Gaining Some Ground
My first little died. He did not die literally. While I use sarcasm and off-handed humor as a way to deflect my pain, I mean no such thing here.
My first little was happy and he felt loved. Then my first little had his mother rip-away the happy and deny him his usual dosage of love. He really didn't have another parent. Micheal was working long hours and multiple jobs to pay our bills. He did that so I could be there for the boys. It was so important to me that I get to every Valentine party or football practice (that's what good mothers do). So L was utterly alone when the good mother left, the bad mother got really bad, and the interim mother was just a weirdo stranger.
Dr Dodson says that your children know you better than you know yourself. He tells a story (I may mis-summarize it) of his daughter being told to clean her room. It was kindly suggested and then ignored. It was plainly directed and ignored again. Over and over, he returned and upped his emotional ante in the hopes that she would just clean her room. He was subsequently met with her refusal until he no longer was bluffing and he was very angry and he was absolutely finished discussing things with her. And quickly, she cleaned her room. He tells that she was not "scared" into complying. Simply, she knew the exact tone-of-voice he used when he meant business and until she heard it, all other words and actions were just plain fluff.
L had known the good mother. L knew enough about the bad mother that he would test the waters. Sometimes the good mother glimmered alongside the surface of the bad mother. Interim mother, though, was an anomaly he could not sort out or predict. She yelled and cried. She was calm and collected. She took long naps or even slept all day. She got up in the middle of the night to reorganize the linen closet. She would scrub the bathroom with a toothbrush one day or leave filthy, sinking dishes in the sink on other days.
Sometimes I could see that Dr Dodson was right. L knew me better than I knew myself and he would hear that exact tone-of-voice that meant business. But it was not the norm anymore. L waited. He pushed. He rebelled. He threw fits. He tried everything he knew to do with his little hurting body to find something in his mother that he knew. She was gone. And it killed him.
It is also ironic that as L encounters so many faces of his mother, his baby brother never saw but one.
G never met the good mother. The bad mother was actually a great provider and balance person who loved him and care for him. He was forced to share the bad mother with his brother, so G never thought that the entire world should revolve around him.
G always had two parents. When the good mother had to permanently leave, the bad mother needed a partner. So G's father fed him bottles that had been pumped to up milk production. When L required the utter and complete attention from one parent, there was always a back-up parent. G learned that he was a child and that he was also loved.
From the beginning of his life, G was a different child. He was slow-moving and never fought to do his own thing. He sat up late. Crawled later. Grew in his teeth late. He rarely cried despite the health issues that plague his parents in his first year of life. His only real vice was that he slept with his parents until he was 4 years old. Even when he moved out of our bed, he slept on the floor beside my side with his hand pulling the covers onto himself. When we forced him to stay out of our room, he slept on the floor at the entrance to our. He would continue sleep parade to the linoleum in kitchen, to the sofa, and then to L's bed. G didn't start sleeping in his own bed in his own room until he was 8.
G was so easy-to-love. L had not been hard until his mother disappeared. But G, he was just always so gentle in spirit that it was easy to love him, even when he refused to sleep in his own bed.
But you don't gain any ground with the child you destroyed even if you are a decent parent to another. L was no dummy. He figured out quickly that we loved G more than we loved him. He said it quite often. He's almost 24 and I think he stills says this.
And he is wrong, but the evidence sure stacks up against us (especially me). I have to face the evidence that he sees because what wells up in my heart is invisible and cannot be properly displayed.
I felt some true hope that I had emotionally gained some ground until the year I turned 30. I had gone to therapy and the psychiatrist. The medicines had been tried, tested, changed and finally set. G was struggling in school, but he was such a hard-worker that I knew he would be okay. L was playing football and seemed to be using his aggression in more productive ways than screaming his heart out about the injustices of his life. Interim mother had found a balance and reigned in some of her sun-shining goodness to adopt more healthy practices for every person in the family.
But I longed for another baby. Micheal was having none of it. In fact, he had sought a vasectomy when G was just a baby. He loved the boys, but he had never really been ready to become a father until he felt so overwhelmed that being a father was very hard. I don't want to tell his story. I'd just mess it all up, but I know that having another baby had never entered any part of his body or mind. It was all I could think of for two years until baby J popped up.
I am a broken person who also had siblings that became broken people. One of those broken siblings was my sister who had married young, had babies young, dropped the babies off with her mother-in-law, and then moved in with her new boyfriend. My broken sister got pregnant again. Because I was the mother she knew and trusted, she came to me and laid out her secret. "I need you to go with me to get an abortion," she pleaded. Every sense of right and wrong about that requested stacked up in single file. I did not allow any grey area to remain. With nothing but a second pause, I returned, "You know I can't do that, but I'll take the baby and adopt it."
Now dive deeply into my brain as I am heading home. Um...how do you tell your husband who does not want anymore children because we can't really afford anymore children that you are gonna have another child. But this won't be a miracle baby to you after the vasectomy. Noooo! This will be a baby that I have just agreed to raise without considering his feelings and the baby will be from my crazy sister. Oh what joy this evening will be!
My mother could almost always been heard saying, "God takes care of fools and children." That day, I was the fool; but he took care of a child that day too.
Micheal had little thought when he agreed that we would take the baby. We began the process of finding an obstetrician, ensuring that my sister had her needs met, and providing emotional support as she struggled to keep a pregnancy that she did not want at all. Deep and hurtful discussions took place. Hope truly bloomed after the first ultrasound as I sat across a restaurant table from her, tears still welling up in my eyes having heard that strong heartbeat. I was clutching those first little photos of our baby (chicken) and completely in love with this baby as if he was housed in my own womb.
She did not want the baby to ever know that he was hers. (I use the masculine pronoun out of ease right now.) In fact, she planned to avoid all family gatherings and remain out of town until the baby was born. No one had to know. The plan wasn't too bad since I was already heavier than I should have been and I carried subtly when I was pregnant. We discussed the delivery, the hospital room, and so many specifics. He was our baby. We set a date for his arrival via c-section.
On March 17th at 3 something in the morning, my phone rang. I answered it and listened to what I already knew was bad news. Spotting. Lost the baby. Emergency D&C. Sorry.
And all the ground that I had regain slipped away within just 1 day of that phone call.
My broken sister was a liar. If you start spotting in your early pregnancy and go to the hospital, the professionals will send you home to let natural take its course. Emergency D&C's (the politically correct name for an early-term method of abortion) are only done to save a mother's life. If you have to do it, the mother does not go home hours later. Hospital records showed no mention of my sister's name. The room used for emergency procedures had been empty. She had had an abortion and purposefully killed my baby.