I’ve not had near my fair share of misery in life, being gay and in Utah and all :-). But, on the topic of becoming a parent, I’m already well into self-indulgent territory, and I did mention a “setback.” This period of “expecting” contains some of our greatest joys, the indescribable sort that could make any challenge worth every bit, and by astronomical units. And Hey, I see a fellow blogger is going through one such time right now!
But there were those trials, for the eventual ends to soothe. I can’t really say the whole process was much more difficult in the area of building a family than it is for a great many couples, but it was the last time I actually sobbed (not cried though, those who know me will tell you I cry over my family, or sappy media too often :-)).
Something happened during this period that I can’t talk about in full in such a venue. Sadly, though, the incident’s only record is found roundabout in cold forms that certainly can’t give it near the proper weight from our perspective. I want to write it out, a bit, while I’m on the topic. It needs something more, and the kids, if they eventually read this, will understand in full.
We had what we now euphemistically refer to as a setback. We knew this could happen when we began our efforts to become parents. It wasn’t extraordinary. The occurrences around it were, in full, something greatly the odds in our particular case, but the single result that really hurt was not near enough uncommon for any couple hoping to become parents by any means. To only go through it once I should count ourselves as blessed.
I think I said before, in this period of our lives, it was as though everything hung in suspended animation, anticipation for parenthood. It did; everything was about her, him, or them, having no idea for whom we’d become parents. That was near all we thought about, all we talked about, all we read about and prepared for.
It seemed all was going well too, but then we got this call, and we were asked to come in and sit down. We were told where our world was focused there was next to no reason for hope. We were back to square one, just like that. Rob went to tears at the news, as was reasonable, but I didn’t. I knew, right then so clearly, I had the other job in this union; over the years I had taken on the role of the other sort of personality.
Thinking on it, it really is how I now react to any threat to my home, be it direct, person to person (or coyote to person :-)), or merely from an odd sound in the house at night. Without trying, I switch off emotionally and go on automatic, be it in either brainstorming solutions or meticulously hunting through the house. Sometimes though, that’s completely the wrong way of handling a problem, and, for those instances, I rely on Rob. It’s funny how, in a couple, certain jobs are there for the taking, no matter the couple’s makeup. Division of labor works well and, gay or no, people gravitate into the roles that best compliment the union. I have mine; Rob has his.
So that news hit me like a kick to the chest, but I put the feeling away, put my arm around Rob, and went into that now familiar mode. I looked up at the bearer of bad news, somberly shot off my questions, and took our notes. What exactly happened? What to do now? What’s best? How to avoid this? What next?…
After that we went for a long and needed walk across the Golden Gate Bridge. I’ll never forget that feeling: just the two of us, together and both far more down than we’d ever known the other to be. We were wounded and moving amongst those tourists. We were walking, and moving on from that loss, planning, regrouping, pushing and pulling each other back up. It was clear we were alone in that city at other’s reaction to the news, and that actually felt like a bit of perfection in the problem. We should be alone, in such an instance; the tourists and the joggers and even our friends shouldn’t touch it. We didn’t even call family until the next day. It was he and me, always R and me. There are potent times in a union when it’s as though you can’t feel yourself anymore; you feel as a couple, and this was one of those times. We didn’t even need to say it. I knew where he was and he knew me and we knew we’d repair and push on; I could feel it even then as substantively as I could sense him next to me in that cold fog on the Goled Gate Bridge.
But we got this piece of terrible information, telling us there was no hope left where near all our hopes were set, and I didn’t stop to feel the whole of it. My mind was, again, to fix it, to make sure all the details were handled. For our situation, I even needed to put on a smile and upbeat demeanor the very next day (if you’re reading this, boys, ask me about the flags; I'm sure time, by now, has made it a funny story). Anyway, we did fix it, to the extent it was possible. We picked up the salvageable pieces and put it all back together and started again the very next day. And it all worked out, and wonderfully, beautifully, miraculously, magnificently.
Still, this happened. It’s a part of us, a part I hardly ever talk about but it’s something I carry around with all the other extremes of our lives. It’s a low point I guess I want to carry around.
About two weeks after this all happened and parenthood was inevitable again and back on track, I was on the phone with a friend. I explained to her the events and she pushed the issue, poking into my feelings on the matter. I was philosophical about it; I diminished the event into "whatever will be will be", but she could tell I was blocking. She pushed until I broke into tears myself, finally. I had to swallow the emotion too soon and I finally let myself feel the event and it hurt and it was absolutely cathartic at once. Once Rob got home I found him and let it all go. We were okay, he was okay, the problem was as remedied as possible, and I finally realized I could give up. It’s good to keep some really pushy friends about :-).
Looking back on that day now, it really is strange how you can, after so many years, still miss something that was never there, never possible. It’s stranger still that I can be simultaneously and eternally grateful that we have had that “setback”. If not for that, we’d have suffered the even greater loss of where we are today. And, in a way, it feels worse that we’d never have known or felt it.
Humans are odd things…