September 27, 2012
So I’ve been debating about whether or not to share this with the blog. It’s something that happened back when I was moving. And it was one of those things that I found to be pretty upsetting, but that I knew I’d get over because it really wasn’t about me. But there was a follow-up to it today that I’m still trying to process. And I think I have enough relatives that I can tell this story without giving away too much individual detail.
The last day I had mail delivered to my old apartment I received a letter. A real letter. Handwritten. Snail mail. You may recall these from before e-mail grew to prominence. And it was from a relative who had seen my blog and wanted to make it clear that this particular relative did not approve of my choice to try to get pregnant and have a baby as a single woman. There are a number of reasons this really pissed me off, several of them relating to this relative’s personal history, but I won’t share that because that would definitely eliminate this person’s anonymity. I will tell you one person it wasn’t. It was not my cousin who has three children and two very short marriages under her belt and who is currently a single mom. Two of her three children were born when she was not married. And yet what I am doing is wrong. (It makes me wonder, though, if this cousin received a similar letter when she was pregnant the first or third times.)
Obviously, this relative is the one with the problem, not me. If I am lucky enough to get pregnant and carry that pregnancy to term and give birth, the vast majority of my family won’t care how that baby was conceived or that I’m choosing to raise it as a single mother. But it still rankled.
So why am I bringing this up today? Two words. Family Dinner. I don’t mean the family dinners my parents and I try to have about once a week. I’m talking Family. I’m talking aunts and uncles and cousins. I’m talking the first time I’ve seen this relative since I received that letter. And it will be fine. We’ll be at a restaurant. I don’t have to sit next to this person. I can start by loudly ordering something with alcohol so that that it will be clear that I’m not pregnant. (Either that or that I’m not only an irresponsible woman choosing single motherhood, but so irresponsible that I’d drink while pregnant.) But unlike most of our giant family gatherings, I’m not looking forward to this one.
One final note, specifically for my family: Please do not use this post to try to figure out which relative I am referring to. It doesn’t matter. It isn’t important. We are a family. Family trumps all. Although it hurt when I received the letter, it is in the past. I still love this person. I have let those hurt feelings go. I ask that you do the same.