As soon as I finish work today, the DH and I are on a car trip to visit his mom. It was her 75th birthday recently, and all five of her wretched kids forgot even to call her till evening. (I don’t know when the birthdays in his family are – he does, of course – but I need to write them down. It would have taken me ten minutes to send her flowers, and budget Nazi though I may be, I always feel good about spending the money it costs for a moderately-priced bouquet for an appropriate occasion. And I’m good about ordering flowers in advance. His mom loves getting flowers from her son even it’s probably obvious I pick them out. He, on the other hand, will remember clearly that it’s someone’s birthday – within about 36 hours of the date. One cannot select, buy, and ship gifts on that kind of notice.) So, the whole gang is going up there to surprise her, including the DH’s lone sister, who lives in Arizona, and is bringing only the baby (leaving behind the four older ones with her husband) – so, quite a production, all told.
Since others have blogged about similar things, I’ve thought about whether it will bother me to see my SIL. It won’t. While some things are hard to take, I’m not upset by her or her kids (pregnancy announcements may be slightly different). For one thing, it’s hard to be upset with her, since I’m so fond of her. For another, she does not take her family for granted. She had brain surgery between her second and third; she gets terribly sick with each pregnancy, but goes back for more because she loves children; and she has a malformed uterus (or something, not sure the medical diagnosis exactly) that makes all the pregnancies a risk of early delivery, so she has to be really careful. And she’s not a smug pregnant woman either, just sick and a little crazy. I don’t begrudge her her babies or anything, and I like her kids.
I do, as previously mentioned, get upset that I think my DH treats her kids as his substitute children – I feel as though he would treat them differently if he had his own, and it makes me even more upset that we don’t have any, because I feel, I guess, that we just don’t get to be a legitimate family in the way that we would if I could have a few kids. My relatives with children get to call the shots for their own holidays and so forth – if they want to stay at home with themselves, travel, invite others, nobody questions their prerogatives. We, on the other hand, have to make explanations and apologies for whatever our plans are.
Frustratingly, my DH interprets my upsetness over his relationship with his sister's kids - sincerely, and he doesn’t believe/understand when I try to explain - as me being jealous of her kids, so he tries not to mention them around me. This also upsets me, but he’s not doing it to make a point, just to promote peace, so what can I say.
Anyway, I’m realizing, I have some blessings in this infertility business. There are a lot of things – interacting with my SIL, celebrating mother’s day for our moms – that have no special thorns where I’m concerned. I plan to enjoy the weekend, because I don’t get to see my in-laws often, and I haven’t been in a trip on a while. (And I love spending time with my DH; we live together, but we’re always so busy!)
Moreover, it wouldn’t occur to my MIL, whose values and culture come from a different world entirely (and one I frankly understand better than the one I occupy), to handle my IF gingerly, or to discuss the matter at all. Neither she nor my FIL ever says a word beyond “we’re praying for you,” and that rarely. Even though my husband would be the first to give them grandkids with their last name – he wants our first son to have his father’s name, since my FIL didn’t give his name to any of his sons.
I’d literally never thought about it, but the restraint it must take for them never to say anything – not because they think I’m sensitive, I don’t think they know one way or the other, but just because they don’t see it as their place – is amazing. My FIL is not in good health and is not expected to live too many more years; and they’re so married, you know, I think everyone assumes she’ll follow him pretty quickly. Even if we have kids, they may never meet them. (Which would be a tragedy, since their grandparents on my side are likely to live much longer, and are unpleasant and CRAZY.) I guess this just means I need to appreciate the opportunity to visit the ILs that much more.
Anyway, I may not get to post over the weekend (though I can comment!), but I want to hear how everyone is doing. Those of you who are expecting AF or test results Sunday: no mere brunch could bring me to abandon you! Given the attitude of the IFosphere in general toward M-Day, actually, I suspect pretty much everyone is just going to go ahead and not abandon you, either.