I’m a crier, if you hadn’t noticed. Most of the time I manage not to cry in public (unless I’ve been drinking, which is one of my reasons for cutting back). Sometimes I’ll think of a sad thing or a happy thing or just a thing and I’ll have to choke back tears. On the bus, knitting, watching telly, in a pub… It happened this weekend actually, when I won some yarn at the after party of The Great London Yarn Crawl. The urge to cry was partly OMG I WON YARN, partly OMG PEOPLE ARE LOOKING AT ME and partly OMG I WANTED MY FRIENDS TO GET YARN CAN I GIVE THEM MY YARN WITHOUT LOOKING LIKE A DIV. I contained it by looking sheepish, laughing at myself and stroking more yarn.
Anyway, I work hard to not cry with friends and family. Crying in public gets you stared at and makes people concerned – I had enough of that on Saturday thanks to a horrible headache that made me forget more words as the long (AND AWESOME) day went on.
So imagine my apprehension at meeting my new nephew in three days. My sister is having a caesarean tomorrow because the baby is breech. I can’t go to her immediately because I sadly have to give presentations to lots of people tomorrow and Thursday – I’m apprehensive about that too. Explaining stuff to people on a stage when my sister is giving birth, whilst also still attempting to not trip up over or forget words.
I’m so looking forward to meeting him. I’ve said before here how much I have enjoyed observing my sister’s pregnancy. I’ve loved it. She has let me watch her, sit with my hands on her bump, cuddle her a tad too frequently, ask ALL the questions. I’m partly emotional because this big thing is happening in our family and to my little sister. I’m partly emotional because she’s fucking amazing. I get excited about making a scarf from string – she made a person. A whole person lived inside her and grew from nothing and has a personality and likes to stick his arse out, distorting his mother’s tummy into a weird shape, and has been too lazy to bother turning over for that whole birth thing. I’m partly emotional because she’s going to be a mother and she’s all grown up and I remember bathing her and changing her nappy and tickling her and holding her when she cried and picking her up when she fell. I’m partly emotional because I’m going to hold a wee baby and babies are fantastic and he’s going to have a whole life and I’m going to get to hold him almost at the start of that life. I’m partly emotional because I will always be the aunty. I’ll never know what my sister knows, I’ll never feel what my sister feels.
Each milestone requires new acceptance. A couple of weeks ago I was at my mum’s church on my birthday and a woman talked during the service about her daughter and the miracle of motherhood because she had been unable to conceive and then all of a sudden she did conceive and it was the most amazing thing ever and her life changed completely and she’s so grateful and isn’t it all just so totally wonderful. I looked at a tree through a coloured window. Then this woman prayed Hannah’s prayer from the Bible. Hannah was a woman who couldn’t have children and then went on to have like a million of them. When this woman started praying her prayer I realised that I was going to cry and couldn’t stop it so I quickly got up, fled the room and took refuge in the loo, that eternal hiding place for the emotionally unstable.
I had to clamber past my pregnant sister to get to the loo, which brings me to another source of apprehension. She is very protective of me and worries that her baby will make me sad. She was anxious about telling me when she fell pregnant, in case I resented her for having something I can’t have. As if I could ever resent my baby sister! I told her as much. Life hands us all different cards and we have to deal with them as best we can. One of my cards is childlessness. One of her cards is becoming a mother at 18 years old. I have been careful not to show any sadness when I have been with her. That may not be fully necessary. I’m realising that my sisters are growing up fast, they’re not the little girls I used to look after. Sometimes they look after me. This little sister told me a few days ago that her son is looking forward to meeting his favourite aunty. 😀
I think I’ll have to learn to live alongside my fear of crying in front of people because holding it back this week is proving tricky enough (I just mopped up a stray tear). The main thing is to not cry when I’m on a stage. But if I cry when I meet this new person, I hope my sister knows that although sadness is mixed up in there somewhere, it’s a tiny drop in an ocean of love for her and her child.