This is only the second week in my daughter’s nine weeks of life that we’ve not had to travel for a doctor’s appointment or surgery for somebody. Our friends from LA were supposed to come visit this week, but ended up cancelling due to the surge in COVID cases. I’m sad not to have them here, but also relieved to finally have a week to just be.
Currently, I’m sitting with my daughter sleeping on one arm while drinking coffee, eating chocolate frosted mini doughnuts leftover from my son’s birthday, and savoring my first read through of The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran with the other arm. It’s good.
Not to say there is nothing to be done. I’m neglecting a handful of chores to do this instead, trying my best to give myself permission to relax. It’s working, for now.
A non sequitur, perhaps, but so it goes: my in-laws are the worst. I think I’ve come to a place of acceptance over the past week, but I also catch myself starting to weep in rare quiet moments, so maybe not. Basically, they forgot our daughter was having surgery, were dismissive and uninterested when reminded after the fact, and then lashed out inexplicably when told that that behavior was hurtful. I’m not really interested in hashing out the details, but I do want to say enough to remember the intensity of it, in between our newborn’s two surgeries, so that I don’t lull myself into thinking it wasn’t a big deal or that things will be different the next time we’re struggling. Essentially, we were wrong to be upset, they’re the ones who have been hurt (queue a litany of complaints spanning years - some very petty, others objectively fabricated), and we shouldn’t be struggling so much to “figure out” life with two children. All of this conveyed through screaming over the phone and a furious series of strangely punctuated emails.
And then the question posed to my husband: why don’t I talk to them? Because you did the same thing when our son was born and I am not interested in being abused again. Even indirectly seeing the words “figure out” put in mocking quotations sends me reeling and doubting my right to struggle, doubting my capability as a parent and a spouse and a person. I should know better, and I do, rationally, but these are not truths that come naturally to me, they’re things I’ve had to work hard on, and so I question still.
We know what we need to do here, we’ve known for a long time, but it’s sometimes still hard to accept or implement. The hardest part is learning not to feel guilt for not giving them an explanation for why we’re not closer. They’ll never understand, either they can’t or won’t, and so it does no good for us to hash it out over and over.
I wish there were a satisfying conclusion to end this on, but there’s not. It’s a process and I think no matter what we do it will always be painful on some level. All I can do is try to let myself feel how I feel (earlier - complete rage, now - sadness), accept the relationship for what it is, and enjoy the simple pleasure of warm coffee, a good book, and this sweet little soul on my lap.