My grandparents

In September, a baby girl will be born. I will be her daddy. My parents will finally be grandparents, and my grandparents will be great grandparents. If they had lived.

I guess it comes to most people when a new generation is born. Suddenly you start to look back to where this baby girl comes from, this fresh new human being. I finally understand why old people when I was a child studied my face and told my mother how I looked like so and so relative. Or how I looked like my dad but had the heart of my mother. It comes from perspective. It comes from understanding that life is finite and suddenly it’s all over and a new generation will take their place. And in those 100 years or so since my grandparents were born, everything have changed and nothing have changed at the same time.

I don’t even know when my fathers father (my grandfather) passed away. I think my father was 15 at the time. For me, it’s always been like this and I never dwelled on the fact he wasn’t around. It is only during these last years and months I have come to realise that this kind man never got to experience growing old. He would never see his grandchildren being born. He would never experience that day when my father got his private flying license and roared over our house in a Cessna 172. He would never see how much my father have accomplished. From five year long boat and car restorations, playing blues rock or attending air shows with his son. The story of my grandfather is nothing but a sobering tale of «what if’s», but I guess – like my father most likely have concluded – you can’t dwell on it. A life ended halfways and there’s nothing you can do about it. I never got to meet him, and at times like these, with a baby girl coming, it creates a certain grief I have not experienced before.

While my father have been resilient about everything, my grandmother was not. Her life spiralled out of control after he died. She would never recover, and would spend decades struggling with un-treated anxiety, periods of severe alcoholism, chain smoking and simply living a horrible life alone in an apartment 60 minutes away from my family by car. I guess that with my grandfather life ending so abrubtly, so did hers. But she had a choice, and she made poor decisions. She would neve really be a functioning grandmother, but my father always sheltered his children from her behaviour. I remember once when she would visit us and we would pick her up at the bus station. She came as planned, but obviously drunk. My father caught on at once, and told her to get out of the car and take the bus back where she came from. And that she did. It happened so quickly I never really understood what happened until I was a grown up. She died about five years ago, having lived a very unfullfilling and lonely life. A failed life. But she’s still my grandmother, and I miss her. I can even understand her. Life is sometimes just too hard to handle. She was the one that gave me the Christmas present I remember the most; a CD stereo system. She must have saved for months and months for it.

While my grandparents on side ran into hardship and even death, the other side lived a different life. A countryside life with many children and a heap of grandchildren. My mother was the fifth and last in line of girls. I guess my grandpa, in his early 40s then, wanted one last go at having a boy, and subsequently failed in the attempt. He had no education to speak of, but worked different jobs through life. Often when I worked nursing homes in the beginning of the 2000’s, old men that knew him often remembered  his height. He was quite short. Family to my grandpa was everything. He never travelled, he settled. Like most people in his generation did. Because they had no other choice. It doesn’t mean he didn’t have a good life. Family is the most important thing, and grandpa had that in a large scale. I grew up next door to my grandpa and grandma, but they were already growing old quickly when I just started growing up. I wasn’t even a teenager when my grandma developed alzheimers and I’m the only one of my sibblings that developed some sort of relationship with them. My grandpa sort of gave up his physical state in the early 90s and ended up in a chair in his home for the last six or seven years of his life depended on home nursing. In 1998 he died, and the last thing he did was call out for my grandma.

There’s something strange about my grandma though. When I think of her, I get a sense of love and care I can’t figure out. It’s been coming to me the past years. I have developed some sort of new bond to her even if she’s been gone since 1994. My grandma was a lot like my mother. With deep care and commitment she took care of her family and her grandchildren. She knew little about the world and it’s complexity. The whole world to her was the surrounding peaceful countryside. She was a real a product of her time. Simpler times. It’s indeed a wonderful place most people in the world can only dream to live in. When I was very young, I often played outside and I could smell that distinctive smell of the dinner she was making. Potatoes, brown sauce, Norwegian meatballs. A smell that is not often to be found today. And I know she cared deeply for me. Alzheimer destroyed her last five years on this planet. I can’t even imagine what she went through, knowing she would drift away somewhere else.

I have developed a new relationship with my grandma these past years. I have almost gotten to know her again. It is one of the most strange spiritual experiences I’ve had. I can’t figure out what it all means. It doesn’t matter what it is really. I just accept that it is. And if she’s somewhere around looking after her family still, I know she will be very excited and very proud that another generation will step into the world this September. Like all of them would be.

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Just a Few Months To Go

I often hold my hand on her stumach. Usually at night. You tend to keep active around midnight and onwards. Please change your routine so you will sleep at night, ok? 😃 To feel your kick is amazing. Unreal. Your mother, even if she’s been through this once before feels the same. Just unreal.

You kick here and there. Punch with your small fists perhaps. We speak of you at night when we og to bed like you will just show up at our door in a few months. I remind both of us that we’re talking about someone already present with us. Always there. You are just inside her stumach, growing and doing all kind of unborn baby things.

My mother is ever so happy. I hear it when she speaks. Her tone. The happiness she can’t hide. She wonders about your name. We give her a few suggestions, but we’re not sure yet. It’s hard you know. How can we know your name? We haven’t even met you yet. We go up to the attic and grab big boxes of baby clothers. Left from when your half sister was a baby. Your mother looks at these clothes with stars in her eyes. All those dark thoughts she had seems to have disappeared. She’s nesting now. Cleaning, tidying, worrying. Thinking about how you will look. How you will be. She’s looking at photos of your sister, thinking of those days with her as a baby. Your mommy is getting ready.

Boy how far I’ve come in a year – in two years. Everything I lost I have gained back. Like a society crippled by war and then resurrected back into something better. Like an anthill being knocked over and re-built better and, stronger than ever before. I simply can’t believe it. Was it all planned out like this?

I imagine birthday cards I will give you. Signed «from your daddy» and I have to stop and remind myself it is me I’m thinking about. I turned it all around. All those strategic plans and reflections I did two years ago. And it all ended up exactly like I had envisioned.

Just a few more months to go.

Daddy.

“Pay via Paypal”

“Did you buy her any toys yet?”

The question came from one of my best friends and co-workers. I had to honestly admit I hadn’t really been buying her anything. Perhaps it was because I up until now had no money to buy anything. Perhaps it was because it hadn’t really sunken in yet that this was really happening.

“Take your stepdaughter with you and buy stuff. Let her pick the toys”

I had to admit, once again, that this advice was really good, and I was surprised I had not thought of it before. I didn’t want to wait though, so I went online and bought them both a teddybear. One of those TY bears for my stepdaughter (shocking have you can make a fortune on teddybears by simply enlarging their bloody eyes) and one bigger rabbit to my unborn daughter.

It was a peculiar moment. I was buying something for my own daughter. I suddenly had a direct relationship with her. I was picking out things for her. I had to stop and just take in that moment. Suddenly it became so very real.  Have I been in denial the whole time? Was the struggle to get where I am now last winter so bad that when it was finally over, I couldn’t shake it and continued to live in a state of limbo? I don’t know. I honestly don’t know. Suddenly it was a simple question from a friend and one fluffy rabbit online bought via Paypal that made emotions just flood me. I mean, I have felt my girlfriends stumach. I’ve felt the bumps and the moves and everything. But no, a click on “pay via Paypal” did it. I was buying my daughter things. Real things for a real girl. My girl. My daughter. That silly looking fluffy rabbit is for her. I bought it for her.

 

Transit Time is About to End

I sold my house yesterday. That is, it’s been sold for a few days now but we signed the contract yesterday. It happened on the exact day when I first met my girlfriend a year ago. Funny that. I guess thats what you call symbolic? It’s almost a bit scary.

I bought my house almost six months after my marriage fell apart. I wanted to wait until the right moment came to buy the right house. Turns out – in the end – it was a really good idea even if I have been living on an extremely tight budget for two years considering the expense of living in, and maintaining a house of that size all alone. Back in 2016, I had actually won the bidding round for another house, and if that deal hadn’t fallen through at the last minute I would have been much worse off and in much more trouble. Take my word for it.

Come to think of it, that happened twice actually, almost the same way. Thankfully those fell through and this deal happened.

I never really intended on selling my house. My plan was to live there for the forseeable future, meet someone marginally younger with no house commitments herself and create something together in this house. It was perfect for families with one or two children. Perfect area for children with a kindergarten and a school very close by in the neighbourhood. My backgarden was lovely and both sides of the property was covered up by trees and bushes so it didn’t feel like living in a suburb at all. It felt like living rather isolated  – as I wanted too. I honestly don’t like neighbours that much. I loved the property even if the house needed some upgrades. Now, I’m not extremely handy – I am first and foremost an academic. But I did what I could with it and boy it paid off.

The first night in my house in the fall of 2016 was a somber, depressing experience. I felt like I was breaking in, and living in a house that didn’t belong to me. All my stuff was packed in boxes. Nothing was in order. I didn’t even have a bed. Just a tiny, single one meant for guests or children or whaetever. I went to sleep that night listening to the complete silence. It engulfed me. There were no dogs around me either. Suddenly  the days with my dog beside me and another on the floor were gone.  It was just me all alone in a big house. It felt horribly wrong for a 35 year old. After a week or so, at least it didn’t feel like I was making a criminal offence going to sleep, but the loneliness and silence never let go. Coming home to an empty house, watching TV alone – feeling like I was wasting time. It felt like that at least until the spring of 2017 when I spent more time in my house.

I painted the entire first floor within weeks of living there. I also painted the stairs in a proper and modern blue-gray colour. It took me like nine hours work those stairs. In February 2017 I re-did the kitchen with new colours. At least my house did not look all 1997 any longer. It honestly looked alright. In the spring of 2017 I even had two parties full of people coming in and giving me compliments about the look of the place. In the summer of 2017 I did some work outdoors. I removed some bushes and trees, made things look a bit better. My mother helped me all the way. So did my father and sister.

During the first six months or so I struggled badly. The silence and emptiness of being there alone was overwhelming. Mostly because of my age. I felt so old. Some neighbours around me were my age and had families. I felt completely out of tune with the world. It was like I had been flown off to a foreign country and left there with no way of coming home. I felt society had somewhat left me behind. Chewed well and spat out like a piece of meat. A very serious and real feeling of failure did not leave me for months and months. I was severely depressed. It took me almost a year to feel right again. Like the person I once was. I think that time came for real on June 30 2017, and I knew it. I even wrote about it.

I leave that house now with mixed feelings. The fact is, I managed to get out of the deal in a good way. So even if my longterm plan for the house is canceled, it served its purpose. Was it ever really my home? No, not really. I haven’t really slept there for months now. I have no personal connection to it. I have no sense of loss from it. I feel slightly bad for my parents to invest so much time with it, and then I get rid of it all of a sudden, but they know I’ve made a good deal and as payment they get to be grandparents. Not a bad deal I’d say.

In ten years time, the house will just be a reminder of a transit stop between my past life and my next life. Like an airport. Like my seven hour transits in Prague ten years ago. I was neither here nor there. And I got out of it in a good way. In all ways possible. From feeling like I completely failed in life to a complete victory in two years time. A proper comeback. Am I lucky or just a good planner? Did I loose something between 2016 and now? Yes I did, but gained more. I will gain the most important thing in the world, and screw it if I can’t gather enough time to write books any longer. My two year transit is about to end. I can finally start a new life.

Midnight hospital visit

I sold my house a few days ago. Funny how stuff simply falls into place sometimes, just as easily as they sometimes fall out of place. I got my asking price as well. So, we decided to celebrate and went to this fancy seafood restaurant. The weather was all peachy like it has been the past month. We ate a seafood platter outside and had a wonderful dessert to go with it.

It is when we’re heading back home she says she doesn’t feel that good. She’s been having cramps in her lower abdomen. They keep coming and going, and she’s been having them all day. We decide to call the hospital. She gets one when we’re calling them, and I start to time them. Another comes fifteen minutes later. They seem to be frequent. The hospital doesn’t take any chances, and wants her in for a check. And so we swing by the hospital just before 23:00. We’re not nervous when we walk through the hospital corridors, but we’re slightly tense. I automatically start to think how maybe everything will come crashing down again, it’s after all a hairs bredth between victory or death in these matters. At least to me.

They check her well and good, but their communication skills leaves something to be desired. It’s always like this in this game. The doctor that checks her is Swedish or foreign with a Swedish accent. He looks at the monitors with a very strict and serious face, and it takes forever before he says «it all looks good». Not once do they say what they think is going on, they just ask questions and look serious. It’s almost a surprise when he says everythings fine. Then he says «this gets me worried». He refers to the placement of the placenta.

He feels it’s quite low and might block the babys exit. However, once her inside expands – the placenta moves along with the expansion. Almost like if you mark the bottom of a balloon and then blows it up. The mark have most likely moved away from the very bottom. But he would like us to come back in week 32 for a check. My girlfriends gets worried – anything but a natural birth scares her. We tell the nurse about our worries. She’s a better communicator than the doctor at least. We wait it out at the hospital for about two hours, as recommended.

After almost two hours time, the doctor comes back in and apologises for being a bit blunt about the placenta. There’s no need to worry apperantly, and we’re heading back in week 32 for a check anyway. It was already scheduled. I find it a bit odd as the placement of the placenta have been described in previous documents as «high on the backside». The placenta doesn’t move on it’s own – only by expansion. I mention this, but get no clear response. So someone is looking at things wrong, we just don’t know who. Up until this point, we have gotten no explenation about what’s causing the cramps/pain. We think it might be because of the placenta, but the doctor says it’s not. My girlfriend asks if it’s Braxton Hicks. The doctor says he thinks it might be. It dawns on me that he wouldn’t have answered or explained what it could be if it wasn’t for her asking him directly. But I’ve seen this before. Lack of proper communication. Doctors so confident that they simply forget to inform the most important person about what’s going on. Being more interested in the check than the conclusion.

And while waiting it out at the hospital I had already Googled Braxton Hicks and concluded that if it wasn’t an early-birth situation (which I could conclude it wasnt sure to the doctor mumbling «everythings fine», it must be Braxton Hicks.

And so we leave the hospital at 01:30 in the morning. I hope I won’t be back until week 32 and then for the birth – and at the right time.

 

Two small thumps

I haven’t bothered your mother much about touching her stomach. You have to be a bit smart with these things considering everything we went through, and how much I fought for you.

But, this week I felt a startling sensation on my hand when I touched her stomach. It was you, and you kicked instantly as to say hello to me.

We were down at her familys pier, just talking about stuff. I think we touched upon the subject of overweight, and I was trying to tell your mom something when I placed the upside of my hand on her stomach.

Instantly I felt two thumps. I wasn’t sure what it was, thinking it was just her stomach doing something when she slightly moved – and not you. But, it was you. It was really you.

I kept my hand there a few more seconds, and you kicked hard. That was the first time we had any form of contact even if it came via your mothers stomach.

A few days ago I did it again, and you kicked so hard I felt my fingers move upwards.

I do apologise for playing a song from the soundtrack of the Trolls movie as your first song ever the other night, but your half sister was there and she loves Trolls. I couldn’t really go for my fave song –  Estranged by Guns N’ Roses right there and then. Maybe later?

You kicked though, either because you liked it or because you hated it. Hopefully the last. It really is some shit songs on that soundtrack, and they drive me nuts.

You know, I always imagined you being a girl. Even if I strayed a bit on that since my ex and I split up and everything changed. It was only fitting you were a girl. I know you by looks won’t be exactly the same girl as I envisioned you years ago, but from my side of DNA, genetics and what not of it you will be. My part of you will be the same. Perhaps my part of your spiritual essence of you is the same even if you will  look different? Perhaps you will be that girl I could almost feel was there beside me at times when I was struggling and not feeling the best.

I often missed you terribly and couldn’t get to you because you never had the chance to exist. I think I once wrote that you will never been exactly the same even if you got to be born later at one point. Maybe I was wrong?

Maybe my part of you will be just like I imagined it. You will be THAT person.

So, I finally get to meet you! It’s like you’ve been by my side for years now. And now you will step out from the spiritual world and into the physical world. And we will meet. You’re almost ready, kicking my hand from inside the womb to say hello to me and tell me; yes, I am here.

Breaking the news

We told her daughter the news last Saturday.

It was something she had dreaded for months and months. She was convinced her daughter would throw a fit of some sort. Fall into depression, cry hysterically, scream profanities or simply falling to sleep silently every night in tears over the nightmare news of a little sister.

Perhaps my relationship with her would suffer greatly. Maybe she would hate my guts over how I basically “stole her mother away”.

Even I thought it would pose a bit of a problem, and I often told her that it most likely would be a bit of crying and screaming but it would pas with time. It’s not like the daughters experience with her half brother seems to work out well judging by what she says about it.

However, none of that happened. The daughter must be some kind of psychic. Two weeks ago, she started to ask for a little sister out of the blue. We weren’t telling her anything, and we didn’t confirm it either. Last Monday, we come home from the ultrasound and the first thing that comes out of the girls mouth when we get back is; “will I get a little sister?”. We still didn’t confirm the news, we waited until Saturday when she once again asked and wished for a little siter. The girl was over the moon when we confirmed the news.

No tears, no screaming, no nothing. Just joy on her part.

Trying to take advantage of this and put it into a wider perspective I try to tell my girlfriend that since this went so much better than what she thought, maybe other aspects with this pregnancy would be a positive surprise as well. Well, she wasn’t really buying into that and she would hardly accept that the “hell” as she described it once (telling her daughter would be a experience out of hell) never happened. “Things change” she said – as an explenation. Well, dauh, yes they do. Maybe other things won’t be “hell on Earth” either then.

Her brain often starts to work overtime at midnight. Again last night. I’m ready for sleep by then, and the look of surprise on her face when I say that midnight is a good time to fall asleep never fails. Going through the usual issues she started to talk about walking her daughter to school. She said she refused to give this up even with a new baby because it was “quality time” with her daughter. Given my perspective of things, children being able to walk to school alone is a crucial part of them growing older and being more self dependent. I have observed children coming to school in the morning, and there’s very few parents actually walking the kids all the way up to the door holding their backpack. No offense. I guess it’s simply a matter of being afraid of something new, holding onto the old. My life has been “new” for the past three years or so. It’s come to be the norm. I guess that’s why I’m not that worried.

“It’s a girl”.

Week 19 (+1)

The Babylon 5 episode titles will now end. It is only fitting.

I can honestly say; hey, that went quite well. Smooth even.

We went down to the hospital, and I think we were both a bit tense. I have never been with someone I can sense the way I do with her either. It got better once we came down there. We got inside at the exact moment our appointment was. The first thing the midwife said when she put the ultrasound device on her was; “well, lots of activity here”.

Well, a big sigh of a relief then. The baby had certainly survived that fall up in the hills.

So, alright. It’s kicking and moving and everything’s fine.

“You want to know the sex”? she asked us.

“Sure” I said.

“It’s a girl,” the midwife replied.

What?

I had such a distinctive feeling it was a boy.

But yep, it’s a girl, and due date is 20 September.

Going back home we had no heated discussions or emotional outburst of any sort. We ordered sushi, but almost forgot to pick it up.

We spoke of children’s name on our way back. It was just fine. Finally something that turned out to be a good day. It had to turn around eventually, and perhaps it just did.

I waited until after football practice to tell my parents. Like 22:00 hours. I had told her to stay awake because I had a photo I needed her input on. I told her I didn’t know what it was.

So I showed my mother a blurry ultrasound photo. It took her about two or three minutes until she understood what it was. It my was dad who first said it was an ultrasound photo. I don’t think she dared to even ask if it was. She was over the moon. Just like I expected her to react. It was just lovely. It felt like the fulfillment or conclusion of that difficult talk I had to do with her in the spring of 2016 when I told her I had split from my ex wife – and I told her all about the IVF at the same time. This was finishing that talk with a good outcome. An almost Three year struggle. It felt like a demonic entity lifting off my shoulders. Like some grey mist that just left me. It was peculiar and bizarre. At one point I felt like I was floating. Imagine that.

And now the real job will commence soon enough.

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Into the Fire

Another D-Day today. It’s been too many. Maybe this one will be the last one?

I just saw an Instagram photo by someone I slightly know. She’s pregnant. “We are so excited!” the text said attached with a countdown photo of her pregnancy.

They are obviously over the moon and really looking forward to June – her due month.

As for me, well, I haven’t mentioned my girlfriends pregnancy to anyone lately. Well, with the exception in a conversation with her mother when my gf rudely told her “maybe it’s dead” when her mother mentioned it. I should have told her to fucking behave her age. Or today, when we’re off to the ultrasound in a couple of hours, and I wrote her “you know, my gut feeling tells me it’s a boy” and she responds with “ok, I’m going to lie down now”.

It makes for great excitement. But hey,the male has to be supportive. Just be supportive. Whatever she wants, it’s good. Doesn’t matter. Just act like an adult and try to be there for her. And I do. No need to lecture me on female rights – I’ve read all, and support all. But there’s no substitute for decency.

She fell a two or three weeks ago out on skis. Might have fractured a rib. There was no other injury, but I was obviously worried about the baby. She haven’t bothered that much about it, and did not want to see a doctor or anything. So, for me, without getting any consolidation from her about what’s going on inside her – the ultrasound will at least confirm if the baby is alive. I think it is though, but it’s still frightening. So, that’s what’s been on my mind for the past three weeks.

I talked to my doctor last week. I told her my past two years have not been normal in terms of family, children, relationships I’ve been through
more than most do in a lifetime. There’s just nothing normal with any of this, and I haven’t even begun to feel bitter about my girlfriend taking
away my initial joy and excitement about a pregnancy. Because right now, I’m simply numb. I told my doctor the same thing. I’m numb. Like I’ve been
in some form of war or fistfight for the past two years, and even if I did win the fight, I am so battered that I can’t enjoy my victory. If it is a victory that is.

I wrote my doctor, as she told me, a letter explaining my situation and how I wanted someone to talk to. To sort all this out. Sort out my ex-wife and what
I went through there as well my ex-girlfriend and my current state of affairs. It’s all mixed up in one big pile of mess.

But one thing I do know; this is it. On the path I am now taking, this is it. There will be this chance or no more. I am going into the fire.

And I can’t believe I am where I am right now, just a year after I started this personal blog/diary. I still don’t know if I’m better off or not.

It’s like someone hearing my thoughts and replied with; “we will give you what you want, but you will have to endure and you will have to fight”.

Atonement

“So, congratulations on becoming a father!” she said yesterday. She’s a friend of my girlfriend. Long time friend. Like, really long time. I know her from middle school, but we never really talked. Not until recently. She seems to be quite smart, reflective even.

“Thanks, but I’m not one just yet”, I somberly reply. The answer catches her off-guard, and there’s an awkward feeling the air. I know my girlfriend have been talking to her about her feelings about this pregnancy; that she basically don’t want it and have this idea I pressured into it. I am quite sure it’s a bit more complicated than that though.

I change the topic as quick as I can.

I dawned on me that I am completely numb from this situation. There is no joy any more. Not like it’s supposed to be. Two people being happy. Here’s one person so unsure and frightened about it that she has truly and utterly destroyed any feelings of happiness. I don’t blame her for it, but I am bitter for it. I am bitter because there was absolutely no point in doing it like this.

I visit my mom later that same day. I was about to tell her, but I didn’t. I want it to be a happy time. Not a sober time where I basically tell her she’s becoming a grandmother in some robotic voice. It’s not supposed to be like that.

Maybe I will find the excitement again down the road, but right now I am totally out of breath and out of energy. I am numb. Simply numb. I don’t really believe it any more for some reason. And, considering my age and my relationship – this will be the only time I’m going through this – and you know what? If it’s going to be like this, I’ll be happy with one time only.

I have an doctors appointment on Wednesday. Maybe I’ll need it. I don’t know yet.