Yeah, there is some crap going on between Paladin and I. Yeah, I know. Surprise. Surprise. But, we’ve come to terms. I got him talking. It’s weird. This is a man who never shuts up (sorry, hon…but you know you can keep up a conversation!) if the topic is politics or scifi or travel or the state of the world in general, and I discovered yesterday on our 3 hr. drive to Baton Rouge that he’s been holding things in. How did that happen?
We’ve been talking for 3 days, actually. It started a few nights ago when I tried to open up to him about why I haven’t been rushing to the altar (the legal altar anyhow). My supervisor, Chelsea came out for a visit last week (we’ll call her that because she could pass for Chelsea Handler ANY day…so much so that I have to stop myself from calling her that in person). Chelsea and I got to talking about fertility issues (she can’t have any more children) and baby mama drama (she has it worse than me…if Paladin had the gall to still be helping Mull out with every little mini-tragedy for 4 yrs, it would be more than over…it would be “look who just lost his last ball” over). She was talking about having guardianship of her neice for the first year and a half of the child’s life only to have the baby’s mother come back and take her (it’s a story I’ve seen unfold in my own family more than once…apparently, an unfit ho means jack to CPS any where in any state…as long as there’s somebody there trying to protect them, CPS ignores it until the kid is in the emergency room). Chelsea said to me, “She was our blessing.” It’s a phrase I’ve heard before, but for some reason, it hit me. It made me think about what my blessing was, about who was most important to me, and about who in my life got ALL of me. Sadly, I could only answer, Pascal.
Paladin and I have been working on trust issues where the kids and Mull are concerned for our entire relationship. At first, I waited it out. I thought that with time he’d trust me to be his main supporter, his cheerleader, his blessing. Instead, I’m just on the list. I’ll be kind and say that I’m on the list NEXT to the children, but in truth, I feel that I’m beneath them. I hate to be religious about it, but there’s no religion in the world that tells people to place their children above their significant other. At best, and Paladin has said this more than once, we are supposed to be partners who then care for those children. That’s what’s been said between the two of us, but as my post earlier this week pointed out, when we make decisions, he’s going off and ignoring them. After a lot of talking (and he’s been saying some of this stuff for a long time and it just finally clicked for me), he explained that when we come to a decision he’s treating me as a General: we conclude what the goal is and then he gets on the ground and adapts to the actual situation. In other words, what I thought were decisions that we were making together was just me giving him advice. I thought they were conclusions but they were just ideas we were brainstorming. I called him on it. That’s not a partnership. That is why I haven’t trusted him on this issue (the ONLY trust issue I have with him). When I ask him why he doesn’t trust me, he has no answer; there’s nothing he can point to. In his words, “It’s nothing you’ve done.” Every time this came up previously, he has taken it as me attacking the kids, as me being jealous of the kids. I can’t say that I’ve never felt a twinge of jealousy where they are concerned but the jealousy I’ve felt was never over him; it was over being jealous that they aren’t mine too.
The reason I haven’t been in a rush to make things legal is because I’ve seen his face when the test was negative and it brought back so many horrible memories, so much pain. So much pain. At the same time, I want to hurry. I want to strap myself into the gyno’s stirrups with break neck speed! I have felt the uncertainty of passing time every-single-day for FIVE years now. I know what I’m in for. I know what I’m up against. And, I know that he isn’t up against that. For him, this child, our child would just be another in a line. I know he would love that child but it wouldn’t be his only child. In his eyes, each and every one of his children are special to him in some way. But, I see it in them: they don’t FEEL special. Each and every one of those kids is fighting to be singled out from the herd, to know that they are special. That’s something our child would never have to face because they will have extended family and me proving to them that they are special (yeah, I’m the crazy dog lady and I wonder if Pascal can handle it too…shut up!), and I know that there would be so much turmoil because of that. I know from what I’ve already seen (much of it over Pascal!) that Paladin would feel displaced and that his children would be jealous even if only subconsciously. Some of that happens even in nuclear families, and I can deal with it but I’m also not going to deny that our circumstances will make that 10 times harder. Yes, even with all of that, I know that the second I sign the insurance forms as Mrs. Paladin, the stopwatch will start. I’ll know that at any moment I can start trying with a simple phone call for an appointment. And, I feel like there is jack and sh*t I can do about it now. For the next 100 days, we are booked with Paladin’s surgeries and the kids here for the holidays. 100 days. It’s a lifetime to wait. It’s going to up the hormone ante by zillions for me. For the last year, every Auntie visit has been devoid of emotion, and now it won’t be.
Yeah, everything in our life has been dictated by his medical issues and his kids. I won’t lie and say there isn’t some resentment about that. I hate using that word too. Paladin has a chip on his shoulder about “resentment”. No, hon, I don’t blame you for that. I’ve let it be like that. My mother was in ICU and I put you and the kids FIRST and I’ve felt nothing but horrible guilt over it ever since. I wasn’t there when they told my sister that my mother would probably never walk again. I don’t get to fix that. I don’t get to change that. I haven’t asked to be put first. I’ve only asked to be a team. Maybe that needs to change. I want to start trying the day after we sign the papers. There. I finally admitted it. I know what you’ll say is, “That’s fine; I want you to have this and I want this child too.” The truth is that I feel responsible for making this family of ours work and this will change the precarious balance we have. It will be harder and I can’t do it all alone. You have to show me that you can do this and that this will be your highest priority too. Yeah, I said it. I’m demanding that us getting pregnant be the first thing on the list. I’m not saying I want to cancel your surgeries or cancel Christmas. I’m saying that you need to be there pushing for this as hard as I am. It’s going to be ugly. It’s going to be so very ugly. You have no idea what you’re up against. And, no, you won’t feel it the way I will, but I need you to man-up and be completely behind me or I won’t make it through trying again. I just don’t think I can. I need you with me 100% here. More than you can even imagine. Think of it as my own personal brain tumor.
When, Paladin finally started talking yesterday he went into his usual, “Let’s just end this.” I’m trying to get him to see that wanting to throw everything away and hide is depression and it’s been his shadow for a very long time now. I’ve talked to him about taking a therapy session for himself each week in addition to our therapy session together. I hope he will go through with it. He’s not dealt with his illness, with Mull hurting him so deeply, with the loss of his life as he knew it, with his forced retirement…I could go on and on. Basically, the last few years of his life have been hanging around his neck, and he has blinded himself to that with everything he could find. Now, I’m here to take up some of the day-to-day stuff and he can’t find enough desperately important things to keep him from having to face up to those years. In some ways, the denial has gone as far as it can.
As the day went into night and we drove back toward home, Paladin explained to me how worried he was that if something happened to him during his surgeries without us being married that everything could end up in Mull’s hands (the house mainly since her name is still on the mortgage…but in reality, there’s a divorce decree saying she doesn’t get the house…he doesn’t want me to have to fight her in court though). I didn’t know that. I didn’t know that was on his mind for the last few weeks. He hadn’t been pushing me toward the altar and I hadn’t wanted to bring it up because of the fear of ttc’ing again. For two people who talk constantly, we need to say a lot more.
P.S.- By the way, I promise the next post will actually be fun. I found the greatest shopping in Baton Rouge and I cannot wait to talk about it!!! And, I very much want to give out award gifties! 🙂