Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Hope Springs Eternal at the YMCA

Recently my baby brother moved back to Michigan from Louisiana. Now that all my rogue brothers have returned from the south, my family feels full again. Even more so since both brothers came home with cute petite Louisiana girls in tow. At first Partner and I lamented a little-- it was actually nice to have my parents all to ourselves. Nights out to dinner with my mom and dad were treats for us. We've found that it's still nice, but just more loud. Maybe not quite as pleasant: before we were only four personalities to contend with-- Me, Partner, Mom, Dad. Now we have eight. And it's not a normal eight-- it's eight fairly large and opinionated personalities.

We happened to have some furniture to hand down to Baby Brother and his girlfriend from one of our build houses. The furniture has now been in three houses, and even if we are going to furnish a new construction house sometime soon, we really need to get new furniture. One chair and ottoman went to Partner's sister, along with a coffee table and a very cute round bistro-ish table and chairs that I was planning on using in my screened-in porch. Partner's business associates took some furniture. So, to Baby Brother we bequeathed a love seat, couch, end table, kitchen table, and four kitchen table chairs. Initially the plan was that they'd offer us some nominal amount of money for this, but since the furniture started being given away willy-nilly, we decided it was fair for them to have to pay. ("Them"-- read: actually my mother.)

There was a reluctant acceptance of this from Baby Bro this weekend when we were moving him. I knew he was tabling the issue until my mother came home, and home she came yesterday afternoon. By early evening she was already phoning me, insisting on paying us for the furniture. None of my arguments trying to convince her otherwise worked. I happened to be out with my friend Lynne both last night and this morning as these conversations were reaching fever pitch. She didn't quite understand the insistence on payment here, and frankly neither do I. All I can is that this has worked in my favor in the past: As a teenager with two dramatically younger brothers, I was a built-in babysitter. The glorious thing about this was that mother insisted on paying me. Her rational was that she's pay someone else anyway, and if I wasn't babysitting at home, I'd be out probably babysitting for someone else, so why not keep the whole deal "in-house" as it were. Who could complain? Or have a mother more fair? I just think my mom tries to keep an egalitarian eye on things, and believes wholeheartedly in paying her way.

Pretty much she wasn't going to let the whole thing drop, so this morning I suggested we trade. We give the furniture to Baby Brother and she could pay for my membership to the YMCA. The new Y is very close to our house, and I have been strongly feeling the need to get in more shape. This sounded great to my mom. She wanted to call and arrange the whole thing right away-- I had to hold her off. I still had to extol the virtues of the Y to her. So many great programs-- and yoga-- and prenatal yoga-- and,

"Plus, Mom," I said to her, "There's open lanes for swimming most of the day, so when I am pregnant I can go there and swim."

Silence on phone.

"And I checked-- you can start swim lessons at six months!" (This is very important to me-- to get the babies in the pool early and have them swimming. After all, they'll be beach babies, so they better know how to hold their own!) (No, I am not pregnant-- It will be September before we even try for the first time.) Back to story:

Finally my mother spoke: "I will pay for your membership to the Y if you stop talking like that."

What? ! Did I inadvertently swear? But then again, even if I had, we're not a family who doesn't swear in front of each other. So, what?!?

"I think," she said, "you are putting the cart before the horse."

"Well...Probably. But you know, you have to hope."

"Yes." Silence. "But still. I don't think it's that good to be that excited about something that might not happen."

Excuse me? This from the woman who proports the value of considering yourself lucky? I have to tell you, I wanted to cry. I had the wind sucked out of me as I was hurtling down the highway at seventy miles an hour. I wanted all the furniture back. I wanted to be mad at her, but at the same time, I was mad at myself since she's right in a way. I've fallen back into assumption state of mind. If there was anything the past six months have taught me, isn't it to assume nothing?

Nonetheless, I still can't get the picture of my little water-baby out of my head.

Oh my God. Do I set myself up, or what??


Blogger Soul Searching said...

She's being realistic when that's the last thing you want to think right now. Stay positive! I believe in the power of positivity.

7:47 PM  
Blogger dkp said...

Maybe I'm wrong, but it sounds like your mom is being, well, a mom and still trying to protect you. Not that her response is necessarily what you want, or even need, to hear.... And I think your optimism is one of the best, bravest things I've heard recently. I'm so glad you have family and friends with you during all this.

7:58 PM  
Blogger witchtrivets said...

As a born pessimist (I call it realistic) I always prepare for the worst.

But wanting to have a child has to be the most hopeful optimistic act there ever was. So be optimistic -- the optimistic are the ones who should be parents.

Your mother is in a position of caring for and protecting the child she has now, not the grandchild she may have later. So I guess you should keep that in mind.

8:38 PM  
Blogger ~cj~ said...

I don't blame you at all for feeling hurt... I think sometimes mom's speak with out really thinking about how it may make their child feel. I think its good to be optimistic and one way or another it is possible for you to have a baby no matter how they arrive. Have dreams and hopes... it is what makes us what we are.

1:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think for all the crap you've gone through and what's left to come, I think you're allowed your moments of happiness and optimism. Just think, you will have a baby one day, it's that baby you're dreaming of.

For what it's worth, I bet your Mum dreams of that baby too. I think what she said might not have so much to do with protecting you as her own hurt at what you're going through. Perhaps she's trying to protect herself.

8:11 AM  
Blogger chris said...

Your mom sounds like she's trying to protect you, but that kind of attitude still stings a bit.

You and Partner will have your water babies, so don't let it get you down.

Take care.

10:39 AM  
Anonymous Manuela said...

Being a bit of a dissenter here... I do NOT think it was cool for your mom (however lovely she might be) to say what she did. It's not her role to tell you how to manage your emotions in this regard.

Yes, you may at some point decide to guard your emotions in whatever way you see fit... but if you want to be happy and optimistic in face of some challenging situations??!!! I think that should be supported and applauded...

Perhaps SHE feels the need to guard HER emotions... but it's not right for her to project that onto you. If you were undergoing any other medical procedure would it be ok to tell a person not to expect it to work??? Of COURSE not... I don't see why this should be ANY different. Imagine the following conversation, "Well I know you're going in for knee surgery... but I don't want you to think that it'll work and that you'll be able to walk without a limp or pain anymore... don't be so positive! Go into surgery with the understanding that it might all be for nothing." Ludicrous, right?

So *I* for one, am postively enchanted be the image of your preggo belly doing laps.

Sorry... didn't mean to be so ranty... I get very protective of women trying to get pregnant.

7:32 PM  

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