Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Sprained Brain
I think I may have done a little too much thinking lately. I may have strained something. I don't think my brain is actually broken, but I do think I should watch some mindless television - Game Show Network is always a good bet - and knit something I've already been working on and generally do what I can to figuratively wrap an Ace bandage around the afflicted area and keep off it for a day or two.

I've just been far too involved and worried and useless when it comes to my father's life. He's still living here, still trying to negotiate some form of relationship with his girlfriend, still trying to decide how and when and where to go back to work. The best I can offer - and, yes, I recognize, I'm offering enough and it's good enough but I still feel inadequate - is a safe place to live and good food to eat, and some basic respect and intelligent conversation. He needs to make the ultimate decisions himself, and me offering unsought (or even sought) advice or worrying overmuch won't be all that helpful. Not that that stops me.

I've also been mired down in the emotional abyss of family dynamics, specifically whether we should - or will - have a third child. I want to. Deeply. Desperately. Truth be told, I want two or three more; I really enjoy the four-year spread between my two now, and I'd like to be done before I'm 40, which means I could sneak three more in and still maintain both of those criteria.

That won't happen. Willem will very likely faint dead away at the mere reading of such a preposterous concept. He's comfortable with two, and until about a month ago was flatly disinterested in having a third. We had a long and involved conversation on the drive to Potsdam last month, and somehow I managed to say the right things, because now he says he's on board with planning for another.

Things seem to work that way for him: he can think one way, have a conversation, and flip a switch. I don't know whether I'm more prone to sulking, or ruminating, or what, but I don't adjust that quickly. I've heard him say the words, and I believe that he means them: he's comfortably, if not ecstatically, ready to talk about having one more child. But my heart hasn't bought in yet. When I was taking a pregnancy test the other week, and then dealing with a miscarriage, I had the expected range of disappointment and sadness, but also a relief - because I was scared of his reaction. Not domestic-violence-and-black-eyes scared, not even yelling-and-sulking scared - I knew he'd do the right thing, be the right guy. But still scared, because I didn't believe it would be okay. And a large proportion of my own okayness rests on his okayness.

And ambivalence about a miscarriage? Doesn't feel okay. Wanting desperately to have another child but not being able to convince your heart that it will be wanted by both parents? Ditto.

So, yeah. My brain is tired. I recognize that the bottom line is, my dad will work things out and be okay, and I'm glad that we're able to help him in any capacity at all. We'll try for a third baby someday, and it will be wonderful (but, yes, hard work), and I'll accept the fact that three will have to be enough, because more than that will not be okay.

And in the meantime I'll put some ice on it to try to numb the process of getting to that bottom line.