Niece #2 arrived at 8:55 this morning, while I was in the middle of showing my students an episode from season 2 of Mad Men to cap off our unit on Constructions of Gender. My husband forwarded me the e-mail from his brother. She's here. She has a name. And there you have it.
I'm feeling a lot of emotions right now. Primary among them: anxiety. The queasy stomach, fluttery heart, sweaty palms kind of anxiety. The anxiety I've felt off and on for the past ten years during crappy times with J and S. The anxiety that used to make me shake with the chills whenever I told a friend or a therapist the story I related to all of you last month, the story of rejection and unaccountable cruelty that formed the majority of our relationship with them for so many years.
I'm also feeling sadness. It comes and goes. It's not linked to any particular word or thought or mental image. Every so often it wells up and I get teary. And then it subsides.
I'm feeling annoyed. I just don't want to be bothered with this right now. My spring break starts next week, and I have a lot of things I need to get done. I can't be distracted by depression. Lawyer Guy's father is hosting Passover Seder next Tuesday. I was banking on the baby coming right around then (S was set to be induced the 29th) and none of them showing up. Now the whole evening is going to revolve around the baby and analyzing every aspect of her face to determine whom she most resembles. And I can't even drink until Easter.
I'm feeling angry and aggrieved. I didn't want any harm to come to this child, and yet I resent the fact that S has never known the pain I'm living. I wish she would. I hope they try for another baby and can't get pregnant. I'm actually wishing the sadness of this hell we all face every day on two people who did nothing but have sex and get a baby out of it. How's that for karma?
I'm feeling guilty. This is my niece. She was born today. And all her life I'm going to have to remember the fact that the day she was born, in my heart of hearts I wished that she and her family would pack up and move to Bora Bora and never contact any of us again. I have to look at myself in the mirror and think about the person I am: so jealous and bitter it warps happy things and makes them sad. Unkind, unfair, ungracious and well on my way to being the sort of old childless woman who snipes at little kids for messing with her cats or picking her flowers.
I'm feeling alone. Lawyer Guy's family is happy. Lawyer Guy is happy. Only I feel no joy. And as much as he tells me that everyone understands and no one will hold my sadness against me right now, that doesn't make me feel any less like an outsider looking in.
Lawyer Guy is going to the hospital tonight. I am not. I can. I could. I'm strong enough to handle it, I know I am. But I don't want to. I don't think they will really miss me all that much if I'm not there, so why should I torture myself just to prove a point about resilience that no one but me even cares about and that I've already proven to myself?
But the other stuff-- the Seder, the possible visit we'll have to make this weekend to "see the baby," the gift I've got to buy; that stuff I have to do. And again, I know I can, even if my whiny inner three year old moans, "But I don't want to!" I know I can, even when my heart feels like a big lump of dead meat in my chest.
On the phone, Lawyer Guy said to me, "I know this will be a hard day for you, and I'm going to try to be sensitive to that and not get upset. But you need to not be upset that this is a happy day for me."
That's the part I'm not sure I can do. And of course, that's the most important part of all.
So guys? I'm gonna need some help. Because these are just about four feelings too many for a Tuesday afternoon.
I'm back, and it's hopefully not a once-off!!
4 months ago