Monday, November 29, 2004

Family Differences

Jason and I went to Chicago for Thanksgiving and had a delightful time. I really love spending time with his side of the family. They are all so...normal. On the way home, I asked him, "What is it about your extended family that's so different than mine?" He said, "They are happy." Bingo. He pinned his finger on it. I grew up thinking that I was from the All-American Family Clan. As I got older, something started not sitting well at family gatherings and visits. Then I went through a few years of counseling, medication and deep probing into my family history. I came to realize that when alcoholism and depression sink their teeth into a family system, they really sink their teeth into a couple generations of family systems. I guess the Bible is right about the sins of the father being visited on the son.

It's just weird being with a family who say what they mean and mean what they say. I grew so adept at "reading between the lines" my whole life, it still throws me for a loop. Like, for instance, Jason's family had a big family reunion this summer in Colorado. Jason and I were pretty much the only ones that didn't come (although I drew a huge cartoon family portrait for the event, which kinda redeemed us.) I was just so morning sick, and I couldn't have gone horseback riding or whitewater rafting anyway. We just stayed home. At Thanksgiving, his grandma said, "We wish you could have come to the reunion. You were the only ones not there, and we missed you." So immediately, my brain jumps into Read Between The Lines mode. What did Grandma mean? Is she trying to make me feel guilty? Are we awful grandchildren? Were people talking about us?

Then I realized that she was simply saying, "We missed you." That was it. Hmmmmm. Guess I still have some more inner work to do.

We went bowling on Thanksgiving Day, which I thought was cool. Jason was anxious because of the weight of the bowling ball, but I assured him I was fine. He was still skeptical and made me get one of the lightest balls, which, as any bowler knows, suck. Jason is already slipping into a protective parent state. He's always been that way about our animals, and usually decides they need to go to the vet before I do. I'm sure there will be many many trips to the pediatrician.

He might have been right this time, though. I have had a really great pregnancy so far. (In fact, Jason said, "You're going to be one of those women who likes being pregnant all the time, aren't you?" Probably, but with my history, we'll see about that.) The only downside has been morning sickness, but I have gained minimal extra pounds, had no backaches, slept well and kept my energy level up. But over the holiday, my legs started to hurt. I started propping them up whenever I could, and I don't think bowling helped. (They are okay now.)

I have also started feeling very vulnerable. On the way to Chicago, I had some Braxton Hicks. We got stuck in many traffic jams buried in snow all through Illinois. Several times, I felt panicked. What if I went into preterm labor? What if we are stuck in the snow? What if an ambulance can't get me to the hospital? I have also started really thinking about pushing this baby out. Out a very small hole. What if I'm not strong enough or her head is too big? It's not pain that I fear, it's the unknown. (I've decided that I am definitely getting an enema beforehand, though. I can at least prevent myself from pooping during labor. Sorry for the graphic imagery.)

Hmmmm. A bit of a long post. Oh well. Suck it up.


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