The Thief

My wife’s mother passed away only 5 months before we met.  I was so close to getting to meet her.  Almost.  We just missed each other.

I think this is part of the reason my wife fell for me.  I was new.  I didn’t know her mom.  I didn’t remind her of pain.  I could start a new chapter for her without even trying.  She needed that.

Don’t get me wrong – I don’t think she would’ve just settled on the first person that showed up after her mom’s passing.  We have tons in common & the things we differ on is what keeps us both in balance.  I think we are a great match!  She is a beautiful person inside & out!  I am blessed to have her in my life & forever grateful that she chose me to share this life with!
But I have a feeling of guilt that I can’t bring myself to tell her.

I don’t really care much for her mom – to put it mildly.  This woman I never met.  That’s pretty awful – I know.  I feel sick to my stomach even saying.  Actually I can’t say it out-loud.  I feel disgusting enough just typing it.
We’ve all heard the mother-in-law jokes about how they are over-bearing, butt-in-ski, controlling & all the other things are somehow acceptable to say about mother-in-laws but you never hear anything about father-in-laws because – sexism.  But I digress…

Please don’t misunderstand me – I have an indescribable amount of respect for her!  Working mother of 4 – basically doing it all on her own!  I would wither under those circumstances, but she somehow managed to balance it all!  I could study at her feet!  She made her kids, co-workers, family & friends ALL feel personally loved BY HER!  I can hardly find the time to give anyone besides my 11 month old a second of my time!  Let alone have it come across as even remotely genuine.  I’m failing hard in that department – like – hard!  But somehow she really did it all!  Above & beyond!  Every kid had their perfect birthday every single year with a homemade cake to match the theme!  Piles of presents under the tree with every kid’s hands, hearts & bellies full by 9am on Christmas morning.  She was a phenomenal woman – from what I have been told.

So why am I hatin’?

Jealousy?  You know, the way women do – they hate on the mom that looks like she has it all together because she makes it look so effortless while the rest of us are wearing the same pair of underwear 4 days in a row because that was the last time we showered & our hair tie is lost somewhere in the knot of hair on top of our heads but we don’t reach up to find it because then everyone will see our caveman armpit hair.  No I’m not jealous of her for any of those reasons – tho they may or may not all be true for me at this moment in time.

I am actually quite angry with her.  That word is a very simple way to put it.
Let’s see…. Anger folded in with a healthy dose of bitterness & resentment.  Put a middle finger on top where the candle should be.  That should sum it up pretty well.

WHY?!  What the heck did this amazing woman you NEVER met, who bore your wonderful wife & raised her into an amazing human being do TO YOU?!

Well, you see all those fun & wonderful things I mentioned before – the parties, gifts, happiness… she built a world where none of these things existed without her.  She was THE bringer of joy, the maker of happiness, the builder of wonders.  Only her.  The impression was that without her MAKING the days good they could not be good days.  Any other rubbish that may come along would be deflected by her – she protected her children from all the hurt & hard times she could & she was very good at that, too!  Too good.  Once she was gone – no joy could be made.  No happiness could be shared.  Life lost all of its wonder.
I understand her.  When I see my son’s eyes light up because I have done something he likes – WOW!  There REALLY is no better feeling on Earth.  Honesly.  It’s like a drug!  I want to make him smile & laugh & never face hard times!  I think that is your instinct as a parent.

I read a quote once that said something like “The job of a parent is to make your children so strong that they don’t need you.  The most painful part is being successful.” WOW!  Talk about a truth-bomb!

She loved that her children needed her & I get it!  She wore motherhood like the dress that was custom-made just for her – it fit perfectly & she never wanted to take that dress off because it made her feel like Cinderella.  Meanwhile I’m looking like a homeless person flailing & stumbling thru motherhood like someone has cut off my feet & placed me directly on hot coals.

Let me put this simply.
She stole from me.
She kept all the best parts for herself with nothing left to share (or at least no ability to know how to share it or make some happiness for yourself).  She has stolen romantic dinners, care-free weekends, laughs, smiles, strength, open-conversations, joy, light, love, days, weeks, months, years of happiness & the biggest hit: hope.
She kept all of the hope that life could be beautiful again.  Granted (& respectfully), never exactly the same, but still something to fully delight in without inhibitions or feelings of hesitation & guilt.

It pains me so deeply to see my wife – frozen & physically AFRAID to take a step forward.  To be the strong woman that she can be.  To be the mother that I know she wants to be.  I watch her.  She punishes herself for wanting to be brave.

It’s easy to get mad at her when she chooses her mom over our son & me.  Not in such clear ways – but I see it.
Sometimes I think she misses her mom so much & wants to be with her so badly that she would even trade us for a moment of time with her mom.
Sometimes I think she hopes it happens.
Sometimes I want to tell her that I don’t know if I will ever be able to forgive her if she dies before me by choice.

She wants to be mad at her mom, too.  She’s almost there.  But she’s frozen in fear.  Afraid that showing some strength & independence would mean punishment.  So, until she’s ready – I will be mad enough for the both of us.  For our family, for all of the things that we have had stolen from us.  Joy, laughter, happiness, love, strength & hope.

I take that back – I will not allow my hope to be stolen.  That belongs to me & not a single person living or dead will take that from me.  Even if that’s all I’m left with.

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We are stronger together

Who am I at the core of it all?

Without all of the bitterness that life can bring
Without the low & slow boiling of anger that most of my days bring on after being surrounded by people that are in a hurry to only to help themselves
Without the glow of phones on all of our faces instead of meaningful conversations about the deeper issues
Without everyone sending phone calls to voicemail & preferring a short text as a way of ‘keeping up’ with friends

What do I REALLY care about underneath it all?
What brings me happiness – lasting happiness?

Kindness.

I get the most joy in my life when I do something genuinely kind for someone else – something they never even asked for – something unexpected – something for which my only form of repayment is knowing I might have made their day a little bit brighter in some small way.

That is WHO I am.

I enjoy letting people know that I truly appreciate things they do for me or that I am thankful to have them in my life.

Even in the midst of my own personal storms I still try to find ways to bring joy to others because I feel it gives me peace & keeps me grounded.

If we do not encourage each other then we all fall.  We cannot allow ourselves to ‘drink the koolaid’ of this current political climate in our country that tells us that we have nothing in common with each other & that we should be fighting with our neighbor if we want to show our patriotism.

I will not.

I will continue to pay it forward.
I will show my son that no matter what else is happening in our lives that we will always share ‘thank you’ cards, pay for the next person in line at the drive thru, tell others that they are strong, intelligent & beautiful.  That there is no one ‘right way’ to be successful – it is not & should not be measured in money but in smiles, hugs, tears & laughs!

When it becomes harder to love – love harder.

yes.

Forces of nature

What are we conditioned to do when someone wrongs us?

Our human instinct says to get back at them – it comes from being a part of nature – if someone hurts you physically your natural reaction is to hurt them back in order to defend yourself – your body – your life.  Well, fact is your brain doesn’t differentiate between physical pain & emotional pain when we are thinking of reacting.  Fight or flight.

Only after some time of reflection can you react in, what would be considered by society to be, a rational way.  Unfortunately that doesn’t always mean that the correct/best response is very clear.

You always have choices.

Always.

It is very hard for us to fight the instincts that we are given by nature.  After all they are there for good reason!  Survival, protection, security – pretty important things!  Sometimes it feels if we ignore or suppress these instincts or feelings that are somehow denying ourselves of something & we wonder if this is the right decision.  It almost feels like being on some kind of emotional Adkins diet!  Just say no to the carbs!

But just like saying no the carbs – what happens when we do?  We do not eliminate carbs & have no other nutrition in its place!  We replace those sugars with proteins – which helps our body run more efficiently!  We are not denying ourselves of all nutrition – we are actually growing stronger!

If you feel that you have been wronged you may want to go the ‘eye for eye’ route but society says to take the ‘high road’, show you’re the bigger person, that you’re above the nonsense.

What comes of that?  Keeping tensions low?  Making sure you don’t make more waves?  Showing the wrong-doer that you will just keep quiet & accept the situation that they have created?

What would be the lesson learned?  Trust no one?  Always watch your back?  Only look out for yourself?  What kind of way is that to live?

How do we know who we can trust & who we can’t?  There is no evil villainous music that plays when people walk into a room like you see on movies – but that sure would be helpful, no?  haha!

I have trusted MANY people in my life & I have been burned countless times – but here is the lesson:

Do not let the few reflect the flock.

If I turned away from the hope that people are inherently good & kind after someone had done me wrong – I can’t even imagine all of the happiness & joy I would have missed out on!

Do not let selfishness turn you sour for opportunities of selflessness.

Just as there is no foreshadowing music to help you navigate life – there is also no guarantee that ‘good always wins’ or that ‘justice shall prevail’ but these things are not for us to ensure.  If we stop paying it forward, we all miss out.

People that live for the gold of this world don’t realize that these are short-lived experiences of happiness.

There are much greater riches & joy to be gained from holding firm to strong morals in the face of personal gain, being kind in spite of injustices and being honest even if it is not the popular decision.

First contact

Yesterday I decided to take my nerves & emotions out of it & make the initial contact w/ our son’s donor sibling families.  There are 5 registered families total & I reached out to the other 4 with my email info.

I’ve heard back from one family so far.  They seem very nice & I am shocked to see there is an undeniable resemblance between our children – even tho our son is practically my tiny twin!

My feelings are mixed, to say the least.

It’s exciting to feel another human connection in this big world & celebrate strong women & growing strong families.  It also, yet again, solidifies the fact that my wife & I will never be able to have a child that is simply ‘ours’ with no strings attached & we must share our sweet boy with other people in this world (in some sense) with whom he may feel connected to during his life.

It’s messy – it’s amazing – it’s confusing – it’s beautiful – but I’m not sure how to process my feelings on this.  For now I can be sure I am (not equal parts) excited, sad & scared.

And to think:  just 2 days ago my biggest problem is that my wife & I were fighting over fried chicken – HAHAHA!  Life is funny that way!  🙂

In the beginning there were… labels

Where to begin?

I’ll assume you’re wondering who the hell I am – ohhhh… the deep questions – I’ll avoid the temptation to tell you my life story at this point & let’s just cut to the chase & throw down the labels!

unspoiled only child
brutally honest friend
slacking coworker
devoted but incompetent wife
oversharing & overbearing mother
sarcasm lover
self-proclaimed home chef
lover of pinning pins that I will never complete
breastfeeding enthusiast – lactavist
believer in the power of women’s bodies
crunchy/granola mom wannabe
Chief Financial Officer of my household (I write out the bills – it’s thrilling & I gave myself the title so I could feel fancy)

I guess that just about sums me up!
Don’t act like you’re not impressed!

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