Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Kids Are All Right

We did it, we paid the people our good money and they are saving him a space. How did this happen? I just brought him home. He JUST came out of my frickin womb! My god! Now I'm sending him away to be with other kids. To a place with lots of trees, and letters on the wall, and a tool bench because he likes that kind of "guy stuff". To learn how to learn, how to get picked on. How to laugh at jokes, how to sit quietly while the teacher is talking. How to be bored at school. How to find a best friend. How to have your heart broken. How to skin your knee (he still hasn't ). I have cried spontaneously 14 times in the last 48 hours. When I was trying to go to sleep last night I had that racy heart, pit in my stomach feeling I used to get in my twenties when my heart was broken by a boy. Little did I know that was just practice. I told Nipper Knapp that I'm excited and ill at  the same time. My heart ACHES.

I'm the big talker too. It runs in my family. We're all really "tough". And by tough I mean, we say lots of tough things to cover up for how sentimental and softhearted we are. I'm the one who's usually saying things like "he needs to learn how to do it on his own" and "he'll only do it once if it's going to hurt, it's the only way he'll learn". Meanwhile I've been carrying him around on my hip for three years and I have the bad back to prove it.

We went to see the movie "The Kids Are All Right" yesterday. GREAT MOVIE. It's an indie so for those of you not in LA or NYC it might take a bit before it gets to your local theater, or you can wait and rent it. It's all about marriage and families, and kids growing up. The perfect movie for me yesterday. I got to cry my eyes out in the dark while eating popcorn. Perfecto. Nipper Knapp and I held hands almost the whole movie. Something we did not do when seeing Predators last week.

I don't think I'm spoiling anything when I say there's a college drop off scene in the movie. The oldest kid, the daughter is going away to school. The moment it started, I started to cry. I have distinct memories of dropping my brother off at college. My little family that was on the verge of what we all kept telling ourselves was a "very amicable divorce", (as if there is such a thing) one short year later, was all together that day. I've been looking all over the house for the picture. My parents asked some passerby to take our picture in front of my brother's dorm. I was wearing a purple shirt. My dad had his arms around all of us. I think it was our last family picture. You see? Sentimental.

I don't know if my brother and I had this same exchange that day, that the kids had in the movie, but I'm sure we were thinking it:

little brother "It's going to be weird not having you around"
big sister " I'm sorry I'm leaving you all alone with them"

My brother and I drove my mother crazy. We were always nagging each other and playing stupid games to irritate the other one. There is a picture of us in Italy. We're sitting on a bench on a beautiful precipice overlooking Verona (?) perhaps. Josh (15) and I (11) are sheepishly doodling circles on the bench, eyes cast downwards. My mother's arms are in mid-air, as she's informing us that we are ruining her vacation with our shenanigans. There are two young Italian men behind us, leaned against a wall. They are laughing. At us. My dad is standing off to the side photographing the whole scene. This is my family. I love them.

I wasn't going to write about this at all. It seemed too personal. To raw. Too indecent. But it's just on the tip of my brain all the time lately. I thought I'd wait until we were pregnant. Until had another kid. Or maybe never. Last October we had a miscarriage. We went to the fancy ultrasound doctor for our genetic tests and our 3 month 3D ultrasound. I was finished with the dreaded 1st trimester, and looking forward to feeling good before I got too big and unwieldy. We were having the conversation with the doctor about "did I REALLY have to have the amnio, since I had just turned 35 two months before?". We were giddy to see the baby. The office has these big screen HD tvs on the wall. Fancy. So I'm laying there on the table, and Nipper is video taping the big tv screen on his iphone. The doctor doesn't say anything. He's moving the thing around, and the baby isn't moving. I knew something was wrong. He says he wants to move us to a different room to use a different machine. I KNEW something was wrong.

Before any of this becomes very clear poor Nipper Knapp has emailed the video to our families. They are all excited about the baby, and we all thought maybe we'd find out that day if it was a boy or a girl.

We move to the next room where the doctor then tells us that in fact there is no heart beat. He assures us that based on what he was seeing there was something wrong from the beginning and it was nothing we had done. It just happened. This kind of thing just happens. After it happened, I heard from many other women that it had happened to them. Many just like me, had it happen after, or in between, other completely healthy pregnancies. We never talk about it. It's just too sad. It's too painful. No one wants to hear about something like that. It feels like bad juju to even say it out loud. I don't know if this counts for saying it out loud. But I just thought maybe if there were other women, some of my readers who were out there, who this has happened to, who feel like they shouldn't talk about it, or CAN'T talk about it. I know. All the awful details, I know. But mostly I know about the sadness that sneaks up on you when you are really not expecting it at all.

I know all about having to wait 4 whole days before I could get a D&C, thinking the whole time "I'm still pregnant, but I no longer have a baby". I know all about wishing I could take a little mental vacation from my body. I know about having to sit in the same waiting room as the families waiting for babies to be born at Cedars, to have the procedure to remove my baby. I remember thinking it was some kind of sick administrative punishment. I know all about crying talking to an obgyn I'd never met because mine is mysteriously out of town AGAIN (she didn't deliver Jack for the same reason). I know all about throwing up in my mothers day sweatshirt that was on my lap in the wheelchair on the way out of the hospital because the candy striper couldn't find a barf bag. I know all about being "tough" and going to a callback straight from the hospital (post barf cleanup, and post NK protests), and booking the job. I know all about spending the next two days in bed with oreo cookies and tea, and visits from Jack, and Nipper's sister Jenny who came out to take care of all of us. But mostly to take care of Nipper. I know all about feeling that it must be harder on the husband because nothing is worse than something awful happening to someone you love, much less two people you love.

I thought we were going to have a May baby. May came and went, and it felt like the LONGEST month.  I've thrown myself into work, into cooking, into tickling Jack until he pees a little and begs for mercy. Into hoepfully being a better wife. A better sister. A better daughter. A better mom. I'm hoping we are going to have another kid. We're working on it (not as diligently as Nipper Knapp would like). I just want Jack to have someone to pick on. Someone for him to be able to roll his eyes with when his parents start arguing about whose definition of "clean" is the "right" one. Someone for him to give a quick look to when I am doing some crazy mom thing that will bond them to each other like soldiers in war. (Yes mom, now I know, all moms are a little bit crazy, and now I know why) Someone to share family pictures with when he grows up. He's going to do that. Grow up I mean. I'm not ready for it today. But I'm working on it.

The weird thing is, even through the veil of this sad event, I feel like this has been the best year for our family. Jack is growing into his own inevitable awesomeness. We laugh all the time. We are healthy and happy. And we've had too much good fortune and too many hijinks and capers to list. That's the best thing about family. Through the terrible stuff you're able to appreciate the best stuff you've got, which is of course, each other. (oh, I just threw up a little on myself again. Sorry... blurgh...)

Preschool here we come! I hope they have a spot in the parking lot for the weepers.


  1. So well written, sweet bear! I love y'all!

    This is forever. -Swing

  2. Oh, you know what? There are times like this, that mold who you never do forget, or get it out of your mind. Sure, life goes on, and you go on, too, but,then, something comes this post, and puts you right back laying down on that examination table, while you see the Doc search over and over in cirlces for the heartbeat.

    It stays with you forever, just like a quiet little gentle breeze, that you always feel.

    Beautifully written.

    And, you may have to call your husband to drive you home the first day of preschool. Kinda hard to see the road through the tears...

    just sayin'...

  3. Beautifully written post. It is a pain that never quite goes away and there is still a shame to it that I keep hoping people will get past, but they never really seem to. It happens to more women than you realize and it takes just one of us to say the words out loud and help another woman survive the sad process.

    As someone who has just one child and stopped counting (and mentioning to people) the pregnancies that just weren't meant to be after a while...

    Please know that if Jack ends up being the only blessing of a child in your life, you don't have to worry. He will find someone else to roll his eyes at and he will make his own relationships out of cousins and friends and he will be just fine. And one day, even though you may ache a little each time a friend or relative tells you she is pregnant, you will wonder how you ever could have ever thought that you needed more than Jack. And one day Jack may thank you for not making him share his life with someone else that he didn't get to choose.

    Eventually, hopefully, you will see that whatever ends up being is exactly what was needed to make each of you into exactly the people you need to be.