Archive for July, 2015

The Value of Potential Lives

The Value of Potential Lives.

Planned Parenthood and the Jesuits – Crisis Magazine

Planned Parenthood and the Jesuits – Crisis Magazine.

So, you think your life is interesting – Families

It seems we are putting in more and more effort these days trying to distance ourselves from anyone and anything – or, should that be everyone and everything? – that we are now ill-equipped to do anything at all but the ordinary, mundane, routine. Unfortunately for this strategy of political correctness, “life” is bigger than us and seems to take great delight in upsetting our plans. But, we no longer have the tools to cope with real issues; instead of putting on a raincoat, or grabbing an umbrella, we turn around and go back inside.

Ironically, all the latest and greatest technology is making data more accessible – more data, faster – and making our fellows more inaccessible. We no longer know how to converse with each other. Not the idiotic prattle that is the grist of the social media; but topics of substance.

But, there are opportunities to connect, if we want to take advantage of them. And so, one way to look at the birth of the Twins could be as a chance to easily come together. For those of us (in my family) who need a reason to try to move closer, rather than find excuses to move further apart, it would seem to me that a birth, rather than a death is a very comfortable venue. Nothing threatening, like a funeral – what do you say about someone you don’t know at all well, to someone you don’t know at all well? However, babies!

So, the reaction of my family – mother, two brothers, a sister and a female cousin – of my recent “life event” caught me by surprise. For that matter, the reactions of co-workers and prayer group members also left me scratching my head.

First, the co-workers. Two co-workers drove an hour from their homes to ours to visit. And, being roughly my age, they even brought gifts – something that is, in itself, unusual in this day and age. One co-worker, worked the night shift, grabbed a couple of hours of sleep, made the visit, fed the twins, went back home, some more sleep, then back to work (these are twelve-hour shifts, by the way). The other coworker came with his wife, they spent about three hours feeding and changing and holding. That’s the good news; it’s all downhill from here.

At the usual Friday Night meeting (last week), I specifically told my prayer group to come by and hold babies. That was a week ago. And that’s the end of that story.

My wife, who will return to her therapeutic message business next month, had three clients stop by while she was in the hospital recovering. One came with his six-year old daughter, but clearly didn’t know what to say (but he came, and with a delicious chocolate cake, I might add). Another came with flowers and stayed and talked. Another came three times, and even went to the airport to pick up my mother-in-law who flew in from overseas. These people I met for the first time, they couldn’t have been nicer.

The cousin texted that, while she and her husband wanted to come and visit while “we” were in the hospital, said that she had a migraine. That was three weeks ago. Well, at least she said she wanted to come.

I’ve heard nothing from one brother, tho his wife did send an email asking for photos.

I did get an email from another brother, whose wife has since had a double transplant (pancreas and kidney, yeah: diabetes). Kudos, everything considered. (I presume my sister-in-law is “doing fine,” though even with my mother and sister on-site – and Salt Lake City is not just down the road from Seattle – I have no information. Yes, I have specifically asked.)

My sister, who lives all of a mile away…. Well, I should stop there.

My mother – the grandmother of my kids …. Well, I should stop there.

My point is not to throw stones at anyone, even if it is my family that should be running for cover. My point is that it seems to me that a birth would be a great opportunity for what is obviously a very dysfunctional family. A great opportunity to find an answer to the ever-gnawing question of “what can we do, what can we say, to what, bury the hatchet, mend the fence/bridge???” Obviously, the question has been gnawing only in me.

Someday, there will be a funeral; statistically, it will be my mother’s, of course. And, my two brothers and one sister and I will gather together and not be able to say anything at all to each other, no matter how infinitesimal, no matter how trivial, no matter how forgettable.

Yes, it is true I should be saying all this to my family. Yes, it is true I am saying none of it to my family. My wife, who does read my blog, and I have already talked.

No, I am not desperate.

I will continue to look for opportunities to try to re-establish channels of communication. I will try to find little topics of conversation with which to engage my reticent relations (no matter how trivial or forgettable – a case of something is better than nothing). But, the big reason I am not caught up in the throes of desperation is that I have two, very new, very blank slates in my household.

As I told my wife, just the other day, I don’t remember feeling so full of joy, so full of hope.

So, you think your life is interesting – They’re here

Yep, that unforgettable quote is from Poltergeist; but in my case it refers to the (early) arrival of the long-awaited Twins.  Keeping in mind that I have been the bystander (not completely innocent, y’unnerstan?), it was a long 37 weeks – for twins, apparently a full-term pregnancy – for my wife, not a minute too long.

Our son was born at 11:52 pm, and his sister came into this world two minutes later; shortly after 7 am the next morning, the surgeon came to NICU (neo-natal intensive care unit) to tell me that my wife was in ICU (the adult version of NICU), was recovering, and would be awake in about five hours.

Yep, the delivery was anything (and everything) but uneventful.

However, here we are, three weeks later, and all are doing well.

I am back at The Job, which, as you know, I detest (but, um, with two more mouths to feed, retirement got pushed back (off the plate, off the table, out the door, etc.).  However, I can’t remember ever being this happy.

I have a lot to say – i.e., process – in the aftermath of this Life Event; but I wanted to focus on just their birth, and not taint this posting with the incredible diversity of how people in my life have reacted.  Really, quite the unexpected education.

Lots more to say … next time.

ciao