Tag Archive | friendship

Mostly Sad

Two weeks ago, my once-dear, but now non-friend Lillian and I were in the same place at the same time, for the first time in an entire year. We were both attending a birthday party for the son of our mutual friend, Leigh. In addition to being a party guest, I had also been asked to be the official party photographer, which I was thankful for. It was a small mercy Leigh gave me, asking me to do that, giving me an excuse for not socializing, giving me a shield of protective armor to hide behind.

Lillian’s dark hair was shaped into the same short, spunky cut that she’d had for a while, but she looked different to me. Maybe she’d lost a little weight? And she was wearing a scarf and stylish ballet flats that seemed so different from what I remembered as her style. She looked good, but acted more subdued and reserved than the bold, loud, laughing Lillian I knew. I could practically see the wall she’d built around herself and, if it hadn’t been for my friendly, loving Cupcake running up to greet her and talk her ear off (because somehow, over a year and half later, my big girl still remembers Lillian and her daughter), I probably wouldn’t have heard her voice at all. She was quiet. Reserved. Guarded. I felt it, and I know my husband and Leigh did too.

When Lillian entered the party room, she gave me a little wave and when she left two hours later, she did the same, but other than that, she ignored me completely. Didn’t even look my way. We both moved about the room, her focused so completely and intentionally on her two little ones and me hiding behind my camera and snapping away. By the way we barely acknowledged one another, never connecting like the identical poles of two magnets, you wouldn’t know that we have a history. You wouldn’t know that she was there for me, one of the few IRL, when I miscarried. You wouldn’t know that I was one of the first to know when she found out she was pregnant with the baby she lost or the one she gave birth to a few months after Skittle. You wouldn’t know that we went on weekend getaways together, that she threw a baby shower for me, that she attended our gender reveal party, and that Cupcake spent the night at her house while I went to the hospital to have Skittle. You’d have no idea because there, at that party, it was like we didn’t know each other at all.

Which is freaking sad, ya’ll.

I felt awkward and nervous and unsure and confused and surprised and insecure and reserved that day. But most of all, I felt sad. I wanted to feel indifferent. Or at the very least, mad. But I just felt mostly sad.

Sad because Lillian was once my go-to girl when it came to grieving my loss. She was my greatest support and my greatest cheerleader in the year or two that followed as I fought to bring Skittle safely into our lives. Having suffered RPL, she knew better than anyone else what I did and did not need from her. And she helped me. She helped me so much.

Sad because, if things had gone differently, it would have been Leigh, Lillian, and I working together to make that party a success…and then standing against the wall, laughing and eating the fattest pieces of cake we could eat while still being socially acceptable.

Sad because it was never more clear that my daughter, precious 5-year-old Cupcake, had lost someone, too. Lillian was in her life from the ages of one to four and then she, and her daughter (whom Cupcake had regular playdates with), were gone. And when Cupcake saw them both that day at the party, her face lit up, and she ran to them, and held hands with little Mini-Lillian, and it was almost as though nothing had changed at all.

Sad because while Cupcake knows and remembers Lillian very well, Skittle does not. My friendship with Lillian started unraveling sometime around Skittle’s first birthday. Skittle doesn’t know her much at all. And Poppy just doesn’t know her. Period.

Sad because, all this time later, I still don’t exactly understand how it all fell apart, or why it had to, or what it was that made Lillian start to hate me so.

Sad because, all this time later, I’m still affected by it. Still mad. Still hurt. Still sad.

And maybe that makes me terribly pathetic. Or maybe it just makes me human. And maybe I’ll write more about all of this as I continue to process. Or maybe I’ll just keep it close to my heart forevermore.

I honestly don’t even know what the point of this post is. Except to express how amazing and incredibly unbelievable it is to me that someone whom is not family and was in my life for a relatively short amount of time (3-4 years) can have this much power over me. Except, she was there during one of my greatest crises. And she does know things about me that most others do not. And I did once see her on a weekly, if not daily, basis — so much more than most anyone else, except for my most immediate family. So I guess that probably explains it.

But still, it’s sad. Sad how quickly things can change. And sad that, once they do, there’s no going back. This can’t be undone. I don’t know what the future holds or if some event or turning point, big or small, will reunite us. I just know that what’s been said and done is permanent. It’s left a lasting mark. If not on the universe, at least on my heart.

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Grief is Beautiful

Grief is part of the human experience. We all know this. By the time we reach our 30s, most of us have already lost someone we loved, whether it be a beloved grandparent or a beloved pet, or if we’re really unlucky, someone much closer to us. Losing someone in death is perhaps the most difficult and permanent of all griefs, but it’s not the only type of grief we experience in life.

As infertiles, we know and understand a lot about grief because we go through the process over and over and over again. With the start of each period, we grieve the end of a dream. Some of us have to grieve the loss of a pregnancy, a much-wanted and already-loved baby. Some of us have to grieve the idea of ever being parents or of experiencing all the ups and downs that come with carrying a child in your womb. We grieve because we don’t feel “normal,” because we don’t feel like a woman, because everyone else seems to get pregnant without much thought and we are reminded of our body’s shortcomings at every turn.

And as a mother, I have come to realize that there is grief in every part of parenting. My friend Leigh and I speak often of this. We grieve because our babies have stopped being babies. We grieve because they are constantly growing up, leaving us behind little bit by little bit in each step forward they take. They start preschool, they start kindergarten, they make friends who become more important to them than Mom and Dad, they stop needing hugs and kisses, they stop needing us…and we grieve. And we grieve when they grieve, for whatever they grieve for and for however long the grief lasts. As a mother, grief is constant.

But grief doesn’t end there either. It isn’t contained to just death, and infertility, and mothering. We face grief around every corner, sometimes in small ways and sometimes in much larger ones. We grieve the loss of a job we loved or needed. We grieve not getting the job we really wanted. We grieve when a phenomenal vacation has come to an end. (Maybe not everyone does this, but I do. Oh! how I do.) We grieve the end of summer, the end of the holiday season. And we grieve relationships that end not by death, but by circumstance or choice. Sometimes someone moves away. Sometimes we just drift away from a friend who once was our whole world. Sometimes we are forced to face a divorce we never could have predicted, as my sister is right now. And sometimes a close friend, for whatever reason, decides that she is ready to end our friendship, and we grieve again.

That’s where I’m at right now.

For those of you who have been following this blog for a while, you will probably remember my good friend Lillian. The one who gave me the most face-to-face support during and after my miscarriage. The one who experienced three miscarriages of her own before giving birth to her daughter and another one shortly after I learned I was pregnant with Skittle. The one who kept Cupcake at her house for nearly two days while I was in the hospital giving birth. The one with whom I did frequent Mom’s Nights Outs, and weekend getaways, and jam-making, and cookie-baking, and playdates. Remember her? For over three years, she has been a huge part of my life and, now, she has unexpectedly decided that she does not want to be a part of it anymore.

It’s a long, complicated story that I am still trying to make sense of and much of it remains shrouded in mystery for me. I won’t bother going into all of the details here because it’s just too much. And really, the details don’t matter because, in the end, Lillian still decided our friendship was over. She explained it away by saying it was clear to her that our personalities didn’t fit together. I am too sensitive, too easily wounded, and she apparently felt like a “bull in a china shop” with my feelings. And in that, she may have a point. I am emotional and sensitive and I do get my feelings hurt easily.  And Lillian’s first priority is always Lillian. She has no filter and is quick to anger and says and does a lot of things that can and have stung my heart. But the funny thing is that I have never admitted to any of it unless Lillian has pointedly asked me if she hurt my feelings. And isn’t it odd that I’ve been able to get over and let go of it every time she has hurt me, and yet she somehow cannot let it go? And that the only two times she has confronted me with  issues in our friendship is because I hurt her feelings, not the other way around? Like I said, it’s complicated and mysterious and I don’t understand much of it myself.

I think the hardest part is knowing how much time I invested in our friendship. I gave her a lot of myself and recently worked very hard to fix things when it became obvious they weren’t going well. I devoted myself to our friendship for an entire year while my husband was telling me I deserved better and that I was wasting my time. I was willing to do what needed to be done to find some healing between us and she gave up. And she can say it’s because I’m too sensitive or blame it on clashing personalities or whatever her excuse of the day is, but the truth of the matter is that she made a choice. It was a choice to end our friendship and only she has responsibility in that. Clearly, I valued it more than she did and I’m glad to know that now, but it’s still hard to swallow. And no matter how it ended or why, it still feels like a rejection. Like something is wrong with me. Like I did something bad, even when everything I did had truly good and honest intentions behind it and I wanted nothing more than to be a good friend to her.

But the intensity of the emotions that came in the aftermath has mostly subsided. I have worked through the grieving process rather quickly and am now at a stage of acceptance and, almost, indifference. These days, I am feeling somewhat relieved that the constant drama with her is over for good and I am free to live my life as I please without the concern of what she thinks or how it may piss her off. I miss her sometimes, and all the laughs we had. And I miss the fun things we used to do with our mutual friend Leigh and the three of our families. I miss the memories and the sense of community her friendship gave me. I miss her because, in the best of times, she was a dear friend who offered a lot of support and a place where I could truly let my guard down. But in the worst of times, I felt guarded all the time and I don’t miss that.

It’s a mixed bag of “stuff” you get with a loss. With grief.

And yet, if you live a long and full life, grief is part of the package. It’s part of the price we pay for love. It’s part of being human.

I kind of hate that, but I’m learning to accept it, instead of fearing it. Instead of running from it.

I’m learning to embrace it.

To be grateful for it.

Grief is beautiful.

Even when it’s hard and ugly, it’s always beautiful.

A Hemmie Update and Commentary on Friendship

Well, the good news is that my hemmies are much improved since my last post. I’m still doing a whole lot for comfort and pain management — lotions and potions and sitz baths and showers after every BM — but in between all of that, I’m able to mostly forget about what’s going on down there. They itch and they’re sore, but they’re not taking over my life anymore, which is such a relief. I was afraid I was going to spend the rest of this pregnancy miserable and now I’m more hopeful that won’t be the case. Fingers remained crossed that I don’t experience another flare-up, though.

And I want to thank all of you who commented on Friday’s post. It is so nice to have somewhere to turn when I need to complain about the more embarrassing side of pregnancy. To receive support and sympathy without any shame is a gift ya’ll give to me every day. And I love you guys for it.

And with that being said, I want to add that the friendships I have made from this blog are so dear to me. Truly. When I began blogging, I had hoped to find and give support through this awful journey, to make connections with women who understood what I was going through. But never did I fathom that I would or could build relationships that I believe will last beyond the life of this blog. There are bloggie pals whom I e-mail back and forth with as though I have known them all my life. There is a bloggie friend whom I am hoping to meet for the first time when she visits my corner of the U.S. shortly after Skittle’s birth. And there is another sweet, wonderful friend who sends the most meaningful packages right to my doorstep:

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A million billion thank you’s to one of my bloggie besties over at Quietly Southern (not sure if she wants her real name published here) for these gifts — gifts for myself, for Cupcake, and for Skittle of course. Bibs, bloomers, toys, headbands, beauty products…the list goes on. I am so lucky. In so many ways. And friends like this, friends like all of you, are on the top of my Lucky List. Hugs to each of you and, most especially, hugs to Ms. QS for her thoughtfulness and her love. xo

Odds ‘n’ Ends: Showers, Anxiety, and Friends

More bits and pieces to chat about (nearly all of which are baby-related — sorry!)…

HONEY & SKITTLE

Honey finally got to feel Skittle move, after many attempts, last Sunday (June 9) while we were at church. I wish there had been a camera there to capture his priceless smile. (Does anyone else besides me ever wish that they could have their own live-in professional photographer to document all of those brief, beautiful life moments that we so often fail to record on our own?) And maybe I shouldn’t admit to this, but I think we may have missed part of the sermon because we were so busy whispering and giggling in the back row.

BABY SHOWER

A shower date has been set — though, yes, I had to eventually ask about it (in an uber-tactful way, because that’s what I excel in!) because my mom needed to purchase plane tickets and get the time off of work. The big day is July 14 and I’m feeling a little nervous about it. Not only will it be held outside during the most miserable allergy month for me, but there are also several women being invited whom I hardly know. It’s a joint shower and the guest list includes only our moms and members of our mom’s group — but still, some of those ladies I’ve only spoken with once or twice. Seriously. And in case I haven’t mentioned it here before, I’m…uh…kinda shy.

REVELATIONS ON ANXIETY

I’ve had a revelation in the last week. And that is: embrace the anxiety. While I am feeling extraordinarily happy these days, I also still get scared. A lot. It’s primarily based on how active Skittle is being at the moment. And while I used to feel guilty about bringing out the doppler, especially when I had no apparent reason to do so, I am now cutting myself some slack.  I’ve been through a lot. And I’ve heard more stories about miscarriage, loss, and neonatal death than most non-infertile, non-blogging women ever have. I have a right to feel nervous, anxious, and/or worried every now and then (or every day). And while I don’t constantly use the doppler anymore, when I do use it, and even if it’s several times a day, that’s okay, you know? Whatever I need to do to get me through.

MAKING PROGRESS

My parents came over the weekend to drop off the dresser that we will be going into Cupcake’s new room. The dresser is part of a 3-piece bedroom set that my grandfather made for my mother when she was a kid and I then used as a child and now Cupcake, as my firstborn, will get to enjoy. We’re still on track for getting Cupcake into her new room by the end of the month and pictures will be posted once it’s complete. I get emotional just thinking of that moment when we first do the Big Reveal and Cupcake gets to see all the hard work we’ve been putting in. She’s too young to appreciate the time or money we’ve spent in creating her little haven, but she will love the colors, the theme (ladybugs), the big girl bed, and all the new toys. And once this room is complete, I can officially move on to preparing the nursery for Skittle.

MY FRIEND, KAT

After a whole lot of thought, I sent a long and heartfelt e-mail to my friend Kat today. (You can read about the history of our friendship here and here.) I know I said that I wouldn’t — that it would do no one any good — but then our friend over at The Stork Diaries said this in her comments: “Sometimes the hardest thing in the world is sharing our feelings with those we were once closest to.” And then my devotional just a couple days later talked about not living a life of “unspoken words.” And so I composed an e-mail that has been sitting in my Drafts folder for nearly three weeks…and after having it read and approved by both Honey and my mom, I hit “Send” today. I don’t mind publishing it here if anyone is interested, but otherwise, I don’t want to say too much. I’m starting to feel like I’m beating a dead horse by talking about it so frequently on this blog. And for the record, I don’t expect a response to my e-mail. I will still be hurt if I don’t get one, but I’m prepared for that. I just felt like I had to say something, to express the sadness over the end of our friendship, so I could find some resolution. A sense of closure. And besides, did I really have any more to lose???

THE BUMP

A new bump photo has been posted on the Skittle page!