So I’m kind of struggling right now. Things with Hottie, the boys, and me are fine, but the things around us are quite sad and they’re consuming me.
Hottie’s sister is getting a divorce. I may have mentioned it in a private post a while back, I’m not sure, but it’s getting rough and no one seems to know how to help her. She did not ask for the divorce, her husband did, and it was hard for me to feel very sympathetic because I really don’t like Hottie’s sister and I really DO like her husband. His sister is… different… antisocial… rude… angry… controlling… set in her ways… bitter. We’ve never been “friends” and honestly, she’s a very selfish person who always plays the victim. No matter the situation, she’s the victim. She has been taught this by Hottie’s mom, so it’s not entirely her fault, but by the age of 40, I expect a person to grow up and take responsibility for who she is. She is incapable of doing that. The problem is, they have a kid. A daughter… and now this 6-year-old girl is going through all the things that made her mom the bitter, angry, rude, selfish person that she is, and like her mom, she’ll go through the bulk of her life without a father figure. It’s sad.
Hottie has been asked by his sister to attend the mediation meetings with her because she’s frustrated with her dad (technically her step-dad (Hottie’s dad), because she refuses to have anything to do with her biological dad no matter how hard the man tries) who’s been attending with her. She is at her whit’s end with their mom and at first, we figured their mom was being her normal, “I hate your husband, kick him to the curb” self. But she’s not. She’s trying to get her daughter to see the light, make preparations, plan for the future, and hold her chin up a bit. Hottie’s sister called last week in a panic asking him to meet her for coffee and they met for over 2 hours and he was brutally honest with her when he heard the things his mom is telling her. He agrees with his mom (and that NEVER happens) and so do I: figure out a job, get an apartment, sort out your finances, meet with a lawyer. All the normal advice a woman on the brink of divorce would receive… but she does NOT want to hear it. She does NOT want a divorce. I feel for her because that’s got to be just awful, but I also understand why her mom wants her to start making some plans. If she’s not going to do anything to actively try to save the marriage, then she needs to plan her way out of it since he has already filed. But I understand that it’s tough.
I’m rambling, I know. This gets me down because it’s becoming more and more of a topic of conversation in our house because she’s asking Hottie for so much help. I love that he’s supportive of his siblings, I think it’s great, but she’s asking him to be in a position that he doesn’t want to be in (going to mediations and telling his dad he’s no longer welcome). Hottie is very non-confrontational – he is a very peaceful person. Getting in the middle of this divorce is not where he wants to be, and it’s not where I want him to be. I know he doesn’t like the situation he’s now in, but he does want to help his sister (and why wouldn’t he want to?), so he just tries to not look like he’s in agreement with his parents when he really is, while making his sister feel like he understands her frustrations with them. It’s really tough.
Our trip with my parents was not good. They treated each of us sisters (and one of the husbands) with such disrespect that we were all in tears at some point during the trip. My kids didn’t want to sit through long, fancy dinners (90 minutes, minimum) so of the 7 nights eating with my family, we were coerced (and sometimes told) to leave with the kids 4 of those nights. That’s not fun. My dad can give a look that is infuriating, and I saw him use it with each and every one of the grandkids several times.
My big run-in with my dad, and then my mom when she attacked me afterwards, was witnessed by Hottie, my two sisters, and their two husbands and although it was absolutely HORRIBLE, I was glad that I had 5 witnesses to my dad’s attack and 1 to my mom’s brutal, frosty attack of me afterwards demanding that I apologize to my dad. Let’s just say, every last person who was there told me I was not going to apologize for anything. Hottie approached my dad and basically told him to take a hike, and my little sister confronted my mom and told it like it was. I’ve never felt so supported in my life, and although it was truly horrible, I’m so glad that everyone got to see EXACTLY what I’ve been saying has been going on for years and years.
Because of all of the drama and bad feelings leading up to, and then on, the trip, I JUST got around to sending a thank you gift to my parents today (the trip was over more than 3 weeks ago) and I had to force myself to do it. I had a reminder going off on my phone every 4 hours for a damn week and I finally bit the bullet and sent the gift card today (something I wasn’t planning on doing until my little sister told me that they sent a $350+ gift to them BEFORE the trip even started, kicking off the thank-you-timer and the wild expectation to spend a lot of money thanking them for an awful time). It still feels so bad to even think about that damn trip.
Hottie and I have some decisions to make in the next couple of years about our remaining embryos. We know that we are done building our family, but we hold onto them in case something bad happens to one of our boys someday. Those embryos are our only hope to having more children if we need or want to in the future, but I am turning 40 in March (what the?). So this has been on my mind lately, and on Saturday morning, I brought up the topic with Hottie, not because I want a decision, but because I want him to know that I’m thinking about it… I’m thinking about them.
I asked him to think about donating them to another couple. We wouldn’t do this locally, and honestly, I’d want them to not even be in the same country, but it’s something I think we need to at least consider. I told him that I want to talk about this in a year or two’s time, before I turn 42. I think once I’m 42, we have to figure out a feasible long-term plan. I don’t want them sitting on ice indefinitely, but I also don’t want to make a hasty decision.
By mid-Saturday, I had myself convinced that I could donate them overseas – that they are our genetic material that someone else may give life to. I actually felt good about the idea of donating them. And then Saturday afternoon happened.
My friend’s 13-year old nephew died of leukemia on Saturday. I never met him, but I’ve met his older sister a few times and his mom kept the most amazing Caring Bridge site going that you felt like you knew him. His mom posted updates at every turn for 18 months so when they went silent early last week, I knew something wasn’t good. Sam had tried tons of experimental treatments and was on his final attempt. Because he gained access to all the drugs, all the treatments, all the “hail Mary’s” out there, I just believed he was going to live. There were moments when I thought, “he may not make it, but statistically he should, but he may not.” However, for the most part, I stayed hopeful.
That’s the thing about hope though… it makes you forget about, or sometimes ignore, reality. I forgot about reality. I forgot that Sam was as sick as a kid could be without being dead. I had all the hope in the world that one of these magical treatments would cure him., but they couldn’t.
His mom posted the most amazing, heartfelt, and honest account of his last week. I read it Sunday night and could not get ahold of myself. She talked about my friend, Sam’s aunt, being there with him and it killed me to know that she had to go through that and that she has to coach her daughters through the loss of their close cousin. She talked about his siblings coming in to say goodbye, the sweet teenage girl who I’d met and crafted with a few times who was still just 15 years old – forever changed though. She shared his very final moment as he took his last breath, and she shared her peace in knowing that he was no longer suffering.
I cannot stop thinking about Sam’s family, his aunt, his cousins, his life, his death. It has consumed me and it makes me think about my own boys. We have two boys, two children. What would I do if something like this happened to one of them? How would we go on? How would we survive it? Sam was 13 years old – there’s no “safe zone” with parenting – your kids can get sick or die at any moment, any time, for the rest of our lives. It’s very frightening if you think about it.
(All of this has made me stop even thinking about donating our embryos for now. I think we’ll hold onto them for a long time… just in case. They’re all we have…)
We’re so fortunate (and lucky, really) that our little bubble remains safe and sound, but I’m saddened by the things around us. I’m saddened by the things that are some people’s realities, and I know too well that those things could become our reality some day as well. No matter how hard we try to protect ourselves and our kids from the bad things in life, we really have no control over them (not even our poor relationships with our parents). Hottie always says to focus on the things we can control, which is good advice, but I also think it’s wise to always be prepared, to always be checking to make sure things are OK and to be ready for them to change on a dime. It’s knowing that things can change suddenly that’s keeping me up at night.