August 4, 2009
A few things have happened recently to make me really appreciate and value family. I got a call last night that my (very healthy) grandfather was in ICU with pneumonia, after falling out of bed and being stuck there for hours, and also possibly having suffered a minor heart attack. He’s fine, but very shaken up. This is all after S got a call a week ago that his mom was very sick, in the hospital with pneumonia, a lung infection, chest infection, and a bleeding ulcer. It was not looking good for a while there, so he rushed to Ireland last Sunday and was there until things started to turn around a few days later. Needless to say, it’s been a stressful – and scary! – few days.
And I don’t know about you, but events like this do not bring out the best in either of our families. S’s family is a bit volatile (interesting history there) and pretty dramatic…this one doesn’t talk to the other one, etc….and tends to keep lots of secrets. It turns out that his mom had actually been in the hospital a few weeks earlier – for a week! – with a blood clot in her leg, and we didn’t find out about it until she got home. So when we found out that she was in the hospital (but was “fine”), we had no way of knowing whether we were getting the whole story. Add all that to the fact that (as the youngest sibling) S’s family still thinks he’s sixteen – and consistently treats him like he doesn’t know what he’s talking about, like he’s still a selfish, immature teenager. I know it’s just jealousy, but it’s mean and hurtful, and it’s so hard to stand by and not be able to do anything about it.
My extended family is slightly less dysfunctional, but equally dramatic, so I wasn’t quite sure what we were in for with this latest episode. My grandfather is the lynchpin of the family – my grandmother passed away four years ago, extremely unexpectedly – and we (my mother, her brothers and sisters, and their families) all rallied around my grandfather. In fact, he did not have a dinner at home by himself for almost two years! So this really scared everybody – we’re just not ready for Grampy to go anywhere. Almost my entire extended family was there at his side in a heartbeat, and didn’t go anywhere until they were reassured that yes, he really was okay.
For two different reasons – the fact that my family can really rally round when needed, and S’s family not so much – these episodes have made me realize just how much I want a family of my own. I’m ready for my family – me, S, and our babies. I want to create a family with S, out of our love, our values, our goals. I want to have children who will be there for us when we’re old. I want to raise decent human beings who love, respect, and enjoy life. Bailey has shown us how much we love having someone to love and take care of (and has also shown us the value of compromise ;-)), but we’re ready for some human babies!