I had actually taken a mini-breather from blogging on account of a superbly... entertaining message from a reader of this page. Normally I'm perfectly capable of handling angry folks who are offended by my stance, but her arrogance came at a really sucky time that compounded a personal struggle I was having.
This is going to sound ridiculous, but I probably would've been fine had I not been catching up on a television show with John. He and I tend to unwind by catching up on our favorite TV shows. Last week, we barreled through How I Met Your Mother, Season 7.
Now what John doesn't realize - and what most folks don't realize - is that I was absolutely DREADING this season. One day, however, John "surprised" me with the DVD set and was all aflutter about catching up. So I swallowed my fear and trudged forward. I watched as he unwrapped the set, knowing full well that he was opening a can of worms I wasn't 100% ready to handle.
SPOILER ALERT - Anyone who has not watched Season 7 of HIMYM, stop reading. There will be a few spoilers, but considering how popular the show is, I doubt it's going to be earth-shattering. But still... if you don't wanna know, skip this post.
Season 6 ended with news of Marshall and Lily finding out they were pregnant. So I knew that Season 7 was going to deal a lot with her pregnancy. However, it's not her pregnancy that worried me. It was John's reaction to her pregnancy that was going to set me off. It's the same reaction he had when Bones got pregnant on that series. For a guy who refuses to have any more children, he tends to get ridiculously excited when fictional characters get pregnant.
And I admit that really, really bothers me.
So I end up watching him more than I do the actual TV show, because I'm completely mystified. How is it that he's going ga-ga for fictional babies and saying, "Oh man, I miss when Vincent was that small" but refusing to acknowledge the fact that he could be going ga-ga for his own progeny and re-experiencing the delight of holding a newborn for himself? I just... I just don't get it.
I actually asked him at one point (while we were watching Bones, actually) how it was that he could get so supremely happy for fictional TV characters having kids but loathing the idea of us having more. His response was pretty much "I can live vicariously through them. I get to see cute kids but not have to actually deal with them when they're not cute."
Obviously he didn't say it exactly like that, but those were his sentiments. And I guess I can understand them. It's the same as folks going "Oh I love playing with kids so long as they're not mine. I can give these ones back."
The idea is "Kids are fun until they're not fun anymore. So I'll enjoy them while they're fun, but as soon as I get tired of them or they start to act up, I can easily give them back to Mom or Dad."
And again, I get that. I really do. But I'd be lying if I said watching him ooze joy over these characters and their unborn children didn't hurt. I feel cheated and somehow defective. I can't help but be hurt by his excitement over Lily's baby when he's horrified by the prospect of a sibling for Vincent. It just... it just doesn't compute for me, especially given the fact that I know he'd end up loving that child as much as he loves Vince.
Seeing the whole season revolve around this baby was tough, especially enduring the episode in which Robin speaks to her own "children." It was just really, really difficult. I didn't talk to John about it as this is a discussion we've had in the past. So I accepted this particular bout as one to shoulder on my own. I was okay with that until I got a message from a reader who just had incredibly awful timing.
I will be praying for you in your obstinance. ('Cause you know letters starting off this way are ALWAYS entertaining.) It is obvious that you have made up your mind regarding God's place in your marriage and I would be remiss in my Christian duties if I didn't tell you that you've made the wrong decision. Placing your husband's desires before those of God will only bring unhappiness. You've made your bed of thorns and you're taking to the internet to gain sympathy.
I cannot give you sympathy (oh, darn), but I can give you prayers and advice on how to get out of your unhappy marriage. As you noted in your comments, you can annul the union based on his refusal to abide by the vows he took before the altar. Annulment is a formality at this point as your marriage was a sham the moment he said No to God's law. (Wow, really? a SHAM? I didn't realize it was that easy to destroy a bond that God, Himself, created before the altar of His Sacrifice. Does this give John's "No" more power than God's "Yes?") Prettying it up on your end and calling it a sacrifice only helps you to delude yourself into thinking what you're doing is right. It is not right, it is not just, and it will not help you, your husband, or your son reach Heaven. (Hell, I tell you! You're all going to hell!)
Please consider speaking with a priest different from those you've found yourself amongst. You need a traditional priest - one who is willing to stand up and defend the truth of the faith (Did anyone else read this as: "Find another priest... one who agrees with me. Obviously the ones you've sought have fallen under the control of Satan. Unless they agree with exactly what I'm telling you, they're not "priest-enough" ?) . Until you seek out a proper priest, you're going to end up feeling miserable. For someone who seeks to do God's will, this WILL cause you to resent your husband. No matter how much you think you can handle it, no matter how much grace you think God's going to send, the inevitable will happen - you WILL divorce or you WILL regret that you did not for the rest of your life (because that's right - God is either not going to help me out, or His Grace isn't good enough. Either way I look at that assertion, I come away thinking she doesn't exactly understand the concept of God as Father). And if you do neither, your son will, and the onus will be on you because YOU are the one who knows that something is wrong but will not move forward to seek a proper solution. (Again, that proper solution being to break my own marriage covenant by seeking divorce... because that makes any sense.)
The letter then goes on to detail the many ways I've failed as a Catholic, a mother, and a wife. And the crazy thing is I absolutely believe this woman means well. She is all sorts of hopeful that she can help my soul (and those of my family) get to Heaven.
That's nice of her, I guess. It's good to want Heaven for others. It's not good, however, to presume you know exactly how it is to get them there, especially when you've only got a few entries worth of info from which to base the guidelines on.
But hey, I can normally take e-mails like this in stride. However, this one was timed to coincide with a particular episode that made me want to curl up in bed with Vince, clinging to every desperate second that made him grow, change, and eventually stop being my little munch. While wishing to keep him my tiny little baby forever, I also wanted to have a new baby to have because, again, my family doesn't feel complete. I'm still waiting on all those babies I conjured up as a child as I dreamt not of weddings or houses or winning the lotto, but of bearing and raising my litany of happy little munchkins.
No, that's not correct. I'm not exactly waiting for them so much as grieving for them. It's a continuous process. It's not something I can just write about once or twice and expect to be "OK" with. These emotions crop up - a lot - and yes, I write about it a lot. I realize that I sound like a broken record on this, and maybe it does sound like whining. I don't mean for it to. I don't mean to sound like I'm complaining or that I'm resenting John or that I need sympathy from people in order to make it through the day.
None of those things are true. I don't resent John. I understand his hesitation. I even appreciate the fact that his concerns are for the family. I can't resent him when I know his intention is good. I still love him and appreciate him as a husband and father.
I also hope you don't think I'm whining by constantly bringing this up. I know some folks probably roll their eyes at this issue because I've spoken about it so much already. And for that feel that way, I do apologize. I don't want you folks feeling as though I'm soliciting a pity party through these entries.
However, I also didn't start this blog to entertain others. I feel like that's what a lot of these letter-writing folks tend to forget (especially that one person who felt as though I didn't do enough "shading out" of my husband as if he were some character in the novel of my life).
This blog began as my own personal journey towards understanding and living out my faith. I wanted to share the journey with others, and I wanted others to share their journey with me. I realize that in sharing my life so candidly with others, I invite critical commentary. I get that. However, this is a personal blog which means I get to write about personal things. And considering the personal, life-alternating nature of this particular situation, it's going to crop up. I'm going to have ups and downs with it, and it's going to continue to test my faith, forcing me to grow closer to Christ through developing my trust in His Plan. So I'm going to talk about it. I don't talk about it nearly as much as I think about it, but sometimes I need to let off a little steam, and this blog is the perfect place to do it.
So no worries on sending me balloons for the pity party. I don't feel bad for myself. I don't want to divorce John. I don't believe I need to go searching for yet another priest to tell me what I already know. I just need a spot every now and again with which to process some of my anxiety or sadness. The same as I enjoy a spot to celebrate my joy and appreciation for all the wonderful things that come my way.
So if you'd like to stick around for the ride, I appreciate the company. If not, I can understand why reading about the same thing repeatedly might give you a headache. No hard feelings, I promise.