Friday, October 23, 2009


Two years, and this is my 300th post.

A lot has happened in two years. A hell of a lot. A solid year of either really, really bad or merely mostly bad. An uptick starting about with the arrival of the little guy. A messily defined period of time.

I think often about this marriage self help book I read years ago, where a woman wrote that in recovering from infidelity she had cried every day for two years. But had moved past it. It does hit me at odd times, though much less frequently now. Tuesday was a bad night, once i realized it was the mark of m discovering the e-mails. I had not realized any of the other key dates leading to this time. I see people in my blog cohort (for want of a better word) writing about grief and time. Niobe a very succinct one that said it all (as usual). Make no mistake, what I feel mostly when thinking about my marriage is grief - for what I thought I had, for what I wish I had, for what never really was. Recovering from infidelity - the gift that keeps on giving - is about coming to terms with what is rather than what you thought was.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

in-law roundup

Nothing too new from the in-laws, but it's been a while and a few small things happened over the summer, so thought I'd do a quick recap.

The other night I was sorting stacks of mail. Does anyone else let it pile up for months and then do one big sort? No? Just us? Discovering expired coupons, random detritus, overdue bills....sigh. Hate.

Anyway, at the bottom of the stack, I found the unopened father's day card my inlaws sent to my husband. He had scoffed at it when it came in and tossed it on the pile. These many months later, I decided to open it to see if they had anything to say. Standard issue cheap card, signed simply with their first names: Betty and Frank (not really). No love. No Mom and Dad. Nothing. The lengths these people go to to send a message in store bought greeting cards continues to astound me. And the fact my husband never even opened it and I just saw it 4 months after the fact does nothing but amuse me.


We did some driving up north this summer. My husband's uncle lives along the Jersey Turnpike, so we decided to stop off and see them. Remember, it's been nearly two yer since the blow up with my in-laws, and nearly a year since we last spoke with them. The uncle and his wife fixed lunch for us and we had a nice visit, introducing them to the little guy (who's middle name comes from the uncle). People in general do not understand family estrangements.

Uncle: how's your dad.
Husband: well, as I told you ove the phone we haven't really been talking to them. It's been a while.
U: yeah I haven't spoken to him since spring. How's he enjoying retirement? I heard he was busy with some house repairs?
H: uh, not sure.
Aunt: Is your mom still working or has she fully retired?
H: uh, I don't really know, you know I haven't spoken to them in a while.
A: and how are those dogs?
H: uh, they're fine...

Essentially, the aunt and uncle refused to believe we really hadn't spoken with them in 2 years. A family estrangement of that level was just incomprehensible to them. We just played along - when you haven't seen family in a while, there's a lot of vague generalities you can say without saying anything at all.


A: and what's your sister up to these days?
H: uh...busy, you know...
U: Does she like her condo?
H: What?!
U: yeah, weren't your parents buying her, or wht they put down a downpayment for her to move out and buy a condo?

WTF? So these are the people who declared bankruptcy ten years ago, slightly recovered from that, and are now living off the estate of husband's grandfather. That money is going to be gone in just a few short years. A downpayment for his stupid sister to buy a condo. Jerks.


Later in the summer, we met up with husband's brother and family. Nice visit. There was much discussing of said condo. The in-laws are blowing through money like there's no tomorrow - Caribbean vacations, this downpayment, yard work, new windows on the house (the house that is still fully mortgaged, though bought 30 years ago!). They will run out of money. And they will never be able to live just on social security. Father in law has a pension from a solid company, but given this economy? Counting on pensions to last another 20 years is gambling. There's no other retirement money. Brother in law says good thing they signed for that condo, as that's where they'll be living in just a few years.

I spent some time with my sister in law, discussing it all. She said mother in law has moved from bitter angriness to more of sadness. She asks them all the time if they've heard from us. Mther in law is apparently on meds and slightly more stable. I told SIL I was sorry they were dragged into this at all, and she said if it wasn't us it would be someone else. As long as we've known her, she's cycled through hatred of someone - us, my BIL, her sister, her neighbor, her best friend. It really never ends.

I cannot believe my little guy will be one year old soon and they've missed it all. I'm glad they have, but I just cannot believe the craziness. It is incomprehensible, even with all the other bad inlaw stories I've heard.

But for me, it's all just one big relief. And I admitted as much to my sister in law. Look, I feel badly for my husband being estranged from his family, but quite honestly, it makes our busy lives easier. We don't need the drama. And even if there was no drama, just the pressure of visiting them and their demands that we fold our lives around theirs is no fun.


I just picked up pics from my daughter's birthday, and will mail them off. (She sent her a savings bond, so I can acknowledge that then, too.) We're headed to my parent's for Thanksgiving and little guy's birthday. So I don't see any time in the near future for any contact. Thank goodness.

I was cleaning out the dining room last week and found the returned box of their Christmas presents from last year, shoved under the china cabinet. I suppose we just re-wrap the gifts and mail them off again?

Friday, October 16, 2009

family secrets

I have been busy working lately, and am at a conference (intown) this week. A former colleague wants to connect with me for something she has due on Monday, and sent me an e-mail asking if we could possibly talk over the weekend - she doesn't have her kids this weekend.

I swear, that's the saddest sentence to see. I don't have my kids this weekend. All my choices over the past two years have been designed (actively or not) to prevent me from ever having to type that sentence. My marriage isn't perfect, but we are good parents together. And mostly pretty ok together ourselves. It's soon my two year blog-iversary, the marker of two years later, after the affair, after the crap, after putting up with all the crap, after moving to getting past the crap.

From where I sit now, the tradeoffs I've made to stay married, have a second child, be in this relationship, have been worth it. Sometimes the price seems very high, but it's remained a cost that has not been too much to bear.

This latest issue of Brain, Child has an article on the impact of infidelity on families and children. No one really knows, even more so than no one knows how divorce truly impacts kids. So much is anecdotal and depends on the particular circumstances, temperaments, and reactions of the parties involved. But food for thought.

I was struck by a paragraph that talks about not keeping secrets. Will I - we - ever tell our children about our relationship to that level of detail? I don't know. I don't think so. Maybe, perhaps, if a child is going through something similar. But it's still hard to imagine. What do you think? Would you share information like this with your children? Under what circumstances?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


So, if your 10 month old isn't sleeping, and you're totally exhausted, you might just fall asleep with your 4 year old and miss an entire night of TV. Which is probably a good thing, and what happened to me last Thursday night. But, we have a DVR, and I work from home and pump breastmilk twice during the day, so I have little windows to watch TV. I watched the first ten minutes of the season premiere of Private Practice. Judging Amy was discovered minutes after the baby had been removed, was rushed to the hospital, and her friends worked frantically to save her. Cause, you know, far better for doctors from private clinics to do surgery on a friend than actual hospital surgeons.

It suddenly occurred to me they were probably going to have to do a hysterectomy, and I already feared the baby was going to die. So when I went back to work, I looked online at Television without pity and read the entire episode recap. And that made it safe to actually watch the episode, because it all ended relatively happily with baby recovered (and recovering from operation from bad c-section that damaged spleen), uterus safe, and Judging Amy recovering. And of course Addison me me me got to work in several times how she was the best damn neonatal surgeon blah blah blah.

However, promos for next week show that Judging Amy is not adjusting well to motherhood. Someone tells her, you haven't left the house in weeks! Well, guess what. Another facet of motherhood the show isn't going to do well. No new mother, and especially not an older, single mother, not to mention one who has been brutally victimized, is going to have an easy time of it. I myself did not leave the house, or shower, or do anything but recover from my c-section and breastfeeding struggles and new baby daze. I distinctly remember my first real get out of the house and go someplace at 4 weeks (I was out walking around to the store and local errands, but not much more than that).

I'm reading a book about getting fit that says step one is get rid of the TV. So I think of Niobe saying she doesn't have time for TV. I don't have time to work out, but I do have time for TV. And I thought about Jo commenting that at least there is a show that has some level of awareness around fertility issues. That's true, I guess I jsut want more. So I'll keep watching. Plus, the promo blurb for the show in two weeks says Addison's affair with Noah catches up to her. Then I'll be more enraged (seriuosly, these days I'm too tired).

There are times with movies I actively try not to know what is going to happen. Saw The Sixth Sense, for example, and had the real pleasure of a shock at the ending. But usually, I like to know. I like to know what is going to happen. I kill time online reading entertainment spoilers. I read movie reviews in the actual paper, no less. But I never, ever skip ahead in books.

What about you? Do you like to know spoilers? In some entertainment, or in all?

Thursday, October 1, 2009


So I spent all summer thinking about tonight's premiere of Private Practice, and last season's finale.

Do you ever write blog posts in your head? Long, elegant, well-thought-out positions that explain your view of the world? And then they buzz around in your head until they finally make it out or just sort of drift away? Or is that just me? I think I've written and rewritten in my head this post 7 different times, as different thoughts have occurred to me.

I spent some time after the finale reading various pop watch sites, and the general consensus on the baby stealing story was: ewww. Well, not just ewww, but eeek, horrifying, awful, too terrible, not appropriate for TV but for a horror movie type coverage. Not positively reviewed at all. And I've noticed that the producers have taken some of the mystery out of what will happen tonight: pregnant about to be carved up Violet will live. The promos make that clear, the TV guide blurbs state that right away. What's less clear is if the baby lives.

So that brings me to my latest thoughts. Which, quite coincidentally, Tash covered very nicely in Glow in the Woods.

I like Greys Anantomy, even though it is a ridiculous soap opera. I like it because it is a ridiculous soap opera that just happens to be set in a hospital. Who cares of the science and medicine is a little dodgy (the cancer? the FACE transplant?! Please.). I'm not watching for that. But Private Practice? Well, there are precious few places where infertility, baby loss, grief, the whole she-bang are covered in pop culture. Grieving parents, desperate want to be parents - all fodder for a soap opera. And maybe it pisses me off that PP gets it so wrong. They don't even come close to getting it right. And it's quality actors, a quality show, and it's....wrong. Wrong wrong wrong. On so many fronts. A fertility doctor that doesn't even consider the possibility of terminations. A surgeon that would even consider sleeping with a vulnerable patient's husband. A ridiculous mish mash of doctors that don't even seem to work right professionally. All set in a fertility/wellness clinic. In a world where pregnancy, infertility, grief and family building are so misunderstood, can't they get anything right? Any little piece of it?

And then there's this storyline, of a ambivalent mother (a previous victim of a violent rape) being victimized in such a horrifying way. Conscious, telling her attacker how to cut her open to remove the baby safely. It turns my stomach to think of watching it tonight, though the producers have made it clear the show picks up 20 minutes from where it ended - the butchery over, the baby gone, the mother clinging to life. Will they write off this pregnancy by having the baby not survive? My stomach is churning even typing those words. I don't think I can watch. I don't think I can not watch.

The other issue from the finale is the infidelity. The male half has signed onto another show, and won't appear on PP, so it seems that'll just end. I hope, anyway. It was so distastefully done - the wife, on bedrest, with a desperately wanted pregnancy, her disgusting horny husband on the prowl, divining true love in a few lustful exchanges. Ugly, selfish, grotesque people.

But, the network must be doing something right, as I will probably watch. But I may yet retreat into the safety of a less upsetting, more escapist soap opera, and wait for a time where a more realistic protrayal of family building is created. Beaue there is drama. There is heartbreak, There is love. It could be done right. Or it can be done sloppily, and grotesquely.

So what about you? Watching? Any other baby loss stories in pop culture got your attention?