Friday, September 7, 2012

Petri Dishes & Primary Caretakers

I would be lying if I said that I loved being pregnant. Yes, exciting and magical and wondrous and all that, and I did have a fairly easy pregnancy as pregnancies (apparently) go. I didn't have any morning sickness, my feet didn't swell until the very end, I didn't gain 7 billion pounds, and, thankfully, the boy and I were/are both healthy. Plus, looking back, I was adorable.
(I also had an amazing photographer)

Here's the catch: I woke up on the morning of 23 weeks, and I thought, "damn, I'm tired of being pregnant." Aaaaannnddd... then I was pregnant for another 4 months. From day 1, I was exhausted: I would "work" for 3 hours every weekday morning, come home amid the piles of boxes that I didn't unpack for months, change into sweats, and watch NCIS until my very frustrated husband came home at 8 pm. I was crazy: there was one time that I threw silverware, and that is all I will say about that. Also, my retainers definitely still taste like Gaviscon. Oh, not to mention the judginess from strangers (someday that will be its own separate post.) 

Anyway - when I was pregnant, nobody would talk to me about anything else. I was basically a walking, talking uterus - a petri dish, if you will. I answered questions like, "what are you having?" and "when are you due?" But, there were still a few questions about me salt-and-peppered in there like, "how are you feeling?" and "are you sure you should be drinking caffeine?" 

Now, I am a walking, talking caregiver. The questions are things like, "how old is he?" and "are you sure his cheeks aren't too cold even though he's wrapped in 2 blankets and fully clothed?" Very rarely is there an "oh - how are you dealing with the completely overwhelming task of raising a child?" or "don't you think you should be wearing more under-eye concealer?"

But, I wasn't sure that this complete disregard of my identity past uterus/caregiver would extend to my parents. I'll share one example for each parent.

My dad (the Papa, who calls the boy "monkey") went to Honduras on a work and witness trip. A couple of weeks later, one of my friends from home came to visit and brought with her a souvenir that my dad bought in Honduras. That's right - a single, non-plural souvenir. It wasn't a trinket for his daughter whom he (supposedly) loves... I would have even been happy with a "thanks for bearing me a grandson" gift. Nope - it was a wooden monkey for the boy. Admittedly, it is cute, but seriously. At least spread the love! Moral of the story: my dad sees me as nothing more or less than a walking, talking caregiver for his grandson.

My mom (the Nana, who also calls the boy "monkey," although that has no bearing on the story) was telling me today all about how it's hard for her to live so far away from us - off to a good start - and how sad it is to not be around to see the day-to-day goings on - two for two! - and then wrapped up by saying, "I think you should start a Jack blog so that I can keep up with him." Welp, that ended poorly. 

These two little anecdotes portray a larger truth: even my parents, who should have some vested interest in my life, are no longer curious about me as a person, but only the object of my care-taking.

Ok, but let's be honest: He is worth lots of talk and gifts from travels.

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