Tuesday, August 4, 2009

This will have to do.

**Newborn baby discussed**

So, about that whole coherent post thing? Yeah. Not really gonna happen. I thought I'd just spew, instead. Each day I don't write, the list grows, so I might as well just go ahead.

First, the trip. Well, I got more and more nervous as the day approached ("freaked out" as C says, but I don't think I got that bad). My dad was late to pick me up at the airport. Now, most members of my family are usually late. No matter what it is, they will arrive late. C has done a pretty good job of training me out of this, and for the most part, I have gotten comfortable arriving on time, and uncomfortable with the chaos of last-minute running around. When I say he was late, I mean that when my flight arrived at least a half an hour later than scheduled, and I made it down to baggage, and found my suitcase and found a quiet-ish spot that didn't smell like cigarette smoke and left a message for my dad to let him know where I was, he was still not there. When I checked my messages a few minutes later, there was one from him saying "I'm just leaving now. I'll call you when I get close."

I received this message at 10:35 pm, Pacific time. That was 1:30 am to my Eastern time zone body. He finally arrived at the airport about 11:15, but the terminal was so clogged with traffic, it took at least another half an hour for him to reach me. I was LIVID. Hurt. Tired. My insecurities, I will admit, got the better of me for a little while. Fortunately, I was able to vent them with FB, and had enough friends in different time zones that people were still up. By the time my dad arrived (in BIL's crappy old Cadillac (yes, I said, "what was that noise?" crappy), I didn't care anymore, I just wanted to be home. Somebody's home.

We got to my sister's new place at the top of a hill in a very fancy gated (but not "gated") community near UCLA. Gorgeous. Layout, amenities, decorating. GORGEOUS view. Beautiful house. I could rant and gush about this house, but all I'll say is, shingles (a la Cape Co.d) and columns. Greek Columns. And, I will say, that after hearing BIL used the modifier "expensive," "custom-made," and "hand-crafted" come out of his mouth too many times to count (though usually just to my sister) it did take away from the experience of the luxury. Oh, and white wool carpets in all the bedrooms. Yes, the baby's room has white (okay, maybe slightly off-white) carpet. Expensive, custom-made white carpet in a child's room.

So when we got to the house it was about 12:30am. My sister was up with a warm but tired welcome; my BIL was not (sheepishly, A said she couldn't wake him -- thanks. So glad to see you, too.) She looked tired, still looked very pregnant. I asked about the baby, and A brought her out to me. Resting on her arm, against her, was this little peanut of a baby. The last newborn I'd seen was almost 10 lbs at birth, but SJ (my niece) was only a little more than 8 and a half. A looked completely at ease holding her, and she looked... well, she couldn't help but smile as she looked at her sleeping daughter. Her face was lit when she looked at her. When she played with her, waking her up to finish a feeding.

"You wanna hold her?"

Uh, sure. She was just gorgeous. She hadn't quite gotten back up to her birthweight, but her face was forming, you know? Not just the little newborn amorphous being. And the mouth -- I'm sorry if that sounds creepy, but you have never seen a sweeter, more expressive, pair of red, rosebud-shaped lips in your life. She slept for most of the time I was in CA, but, oh, the stretching and the expressions -- she looked like she was smiling in her sleep. You have never seen such a smile.

Okay, I think that's enough of that. Eyes are filling. I didn't really know it was possible to love someone you don't even know. One look was all it took. How cliche is that?

Anyway. Part of me wonders if the gushing doesn't have something to do with displaced motherly affection. I've never had a reaction like this before. And then I look at my sister singing a silly song to SJ, and I see happiness I've never seen on her face. And she says, as she rocks the nursing baby in the slider next to the windowseat, looking out at the view...she says, I've dreamed about this exact moment. Sitting with her baby, in the baby's room, feeding her, looking out at the view.

It took her almost 7 years. Countless failed treatments. A seco.nd tri.mester loss of twins. I honestly could not be happier for her.

Or more envious.

Okay, let me qualify.

I envy her resources. I envy her determination and confidence to go after what she desired so much, in the face of such...frustration and heartbreak. She is one of those people who is comforted by the chaos of the universe -- if there's no one in charge, no plan, then she is not being targeted, she is not without, well, resources. And I'll be honest, I envy the freedom the money allows. The opportunities for her and her family.

But I don't envy her marriage. I don't envy the responsibilities associated with the money. I guess this is a case of I'll take the bad I know.

But, god, do I want a baby. Or two. Now. I had no idea how much.


I don't remember what I posted while I was out there, but I'll just summarize the trip to say that BIL was hugely annoying and a great concern to me; my sister is taking to motherhood wonderfully, even with the hassle of BIL and houseguests and moving. I was able to help her a little, making her breakfast, giving her water, telling her to rest. Dad and I ran (all over hell and gone) errands and I was able to help her unpack a little. I also got to see great friends of C's -- they're mine, too, I guess -- and enjoyed being in a city environment again. Familiar places, bright sun, new family member. Time away. It was just enough.

Yes, it really did show me how much I want a child. But it also showed me that my reaction, at least the grief I felt, was not an over-reaction. If I learned anything about anything with this trip, with this new little person -- this is gonna sound treacly -- it's about the depth and breadth, the magnitude of love. What I felt for the boys. What my sister feels for her daughter. What my father feels for us. How protective he gets. How protective I got, both for my sister and my niece.

It's not the same as love for a spouse. Which is, certainly, something amazing.

I think, because the boys died, I never did feel like a mother. As much as others, as you, said I was. But I did feel like a mother. That intensity, the magnitude I couldn't even fathom as I experienced it.

I don't know how to end this.

p.s. I didn't talk to my sister about what BIL did. After consulting you and other friends, C and my shrink, I decided against bringing it up. If A expresses some concern, I may mention it. Before I left, we went out to dinner, and stopped at a little market, and BIL put the baby down and walked away again. A was there, a few feet away/around the corner of the counter; I said, "Um, who's watching the baby?" Honestly, I think she knows that he has no clue. I can't even imagine when she would leave him alone with the baby. Not likely to be any time soon.


Heather said...

It was beautiful to read the description of your niece. It can hit so hard, can't it? I'm so glad you went (and sorry about the BIL- I have one of those too.)

erica said...

Your love - for your sister, your niece, your Dad, your boys - shines so brightly in this post, not in treacly ways (not at all), but in true ones.

Michele said...

What a beautiful post, full of so much love. How we all dream of that moment that your sister had and drempt of... I wish it for all of us so much...

luna said...

this is a really wonderful post, sue. it's so hard to see and feel that love when you want it so badly, when you feel it for someone else but long for it for yourself. I'm so glad you got to spend some time there, even if it made you long even more...

and I hate that our family building comes to resources too. that just sucks.