Bobby & I haven’t had a good fight in a while… until last night.
It all started inoffensively enough. Tomorrow is Maggie’s 3rd birthday, & I was texting/talking to Jennifer about the birthday plans. When I got off the phone, Bobby came into the living room & asked for the update.
Me: Ok, we’re gonna have a pizza party & presents on Friday night, for her actual birthday. And then on Saturday after Sue gets home, we’re going to Build-A-Bear, lunch & the zoo. And the goal is to finish everything during the early afternoon so we can still catch the Clemson game.
Bobby: WHAT?!? I have to go Friday night AND Saturday?! I don’t want to go to Build-A-Bear! I don’t care about bears! I don’t want to go to the zoo! Why do I have to go?!? Why isn’t Friday night enough?!? Why don’t you just make me do stuff on Friday & Saturday & Sunday & maybe even a few more days?! Do you think THAT would be enough for your family?!? Oh, & now I’m the asshole just because I don’t want to spend my WHOLE weekend with your family! Yep, just make me the asshole because that’s how it always happens! Oh, that’s just Bobby, he’s an asshole. Nobody EVER cares about what I want! It’s always about what everybody ELSE wants!
I had no (immediate) response. I just sat there with my mouth hanging open, floored. Who the hell was this angry, belligerent, anti-Maggie-birthday man? And more importantly, where’s my happy-go-lucky, birthday-loving husband?
Once I recovered my voice, I asked him if he had something he would rather do on Saturday, or if this was just about not spending time with my family… I was trying to determine if I had perhaps missed something that was causing this angry little demon attack. My inquiry brought on more rantings, complete with him stomping up & down the hall & yelling. And then I started crying just because, well, it hurt my feelings.
Me, snuffling: But Bobby… this is MAGGIE we’re talking about. Maggie’s 3rd birthday. Maggie is turning 3. You LOVE Maggie, remember?
Bobby: And then she’ll turn 4 & then she turn 5 & then 6 & I guess every single year, I’ll be expected to spend days & days celebrating?!? SHE’S NOT MY KID!!!
And then he grabbed his keys & stalked out of the house.
What the hell, people. Really.
When he returned a while later with pizza, I ignored him. He said “I have pizza if you’d like some,” & I ignored him. A while passed. Then he stood in the doorway & said belligerently “So you gonna just ignore me for the rest of the night?!?” I ignored him. Another while passed.
Finally he came into the living room & sat & began talking in a tone that sounded a little more Bobby-like. He told me that he’s tired of doing stuff for other people’s kids.. not because he doesn’t like other people’s kids, but because he wants his OWN kids. He told me that a few nights ago, he asked Jennifer & Tom to take the girls up to the local hospital & walk on the walking track so he could get some video footage (the local hospital is his client, & he wanted to show how the community interacts with the hospital campus). When he watched it later, he started crying just because the video was so idyllic & their family was so perfect & they were all so damn happy. I was reminded immediately of the evening when I did the exact same thing… saw Jen & Tom & co. taking & walk & actually wished I was them before realizing, with horror, who they were.
I said something about my “infertility” & he told me that he wants that word to stop being used in our house. I just stared at him, then asked what term he would suggest I replace it with. He replied that he wants to replace it with a family… whether through childbirth or adoption, he wants a family. OUR family. He told me that he’s been doing the math, & that he’ll be pushing 60 when our kid graduates from high school, & that with his family history of heart disease, he’ll be lucky to meet his own grandchildren.
That’s a wretchedly depressing… & realistic… thought. Well, no wonder he didn’t want to go to Build-A-Bear.