Saturday, May 12, 2007

You can run & you can hide…

… but you will never get away from the day called Mothersday.

Believe me I tried. I’m still trying because it only happens tomorrow and I won’t give in to the idea of locking myself in till Monday morning when I have to get up to go to school again.

I love my mom dearly, and I wouldn’t ever want to do anything to cause her any disappointment, make her feel neglected or not valued as someone really special in my life. So for as long as she is there, I’m going to try and think of it as a day to celebrate HAVING a mom.

It’s the not being one that is hovering at the back of my mind slapping me in the face lately. You all know the feeling. I promised myself that I’m not even going to blog about it, maybe it will go by easier.

But then on Tuesday a colleague of mine, one that I valued as a dear friend that understood me better than anyone, said something that made me wish I had you all standing there as witnesses. It was a Kodak moment that would be a perfect example of how astoundingly insensitive and cruel Fertiles can be.

She called an informal meeting of the social committee and told us we’re going to have a small function at the school on Friday to celebrate Mothersday. Surprise #1. Hellooooooooooo!! Why on earth do we need to do that? Wasn’t Sunday enough? Ok so we did the same on Valentine’s Day. Let it go Karen, you’re too sensitive.

Then came Surprise #2. What she said next still astounds me. I cannot believe that she actually thought it through, discussed it with other people and STILL said it!

She told us that she asked all our male colleagues to “donate” R20 (about $3) for the catering, and that since there were only 2 teachers on staff, me and S*, who didn’t have children; we should do all the other arrangements. Her exact words were: “Since you two aren’t exactly mommies, you should buy the food and arrange for the decorations so the mommies can put their feet up on Friday and just be pampered a bit.”

I was too stunned to say anything, just looked at her and wondered who this stranger was. To get away from the conversation I said we could discuss it later. The moment I got safely into my class I burst into tears. Up until then I thought it would be plain sailing through this weekend.

I avoided the staff room for the rest of the day, went home and thought of all the perfect answers I should’ve had that morning. My evil alter ego wanted to punch her in the face saying: “THAT’s how it felt to me when you made that cruel statement!”

To make a long story short, I informed her the next day that I was way too busy with family responsibilities and that I wouldn’t be able to help with the function at all. It was held during break time on Friday and I locked myself into my classroom, pleading too much work when asked why I didn’t attend. Let them think what they want; it was my way of coping.

She still is a special person, and I won’t ever be nasty to her in future, but what she doesn’t know is that I will never let her close to my heart again. She broke the trust. She hurt me in a very cruel way when she should’ve been wise enough not to. After all, she knows my yearning for a child of my own, and the heartbreak I endure because of infertility.

I wish I had the courage to say all these things to her face, and not keep the hurt inside.

Maybe someday when I’m stronger.

*(S is 40, married for 8 years, male infertility, and desperately wanting a child. Her husband refuses to consider adoption, so she doesn’t even have the hope of going that route.)


pluto said...

I don't believe this story.
You should make a fuss of the other teachers for being mothers? That would be weird enough. But she said it knowing that you desperately want to be a mother? This is hard to fathom.

I think you handled it well. Sure, it would be ideal if we could find the courage to confront our friends when they're that rude. But at least you turned your back on their appalling Mothers Day celebration, and surely they'll have an inkling of why you did.

KarenO said...

You know, when I told my mom about it, she was shocked when I told her who said this. My mom is a substitute teacher at our school so she knows the staff well, and this lady is a friend of hers too. Thinking back I wonder if maybe I wasn't at fault too for hiding my feelings in the past at not helping her understand how deep my pain really is. Maybe we need to educate our friends more in order for them to understand us better.

Pamela Jeanne said...

Oh Karen...I wish I could say I was surprised at the extreme insensitivity displayed by your colleague, but I've seen evidence of it so many times over that I find myself saying, "there they go, again!" Pluto left me a comment the other day that summed it up beautifully. Many of my posts had highlighted just how many "cosy assumptions" that fertile couples possess. I'll take it a step further, fertiles are self-absorbed and shockingly lacking in empathy. Just how can they possibly be decent parents if they are so dense, I can't help but wonder. I sometimes fantasize how they would/will respond when they learn someday that their own children are infertile. Yes, there's always the potential for many of them never to become grandparents -- how prepared will they be for that?? And you can gaurantee we'll hear about it -- bellyaching to the extreme about how life is just too unfair. The hypocrisy they'll demonstrate will be mind-boggling. Anyway, I'm going to mix up a Cosmo right now as it's approaching happy hour time and drink to you and all my friends who deserve happiness and kindness from all -- not just the infertile crowd.