“As much as you want to plan your life, it has a way of surprising you with unexpected things that will make you happier than you originally planned. That’s what you call God’s Will.” – Unknown
My friend Michele and I talked daily. Since I had crossed state lines, we found a discount phone company that offered us a really low rate. It was a pain to call a number, enter a code and then another number but it saved us a ton of money on a monthly basis. We talked about our families, our challenging relationships, our soap operas. We would get together every week or so with the kids so that they could play and we could chat. It was an easy relationship to have and I depended on her friendship. We could talk about anything.
One morning in early October we were chatting away and Michele shared that she thought she might be pregnant as she was a couple weeks late getting her period. This would be baby number four. We gabbed about babies for a few minutes when the wheels in my mind started churning… remembering prior talks… wait a minute. “Michele… I think the last time we spoke about this it was because we seemed to be on the same cycle… I remember laughing about it – that even through phone lines, our pheromones were in tune. “Michele” I cried, “If you are late – then so am I!!”
Just a handful of weeks ago Hubby and I had talked about having another baby. Frank was 12, Sara 3, and Erin 2. He really wanted to try and have a boy he could name after himself but I was pretty sure I was finished having children. It had been a hard couple of years with two only 16 months apart, an older child who was involved in activities, I was working part time out and part time at home for Hubby, and I had a household to manage. I attempted to keep up an appearance that I was maintaining it all and in control. In truth, many days it was simply too much. I never said no to anyone. I gave and gave and gave most days until I felt flat. I continued to believe that if I was unable to give to people what they needed / wanted from me, that I would be – could be dismissed. That belief ran just under my subconscious for more than a decade, only a few times bearing itself for all to be seen.
Generally, this stress manifested as if I was someone who had to be in control of all things. I eventually came to realize that I didn’t want to control anything, frankly I had more responsibility than I really wanted. It was the load of that however that made it necessary for me to manage MY life in a way that allowed me to feel emotionally and physically safe. It was always about generating a sense of safety for my own mind. After abandonment by both my mother and of course the death of Rocky…. I felt unsafe under a lot of layers. Obtaining control of my environment assisted my psyche with the idea that pain would not exist there. If a person was IN my space, then they were sucked into the ‘controlled circumstances’. Of course, I wasn’t able to touch those realizations back then and eloquently describe what was happening so instead, I was simply known as a ‘control freak’ and people internalized my intent. *sigh*
I recall one of the most intense arguments that Hubby and I had was over a simple question regarding a diaper bag. It was when Erin was about 14 – 25 months old and we were trying to get out of the house to go somewhere – his mom’s house maybe? He asked if there was anything he could do to help.
Great question – I appreciate that you offered, I think. I replied “Yes, you can pack the diaper bag”.
Considering we had carried a diaper bag with us now for almost three solid years, I believed it was a task of little effort. His reply:
“What do you want in it?”
In that moment, something snapped. Everything that was ‘too much’ came up – overflowing my being, through my eyes in the form of daggers, through my hands as I threw something, and through my mouth as I shouted unending obscenities at the highest decibel I had available.
“How is it possible that you don’t know the answer to that question?”
“WTF do you think goes in a diaper bag?”
And the insults continued to travel through the air from my overstimulated voice box throughout the house and probably through the walls into the universe.
Needless to say, my rage was not received well. This man who was my husband was only trying to help by making sure everything “I wanted” was in the bag. His intention was to be supportive and helpful but that’s not what I heard. I heard ‘do a little more work and tell me what to do. Keep this on your plate and describe to me step-by-step how to make your life better.’ Sadly, in that moment, if I was going to keep it on ‘my plate’ then explaining only made it worse. I could do it much faster and with less effort if I just did it myself. It was not one of my best moments. Nor did it turn out to be one of his…
The fight was ugly. He left, I stayed home. I honestly can’t remember how many, if any, or all of the children went with him. What I do know is that in this one argument, the energy of far too many elements had come flying from my inner self as if it had vomited relentlessly the essence of all the surly, fearful, and distressed thoughts I’d been accumulating for several years. It took a few days but we agreed to forgive one another and to keep moving forward. We should have taken stock of that moment right then but instead, we plowed along doing our day to day stuff that kept our ugly files tucked neatly in the very back of our mental cabinets.
So, here I was, talking with Michele and remembering the discussion I had with Hubby about more babies. I remember thinking that it wasn’t fair of me to make the decision based solely on how I felt, that as his partner, his wishes should also be a major consideration. I agreed to let God decide. We would stop all forms of birth control and see what happens for a year. I was 35 by then and would be in the category of high risk if we waited too much longer. Now, discussing biological processes with my girlfriend, I am realizing that nature took its course quite quickly. Michele and I were both going to have baby number four. Our due dates were two weeks apart.