Thursday, November 19, 2009

How to be a Lady

Mindy is still pregnant. 2 months, actually.

The little embryo has already developed a beating heart; (s)he has little webbed hands and feet, the hands resting across his/her chest. (S)he is the size of a kidney bean, but already causing problems.

Mindy hasn't thrown up yet, but she feels like it...all the time. I've had to quit wearing perfume and burning candles around the house because the smell is too overpowering. She's eating less. Apparently, everything looks good and then she gets going and then feels pukey.

She's also really tired and tends to fall asleep around 8:00 on the couch. Though she was already a snorer, it's gotten louder. I'm pretty much setting up camp on the couch. I hope that doesn't last for 7 more months.

Thankfully, I'm off on Tuesday and Thursday, so I clean. I've pretty much been cleaning everything. Mindy's too tired to do anything when she gets home from work.

Other than that, nothing has changed. We haven't bought anything or fixed the house in any way. We haven't discussed names since before the baby was made. Except for the sleeping and nausea, everything feels normal.

Except for the waiting. Last night we just talked in the quiet of our house. The cats lounged around, totally unaware of how their lives will be affected in the coming months. They don't suspect a thing.

I suggested we start up our "date night" again, before we lose each other to the screams and diapers, to no sleep and coffee breath. The only problem is Mindy staying awake long enough for me to take her out.

No one has called us squealing into the phone. I mean, my family knows: all of the Holzhausers. No one has really said anything. Well, that's not entirely true. Last night my aunt Connie asked me to meet her at Hobby Lobby to pick out a baby cross-stitch quilt. When I first saw her, she hugged me and then started talking about her day at work, neighbors, the family, how she hated Wal-Mart for taking out their fabric section. I guess I was expecting more, so I said, "Can you believe that Mindy is pregnant?" She said something like, no, 'cause I thought you said you were going to have the baby...that you wanted a baby. I'm sorry, guys, but I've never said that I wanted to have a baby (come out of my body). I gave her my usual line, "You can't drink beer and play rugby if you're pregnant."

Again, she talked about herself and other random things. Minutes later I tried again, after I picked out the quilt pattern, "I'm nervous," I said. "Oh, you'll be good parents. You'll teach it..." (and here I thought she'd say how to love, how to be open minded, how to care)... "how to play sports, and Mindy'll teach it (and she pauses) to be a lady."

Yes, those are the two most important things to teach a child.

So once again, I realized how much my family doesn't get me. I was sad. And hurt. Do they really think that all I have to offer is athletic ability? What about my love of music? Literature? Films? What about my strong sense of know, the reason I was able to get out of town. What about my intelligence? Love of animals? The way I love my wife. I guess sports is the most important trait.

And Mindy has more to offer than her fabulous hair and beauty mark, as you all know. She's smart and funny. Nurturing and tender. Spontaneous and loving.

My family has never taken the time to get to know me, either. No one ever asks me anything. Never my opinion. Never.

When Connie and I parted at the Hobby Lobby, I told her I'd see her on Thanksgiving. Then, I asked who would be cooking (since Grandma will have dialysis). She mumbled some things. I mentioned that I could be handy around the kitchen. That I was the cook in our house. I asked what I could bring. I got a vague answer.

I walked out, the rain spitting and the sky dark. An old man sat up against the building, his face was red from cold or drink. He was dirty. A dog curled on his lap. He was petting him and talking to him. Reaching into my pockets, I found nothing.

So I went my car, closed the door, and started to cry.


  1. Before Facebook, I never knew you played rugby. I suppose that could mean that I do not really know you, and to some respect that is true. But when I think of you I remember your reading at the grad house about an autopsy of an old woman, I remember working in the lab with you listening to Boot Liquor (for which I thank you greatly)and laughing at Homestar Runner. And now, that you are very far away, I read these posts, It is always the first thing I do when I see a new one come up. I love your makes me think about life, about relationships, about others, about myself.

    Whether I really know you or not, I am priveledged to be your friend, in whatever manner.

  2. Yeah, I hear that. My family either changes the subject or mutters an utterly deadpan "yeah," then changes the subject, when I try to talk about anything going on in my life. If it's a direct answer to a direct question, I may get an response. I don't even try volunteering info anymore.

    It used to bother me.

    I've realized true family is really something you make based only on mutual interest. The rest is empty obligation.

  3. I'm with you, dude. I feel the same way, all the suddenly during a family gathering some kind of barrier erects itself between me and everyone else, and past that point, it's impossible to reenter the conversation, or the moment, or the family itself.

    So you sit there awkwardly holding a beer or leaning on the counter and just let it happen, because I don't know about you...but I still haven't figured out how to get past it, to let it pass.

    I dig you though, dude, if it helps at all. I dig that we're on the same page.

  4. Essentially, yeah...Maybe we're proving that children aren't always the product of their environments. Who knows. Most of the time, for me anyway, it feels a lot bigger than that, just like your entry feels in essence: like it's insurmountable somehow, no matter how much you want the kind acceptance so complete that you don't notice it, none of those little indicators in conversation or body language or ideal that you keep encountering.

    But, you know, in the worst of my times, every time I've sat with my mom & dad, or my aunts & uncles, & expressed any kind of deep self-doubt, or sadness, or uncertainty, I get the same answer: You're our kid, part of our family, and we love you.

    Maybe they don't get us, or get it, but when all's said and done, they're with you, I think. They'll stick with you.

    Tell Mindy hello and congrats. I miss you guys.