my husband my little creations the evening I finished them, proud of having tackled another pattern (the booties) that I’ve never done before. What I ended up seeing was this sad expression on his face. And the thing is, I knew exactly what he was thinking. That’s because earlier in the day I found out that the latest celebrity news included yet another celebrity pregnancy … this time it was that Matthew McConnaughy and his girlfriend were expecting and Matt was quoted as being “stoked.”
Of course the first thing I thought of when I heard that news was “Why-oh-why must I yet be tortured by another celebrity flaunting the fact that they can procreate while Hubby & I can’t?” But then I kinda delved deeper into that thought and was imagining what my hubby might think when he heard that “Naked-pot-smoking-bongo-playing” man was going to be a father. I knew what I was feeling – that it wasn’t fair and that I knew my husband would be an excellent father. I’ve known that ever since we first started dating because of how he was with his younger cousins, Mark & Mary. Watching him throughout the years interact with our nephew, Tyler, has been incredible. He has so much patience and love that it seems like such a damn waste that he can’t use those same qualities on our own child. And what about the whole biological aspect of it? How was it like for him to know that he wouldn’t be able to pass his genes on? Or even his name (he’s a “Junior”)? I imagined him going through all these different emotions, doubly intense now … especially since his grandmother had just passed on.
So as I saw my husband’s sad expression that evening, I did the best I could by curling up next to him on our couch, listening to what he had to say. While he played with the tiny booties I crocheted, he said how those little booties made him sad that we didn’t have our own child. And how strong he thought I was for making them, as he didn’t know if he would be able to do the same thing for someone else. And how he wished that I could make it for our own child.
Cousin’s Daughter, Eva
He went on to explain that he felt that he wasn’t getting any younger and that he wished that we were already parents. He also mentioned that with his health problems (along with mine) he was concerned over his own mortality. And that it was probably because of Nanay’s death that he was feeling so sad. Since hubby doesn’t readily talk about how he felt about our situation, at that moment I wished SO BADLY that I could make him feel better. And that we could change our situation immediately. If I could have snatched any baby off the street at that moment then I would have just to give my husband the ability to be a parent.
As it was, that same night we got a phone call from one of best friends who’s wedding we attended last July in Portland, OR. He’s an incredibly wonderful friend who has always been there for us whenever we just needed to vent and to talk. He’s the same guy who would bend over backwards to help us out if we were ever in a pinch. And he was calling to let us know that him and his wife were expecting.
How’s that for timing?
If those two events in our life weren’t unexpected enough, then the news that my SIL was pregnant was definitely a shocker. Although I do confess, I saw this one coming. It wasn’t like the subject of having more children didn’t come up after Liam passed away this past September. I guess I just didn’t think it would happen … I don’t know … so soon. But then again, my SIL has always been fertile.
All the tell-tale signs were there. One event, in particular got me thinking about her. It started out with a conversation I had with my SIL just after New Year’s Day. I told my SIL that I was a little worried about her; because during the holidays, she seemed really tired all the time and appeared withdrawn from the rest of the family. When we asked her to go with us to take our cousins from Toronto bowling, she kindly declined saying that she wasn’t feeling too well. What I initially thought was that she was down in the dumps; especially since this would be the first major holidays without Liam. And I knew how messed up my emotions were during the previous Christmas. I just wanted to let her know that I was there for her if she needed me. What I was told then was that she was okay, and that she would tell me what was going on in “due time.” I remember thinking at that exact moment, “She’s pregnant.” And in fact, later on that evening as I was relaying to Hubby our conversation I told him the same thing, that I thought his sister was pregnant. I just had THAT strong of a feeling.
Anyway, my SIL and her husband sent a card to our house that arrived this past Friday which announced their news. It was a beautiful card that said that she wanted us to be the first to know as she knew how difficult the news of her last pregnancy affected me. I truly appreciate the effort that she put into the card and into the note that she had written inside of it, because it just showed me how much she truly cared about the sensitive nature of this topic.
Of course, that didn’t stop me from saying to Hubby (in true Catherine Z-Jones in “High Fidelity”-fashion), “I knew it” over and over again. Nor did it stop my jaw from shivering uncontrollably that evening. Nor did it stop the tears from flowing later on that night (damn … couldn’t deep-breathe enough to calm myself down). But that’s okay, because I know now what I didn’t know just over a year ago last November. And that is that I am allowed to feel sadness for myself and for my husband. And I’m going to allow myself to feel whatever I want (sadness, anger, guilt, etc) for as long as I want. But I’m NOT going to let it take over my entire emotional being.
So while Hubby & I are extremely happy for his sister and our “West-coast” friends (and even my HS friend who is also due this year), I think that the recent passing of Nanay has got us both thinking of our mortality … and even our legacy. What ARE we going to leave behind for others? Who will we be able to pass our legacies on to when we die? We’re both not getting any younger and I admit that I’m terrified that the life I have been given has been utterly futile. Especially since I’m infertile and all that I’ve ever wanted was to be a good role-model, a parent to a child who I would be able to pass my lifeline on to.
So … with that said, the time has come for Hubby & me to start moving forward. SMALL “baby” steps forward (why does that phrase strike me as rather funny, right now?), may I say. We’ve talked about adoption being our next step. We know it’s the only next step. We’ve done a little research in the past and, quite honestly I think I was too overwhelmed with everything to fully process. So now, I’ve got to start up that research again. And maybe look into other options such as domestic adoption. I’m downright terrified to move forward, but I know that for our sake … I must.
And maybe … just maybe … I can get this damn jaw to stop shivering.