I just wanted to bake a cake for my daughter

She asked me what I thought about it, so I answered honestly. It is always the right thing to be honest, no?

Well.

The first birthday for a little girl is a very special day. A defining moment. A baby have managed to survive being born, manage herself through those first twelve months of being alive. It calls for celebrations.

However, in this family (not mine, the other side of the family) things are sometimes done in the best intentions but creates confusion and arguing. But, hey, maybe I am wrong about all of this? What do you guys think;

A few weeks ago I was told by my girlfriend that her stepmother had offered to host our girls first birthday party. It would take place in their house, and my mom and dad plus my brother and sister would also be invited. Only if we wanted to, the stepmother said. My girlfriend said yes, She did ask me about it, but I felt I had no choice but to say yes to it as well.

Now, is this within the cultural norms? It is my daughters first birthday. I wanted to bake a cake, and host a celebration here at home. Here at home where both parts of her family could come on equal terms so to speak. I mentioned the stepmothers plans to my mom, and she wasn’t super thrilled. I guess she felt the same as me, that the center of power so to speak is not equal but lies with my girlfriends side of the family.

It is my opinion that stepmothers and/or grandmothers should know, based on their social skills and cultural upbringing, that a first birthday celebration should be hosted by the parents of the child, in their home. In that way things won’t get awkward for anyone. Not for me, not for my girlfriend, not for my part of the family.

But in this case, I find no way of saying no right out of the bat as my girlfriend thinks this is a good idea. I would be looked upon badly from many sides as the grumpy guy who says no to someone hosting practically a “free” party. I would also, I suspect, hurt the stepmothers feelings badly in refusing.

And so I told my girlfriend all of this, and I also included that if it had been my mother asking to host my daughters first birthday party at her house, I would decline the invitation. It wouldn’t be right, socially, culturally and so on. There’s something to this idea that makes me feel awkward and unruly. There’s also a matter of inviting like the stepmothers brother which I find a bit strange in a setting like this.

But yeah, I voiced this opinion to my girlfriend. I was asked. I was being honest about it, trying to explain my hesitant feeling towards this in detail. It didn’t go as planned. I wasn’t angry, I wasn’t rude. I was trying my absolute best at explaining why I felt awkward about this birthday party, and also the reasons why I wasn’t refusing it. There are several reasons, a few already mentioned in this text.

It turned out to be a two hour discussion where my girlfriend, at her absolute finest moment, said that short people was more angry than tall people – and therefore I was more angry than most people. She also accused me of not liking her family in general because of me feeling awkward about it which is not true at all. However, everyone on her side are “a bit too much” at times as there’s almost a revolving door of grandparents visiting this house. That’s another story.

I tried to explain to her that it is not healthy that my girlfriend goes on the attack on matter like this as she should be supportive and act like a team member. We’re supposed to be a team, and it is completely unecessary accusing me of all weird ideas and feelings when I simply voiced my opinion that I found her stepmother arranging this to be rather awkward for me and for my family.

Later on, I checked with a friend of mine if I was wrong in judging this like I did, and she said I was completely right. A birthday party like this, which happens only once, should be up to the parents to decide and host – and grandparents, mother in laws and stepmothers should politely stay away from it. It doesn’t matter how politely this stepmother asks. I am confident she thinks that we can give her an honest answer back, but I don’t think either of us can do. We don’t want to hurt anyone, and besides, my girlfriend thought it was a good idea anyway. It is borderline rude towards my parents in taking the center of power around my daughter and put that on her side of the family when it should be focused in the center – here, at our home. This is where people around my daughter should meet up.

And you know what, I wanted to bake a cake. It wouldn’t have been the most fancy cake ever, but I wanted to bake a cake for my daughter first birthday party. I can still do it of course, but I feel like it’s been taken way from me. That first time, that first birthday, snatched away from me by do-gooders with no social knowledge. Stolen from me by a way too eager stepmother and a girlfriend who doesn’t seem to understand the social implications of this. She accuses me of being rude, but she doesn’t seem to see the bigger picture.

But I am right, or am I wrong? This is one discussion I would gladly welcome in a comment field on this blog.

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She’s doing quite alright without me

Sometimes I meet my ex. Often it deals with coordinating things with the dogs. Taking them somewhere or driving them somewhere. I’m fine with it. I’m happy to help.

And you know what, she seems fine. She looks upbeat these days. She talks like she have often done in the past, and she doesn’t seem to be in a troubled state of mind. Not that I notice anyway. Maybe she is doing alright after all? Maybe she doesn’t miss me one bit now, and feel really good about her decisions. Maybe she is happy for me, and have moved on. I guess she did that a long time ago? I guess we have that distance now where we used to know each other well, and the present “us” doesn’t do that anymore. It doesn’t really give me any issues thinking about that, and I am settled with it. If I do miss her, I do not miss the present her. I simply miss the scenario of the past I guess. It’s more about me than her. But I do miss someone that understands me like she used to do. Someone that gives me different form of respect than I experience these days. And when we speak, we are still on the same level. I notice that at once. Things I didn’t even think of before.

But there’s still pain. A few weeks ago I was at a friends house listening to music and I put on this song which have basically come to represent our break up and my situation at the time. The song got me really down. It was hard picking myself up from it again and continue playing songs and drinking beer. I am amazed how these handful of songs can affect like this still. These songs gives me a horrible feeling. Here’s the interesting part – I often myself reaching for these songs to play them. Like a morbid curiousity because I know it have a certain affect on me. But my friend is no different. He had refrained from watching a few concert videos from 2017 because after that concert he met someone that truly fucked him over. And so he never watched those videos because he was scared it might mentally fuck him up.

So I’m not the only one, I just never experienced it at this massive level of emotion before.

So, I guess she’s alright then. She looks to be. I hope she is. I am sometimes filled with guilt over finding a bit of happiness and even becoming a parent. Like I shouldn’t be allowed to when she is not a mother herself. There’s no point in having this form of guilty conscience, but I still have it. I wish her all the best and I am still sad on her behalf. Sometimes I feel I might be more down about it than she is. I don’t know.

If my daughter ever comes home one day with heartbreak; all I can tell her is that it will get better. Tomorrow, in a week or in six months. Maybe it will take a year even, but everything does get better. You take a punch, you might go down, but you find a way back into standing upright again somehow. With time. That I know.

And for my extremely intelligent and pretty, exotic foreign girl; you are truly one of a kind. I do miss our friendship.

Summer aftermath

Earlier this year I wrote this https://severeddreams.wordpress.com/2019/07/03/the-cabin-a-cultural-golden-ticket-to-high-status/ about an upcoming stay at a cabin belonging to her family.

Now, the results are in, and the aftermath have already taken place.

I have been quite open about what I have been worried about concerning these cabin stays. In short, it comes down to the lack of proper private sphere and the lesser availability of hygiene. During my stay, even some of the others involved admitted the place was too small for the amount of five adults and three children.

But I also discovered other challenges I had during my stay.

I felt I had very little control over my own days. I was always following someone elses plans or agenda (or lack of). If we we’re going out for a trip, it was someone else saying this would be the activity. Whatever it was, I was simply degraded to a follower of someone elses ideas and schedule. I am not used to this. I have always been my own boss, and if not I have always been asked or been taken into consideration when theres plans to be made. With this, it felt I came last. I was simply part of other peoples plans. Today we go to the beach, today we go for a boat ride, today we don’t know what we’re doing…and so on.

I told my girlfriend about this, and I said I wanted more part in planning these days for next year. Maybe I want road trips to certain coastal towns, or visiting my aunt down south. I want plans settled and decided for. These days are important. Apperantly, she can’t really give straight answers about making plans because it’s like she doesn’t want to plan big things except things that will happen a short amount of time ahead.

Like an example;

If I suggest a hike to a certain mountaintop. Instead of saying yes, she hesitated and talks about another mountain instead that she feels is nice (nicer?). And so I tell her that mountain is nice as well, and I’m up for it – but that means automatically the burden of planning is on her now and not me as my suggestion was halfways voted down. I have no inside knowledge of her mountain which means it will be on her. And so, we often simply end up not doing anything at all because she is not at her best if planning ahead is involved.

When we got back home after our cabin stay she was in a sombre mood. In the end, she got mad because I wasn’t willing to say I loved going swimming in the ocean. I don’t. But, in the end it’s just a symbol of her disappointment. I have never really liked swimming. She accused me of going too quiet and simply being annoyed during our stay. She wanted confirmation on confirmation that I enjoyed my time.

Did I?

Yeah, sometimes. Not always. Not when I felt I was panicking because I had no space to think. Not when I felt I couldn’t even take a shower because no one else did. And I clearly remember someone else being grumpy – and vocally grumpy at that. Since everything is being compared to this individual, I did the same back. I said he was grumpy, and much more than me.

And so she came to attack the core of me, as I have written about here; https://wordpress.com/post/severeddreams.wordpress.com/1511

She attacked the airshow. MY airshow. My holy four days abroad with my father and brother. Those days that cannot be altered. The weekend I can’t find a middle road on. It is mine, but anyone can come. Those that respect me and my interests and wants to get to know me, they can all come. Anyone can come. She don’t want to come. I suspected so, and early on told her she didn’t have to go. She proceeded to attack the event itself without knowing anything about it. How it was just for old men. How it wasn’t a family thing. How it was about looking at old aircraft. I got mad. Very mad. Bullshit! All of it!

In the end, she apologized, but damage has been done. How disrespectful is it really to not accept my four days and to equally expect me to accept her three weeks at the cabin. How rude! The cabin is HER airshow, and I’m trying my best. She’s not even trying to adapt to my life. My narrative. My interests. She just expects me to be all in love with this cabin and I have constantly told her my challenges with it.

And so I expect this scenario to play out once again come this next January. I want to plan ahead, she doesn’t. I want to go to the airshow, she wants to go to the cabin. I accept her cabin and two weeks minimum there, but she doesn’t accept my airshow. And so I have to quite frankly beg for forgivness because I want to go. It shouldn’t be necessary.

The Third Age of Mankind (part 1)

You know, I was there at the dawn of the third age of mankind.

I am sure the creator of Babylon 5 (where this quote originally came from) had a different idea in mind, but in this case – let’s say the invention of the internet led us to the third age of mankind (from the stone age to the industrial revolution to the revolution of communication). The revolution that this technology presented was vast, explosive, and it is easy to forget how much this technology changed our world. And, I was there from the beginning in the mid-90s. When the Internet was new.

The third age of mankind led me across the Atlantic ocean and to Texas, USA. In a country house in this large state sat a teenage girl typing away on her computer every day. She was typing to me. We exchanged e-mails every day. Maybe twice a day. In the end, I knew her better than anyone else I had known. Two lonely teenagers with an ocean between them, but only seconds away with the new technology at hand.

I can’t point to the exact time we first started to talk, but I was still in high school. I am not quite sure if I had finished my second year or not, but it might have been in the summer of 1998 we first exhanged e-mails. Maybe it was before that. I wish I had saved all those long conversations, but I simply dropped the ball and lost them. One of the few things I haven’t been able to digitaly save from all my computers since 1996.

We became best friends. She was low on confidence, and so was I. She seemed shy, quiet, but yet reflective and thoughtfull. We shared similiar interests in science fiction, aviation, music and had a certain destructive bitterness towards society (but yet different societies that seperated us culturally). We thought we were alike, and maybe we were – but maybe we weren’t. I still don’t know.

We kept on writing for at least two years. Every day a new e-mail. One time, I’m sure it was in the summer of 1999, she called me on our house phone. I was still living at home, and my mom picked up the phone. She freaked out because there was a foreigner on the phone, and she wanted to speak to me she said – all in English. I found support in her (like she did with me) and she made me feel like a normal guy when I was not. I wasn’t doing what my peers were doing. I was digging into my own nerdy subjects, ignoring the more general topics and activities such as drinking, partying and being social. They bored me, or maybe they made me feel scared. Maybe it was all of it combined. Maybe it was a result of going to high school where 14 out of 16 classmates were girls. And at that age, they had no interest in me. And so, the geek that I was could not get my way with the girls. I didn’t like them either, those girlie classmates. They seemed dumb. My Texan friend however, was not. She understood me, and I understood her. Like friends was supposed to do.

Two years passed, and I moved out of my family home and to an extremely small apartment about an hours drive south (felt like a million miles away) to start an apprentice job. Alone. Again I ended up working with an all female crew. I didn’t know anyone, and couldn’t find a way to meet any friends (and didn’t try either). I had her, and she had me. E-mails. Long E-mails. Every morning when I woke up, I started my PC and opened up an e-mail from her. It was routine.

In the summer of 2000 she came to visit. I was on holiday, but did not go home. I stayed in my small apartment waiting for her and her Swedish aunt to turn off the main road, and onto the driveway next to my place. I was inside when I’m fairly sure I was sent a text from her saying she was outside. I opened the door, saw their car immediately, and out of the car she came. We hugged. I remember being so excited my legs could barely hold me up. It was July, and I remember hat day was pretty warm. And so we went for a walk together towards the center of town.

I remember sitting on a bench somewhere in the main street of this small town just talking. Just picking up from where we left off on our last e-mail.

That night, I let them have my apartment and I slept in an even smaller apartment I had been living in that first year as an apprentice as I still had the key. I don’t know much much I slept that night, but it wasn’t a lot. She told me the next day she hadn’t slept much either.

It didn’t take too long before we got a bit more physical. Holding hands and kissing. Except for kissing a girlfriend a few times at the age of 12, this was all brand new to me, and it was EXCITING. The underlying problem with all this romance was that she actually had a boyfriend back home. This confused me because if she actually cared for him, why was she kissing me? I figured he was not of importance (she was – after all – all over me) and just went with it. She’s married to him to this day and age, so I misunderstood that whole deal a little bit.

We had four fantastic days together that summer of 2000. To many, (I’m sure including my current girlfriend), this sounds like no big deal and something young people simply do all the time, but to geeky me it meant the whole world. My best friend from Texas was with me, she was kissing the hell out of me, and I could finally experience some of that these girl classmates of mine were talking about all the time. Today, I don’t remember anything else but those four days from the summer of 2000, but the memory of those four days meeting my online friend is burned into my memory.

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When she left and arrived back in Texas, we started talking like the routine was once again. We quickly decided that I would come visit her in the summer of 2001 (which is basically what this set of posts will be about) and I bought tickets with Lufthansa via SAS’ internet system that fall. I remember it being about 8000 NOK for the round trip to Dallas, and being fairly nervous about the transit and flight because I had not once travelled anywhere that far, and certainly not alone. I remember I even took the bus to the main airport once during a day off in the spring of 2001 simply to get my bearings! Not that it helped much!

However, during the fall of 2000 and spring of 2001, a few things would happen that would eventually lead to an end of e-mails and close friendship. But, I would still make the trip as we were still talking and still being best friends ignoring those issues that arose.

To be continued.

A letter to my two dogs

To the first one,

You know, I can’t believe it’s been six years since we got you. I was never too keen on having a dog, but when she asked me if we could bring you into our household, I immediately said yes. And from then on and for two years it was just us three. I felt so sorry for many switches in owners, and put you into bed at night to make you feel wanted. It’s a horrible mix and misunderstand of human and dog emotions, but I wanted to tell you that from here on out we would take care of you. You were always so kind to me. You showed me trust and love. You had no hesitations in accepting me as your new owner. I remember walking you around town, and I snapped a photo of you. Boy, did you look happy! For us, you were our little baby. Our common ground. When we went to bed at night, I always said “another day tomorrow little dog” and I often wondered when I would ever stop saying those words to you. I know you didn’t really like it when we got Shelly. You enjoy the quiet and comfortness of a home. Not to be attacked by a puppy interested in playing all the time. You were my first little girl. I find myself mixing the names of you and my daughter all the time. And do you know why I do that? Because you and my daughter awakens the same emotions in me. Parenthood, care, and love. And this is how much you mean to me, dear dog.

I am sorry I am not around like I used to. I am sorry you do not fit into my new household. I am sorry my girlfriend misundersands you, and think you’re angry. You’re not. You’re just an aging dog, and you don’t like children. Maybe some misbehaved kid did something to you when you were young. It’s not your fault. I understand.

I hope you can forgive me for disappearing like that. I didn’t mean to. I just can’t find a way to make it work. I really want to spend time with you. Give you cuddles, treats and nice walks. I wish I could lift you up into my bed at night and fall alseep next to you like I used to do.

I had to sacrifice something, and I am sorry it turned out to be you. It’s not your fault. I love you just the same, my aging dog. I just think you have a better life if you stay with people who understand you the most, and can give you the treatment you deserve. And she does. She loves you to bits, and your life is with her.

To the second one,

My best friend, my confidant, my little happy, playful dog. Can you believe I wasn’t too keen on getting you? I didn’t even say yes! Suddenly we just picked you up, and that was that. I am so happy that we did that in 2014.

You give me a feeling of unrequited love I have never felt before. From day one you trusted me, and chose me to be your leader and daddy. Between us there is a bond I have trouble explaining in words. I miss you when you’re not here with me. You let my step-daughter do anything she wants with you, and maybe you do it because of me. Because that is required if you are to be with me now. You welcome them with open arms.

Do you remember those long walks we did a year or so ago? Going out exploring. Just you and me. Best friends. Do you remember those sad, lonely nights when you stayed with me? When everything was shit, and you were the shining star in a dark night? That’s what you are to me, my dear little dog. I will never forget the moment when I looked into your eyes and I swear, it was like you spoke to me in my mind; I give you my unconditional love. Never before or since have I experienced something like that when I’m around dogs.

You scream of joy when I pick you up. Do you do it because we can be together? Because when you are with me, fun things will happen? When you’re with me, you refuse to leave my side. If I go to the bathroom, you want to come. You stay beside me. No matter what.

I am so sorry we can’t be together more than we are. I wish we could. Your place is with me. We have a special connection you and I. I feel like I let you down. How I push you away because others don’t want you around.

I am so sorry I have let you down. I can’t repay your trust and confidence in me. I failed you. My sweet and lovely dog. I am sorry.

To both,

Merry Christmas to you both. I miss you terribly. You are one of the few connections to my old life. One that is fading by the day. My two, lovely dogs. Know that I miss you with all my heart. I have let you down, and I am sorry for it. Know that I will see you again soon.

Daddy

A bleak, February visit to Edinburgh

I remember giving her the airline tickets as a Christmas present. It was her first Christmas with me and my family, and only four months since she moved in with me (and for her – to another country). The start had been a bit rough, but I expected as much. We were slowly coming to terms with living together, and living in the same country together. And, so I decided to buy two tickets to Edinburgh, Scotland as a proper Christmas present. We would spend five days in the Scottish capital in mid-February 2010. Couldn’t have been more off-season if we had tried. I wanted it like that, besides, it was also cheaper.

The look on her face was priceless when she opened the present. She didn’t really know what to expect from a Christmas Eve and what presents she would get. For once she was at loss for words. It’s the best gift I have ever given anyone.

I feel that Edinburgh in February of 2010 was almost a peak in our relationship. Everything was still very fresh. There were no IVF, no issues with finding work, no immediate money problems. No focus on depression, anxiety or OCD either. Just two people going on a trip to abroad to a country we both loved. The weather at home was bitterly cold. In Edinburgh there were no snow, no sub-zero temperatures. Just a mild winter. It just felt good.

There were tourists, but not many. The weather was bleak with heavy clouds, but we loved it. No sunshine, no heat. Just a regular winter in Britain. We walked around the streets of Edinburgh being happy. Just happy. «If only more people knew!» she said while we climbed up some steep stairs towards the castle. She was thinking of the lack of tourism. But, hey, it was February. It was like we were all alone in this magnificent city.

We walked up the Scott Monument, visited her university (she had started an online degree there), visited pubs and ate unhealthy English food. She bought herself fudge and claimed that any time of the day was «fudge o’clock». She was almost like a child in a an amusement park. We didn’t really do selfies back then, but I had my video camera, and she had her handheld Sony camera. I videotaped, and we both took photos. Photos of us on Princess Street, besides the statue of Hume, at the castle or around some high point look-out spots in the city. On almost every photo, we are smiling. She’s smiling. In some photos I see that she has taken off her glasses before the photo – something she often did. I may not always smile in the photos, but I am happy down to the very core of myself. I can tell. There’s not a single worry in my eyes and posture.

In one photo there’s just a bunch of KFC food. Not understanding the Indian accent added in with the Scottish dialect, we didn’t understand a single word of what she asked when we ordered, and we ended up with a huge meal we couldn’t finish. We laughed. It’s funny what you remember and what you forget from a trip like this.

We went to St. Andrews in the rain. We saw the ruins – completely alone. I videotaped while we were walking around studying buildings and architecture. Looking at the North sea and holding hands. It started to rain even more heavily. We only had one umbrella, and we both tried to get room under it for cover while we crossed an ancient church yard. In the distance, an RAF Typhoon did circuits at RAF Leuchars. There was no one else about. The photos clearly shows it; not a single soul. Just us, a couple of sea gulls and the sound of a jet fighter somewhere in the background. And the rain. Heavy rain.  My video camera stopped working due to the heavy rainfall. I didn’t really care. The trip was almost over anyway. It stopped raining shortly afterwords.

I write this because I was just asked what my favorite vacation was. There was no hesitation when I answered. It’s not my trips New York, San Fransisco or Texas. It’s not Cambridge, Munich, Prague or Krakow either. No, it’s Edinburgh during a bleak and rainy February 2010.

It all felt like it was just us (sometimes it actually was just us!). We were in love, we were together, we were still fairly young, and we were out exploring the world. It was exactly as we had envisioned the start of our lives together.

Sometimes I truly wish I could go back and do that trip with her once more.

 

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The cost of a baby

It wasn’t until I had paid for the baby trolley my mind started to wander off to the past. By the way, baby trolleys are apperantly a huge fucking deal. The size, the color, the wheels – everything. I was asked to choose the color, and I looked at them all sitting there in the store and blurted out; «but they are all in different shades of grey for crying out loud!». So, we chose the dark grey one after considerable time and kilometers driving around the lake in search of that perfect baby trolley. Ironically, it was basically the first one we looked at two months ago, but I’m not judging.

So, anyway, I pulled out my MasterCard and paid for the thing. The whole thing set my card back 1335 dollars. Come to think of it, that’s just 700 dollars less than for my old Volvo. Apperantly, baby trolleys cost a lot of money.

It was when we got back home we started to discuss how much money I had been spending on unborn children since 2013. Through IVF (public and private), travel costs, hotels and now baby trolleys, equipment, clothes and what not.

Back in 2013 my ex-wife went through examinations and an small surgery. This was free though, except for a small fee. Then in 2014ish we started IVF which set me back about 2000 dollars. The medicines (which also cost a lot) were thankfully covered by our more than welcoming healthcare system. Then came travels to the capital, a few hotel stays over night and food. We also took the train a few times down there for reasons I do not remember. In 2014, also due to lack of baby success we bought another dog at 1500 dollars.

After our unsuccessfull public IVF treatment, we went private. I remember paying half of a 7000 dollar sum, split between myself and my ex wifes mother for a three-attempt package which was not refundable at any time. On top of that there would be medication – by now not covered any longer by the public health system. I did the math back then and figured the total cost would be about 12.000 dollars. We only did one attempt though. We aborted everything, split up, and went out seperate ways. The medication, for one attempt, was around 1000 dollars.

Then came everything inbetween then and now. With my latest investment at about 2000 dollars worth of equipment and baby trolleys, the total amount of money I have spent trying to have a baby ended somewhere around 8000 dollars. And, my daughter haven’t even been born yet.

However, I believe I speak for most people that have been in this situation with IVF, adoption or any other challenges in trying to create a family when I say; “I would be more than happy to pay it all again if that’s what it takes. I’ll pay whatever it costs, and I’ll do whatever I possibly can.” And I have. I have suffered economically, emotionally and I have ended relationships for it. And it’s all worth it. Because it was the right thing to do.

You can’t possibly put a price tag on it. Money means nothing.

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.

“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.

 

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.