The other day–well, not the other day, but a few days ago, before all this drama–Phil and I were taking a tennis lesson. Not many people know how much I love tennis because overall, I pretty much suck at any and all sports. Aside from water sports–no, not those. Mostly swimming thanks to the North Hills swim team. Anyway, the point is, I love playing tennis. My mother forced me to take tennis lessons as a kid. "You’ll thank me one day," she’d answer in response to my "why are you forcing me to go? I hate this!" tantrums. And I do thank her because now it’s something I enjoy, something both Phil and I like to do together. We play at least once a week together, usually more.
During our lesson, we decided to practice our serves. I’ve been avoiding it this whole time, preferring to focus on my utter lack of shape. The instructor, Izzy (short for Israel), had me practice the toss, keeping my left foot planted on a plastic dot he dropped just behind the base line. "Your foot shouldn’t move off the dot if you’re doing it right." I still can’t serve. "If you’re moving off the dot, your toss is too far away, or you’re working too hard." Working too hard–something about which I know a thing or two.
So I watched Phil serve, focusing on his foot. Was he stepping over the line? Was it his fault? This isn’t some metaphor for life or illness or how to deal with anything. I just got to thinking that I really, so much of the time, in our arguments, and now with Lucas, want a place to point a finger, even if it’s at me. I want to create a fault line and be the official calling out the faults.
"I caused this to happen," I say to Phil, "because I couldn’t get pregnant." That was my fault. Well, it wasn’t my parents’ fault, or my fishmonger’s fault. It was my body that wasn’t operating properly. My ovulation is still all over the place (I’ve had my period twice this month, and that’s before all this started. Think about that. I’ve had my period every other week!). Does it have anything to do with my having had an abortion once upon a life ago? Hell, no. Does it have to do with my miscarriage? Again, no. And then I finally got pregnant with twins–was it chance because twins do run in my family, or was it clomid? I don’t know. What I do know is twins can come early, and mine did. And I feel like it’s my fault. Yes, I went to Laura, the preventative pre-term labor specialist once a week, and I kept clear of stress, or tried to. Kept off my feet as told. Drank my water. Called the doctor, was a lazy shit, just as they instructed. And the beans still came early. And I still think it was my fault. Because it’s my body that couldn’t keep them longer, protect them from the world, and it’s my body that had such a hard time getting pregnant in the first place. And what if I caused all this? I was the cause of twins because I couldn’t get pregnant on my own, maybe. And this, this is mine. My stepping over the line.
Blame is something we take and give far too easily. So I take a step back and think, I did the best I could to take care of them while pregnant. I didn’t eat fish because I was terrified of mercury. I hydrated and ate. And got so fat the shit from Old Navy wouldn’t even fit. So if it’s anyone’s "fault," it’s the hospital for not catching this right away. If there was even any bleeding then. Maybe his CT from the NICU was fine, and maybe this happened later, much later. And then there is no fault. We look around hoping to assign blame and shout out a series of "faults" because it’s our way of making sense of things that might never make sense. And it gives us the feeling of taking control, even though we can’t. It’s exactly as I said it in Straight Up and Dirty: let it go. Finding these things out won’t change anything going forward. And that’s what we’re doing, moving past the base line, moving forward.
And as an aside, I can just tell, some close friend of mine, any day, is going to tell me she’s pregnant. And she’s going to be afraid of telling me her exciting news when I’m dealing with what I am with Lucas. And that sucks.
I can’t be everywhere at once.
I can’t fully be happy when I’m so steeped in this. Happy for her, sure, but happy, let’s go drink some maternatinis, no. But of course I would be happy in a general sense, the two having nothing to do with each other. And I still have plenty in my own life about which to be happy, especially my sweet little tater tots! It kind of sucks when people are afraid to talk to you. And it’s kind of wonderful when strangers reach out. So thank you again. It really does make this somehow something we’re going through… in a really strange, did she really just write a metaphor about tennis, kind of way.