April 24, 2011

Wall Space

I was feeling kind of down yesterday.  I think the combination of dropping a lot of cash at the auto repair shop and then going out and doing some errands, only to see "Happy Mother's Day!" plastered just about everywhere, really made me sad.  The fact that people were rushing around buying things for their Easter Sunday meal or gathering really didn't bother me.  It was never a significant holiday in my life.  The other one, the "Mother" (haha) of all acknowledgement days, well that's another story.

This year's holiday is especially charged for me after the combined double whammy of my recent miscarriage and loss of my own mother.  I'd like to think that I can handle it in a logical manner, but I am finding that Mother's Day isn't bringing up logical issues, only emotional ones.

I called my stepmom last night to check in.  She and my father have been married for almost twenty years.  She's a very supportive person although I have chosen not to tell her or my father of my ttc plans.  As we were chatting I told her how my mother's death has ripped open a lot of old wounds.  Despite having grieved the loss of her (or what a mother was supposed to be like) years ago, her death brought it all up again.  Our conversation led to me asking in a rhetorical fashion why my father had ever been with my mother in the first place.  In all these years I never really asked him that question.  Their relationship before I came along was something I hadn't really considered before (oh the joys of egocentric childhood!).

Once, when I was 12 and shortly after my parents' divorce I remember glancing through the newspaper (back in those days divorce announcements were printed in the paper).  I was shocked out of my shoes to see their marriage date in print along with the official divorce date.  The marriage date was three years after I was born and shortly before the birth of my brother.  It had never occurred to me that I was born out of wedlock or that my appearance in their marriage was nothing less than planned and wanted.

When I mentioned this to my stepmom last night she told me that my dad's mother (a strong matriarch) all but forced my father to marry my mother.  Well, she and the mores of the Catholic Church made the decision a foregone conclusion.  What surprised me is the fact that my stepmom said my grandmother recently apologized to my father for making him marry my mother.

I didn't ask more about this apology because my mind was running in so many directions.  What exactly was my grandmother apologizing for, especially this late in the game?

My grandmother had six children who produced over 25 grandkids, who have since produced dozens of great and great-great grandkids.  In my grandmother's house, on the longest unobstructed wall of the living room, appears a photo of each of her children, with that person's spouse, then kids, then their kids, etc.  It's all chronologically placed, this line of genealogical proof of love, marriage and fertility.  My picture is the only bastion of white space on the entire wall.  There is no spouse nor children nor grandchildren (egads!) under my section under my father's frame.  I exist alone on an island of Sherwin Williams' eggshell white.

This has always been a point of embarrassment and pain for me.  This wall that proves I have been skipped over in love and barren of offspring.  So when my stepmom made this comment about my grandmother's apology I immediately thought she was actually sorry I was the reason for the marriage, that his bastion of white space on her living room wall bothers her as much as it does me.  Perhaps she feels I am so damaged that the normalcy of a spouse and family were clearly impossible for me.  Maybe long before my older cousins up on the first row of the photo parade had produced the first grandchildren my grandmother knew I was doomed to a dead end on this photographic representation of the family tree.

I know this is probably not true, but that's the first place my mind went after my stepmom made that revelation.

Mother's Day has always been a rough one for me but this year...well I'll be glad to see it go.  I only wish I could hide away in my apartment until it's over.  I don't know what I'll actually do on this day.  Right now my main concern is getting through all the days until that day.


  1. {{Hugs}}

    My mother has a wall with are pictures (there are 6 of us). Growing up each year it was a school picture, then our graduation picture, then our wedding photo, and then family photo. Mine stopped at graduation.

  2. Ouch! Nothing like your grandmother's wall to drive the emotions of being single and childless... I'm so sorry. No one deserves white space to call out the pain you prefer to suffer in silence...

    I've already shed tears in anticipation of Mothers Day and I've not had a m/c or lost my mom... I can't imagine how much more difficult it will be for you. Wish we were close in proximity so we could endure the day together!

  3. What a horrible thing, that wall! Not a good idea even under the best of circumstances, if you ask me. I'm sorry this has all been so hard.

  4. Grandmothers... I have a narcissistic one and I stopped trying to understand her (or reason with her years ago). To this day, I count to three and remind myself that whatever comes out of her mouth is the product of her century old mentality, her horrible childhood and her warped perspective of life.

    I don't think you should read much into that apology. Whatever it is, it's between your grandmother and your Dad.

  5. Ouch, your grandmother's wall makes my heart hurt. But I really can't believe that her apology to your Dad had anything to do with you. I don't know her, but it just doesn't sound right.

    I wish there was something I could do or say that would make the upcoming Day a better one for you. Know that I'll be thinking of you.

  6. I'm so sorry that all of this is coming together. Don't read yourself into the apology or the marriage--whatever was done wasn't done because of you. And that space on the wall by your lone picture? It won't be an island for long.

  7. "I exist alone on an island of Sherwin Williams' eggshell white."

    You just said it so well :)

    One day at a time, one moment at a time. I can't imagine how difficult these months have been for you, but just know that I am out here sending support your way.

  8. I'm so sorry about your miscarriage and the loss of your mother. So hard to have to deal with so much at once. I'm dealing with miscarriage and the loss of my brother simultaneously right now...it's very difficult.
    I noticed Mother's Day ads on TV last night and was so annoyed...why do people trying to make some money (greeting card companies, etc) have to ram this down our throats?
    And your grandma's wall...how very painful.
    Wishing you peace during this very difficult time. Virtual hugs to you.

  9. I doubt that your grandmother was commenting on you when she apologized to your father - more likely that as she has watched things over the past years she has realized that even if she felt like the marriage was "the right thing to do" in the long run it was a mistake. But - just because a marriage may have been a mistake doesn't reflect on the children of that marriage, whether they came before it or after it. I am sorry that mother's day is so difficult for you this year, and I hope that you find yourself some peace with it somehow.

  10. Wow, that would be a very hard wall to look at. It's like IF being out there, clearly for everyone to see. I'm sorry you have to deal with that on top of everything else...But it's a beautiful idea, and I'm sure your family doesn't see it the same way you do.

    I'll be thinking of you this Mothers Day. It's never easy, but I can understand how this one is going to be particularly difficult. And finding out about your family history won't help, I'm sure. Sending you a big hug, and hoping it passes quickly for you.. xo