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.

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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.

Secrets of the Soul

For children, Christmas is a time filled with anticipation, magic and wonders. The 24th is day full of excitement waiting for presents to be opened in the evening. Many children recieve outdoor equipment, whether its skis or snowracers. Others get toys, clothes, candy or even a new iPad. The holiday always feels longer than it really is for kids. The fridge is packed with good food, and the parents are often more leanient on sweets during this wonderfull week.

I remember Christmas as a child with the outmost joy and wonder. Those magical hours on the 24th of December before opening my presents in the evening. The distinctive smell of traditional food in the house all day. My mother singing Christmas carols to herself in the kitchen. Maybe an hour outside on my slalom skis during the daytime. Opening presents in the evening and being in utter shock when I actually get that Super Nintendo game I wished for. Looking at my younger brother being in awe over having Santa visiting and giving him presents. Eating leftovers on the first day of Christmas watching the Narnia series on TV. The countryside is always covered in deep, white snow with little to no traffic on the nearby road. Christmas seemed to go on forever, and then came New Years. It never stopped.

It is perhaps an undeniable truth that the distinctive  feel of the holidays disappear once you get older. The years go by quicker, and those specific emotions you  have as a child never really catch you the same way when you’re grown up. You may, if you are lucky, get sense of the old times when you’ve all grown up, but it’s never really like it used to be. Maybe you’re trying your best as a parent to bring that certain excitement to your own children but not feeling you are suceeding. If you haven’t started your own family, perhaps those feelings and doings of Christmas simply fade away.

I used to be married to a foreigner with no emotional or tradiational connection to Christmas. She didn’t know of, and did not have any fond memories of the holiday and what it could bring. She had no connection to the classic movies on TV. No understanding of the Christmas calendar TV series prior to the 24th. She had no interest in the traditional Norwegian meals. As there were no children involed, there was no real sense of good old Christmas except for those short visits to my parents. Perhaps it would have been different if I had a children. I would have made sure that they too experienced those wonders and excitements like I did when I was young. I would have caught on again as well, and it would have felt more like Christmas – this time seeing it through the eyes of my own child.

The Christmas holidays, for me, have been fading away for over a decade. Last year I didn’t even bother putting up a Christmas tree. There was no point in doing any of it – alone. I had time of work, but I don’t remember what I was doing except walking the dogs and feeling depressed. I didn’t do any of the things I did when I was young any longer. Heck, I didn’t even own a pair of skis any more, and I used to love being out on skis. It was all gone. Everything I loved about the holidays had gone, piece by piece. I never watched the movies or the classic TV series any more. There were no calendars to be opened before Christmas, and snowfall just meant damn trouble.

This year I got it all back.

My girlfriend decorated her house with Christmas bits and bobs in December. Her 7-year old daughter watched the Christmas TV series each evening, and I joined in. I watched the child open her small calendar presents in the mornings and looking at her being excited about what she got. I made homemade beer like my mother used to do, and her mother before her. On the 21st I got out and bought a great but (rather expensive!) Christmas tree. The first time I have ever done so. I brought it back to my girlfriends house just like in the America movies. On the 22nd we decorated it, together. On the 24th we watched the classic TV series and movies together and laughed and smiled at the same cherished parts. I joined her her family for Christmas dinner, and I watched how Santa emerged from the forest with a small lamp to guide his way towards the house. I  saw suspense in the childrens faces when Santa came inside the hallway with all the presents at hand. I watched the children opening their presents in excitement and wonder. We finished the celebrations at four am in the morning.

Between Christmas and New Years, I got out and did the unthinkable. I bought a pair of cross country skis. The first skis I have bought since I was 15 years old. On New Years eve, in the daylight and between thick, snow covered trees, we went out on skis. My first time since I can’t even remember. We visited my parents for coffee and Christmas cookies, and watched the fireworks together on New Years eve. Not blotto with a half full champagne bottle in hand and a drunk mate puking in the bathrom. No, just us together and quite sober alongside one of her best friend and her family of two children and a her husband.

Christmas 2017 was the first time since I was a teenager that I’ve felt that special Christmas feeling.

Thank you for giving it back to me. I love you.

A Voice in the Wilderness

Dear Adria

You never existed. Well, that’s not true either. You existed as a zygote, splitting into four, five or six parts. And then you were no more. This happened about five or six times. Only in my mind you were more than this.

I often found myself picturing what you would look like, what we would be doing together when you were growing up, how happy my mom would be when I told her about you, and what you would be doing with your life. I imagined our relationship. Me as a father and you as my daughter.

In the end it turned out that you would be just one of the endless mix of cells that never ended up as anything more in this world. Life is a lottery, and you lost. Most do. Most of us will never be born at all. I could say you are just another star in the endless , vast universe that we will never discover as a human race, but I feel even that is a poor comparison to the chances of you being born and being a person. Such are the odds you had against you, and I will be stuck here trying to come to terms with how truly precious life is, even if that’s a cliché thing to say. Because it is. But it doesn’t make it less true. Life is a mystery to me. The odds so low I don’t think most people ever realize.

You know what’s also funny? For each time I went through this – I imagined you a bit different than the last failed attempt. But you were always a girl. It’s like I have imagined six slightly different versions of you. Hows that for parallell dimensions uh. Like I could take a sneak peak into the millions and millions of different ways my life would turn out – and how your life would turn out if you ended up being so lucky.

I used to miss you a lot. I used to imagine you being there with me. At times it was so real I could almost feel you brushing my shoulder. I once sat down watching TV when the sensation of you standing beside me was so real it was one of the heaviest and most heartfelt things I’ve ever experienced. I cried that time. Because I missed you. But I know I imagined it. It wasn’t real. I was in a depression.

I’m out of the depression, but I sometimes get the same sensation. However, it is never as strong. If I feel lonely in a crowd of parents and their children, I can still imagine you standing beside me. I can simply start to miss you or the feel of you, and you show up. You and me together. Like the characters of my books, it’s all a figment of my imagination. I know it’s not real, but you are much more real than my characters ever was even if I know them better than you.

I guess I have come to understand and respect why some can go mentally insane and start visualizing invisible children, animals or even dead parents. When I grew up, a man was walking around the area with a long leash with an invisible cow at the end of it. It was real to him. The desire and wish for it to be real is so strong that it actually becomes real in ones mind.

And that is you, and this is me. I am alive. You never were. You never got the chance. And you will never again get the chance, not with this specific mix of cells between two people that used to love each other. That doesn’t mean you don’t mean anything to me, because you do. You were the closest I came to be a father, and even if I do become one at some point, I will still miss you.

You.

Someone that never was, and never will be.

It doesn’t make it less real.

Not to me.

Merry Christmas.

By Any Means Necessary

No one is really following this saga but me, but I’ll write it.

My wish and desire to become a father at some point is very real, and I damn well know all the pain I’ve been through the past years for dealing with it and the loss of it. The failed marriage impacted me greatly, but I knew what I was doing all along in terms of children. I stuck with my ex wife for as long as she wanted me there. When she didn’t want me there any longer, I left. And I did so with no hesitation. She could not have children. If she loved me, I would have stayed regardless. She didn’t, so I left. I wanted children, and I could not have them with her. I do not regret that decision.

I met someone new, and thought I did all the right things, asking at the right time, trying to pan it all out by the book. She knew my desire and wish to create a family on my own, and she agreed to it. Then she retracted it and didn’t want any more children. That’s fine. I don’t blame her one bit for it considering her story. But I do blame her for not being able to stand firm on a very important decision. That impacted me greatly, and yet again I took some very hard decisions and broke it off. I don’t regret that either, but it was an extremely tough decision when it was going on.

Then I met someone else. I decided to follow my gut feeling. She asked me i f I wanted children early on (which is normally the way you do these things) and I confirmed I did. I did not ask her back. I followed my instincts, and waited. I read between the lines instead. Kept my head cool. Did not speak much about children either. Did not pour my heart out. Maybe I was afraid of the answer if I asked.

I was more up front with her last night. I told her just that – that I had refrained from asking her so bluntly. She asked if I had been scared of her answer. I sort of replied with a “no”, but I guess it wasn’t really the correct reply, because I had been afraid of her reaction. I don’t blame myself for holding back. Not with my past experience this year, but I asked her last night. If children was a possibility in all this. She confirmed that it was. I replied saying that it was all that I needed. She asked me what if it wouldn’t work out – if she would not get pregnant. What then? I said that in that case it was a whole other ballgame. That is something completely different. It can happen. We’re not 25 any longer. Not 30 either. But it is a “risk” I am willing to take. Because I love her. I see what kind of girl she is, and her type does not grow on trees. She asked me what I would have done if she said that she would not under any circumstance have any more children. I replied that it would not normally go as far as this if that was the case (I would have known by my gut feeling) – but if that had happened (like last time) I would have left. The grief of not having children on my own, if it will come to that, will be something I have to deal with on my own, but at least I am in control of my own destiny. I decided last summer, when I met her, that if I would go along with this it would be a risk I was willing to take. I am more in control of my own destiny now. It simply feels better. It is my decision. Not someones elses.

Walking to work this morning felt easy. It was a relief. I did the talk I knew I had to do at some point, and now I have done it. I am in control of my future. If it doesn’t work out, at least I know it was my decision to go down this path.

I don’t think the grief will ever really go away if I am to be without a child. But I can learn to live with it. Deal with the cards I was given. I will have to deal with many horrible thoughts and reflection on my destiny, and how all this ended this way due to circumstances I could not control or know. I could not know that my ex wife could not have children. I will somewhat always blame myself for choosing the wrong person so many years ago, but I can’t change this. The shocking realization that life is by chance and luck is tough to swallow. You can be the man you want to be, you can believe in karma and always try to do the right things – but it might not be enough, and it’s not your fault. It’s not MY fault it ended like this.

But, it’s not over yet. There’s still a few years to go.

If it doesn’t work out, I might end up with a depression again. I might have to go to counselling again. But at least I can say I tried and took the decisions I thought was right.

Maybe none of this will happen, and in five years time I have settled into the life I made for myself feeling alright with everything that have happened. Coming to grips with it, and accepting my faith.

 

The Hour of the Wolf

Christmas celebrations came up during a conversation yesterday. I started to think back to last Christmas, and what I did then. I can honestly tell you I don’t remember. I think I walked the dogs on the 23rd of December, sobbing silently while I hanging on to them and being pleased it was so dark no cars passing by me could see how much of a mess I was. I vaguely remember coming back home at night from my parents on Christmas Eve and being happy about a canvas photo I got from my dad. Other than that, I don’t remember. I don’t remember if my dogs were with me, but I think they were. According to photos anyway.

I think I might have stopped by my parents on the 25th. After that I don’t remember anything until New Years eve. Did I go to work those days between Christmas Eve and New Years? Did I stay with my ex-girlfriend, or was she working? I honestly don’t know. I think she was working, and I stayed home.

I looked back at my Snapchat roll to see if I had been taking any photos last Christmas. There was nothing really there. There were a few videos of my ex girlfriends daughter on there, cooking me oatmeal which made me miss her, but that was from January.

I didn’t have a tree, I didn’t have any decorations up. That I remember. I didn’t bother. What was the point in making Christmas all by myself anyway. If I wanted Christmas I could visit my mom.

It was a shitty Christmas. That’s what it was. The worst I’ve had. I was so deep inside my own mind I don’t even remember what I was doing – because I wasn’t doing anything at all. I was just being inside myself, trying to find a way out of it.

And it would get worse before it got better – but I already wrote down that part.

 

 

Between the Darkness and the Light

Fathers day came and went yesterday (I honestly don’t know why the date is different from country to country, but it is).

I was honestly a bit worried about it.

I was worried that I would scroll around on Facebook and see numerous of posts made about dads  and how they are so kind, caring and nice to their children. Photos of dads with their children, smiling – being happy. I was especially worried about posts about dads my own age and how I would react. I know a lot of them by the looks of it (yeah, I did scroll a little). So I worried about that Friday and Saturday. Worried that it would bring me down in jealousy and very real feelings of failure. Why they get so much attention while no one mentions me or say anything about me. It feels like I am not worthy or good enough. Not as kind, caring or supportive. And sure, that ain’t true, but it still pokes my feelings that way.

I was worried it would remind me all too well of what I have been through. Worried about how letting down my mother would be a present feeling all day. Worried that my girlfriend would notice as well. But in the end, I guess it was more about actually being scared that something *could* happen to my psyche instead of it actually happening. Like actually developing a migraine because you are shit scared of getting one in the first place.

It would have been different if I had been all alone that day, but I was with people that I care about. I was kept occupied, and had little time to think about it. I did alright. It was actually when I started to think about why the day turned out alright I got bummed out, and let’s forget the bad dreams at night. They often happen anyway. It doesn’t count.

I thought of telling my girlfriend that I had been worried about Fathers Day and how it all went pretty well in the end, but in the end – I didn’t. I don’t really tell her much about this at all. Not like with my ex where I opened up like a flood. I guess I learned to keep my mouth quiet. Maybe that’s a good thing, maybe it’s not, but if taking a left turn last time around resulted in shit happening, I take a right turn this time and hope for the best.

So, happy belated Fathers Day to you guys and fuck all of you. 😉

The Long, Twilight Struggle

You accused me of being grumpy when I came into work.

I replied I wasn’t grumpy or annoyed or even mad.

Sometimes I have a lot to think about; I am disappointed with the choice I made of who to love and be with, and I am frightened about doing them again. I am worried that I will not feel or be fulfilled, and that I will constantly, for the rest of my life, walk around with a feeling that I can only describe as a heartache that will never end for as long as I live. You know I read that one time? That having no children and wishing you had children feels like a never-ending heartbreak? Like when your 17 and your boyfriend dumps you and you think you will never get over it? Only that for me, due to what happened, it will never go away? It scares me. And I often wonder where all this came from? It wasn’t something of an issue that occupied me at all when I was younger. It was only when it was taken away from it dawned on me. When did I become like this?

But hey, I have control now. I am not pouring my heart out to my girlfriend about it. I shy away from it. I do not feel like escaping life by looking up B&Bs somewhere along  the British southern coastline, go down there alone and lock myself in that room and hide from society. But even if I keep myself in order, I have periods of feeling worried and sad. That’s what you see when I come into work with a strict face, few words and a couple of deep sighs. I am not grumpy. I am just worried about life. Disappointed with the past, and scared about the future. Maybe this is how it is when you grow old and more than before look back at your life and judge your actions? Suddenly I have a whole decade to look back upon as an adult. No wonder I am worried.

I am not grumpy. I am frightened, disappointed and worried.

And the Rock Cried Out, No Hiding Place

Last weekend I went to a birthday party. He turned 31 years old – quickly becoming a very grown man. I went alongside my brother and a mutual friend the same age as the birthday boy. I’m some years older than them. My brother just turned 30.

I had not spoken much to this mutual friend for a while, and I noticed his subjects had changed from somewhat childish anecdotes and memories of past drunken adventures to subjects such as starting a family, children, and pregnancies. Apperantly, his current girlfiend wants two children before she turns thirty which means he have to be up for the task within four years. He was obviously up for it from how he spoke about it. He also mentioned briefly he had spoken to the birthday boy about children just a few weeks ago, and told us that the birthday boy had admitted to him that it wouldn’t be too long until his girlfriend would be pregnant. I got the feeling from that (and from later on that same evening) that they were trying for a baby. One of the other guys in the group going to the birthday party had just become a father himself.

It is moment like these I have to fight my own mental state. I have to fight back that I feel down because I am older than them. I have to fight back all dark thoughts of failure and a feeling of loneliness which I cannot really explain. I have to keep fighting back feelings of disappointing my mother for not having been able to start a family and give her grandchildren. It can be hard to deal with.

I consider the birthday boy one of my best friends, and I remember the therapist I saw asking me last spring about what would “tip me back to where I was mentally last winter.” I immediately replied that if the birthday boy would become a father, that would be devastating to me. I am not sure if this is the case now, but I am very scared of how I will feel, act or even respond when or if this happens.

I am a competitive guy. I like to compete, and I like to win. The birthday boy had invited us all (a group of six or seven guys) to go Go-Karting for the day. I had not done that for about 17 years, but I have a bit of simulation experience which gave me the upper hand in the past at least.

On the way to visit birthday-boy, I had been fighting my demons for the past hour or so, and could not shake the feeling of being a failure or “less” than many of them due to all this new information and all the talk about children which took my by surprise.

I can’t really explain why, but I took my fight to that silly Go-kart track instead. My failures (or my feelings of failure), feelings of being a loser, someone at 36 who cant even start a family, disappointing my mother, and just feeling down and out. And you know what, I took the worst side of my personality onto the track as well – jealousy. Because I am angry, sad and jealous that they are planning, creating and looking forward to having children and a family. I was jealous and sad.

Now, the birthday boy has a bit of experience Go-Karting. He had been doing a bit of research beforehand – studying the track and reading a bit on the subject. He was ready and rumour said he was  a natural at it.

The Go-Karting we did was all time-trial. All about getting in that fastest lap. The birthday boy won the first 10 minute stint. He was about 0.300 seconds in front me. After a quick break,  I got back onto the track for the second 10 minute stint. And I wasn’t going to let him win this one.

I drove like a madman. I pushed that damn Kart so hard the wheels were screaming in pain around every bend and turn. I might end up on the loosing side of not fulfilling my biggest dream of becoming a father, but I would sure as hell end up as number one on this damn track. I wasn’t gonna let them get me down here. I had to win at something, and it had to be here. There was no other choice.

After I was done, I could hardly pull myself out of the small Go-Kart. My arms were numb. I struggled heavily pulling off my drivers suit. I could hardly take the helmet off my head. My hair was completely soaked in sweat. My mouth felt like a cotton ball. I desperately craved for a water. I was dizzy, and I could hardly stand up. I looked at the others. They seemed fine. Everyone was a bit tired, but I was completely worn out. All this after 20 minute of Go-karting and I consider myself in pretty good shape. All my jealousy, anger, frustrations and anxiety was left there on the track.

We looked at the track times. I did it. I was first. An inner sigh of relief. I was quickest. I had beaten the kart-researching-most-likely-father-to-be birthday-boy. I had beaten them all. I felt fucking good. Its not a side to my personality I am very proud of, but it made me feel better. I had thrown out of all my demons and insecurities for the evening. They were left on the track. I was first. I won. The old guy won.

Outside, I overheard one of the guys saying I had been driving like a person possessed.

Afterwards, in the evening, I had a headache and felt sleepy. I didn’t feel better until I had had considerable water to drink. I was dehydrated.

Two days later and my arms are still sore.