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Whole truths because i realize that even though this is nearly private and just for me that i’m still telling the partial lies to keep from hurting her feelings.

one month before we got engaged my then boyfriend and i were going to Vegas and i half jokingly was trying to get him to agree to a Star Trek wedding in lovely Nevada. No go. No biggie.

But mom, oh mom. on a laughingly unserious facebook post she brought the whole mood crashing to the ground.

“You better not because i expect to be there.”


Really? what is it you’ve done that makes you think that you would be invited out of my honest desire for you to be there rather than a guilty oblication that i feel to invite you?

When i said i never wanted anyone at my wedding that was a partial truth. there is one person i wanted there more than anything. and even though he didn’t come he was never disappointed. he married my step-mom in the same way; small and private. he understood. and when i tried to explain it to him he stopped me and told me i didn’t need to. he understood. all he wanted was for me to have what i wanted.

But this is not about comparing him to her; there is no comparison.

It’s not that i don’t like my step-mom, i think she’s wonderful and at 21 i suddenly had a mother i could depend on. but i ONLY wanted my dad and i didn’t know how to not-invite her without hurting her feelings. and then, if they were both there, i had no way to not-invite my mom and it all became too much for me–pleasing other people. the word “expect” hung around my head like a black cloud so i chose to please only myself.

I do not lie when i say i loved my wedding day, i had fun, i did not miss out.

And it remains true, in this situation, that those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.


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.

and those who matter don’t mind.

That was the saying on the facebook image i shared… that she then shared too, not realizing when i posted it i was thinking of her… how she’s one of the former, not the latter.

I’m not the girl that grew up planning her wedding. i had a barbie but she never married ken (or gi joe or the ninja turtles either, for that matter). she didn’t have a wedding gown. my favorite of her party dresses was black and shiny silver.

I told the husband when he was still the boyfriend that i would never be married in a church, that i would never wear a wedding gown or a diamond ring. that i would not get married in front of people for what i feel is actually something that is very private. Hell, i said, let’s just not get married at all! The paper has no bearing on the love.

But after six years we started to hear the demands and thinking of the money we could save to combine insurance and file taxes differently we thought “eh, what the hell?” (romantic, no? Neither of us has every claimed to be) I repeated my restrictions and he was right behind me. Save the money for the house we’re planning to buy. Keep it small.

So we had a miniscule ceremony; me and him and the judge and two witnesses in the just recently cleared-of-protestors state capital building. We had considered strangers for witnesses but felt that to be too much unpredictability. so we settled for a friend of mine and a friend of his who would leave work for a few hours on a cold, raining, wednesday afternoon in March. There was a chorus on the level below us and they sang songs from Disney’s Little Mermaid as we were getting married. Afterwards the four of us went out for BBQ and then they went their way and the newlyweds went on theirs really no different than they’d been.

not even in name. i like mine. i kept it fiercly and protecively, not something to just sling away like you could ever be “done” with it.

We went on a tour of a nearby cave. we had a Dairy Queen ice cream cake i ordered with a ball and chain on top (romantic? no, remember? Hilarious? You betcha!!) we played some video games, watched a movie and got my pregnant ass to bed at a reasonable hour (a pregnancy brought on by the engagement, not the other way around which carries an Irki-itude of a whole other sort).

No family; and not an elopement. this was not a surprise, we planned it this way from the start. Did we have fun? Yes. Did we miss out on anything? Not. A. Jot. we had two parties later with the whole family and we don’t regret not spending even half as much money as we could have.

But then there is this one single voice that says the same thing over and over no matter how many times i relate how much it hurts me. who reiterates the same hurtful words when i tell how much those specific words hurt me. this voice telling me about the disappointment of not getting to be there, of not getting to help me plan a wedding, of picking out a wedding gown.

A voice apparently without desire to take in and understand that the disappointment is not my fault in the least. because that daughter who was fantasized about trying on dresses, planning, standing before everyone she knew on that particular day? That’s not me. That has never been me and it never will be me. that is a fantasy daughter created out of thin air and make-believe and i will never stop being myself in order to be her instead.

And every time i am told of the disappointment that she feels in the way i planned my wedding what i’m actually hearing is that unless i live up to the standards set out for me by the invisible fantasy daughter then i am a disappointment.

of course that’s how i’ve always felt. there has to be that disconnect, though, between the truths and fictions between far-off relatives. But does that make it hurt less? Not a jot.

but if i can’t even express my emotions to the one who has abraded them then why express anything at all?