Archive for the ‘parenting’ Category

On Inlaws

2014-07-16

We are rapidly approaching our trip to Tennessee to see my Mom, Sister, Aunts, and other relatives. It’s times like these that I am reminded just how different my and my wife’s family are from one another. I grew up in a household where any objections to a particular action was a gauntlet thrown down for a verbal duel. No only means no when you’ve reiterated it at least five times and after being told at least four different ways your objections could be overcome. This was certainly how wife’s family operates. I think this often means my family is seen as pushy and argumentative. My wife is frequently telling me “do you have to argue everything to death?!”

The fact that I see that as a good and actually enjoyable thing further iterates this the environment I was raised in. I’m not saying it’s right or wrong but it is family. My wife’s family and likely her culture (she’s Norwegian) couldn’t be further from my own. I won’t be as presumptuous as to describe how I think her family is because I wasn’t raised in that environment. It would only be dime store psychiatry for me to do so. I will say only say that based on what I’ve experienced everyone spends an enormous amount of energy trying to anticipate what everybody else really wants but is too modest or shy to say. Reading between the lines isn’t a hobby it is a full time job. I apologize in advance to my wife if I’m completely off base but it is my perception.

This trip is making me nervous. My Mother’s suggestion of buying denim shorts was countered with my explaining how his Michelin Man Vanilla Tootsie Roll legs need more stretchable material. That was promptly foiled by an explanation from my Mom of how we could get them just big enough that his thighs would be OK. That was enough to get the exasperated hand throwing in the air from my wife. After the call I was lectured by my wife about how my Mother never knows when to take no for an answer and how she feels she’ll really have to set some boundaries with my family.

I don’t disparage my wife for feeling this way. I really don’t. I don’t think she’s being unreasonable. I just think she’s different and realize she was raised In a different family environment. Not better, not worse, just different. I don’t think my Mom was being unreasonable or different either. She was just being Mom.

When my wife asked me if I would support her “boundary setting” I responded with a definite yes, That’s my job as her husband. She’s the Mother of my child and my role is to support her whether I understand these “offenses” or not. I trust my wife and her instincts. Could it cause friction with my own family? Yes. But I have confidence in my ability to handle it if it arises. I have confidence in my family also to accept my wife’s parenting style. Above all else I have confidence in my wife that she will always do what she believes in her heart is the absolute right thing to do with our child even if I don’t understand how denim shorts could be such big deal.

Breaking Good

2013-06-05

We’re pregnant. Somehow, some way, it happened.

I thought I was getting a Garmin.

When I got home from work my wife met me at the door with the dog on its leash (as is our custom) and as I took the leash she said she had something that would brighten my day. I thought she was talking about the dinner she was making. When I got back from walking the dog there was a gift box on the table. She said she got me something. She said she she knew we couldn’t afford it right now but I had asked for one and so she had to get it for me. COOL! She got me a Garmin to track my runs. Or maybe a heart rate monitor? Maybe a new video game?

No. It was a baby onesie. She said when I opened the box there was no expression at all on my face for at least two minutes. Underneath the onesie was a positive pregnancy test. She said after those long two minutes my shoulders just started to convulse. Tears welled up in my eyes. I couldn’t believe it. We’re pregnant. Years of trying and thousands of dollars and we finally did it.

To say my emotions were mixed would be an understatement. My intense joy was peppered with abject terror. We had survived a miscarriage only 1 1/2 years earlier. The emotional toll was heavy and cut deep. Now here I was being told that after a long uphill battle we were pregnant. My only emotion should have been unadulterated bliss. But I can’t forget.

I am joyful and thankful for this blessing. It would be ungrateful and unfair not be filled with happiness. Our new child doesn’t deserve for us not to be happy. We owe that child as much joy as the one we lost. Certainly the immediate reaction included a heaping dose of fear. A degree of caution and concern is warranted. My wife’s medical condition puts her in a high risk category.

I am happy. And scared. And hopeful. I am making the conscious decision to be positive. I am deciding to think of the future and the joy and love we’ll give this child. I am thinking of games we’ll play like pirates, spaceship explorer, zombie survivors, and my current favorite “drive mommy crazy game”. I’m thinking of how different Christmas and Easter will be. I’m thinking of being able to show him/her how to see the good in people. I’m thinking of the every day things that are a reflection of God’s love. I’m thinking of all of these things. But down deep there is still part of me thinking of the very special angel in heaven who is watching over our new child.