Several weekends ago Mark had his group of employees who he supervises over with their significant others. I initially dreaded it, so we argued about it. Mark was like, “To be successful in my career, I’ll have to be social.” And then I tried to name all of the antisocial people we know who I view as having achieved career success, but I lost the argument, and they came over, and it ended up being okay.
Of course, no one mentioned Matthew, which I’d expected, but this made me sad nonetheless. However, a couple of days after the dinner, Mark told me about a conversation he had with one of our houseguests…
Houseguest (points to a picture of Matthew in a frame containing pictures of both Matthew and Joel) – I really like that picture.
Mark (assuming he’s referring to the picture of Joel) – Oh, thanks. That’s actually Joel’s brother…
Houseguest – I know.
Upon hearing of this conversation I burst into tears and drew a hot bath and just soaked in it, crying. I’m so happy someone admired a picture of Matthew, but I just wish there more of them to admire… Ones of him 19 months old and living.
I cuss, but I try not to do it around Joel. I don’t want to have a stick up my ass about it, but I also don’t want Joel’s first work to be shit or damn, and I don’t want him to someday be the one teaching other kids these words on the playground (though I’m obviously aware that there are worse tragedies in life for eff sake). But I’m not too careful because Joel can’t yet understand words, at least not many of them. When I slip up, Mark gets unnecessarily worried, but then we googled and confirmed that babies indeed don’t pick up on most words until later, so I’m good for now… I inherited my propensity to cuss from my dad, so he obviously laughs at Mark’s uptightness on this subject, so then my dad thought it might be amusing to get Mark riled up and was like, “When Christine was like two or three, she was in the grocery store in front of a crowd of people, and her brother knocked something off of a shelf, and she screamed at him, ‘STOP IT YOU LITTLE FUCKER!!!’” Hehe.
So Joel likes to poop while he’s sitting in his highchair (the one he’s always pictured in on Instagram), and when he does it he grunts, and his face turns bright red, and IBS Grandma (when she’s in town) stands across the kitchen and grunts back at him. It’s really quite something.
The other day I saw my doctor, and she made some reference to the future, and I was like, “If I’m ever pregnant again, I might go equally crazy – like it won’t be ANY easier for me (or for you), and in some ways it will actually be worse for me (and for you)…” And she was like, “Well, you’re going to be getting so much better care than all those other women (the general population)…” basically acknowledging that the standard of care in the United States amounts to just accepting that one in 160 babies will die. I mean, I know not all of these deaths can be prevented, but I also don’t understand why, in obstetrics, everyone’s just okay with these not-so-great statistics, and virtually no efforts are made to save more babies… I recently asked my pediatrician about the risks of vaccines (we vaccinated, but I’m paranoid, so I had to do my due diligence and throw the question out there), and he explained, “Don’t worry – there used to be something like a one in 2,500,000 chance that the polio vaccine would have an adverse effect, but this isn’t even true anymore… The medical profession doesn’t mess around when it comes to babies’ lives.” And all I could think was, “Yes, yes it does.”
My friend Nora wrote this post, and I read it about 15 times, and it’s so beautiful and accurate is describing this life after loss.
Joel was born with the right side of his head looking kind of flat, and then, because he slept on his back, his head would roll to this side, so the spot got a little worse, but then we gave him a lot of tummy time and his head grew, and it improved, but we still went to get his head evaluated to see if he needs a helmet, but they said his head has a normal amount of asymmetry, which is good to know.
I’ve been watching The Bachelor, and I kind of love Corrine even though she’s the season’s super villain. I love all of her funny faces and quotes, especially, “I have a heart of gold, but my vageen is platinum.”
On Wednesday, right before Emily was about to leave, Joel grabbed her hair, and, in the process, ripped her earring off. And then she, my dad, and I spent like 30 minutes trying to find it, but we never did. Finally, Emily left, and my mind started racing, and I convinced myself that because we couldn’t find the earring, Joel had definitely swallowed it. I started googling “baby swallowed earring,” and I contemplated how it was probably perforating his insides, and I texted a bunch of friends, and I called Mark and my mom. My dad and I then experimented by taking a piece of frozen corn out of the freezer to see if it was even a possibility that he could have grabbed it and put it into his mouth, and it didn’t seem like it was, so then I had to confess my actual fear that the earring flew directly into Joel’s mouth (because I continue to assume the universe is conspiring against me). But then Emily texted to say she’d found it. Whew. Saved me from having to comb through some poop.
So those who read my blog have probably come to know and love my work friends, AB and JVB. This is sad for me to write, because they’ve both been so instrumental in saving my life, but, unbelievably, they aren’t friends (with each other) any longer, and when I say they aren’t friends any longer, I mean they are mortal enemies who’re treating each other really heinously. I want to tell the story, but I’m not sure if I should (or how I would), but it involves the corporate Christmas party (don’t these things always?!), cyber-stalking/bullying by way of a fictitious Facebook profile, talk of a restraining order, company higher ups, our human resources department, a male vendor, a mysterious package (not the male vendor’s, rather one of the Christmas gift genre), multiple allegations of infidelity, and more. And each one is claiming to me that the other is a sociopath and a pathological liar… In my mind, I’m chanting, “Jer-rey, Jer-rey, Jer-rey!!!” And I’m beyond thankful to have such a distracting job. (These types of occurrences are commonplace around my office.) Hopefully I can maintain friendships with AB and JVB separately, but I’m also kind of nervous – fingers crossed that no one gets stabbed in the parking lot.
Yesterday we had a conference call about how to record our company tax liability, and we have some new operations on an island nation with its own separate tax code, so apparently I have to start dabbling in international tax accounting, and this will be pretty difficult for me to do considering I’ve lost a significant portion of my brain to grief.
Matthew’s headstone design came in the mail for us to approve, so, pretty soon, Matthew will have his headstone. It is so freaking crushing, and these things never really get easier.
Joel has laughed before, but in the last few days, he’s been sounding more and more like an adult when he laughs, which is super cute. I would have given anything to hear Matthew laugh.