Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tuesdays with Jellybean Mama

I had played through the scenario in my head many, many times. Different versions, different angles. Different locations. His parents’ reaction upon discovering they had a grandchild they did not know about. In my head, of course, it was always like a Hollywood movie. Their house was always spotlessly clean. Jellybean was always clean. My hair was brushed, and I was wearing something other than yoga pants for once. For some reason the TV wasn’t blaring, and there were fresh flowers on the table. No one was fighting, and they were unexpectedly at home when we showed up on their doorstep.

I don’t know why this time was different. What in the scenario had changed. For some reason I was thinking about his sister. Maybe meeting her for lunch, and how nice that would be, for Jelly to see her Aunt R, another real flesh-and-blood local relative. And then I was thinking no, that would not be nice. That would be an immense burden. She would probably call and want to see Jenny, and I would be busy, or she would want to go someplace awful where I wouldn’t want to go, or she would make me drive all the way out to see her and it would be horribly inconvenient. She would be obnoxious, and I would be irritated, because that’s how R. is, and that’s the reality of family.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my family. But that’s how family is. You love them because you have to, and sometimes, if you’re lucky, you can be friends with them and also like them. I am lucky, because I do like several members of my family. In fact, I’m very excited that I just booked the Easter trip to Cincinnati again this year, largely because Jelly has talked about NOTHING ELSE for ten months straight, but also because I adore the Cincinnati cousins so much. They’re good people. Hilarious, sarcastic, and take-no-crap. That’s what I come from. No shock there. My Cousin J, Jelly’s substitute local aunt, is another great example of all those things.


As soon as I had that thought, that whole ‘I really would not want to hang out with Quiet’s sister after all’ thought, this huge weight lifted from my shoulders. I kid you not, the car swerved a little bit. Honestly, I don’t know why I had never thought about it from that perspective before. That it wasn’t just my family that sometimes might be a teensy bit annoying. That his family wouldn’t be all fresh baked cookies and smiles and hugs and extra presents at Christmas. Family means obligations and burdens, and doing things you don’t want to do. Family is inconvenience. And especially now, at a time when I’m getting ready to potentially move to Canada? Can you imagine what this would be like if there were all this other family in Jellybean’s life and I had to tell them? It would be horrible. Omg, I would never hear the end of it. It would be awful for them, it would be awful for her. It’s hard enough with The Ta. Just the thought of it is exhausting. How grateful am I at having avoided THAT?!

I don’t know if that’s part of what he had the foresight to avoid, or if it really was just for his own self-preservation; either way, I’m just glad that now I can finally, if not fully, let go of it (because there’s always going to be a little bit of the ‘what if’). But I don’t think there’s going to be that crushing heartsick pain of it that I’ve carried for such an embarrassingly long time. Which is good, because that means I’ll be better prepared when Jenny starts to ask the tough questions. I wish I could have come to it sooner than, you know, FOUR YEARS into it, but to have come to it at all I guess is good. Like, before she was 18. And now I can worry about more important things. How to knock down that kid at soccer without getting caught. I mean, what the heck I’m making for dinner.

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

I'm sure you know how I feel about local family right now. Bunch of assholes... er, loving cousins that provide insights.

You know, just because you knew him doesn't mean his contribution to your darling daughter was more significant to ordered Frozen Pop. All that she is, other than the 50% he delivered biologically, is your accomplishment.

As for soccer kid... E is small and quick. That's all I'm saying.