Thursday, December 04, 2008
I feel ridiculous saying that this was a monumental task for me. I mean, writing in a baby book? It's so silly. And yet, I couldn't bring myself to do it.
Along the way, I had been jotting down notes: first tooth, first word, first step, etc. So all it took was for me to fill it all in.
Every time I tried to write things in, I'd feel such incredible anger about Lucian's first weeks and months where I was alone. When I'd think about what I wanted to say, it felt like everything I wanted to say was either a 'poor me' statement or filled with sarcasm.
Someday, I want Lucian to know the story surrounding his birth and the early stages of his life. But I want the story to be told factually, not with anger or bitterness. He'll be able to figure that out for himself.
So there I sat for 3 hours, writing and filling in the blanks in his book. Writing the facts and having it be about Lucian, and not about how my life didn't go as I planned. It's not done yet, but now it's not empty either.
Friday, July 18, 2008
But I'd still like to give an update once in awhile. For those of you bored enough and brave enough to have read my blog from the beginning, I feel you deserve to know how the story continues to play out.
So here goes.
In a strange twist of fate, Nemo has been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I knew it was coming late last year when he had blood taken and a doctor had told him that his blood sugar was in the high 200's. I'm not sure what the current diagnosis number is, but I was surprised when nothing became of that blood test. Months later, I was the only one not surprised by his diagnosis.
He's taken the whole thing quite well. He's made diet changes (lost 25 pounds) and he's on pills. His doctor (who also happens to be my doctor) said that if he were to lose more weight, he could probably come off the pills. We've talked a little about it, and I'd like to think that my influence has affected him in a positive way.
In general, things with Nemo have been stable. His parenting time seems to be good for both him and Lucian. Nemo has cancelled a few times, but it's definitely been more reasonable than in the past.
Probably the biggest change is that I've let Nemo start driving Lucian. I was very reluctant. Very, very reluctant. In Lucian's whole life, Nemo had driven him only 3 times: when he picked us up from the hospital, his 5 day old doctor appointment, and once to Nemo's parents' house. All of those times I was in the car. All of those dates were in December, 2004.
I'm honestly not sure if I'll ever completely trust Nemo again. Every time good things happen, there's still a voice in the back of my head that reminds me of some of the things he's done in the past. A lot of times, it still hurts me deep in the gut. If I could have, I'd never have allowed parenting time to happen at all, and for the most part, over time, the situation has been fine.
I still didn't really want Nemo to drive. I was terrified and panicked. Nemo accused me of being overprotective and having control issues. (Hello!! Just where do you think those control issues came from, buddy?) In the end, after much deliberation and reluctance, I decided it was time to let go. It was really hard. Having to put trust in someone that you have doubts about. And trusting him with the most important thing in the world to me.
But it went okay. Nemo now picks up Lucian twice a week for a couple of hours. Mostly they still go to Nemo's parents' house (where I had been dropping Lucian off).
[A side note: One of these parenting time nights I went shopping with my Mom and on the way back, Nemo was in front of us at the traffic light. It was about 15 minutes before Nemo and Lucian were due back and we were about 5 minutes from home. He didn't see us, and turned into another subdivision near our house to stall. I was happy that he's trying hard to be on time, and he's taking it seriously by leaving early. I didn't tell him that we had seen him, but it meant alot to me.]
Anyway, there are some benefits for me. The biggest being that a big portion of what was scaring me is no longer there. (fear of fear itself kind of thing) I know I did the right thing for 3.5 years, and I feel that the timing was only right at this point now. I also spend less time in the car, less on gas (yeah!!) and less on food (since I always needed to eat out.)
My relationship with Nemo is good. I feel like he's an old friend, and we're able to joke around and have a good time when we're together (with Lucian, obviously). For my own sake, it's good. (God, how many times can I use the word good?) But more importantly, for Lucian's sake, he's seeing Nemo and I getting along, having meals together, parenting together, and Lucian's learning all sorts of things about family, love, and forgiveness that he won't be able to articulate for years to come.
For that, I am grateful.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
So basically what I've been doing when the whole thing crashes, is I start it in safe mode and try to repair the problem (which somehow it knows how to do?) Sometimes that works. Other times, I do a system restore, where you can choose (or it chooses) a point where things were working fine and starts you back at that point. For the moment, that seems to work.
Maybe you understand all that, perhaps better than I do. But I was trying to explain to my Mom how it works (not very well, but the key word is trying). When it suddenly dawned on me, what if you could go back and choose a point before your life went astray?
I wonder if I would go back to when I was pregnant, right about to give birth, bearing the weight of my marriage, would I gather up my friends and family and have support that would have made things easier?
I wonder if I would go back to 2001 before I lost my job? Or right afterwards? When I might have made different choices about a career or education?
I wonder if I would go back to early 2001 before Nemo and I found out that we were going to have fertility problems? (this was a particularly good time of our marriage)
I wonder if I would go back to the night of my rehearsal dinner? Would I call the whole thing off?
I wonder if I would go back to before I even met Nemo.
I wonder if I would go back to my pre-diabetes innocent self?
And yet, all these events have made me the person I am. Even more importantly are the recent events that have made Lucian who he is, and I wouldn't change him for the world. It's interesting to think about though.
Where is your system restore point?
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
So one of the books I stumbled upon is Watermelon. I'm not more than 50 pages in, but I was hooked from the first sentence. I think she's writing about my life. (Although the book was published before I even met Nemo.)
Just when you think that your story is unique, it isn't. I feel a whole lot less singled out knowing I'm not the only one. Even if it is just fiction.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Take today for example. Lucian and I went to a birthday party for one of his preschool friends. It was lovely and we had a great time. There was a woman there who just rubbed me the wrong way. But then she got to telling how her husband is out of the country on a work assignment for the summer. And how. her. life. sucks.
Immediately, I think, at least you have a husband (and he sounds rather nice), and he's. coming. back. Of course, I didn't say that. But there's a part of me that wanted to. I'm just jealous of her and sad for myself, and I hate it. Normally I'm not walking around feeling lots of pity. I really even like my life. But I'm easily offended by people who complain about things: he doesn't pick up his dirty socks! he works long hours (to support the family) and I never get to see him! Stuff like that.
I hate these feelings that I have. Maybe it's just that I'm not that kind of person who'd be complaining like that. I'd be more likely to say - my husband's gone for the summer and I miss him and it sucks, but it's only for 3 months and I'll live through it. Maybe I should have said to her - my husband's gone forever, and I miss who I thought he was, but it's only the next 14 years that I have to co-parent with him, and I'll live through it.
Monday, June 09, 2008
I'm not a celebrity or a CEO or an owner of a sports team. Just a regular person who went through a painful divorce.
I'm sure you're wondering why I didn't cut off the legal spending earlier in the process. The truth is, I never received an invoice from my attorney, and I had assumed that the initial retainer I gave was covering it. In hindsight, I'm angry with myself for not questioning the costs. But with the state I was in (mostly paralyzing fear) I have to give myself a break. I did what I thought was best at the time.
You can imagine my surprise then, when the attorney's office called me in March and told me that I owed almost $10,000 more. I freaked out. All the pain and fear came rushing back at me. Let's just say it was an unpleasant couple of days to be around me.
I gained some control over myself. Spent some time trying to get the invoices*. Spent more time going through the invoices. And, putting my college degree to work, added up the figures to nearly $35,000 in legal fees. That doesn't include Nemo's lawyer, or the mediator who was paid probably another $5000 between us. I knew that divorces were expensive, but never in my wildest dreams figured they were about the average-American's-annual-salary expensive.
* Up until this March, I had never received an invoice. I never once saw on paper what I was billed for. I insisted that they send this to me, and after getting it wrong twice, I finally received a copy of my entire account. Nothing on it looks suspicious (but how can I remember, it was 3 years ago!) unless you have a problem being billed for 3 hours of internet time at the full attorney hourly rate.There are so many factors to this situation, I can't possibly type that much. But I will say, this is a highly respected law firm in my area. They've done some pretty high profile cases, because I've seen them in the newspaper.
On the advice of a family member with a law degree, I've sent a letter outlining all the mistakes that were made. I'm still waiting to hear back from them.
Besides the fact that I don't have $10,000, it's not the amount of money that angers me. One way or another I believe it will all work out. Things always do. What I'm mad at is that the person/firm I put my trust in misled me. Maybe unintentionally, but I had been led to believe (for 2.5 years) that with the divorce decree, all the fees were wrapped up.
I feel like I've been stabbed in the back by someone I trusted. (sounds familiar) It was even suggested to me that I get a lawyer to fight my original lawyer. Aaaaagggghhhh!!!!
It's left me wondering, just when does all this end?
What I found afterward (after the most painful parts of the story were written that is), is that my blog became someplace where I had stashed all the bad things. Little by little, I backed off because it hurt. It's like all my therapy sessions rolled up into one staring at me each time I log in. And I don't regret for a single second that I've put it out there for the world to see, but at the same time, I want to live my life just as Stella. Not the diabetic infertile jobless divorcee who has a sperm donor baby and lives with her parents.
Sometimes I need a break from that person.
I know I needn't give an explanation, but for my own peace, I feel better knowing I've given a reason to why I've avoided posting.
Thanks for sticking around. Stay tuned - there will be another update soon.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
As far as Valentine's Day gifts go, it was probably my best ever. As far as gifts from Nemo go, it was probably in the top 10. Although I will say that when he was still at the point of buying me gifts, he was always generous. Not always thoughtful, but generous.
Oftentimes I would receive a gift that was fun (a digital camera, cell phone, other electronic item) but wasn't the most meaningful gift. I always wrote it off to the fact that he's just a different type of giver than I am. I like to pay attention to the receiver's wants and needs and pick out something they might not have specifically asked for and they didn't even know they wanted.
In the last year, Nemo has gotten me several gifts that he put some thought into. For Mother's Day he bought me the last book in the Harry Potter series. For my birthday he bought me steaks that I had briefly mentioned in passing.
I still don't trust him. I still haven't forgotten the things that he put me through. But I will say, I'm pleased that he's finally thinking about me in a different way. From a perspective of thoughtfulness.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Recent happenings, in bullet points to keep it simple.
- I am pleased to say, that after my post 10 days ago, for the first time today Lucian did not ask for his pacifier. Hooray! (For the time being) I can stop worrying about his crooked teeth, and without the guilt of breaking his heart.
- It's been cold and snowy and icy for much too long now. We've been cooped up in the house and I'm stir crazy. The sun finally came out today and that helped a bit. I've been finding myself eating more and dreaming of napping all day long. Actually, I'd probably be happy if the temperature got above 20 so we could go outside. (I even have snowpants!)
- Speaking of eating more, I'm so discouraged about my weight. I have gained about 25 pounds since moving in with my parents over 2 years ago. And we eat more healthy meals here than I ever used to make for myself. So what's the problem? I'm eating at night. Bad things, mostly peanut butter. I know it's horrible and I beat myself up about it daily. But I can't find the power within myself to stop.
- My best friend, Arista's mother died recently. She suffered through a long illness so it wasn't a surprise. It's made me think a great deal about my own parents and how precious our time is. I'm so grateful for every day. And at the same time, I'm depressed as hell.
- Lucian has hit the point in his language development where he questions everything. I mean, everything. Today he asked me how the sun came out. He wanted to know where all the cars on the road were going, specifically. And what's the name of the person who lives in that house there? A few weeks ago in church, he said loudly - Momma, where's God? I want to see him! I never thought that I'd be having religious discussions with a 3 year old.
- Which brings me to Nemo. Things are fine, in case you're wondering. Lucian has asked me where daddy's going when we leave Nemo's parents' house. I'm not ready to tackle it yet, but sooner or later he's going to ask about Nemo's house and how come he's never been there. Or why he's never been in his car, or anywhere unsupervised with him. I'm definitely feeling a little more trusting in Nemo than even a year ago. But not entirely. And as much as I like where things are at, I still see the lying scheming crazy person that was him and may still be there. As I said, I can't think about it.
- Before I get too obsessive compulsive, I'm going to go to bed. I've got a new Maeve Binchy book awaiting me, and I'm excited to dive in.
Saturday, February 02, 2008
Monday, December 31, 2007
He called out 3 or 4 times. So I went into his room and he asked me to pick him up, so I did. He hugged me tightly, and quietly whispered - I love you forever and ever.
I love you forever and ever too, my little man.
Monday, December 24, 2007
2003 - Four years ago tonight, I went to the Nemo family Christmas Eve party, came home, and cried myself to sleep. (cried about the babies that I did not have)
2004 - Three years ago tonight, Lucian and I went to the Nemo family Christmas Eve party, came home, and both cried ourselves to sleep. (I cried about my husband being MIA, although he was at the party, and the fact that I couldn't get him to commit to attending my family Christmas. Lucian cried because he was less than 4 weeks old and colicky.)
Do you see a pattern here?
I was not invited to the Christmas party in 2005, and in 2006 I invited myself, but was sick with bronchitis. I also invited myself this year.
Before Lucian and I left tonight, I was having a small anxiety attack. That's what going into hostile territory tends to do to me. :-)
Everything went fine. Even though the whole time I was counting the minutes until we could leave, it was bearable. Thankfully there was no drama this year, and my inner peace (and one nice anti-anxiety pill) kept me in control.
So in breaking tradition, I'm happy to report that Christmas Eve 2007, I went to the Nemo family Christmas party, came home, put my son to bed, and fell asleep with no tears.
note: just in case you were wondering what happened to Christmas Eve 2002, we were at Nemo's family house in Europe. We flew in that day, and my internal clock was so messed up that I was up until 4 am. I didn't cry that year, but since I had had my first IVF fail 2 weeks before, I was pretty dried up.
It was a fun wedding and even though I'm not feeling particularly good about my body image lately, I got lots of comments on my new short hair (that my Mom cut!! shhhh!) and my new glasses that were a big step for me in a much edgier direction (and I love the change!) I wore a maternity outfit (see that's how big I've gotten!) and I got compliments on it too. I got hit on by a 26 year old so all in all it was a good night.
But it got me thinking about if I were to ever get married again. And while I don't feel much more datable than I did a year ago, I've come far in many other ways. For one, my relationship with Nemo. My friend's ex-husband was understandably absent, but I realized that if it had been my wedding, I'd have invited Nemo. I haven't forgiven him completely, but nearly. We have dinner together (with Lucian and my family) at least once a week. We're nowhere near being best friends, but I'm content with our interactions. And even though I still have anxiety about the future, it no longer consumes me.
I left the wedding feeling good about the path that I've chosen. I'm so glad that I've been working towards forgiveness. I don't regret a single moment where I've put my son first. I'm still not ready to start dating, but I feel hopeful that life is going to work out the way that it should.
Moment by moment, I'm happy. It's when I think of the past or the future that I get anxious. (I try to stay in the present as much as possible.) Leaving this wedding, the strangest sensation came over me: I saw a glimmer of peace waiting for me down the road. I've tried to remain hopeful throughout the past three years but I haven't succeeded nearly as much with hopefulness as I have with forgiveness.
Until now, and it feels pretty darn good.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Because I'd really like to post this rather than have it sit as a draft, here's a quick summary.
1. Lucian just celebrated his 3rd birthday. I could start a complete blog just about him and all the charming and wonderful things he does. He also challenges me constantly, and at the end of the day, I'm worn out.
2. I have a new "niece" courtesy of my friend Arista. I am enjoying this baby as I have no other. Before Lucian, I was depressed about babies. With Lucian, I enjoyed every moment, but I was also going through other emotional issues (to say the least!) And now, I'm at a place where I'm comfortable around babies, and able to love like I wasn't before. I still take pregnancy news hard. Maybe that will always be hard for me. But I've come so far.
3. My on-line e bay business is going well. Not enough yet to continue doing it for years, but enough for the time being. I believe if I had the right product, I could sell it. Right now it's perfect because it allows me to have a flexible schedule, even if it's unpredictable and exhausting.
4. Nemo has had some serious health problems lately. Serious enough that he was in the hospital for Thanksgiving, which resulted in Lucian and I staying home and having pizza for dinner. It was really one of my favorite Thanksgivings ever. I am worried about Nemo. I don't want to sound hard. I know it sounds terrible that I had a great Thanksgiving while Nemo was in the hospital. I feel bad even writing it.
5. I've gained weight in the past 6 months, my blood sugars are bordering on fair to poor and I feel pretty blah about myself. My mental health has been stable at a place that I feel good about.
So that's it in a nutshell. Nothing exciting, but I'm okay with that. I'll be back later with more. Promise!
Friday, September 07, 2007
Parts of it were hard for me though. So those are the parts that I'm going to write about! I hope that no one (including my sister if she were to ever come across this blog) would ever think that there was anything in my heart other than love and joy. I truly am happy and thrilled for her.
So after that disclaimer, back to me!
I had a mini-meltdown at the rehearsal dinner. I arrived early (even had Nemo get off work early), and we waited in the hot church for over an hour before everyone arrived. Nothing makes me madder than having to hold up everything for late-comers. I was tired, anxious, hot, and annoyed. I had told Nemo that I was going to pick Lucian up at a certain time, and the longer we waited, the more anxious I got. In the end, I only had to miss the dessert at the restaurant (which is really a good thing!) I guess I panicked for nothing. Is there ever a real reason to panic?
The wedding day was over 90 degrees, and extremely humid. It wasn't until we had walked down the aisle, were sitting down (with me as matron of honor on the altar), that I started to have flashbacks of my own wedding. The priest started talking about how my sister and new husband now have an everlasting bond, how marriage is greater than any one person, and how they'll be sticking through bad times as well as good. (I'm paraphrasing here, certainly not as eloquent as the priest was).
All of a sudden, it all came back to me. I could see myself and Nemo on the altar promising the same things, the same naivete in our eyes. How he held my hand and smiled at me. I almost lost it. Tears started coming. I couldn't breathe. The air conditioning wasn't working well and I could feel the sweat running down my back and the makeup running off my forehead. I had to take deep breaths because I thought I was going to start sobbing.
Finally, before I had to stand up and face the congregation (because up until then, we had been sitting facing the altar) I found my focus. I had to tune everything out, to pretend that I was somewhere else. It was the only way I could get through it.
Luckily right after the wedding, I had an appointment with my therapist. I wasn't able to see it clearly until after meeting with her, but I realized that not only do I feel like I was betrayed by Nemo, I'm a bit resentful of the church. The day I got married, I committed myself to one person for all of eternity - I meant it. But when your spouse abandons you physically, emotionally and financially, you have to make some decisions. Decisions that I don't think the church would like to hear.
I never wanted to hear what the church would say to me, because I'm sure they'd have advised me to stay in my marriage at any cost (because I wasn't being physically abused) to myself or my child. And it's not like I live my life by the Catholic Church. I believe in fertility treatments, gay marriage, a woman's right to choose, birth control, women priests, and probably a whole host of other issues that the church takes a stand on. Basically, I feel that I have no right to tell you abortion is right or wrong, that you should or should not have pre-marital sex, that you should or should not have fertility treatments. I especially feel that (mostly) old men should not get to decide what each individual should get to decide for him or herself.
So why do I feel so let down by the Catholic Church? I've never even personally addressed my situation with anyone there. I guess I just felt abandoned. I'm sure that there are others who have felt displaced also (just off the top of my head: homosexuals, couples who have used fertility treatments, women who have had abortions, couples who use birth control, etc).
Back to the wedding: I had to give a toast and I couldn't seem to come up with anything beforehand. My sister does not understand my sense of humor very well, and I was worried that I would unintentionally offend her. Amazingly, I was pretty calm about getting up and speaking in front of everyone. I kept it brief and from the heart and I ended up getting many compliments as the night wore on. Even my sister, who was a bit (how do I say it nice?) disenchanted with the best man's speech.
I was able to spend time with friends and family, especially ones that came from far away. It's always great to reconnect with people.
I was very happy with how my hair turned out - check out my pictures. My dress was comfortable, but hot. One of the bust seams ripped right before we walked into the reception - luckily my aunt was able to pin it back together for me just in time.
I'm mostly relieved that it's over, and glad that was a success, and that my sister is happy in her new life.
Now if I can just figure out how to be happy in mine....