P’s Mother Changes Her Mind

Text message from P:

My mum phoned to say she has come to terms with me and you and to say she is glad I’m happy and to tell you that you’re lovely.

I don’t know how I feel. ~ It’s been a while since I posted. A lot has happened and is still going on.

  • I’m going to be an uncle and I’m so terribly excited. I was told first, before anyone else from either family. I guessed that my sister was having a girl. When asked, I predicted she’ll be born November 2nd, a few days past her Oct 29th due date.
  • I have exams right now. I haven’t slept a lot. My routine has been: write exam, nap for 2-3 hours after an exam, then all night study, then nap for 2 hours a few hours before an exam, study some more, write exam, repeat.
  • P woke me 1 hour after texting the above. I thought it was 7:30am.
  • I’m going to Melbourne after exams. I’ve never been. I’m so keen.
  • I’ve been running more. I ran a 12km race last month, I’m doing a 14km race soon, and I have the half marathon in August.
  • I’m thinking about joining the armed forces for a career as a medical professional after graduation.

~ With that out of the way, I have no idea how I feel. Writing things out helps me to figure it out, to process. I’m happy that P’s relationship with his mother is better. I feel no closer to his mother. From my perspective, she met me, was nice, then decided she wasn’t comfortable with us, barely spoke to me for the entire 2 months she was here, then changed her mind 3 months later. It feels patronising, like after much consideration, she’s finally condescended to say, “Fine. I approve.” Either that, or like a child, announcing from the top of the stairs that, “I change my mind! We can do what you want. I’ll come play with you.” I wonder if his father had words to her, and said something like, “Stop being stupid because if they have children, you could never meet them.” In my state of fatigue (10 hours over 3 days, not counting that great nap just now), I will say it’s entirely possible. But realistically, I like to think I wouldn’t be so cruel once less sleep-deprived. Besides, I’d want their help with the babies. I know we would be unlikely to get help from my parents. A few months ago, I rang my mum all frustrated because my dad was telling me that I could live my life how I wanted, but his actions contradicted it. Why ask if you can fly back in August and how long you can stay if you’ve already bought tickets?! I not so subtly hinted that 1) I was dating someone and 2) they would probably have objections. My mum said, “Well if he doesn’t share our faith, then I can’t support that. I have to align myself with our faith.” I said I understood. And I do. I can’t and won’t ask her to compromise her beliefs for me like I did for P. Back to P’s mum. After some consideration, I have some thoughts and questions.

  1. What changed her mind about us?
  2. I don’t feel like being friendly to you. Why should I? Also, why, should I?
  3. I want her to say something to me personally, not via P. Apology for being rude by proxy is not acceptable.
  4. What does this mean for the future?
  5. How will changing her mind impact her interaction with me/us?
  6. Can I expect her to be more than polite, maybe solicitous?
  7. I should probably respond to P’s text. It just has a “Read on …” receipt right now. What else should I say aside from, “Ok. Thanks for the text.”? I don’t want to condone her behaviour as it could set a precedent/tone for the rest of my relationship with her.
  8. Re #3: I don’t know if she actually apologised for being a rude cow. Barely talking to someone, like your son’s partner, is rude even if you’re civil.

I feel less confused, but I don’t think I’ve completely nailed down how I feel. I’m hungry. I wish KFC still had that deal of 9 pieces for $9.95 still going. I want to have a workout. I feel so unfit. That actually reflects my inner conflict quite well.

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The C Word: Children

My parents always made sure we ate dinner together since we were little. It was a time when everyone at the table had a chance to share what had happened that day. It was probably mundane and dull for them, but those experiences added up to a certain kind of closeness. In a family with four children with 6 years between the oldest and youngest (poor Mum), a variety of personalities, and different activities (again, poor Mum who drove us around!)… it was actually quite nice, looking back. Now, two of my siblings are married, with the third wedding scheduled for this summer.

This wedding and naturally, conjecture as to who would be the first to produce a grandchild has been on my mind of late. I mean, really, with uni on and my dad here, it’s not like I have much to talk about. (Discussion of autonomy in my life with my parents alive is a wholly different post.) So, grandchildren. I posited the first child would come from L&C, whose wedding will be this summer. One sibling is frightened of episiotomies and tearing, and the other has career constraints. I have accepted the opinion that there is no good time to get married and/or have babies.

Something of note was the topic progression at dinner. Mind you, just me and Dad. So, it goes: siblings -> wedding -> married siblings -> grandchildren -> my status as unmarried -> grandchildren (again) -> grandparents -> desired number of grandchildren -> realistic number of grandchildren -> age -> mutagens that affect eggs -> age to have children -> relatives without children -> adoption -> surrogacy -> Bertold Weisner: a scientist who replaced sperm samples with his own and fathered approximately 600 children.

Right. That’s not awkward.

Yes it is.

~

P knows I want children. I love kids. I will readily admit I am clucky. I have some babysitting experience with a range of ages, from barely out of diapers to about year 6. I’d like to think I’ve seen not just the pleasant afternoon visit side of them, but the snotty, wailing, peeing-themselves side too. I know that while I don’t quite have rose-coloured glasses on, there’s still more I have yet to see and experience.

But there aren’t any prerequisites to having babies, aside from introducing an egg to sperm. I mean, just look at all the teenage girls who pop them out easy as anything! Case in point, one girl in my friend R’s graduating year who said,

“Oh, I’m not going to uni, I’m going to have a baby and go on the dole.”

Lovely. I would like to say I do support socialised medicine, I just don’t support entitlement and taking advantage of the system.

Despite my cynicism and frustration, I want kids. I’ve said it to P before. P said, “Why do you want kids? They’re just a prop for you, an accessory.” Paring away the prickles of the question, what are my reasons for having children? I didn’t and don’t actually have an answer.

  • It’s not to give my parents grandchildren (though free babysitting would be nice.)
  • It’s not so that I won’t have to go into a nursing home when I’m grey and wrinkly (though that’s not a guarantee anymore.)
  • It’s not for social acceptance.

What about the reasons do I have? They are small and fragile. Some people would readily interject, “That’s stupid. You’re being selfish. You have unresolved issues.”

But so what? Why can’t my answer be: “because I want to”?  Who ever said you needed approval from a selection panel made up of all and sundry to procreate? This isn’t defending a PhD thesis.

I don’t have original rationale for why I want babies. P doesn’t even want children. It could be a deal-breaker for us. I know P likes children. I mean, hello, if P didn’t, P wouldn’t have a job! But working with children and having children are completely different. This will have to be a discussion, probably spread over multiple occasions. Just having the discussion isn’t enough. There must be logical and pragmatic conclusions.

I wonder if there’s a handbook or something out there. Probably.

Bedtime, ahoy!

Pre-Wedding Madness

Seriously. The two of them wind each other up. He said, she said.

Dad has disowned her, according to the 29 year old. He threw the antenna down on the floor, and hit her first.

She is a big bully, he says. She doesn’t respect her parents.

For fuck’s sake. The two of you need to grow up and move on. But no, you two are big drama queens. It makes high school me look like a sedate wall-flower.

 

Background Basics

29 got engaged a whole year before 27.

27 got engaged in May and says she wants to get married the weekend before 29 (August 19th) because

  • her fiance’s brother X is away on vacation in Chicago
  • her fiance’s sister K will be flying out to teach English in Korea or somewhere
  • It’s a good time because Uncle R and Aunt L are in town from Hong Kong, and I will be too

I asked 27 what the rush is, there’s no reply. Whatever.

Apparently 29 flew off handle when she heard what 27 wanted. To be fair, 29 didn’t need the distraction before her licensing exams. But I could tell she was furious in the email she sent.

I was not happy to be in the situation of having to choose sides. If I agreed to go to 27’s wedding, then I would be condoning it. But am I really meant to not go to her wedding, despite the fact that I don’t know her fiance after 10 years?  Mum said, “We can’t even dislike him because we don’t know him.”

I emailed them both and said I wasn’t happy with the situation I’d been placed in. But I told 27 I’d go to her wedding.

I was stressed out, Mum and Dad were stressed out. I presume 25 was too. I told Mum and Dad to lay down the law, as parents, and tell them they were to attend each others weddings, take a couple photos, then fuck off to wherever the hell they wanted. I expected they’d done it.

 

Friday, 29 returned in surprisingly good spirits and was talking to me again. Dad came later and it was all going well. Then Saturday night, it came to light that 29 hadn’t had 27’s wedding date confirmed. 29 didn’t really expect that Dad would be able to convince 27 to have hers after 29’s wedding, but blew up nonetheless over being uninformed. She’s furious still.

Then I came back from work on Monday and apparently 29 and Dad had come to physical blows over the TV.

Jeez they’re childish.

I just want to drive over to P’s and be quiet.