The baby is a source of contention too. not just the real live, tooth-gnashing, dimpled crocodile that lives in my house right now, but also the emphemeral idea of Baby which dates back years beyond even meeting my husband. but let’s start somewhere nearer, because ancient history is so thick.

Yes, she was 19 and unmarried when she got pregnant and she didn’t want that for me. i get that and i appreciate it, but it doesn’t excuse the way she’s behaved.

It does not excuse the way that when i called her, at 26 years old, to tell her that i was going to marry the man that i’d been dating, living with, laughing at, loving for six years her first words were:

“Are you pregnant!?”

Punch in the gut. i could have cried. i didn’t even have words or breath to speak with for several seconds and i managed to hold back my angry retort once i did.

It does not excuse the way that, two months later, she responded to a facebook post where a friend jokingly told me “have a baby” when i spoke of having no model for the baby bibs i’d just made to sell. This i laughed at because only moments before the first pangs of morning sickness had passed–i didn’t know yet, not for sure, but i *knew*. and this wasn’t an accident, this pregnancy two months into our engagement. we’d been trying for months. six of them according to my calendar of counted days and color coded remarks.

“You better not, i’m not ready to be a grandma yet.”

Since when is this about you?

I did cry that time. and i revealed all to my aunt. my not-mom. my anti-mom. she was the first person i said the words “out loud” to; not even my fiance yet knew of my suspicions. I had to tell because i couldn’t keep all that hurt inside me where it would poison that bright, shining thing i had begun to craft out of bits of him and huge chunks of me (a clone of mama, the little crocodile is. Jango and Boba Fett we are).

It’s no wonder i told her last. i told her in a letter so i wouldn’t have to risk hearing that pause of disappointment over the phone.

I’ve tried to tell her about these hurts but it always comes back to the things i’ve already said; fights about the past. “Get over it.”

There’s one part i haven’t mentioned to her. that i’ve kept hidden safe, deep inside me now that the croc is out and it can only hurt me.

The day of the crocodile’s birth.

I had already decided and informed everyone that i wanted no visitors in the hospital. i realized later, once the time was upon us, that really i wanted no visitors waiting around in the waiting room while i was in labor. And after 37 hours i think i was perfectly justified in not wanting to entertain guests or share this little clone of myself with anyone but my husband. at least not until i’d gotten some sleep.

She was born at 3:26 in the afternoon the day after my due date; the day i’d been scheduled for an induction but she came on her own. Everyone knew where i was and what i was up to, just waiting for the stats.

I called my dad. I texted my anti-mom who’d once again been the first to know as i sat on the toilet at 2 in the morning too stunned by the water-breaking event to properly freak the fuck out (my husband did that for me, the dear).

And my mother? unreachable.

For that afternoon. for the entirety of the next day.

It wasn’t until the following day, the second full day of her only daughter’s first child’s life that my phone rang as we walked through the door to our apartment and our brand new life.

Her excuse, something about a no-charge battery and being out of town, was a glancing blow. i hardly had time to notice and it wasn’t as if i didn’t expect some subtle slight from her.

But that irk has festered. it’s rolled around in my subconsious hiding in dark places and cluttered corners growing quite fearsome.

The excuse did not excuse and the only way to expel the beast is with words on a page she will never see becasue she refuses to be open to the emotion turmoil her reckless words have caused within her daughter.

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