I just read this post by Jennifer Lawler and, given this time of year, find it...well, salient. Compelling.
Depending on the event, I can often remember the date and the day it happened. We landed in this town on Tuesday, Aug 14, 2003. First coffee date with C was Monday, Dec 7. I also remember when I got braces, when I left for college. The date of my father-in-law's birthday.
My pregnancy was full of dates that were etched in my mind. Are etched? First hpt. Beta. Ultrasounds. Hospitalizations. Milestones. Three years out, of most dates I'm less sure. December sticks though.
I'm almost done with school for the semester. Just 19 papers to grade. Within the week I will be on vacation. My sister has suggested C and me taking one or two overnighters out of town. Maybe someplace that will take the dog. Or giving. My therapist suggested baking goodies for folks who do good. The volunteers at the animal shelter or vet. The admin and student workers who keep the department running. Our sweet neighbor with whom we chat while the dogs sniff or yap.
Virtually everyone I know will be out of town for a good chunk of the break. This is the first year that I have not had a particular distraction. The first anniversary. The second. The laparoscopy. C out of town for the holidays. Cycling. That project that took two months to get through.
This year, I was hoping to enjoy some quiet. Get the house cleaned up (oh, the laundry...) and have some fun or enjoyable outings. I'm feeling a bit haunted though.
My therapist keeps coming back to school -- seems to think I'm not really into getting the degree and it's affecting everything else. Could it possibly be another anniversary? Feeling my place in the world shifting as I seem to become the aunt (perhaps later the mother).
My brother* finally got a bunch of pictures of him and his wife and the baby up on one of those pic websites. I found it drawing me closer to him, to them. The love is building, which I knew it would. But somehow it hurts more. I am the aunt, kvelling. But I am always the bridesmaid, or so it seems. The more I talk about my wonderful family, the more I feel it.
Yesterday, I was chatting with a colleague, showed him a picture of my father with my sister's daughter, grinning from ear to ear. He is struggling with my brother, still. They are trying to figure out this next part of life. My sister told me that my father's girlfriend's grandchildren (you got that?) call him Grandpa.
And I think it's wonderful. He loves it. He loves all of them.
And he loves me. And C. And still aches for us. But I am not part of that.
And not part of the fertile world. I found out on FB that an old friend of my brother's is a new uncle. The birth? 8 and a half months after the wedding. I don't know how long they were trying. I don't know anything. And it's none of my business. It has nothing to do with me.
When I bring up being infertile, sometimes my therapist tries to remind me that I'm going to keep coming across this, that the world is fertile, and I've got to get used to the idea.
Usually I do. I mean, usually I'm okay. Just like it's a pain in the ass to find a left-handed desk or left-handed scissors, I've gotten used to the fact that I am not part of the privileged fertile population. Apparently, though, I don't have the right to lament it, either. I'm not saying that I sit around moaning. Just that, well, when I come across a reminder (especially from a stranger or distant acquaintance), there's an "oh, yeah. of course. of *course*. And that's it, mostly. But somehow, it seems, I'm supposed to be happy that I can be an aunt, a very important role.
It IS very important, but it is not the same.
I honestly wonder if I just have to figure out how to deal with all this on my own. Maybe I'm done with therapy for a little while. I don't know specifically what I need help with. Or maybe I need it more.
*My sister came across a posting (it popped up on her email provider) on one of those on-line question and answer sites. She is sure it was my brother asking how to deal with my SILs possible PPD and possessiveness over the baby (at 2.5 weeks old). How he felt so blessed to have this child, wanted to share her with family, but didn't know how to deal with SIL. If only he could have said something to us. "Just give us a little space. SIL is having trouble adjusting, both hormonally and emotionally." He doesn't know my sister saw this. I wonder how things might be different for all of us.