Mike's filled you in on the major stuff that has happened with us, so I'm going to dive right in.
I know it's the hormones, but I'm about ready to slap Elizabeth for gloating about being pregnant. It's not enough that that she takes every chance to drop off her step-daughter at our house, it's the hungry way she looks at my trunks of baby clothes, as if they automatically belong to her. Why not- the gown I had restored for my daughter ended up being hers. I only offered it to keep some façade of family peace and by the end of the day, she had me altering it to the point that I hope Merrie will never wear it. Mr. Patterson offered to pay for the gown of Merrie's choosing. He even gave me five thousand dollars to pay for the gown. It's in the bank right now, and will buy her a wonderful gown later on but hopefully it won't be a maternity gown.
The pregnancy was a true surprise, a .01 chance thanks to the shot. The timing was bad but Mike and I could afford it. Once we got past the initial surprise, we wanted this child so bad.
I don't know if we'll consciously try for another one though. We've been advised to wait a year before even attempting to get pregnant. And between Mike's back, my sister's cancer scare that thankfully was just a scare my career, his acceptance to grad school and his mother's insanity, we've got a lot on our plates. Not to mention this damn stone that will pass before too long (I don't want to have the ultrasound to break it up because that will mean passing many smaller stones, and the surgery to actually remove it will take a couple of weeks to recover from). Mike has really come to know April a lot better over the past couple of weeks, much more so than when we all shared the same house and he feels that if the age difference is too great between kids, the relationships will suffer.
I know Mike didn't mention it, but his back pain is aggravated by stress, so the past couple of weeks have not been pleasant on his end. I've taken to being more in your face with his father and his grocery stealing, his ignoring his mother's needs, and other situations to try to prevent him some pain. The physical therapy and shots work pretty well when Mike's not stressed and we are hopeful to avoid surgery for now. Mike may have to actually start wearing a girdle as part of his back care regiment.
April did something incredible sweet for Mike. Gardening has become his passion, and through gardening, cooking, canning, freezing, and preserving. The thought of him not being able to work the garden next year was depressing so she located tips on how to adapt the garden to Mike's back, should the need arise.
Speaking of April helping out, she's been doing a lot of the cooking. Robin finally turned to me and asked if he could be allergic to Aunt April's cooking with out hurting her feelings. It seems that he hates soy and April uses a lot of it in her vegan cooking. We worked out a compromise that he could have a PBJ after taking three bites of whatever she cooked.
I know we are depending on April too much right now. The very least I could do was pay for her tutoring. Thanks to my parents, we've started to cut back on how much we need her.
Mike and I have decided not to talk about the issues we bring up in therapy in our letters for a couple of months. It gives us the room we need to work through them. I will say the therapist agree that moving to Colorado might be the best thing we could do after Mike gets his master's.
I think the only thing that really has gotten us through this time is the idea that "This too shall pass, or you will." It's morbid but also reassuring. Our church family has stepped in as well. Several of the women in my Sunday School class are visiting Iris and Jim as we can't easily handle it- and we don't want to worry Jim about how bad his daughter is. Mike or my parents are still taking Robin by their place twice a week after speech therapy, and Robin and Merrie make so many pictures for them that they could wallpaper their walls with them. April makes it over there at least three times a month. It's not enough though- I've learned about death and the need to reassure loved ones that they are treasured.
I dread Christmas Eve at this rate. Elizabeth has begged off hosting the luncheon at her place due to her 'delicate condition'. She doesn't quite get how bad things are with her mother and father, or with Mike's back, or with my kidney stones. I want Jim to have a good Christmas this year. I don't want him to worry about his daughter. I want my Christmas miracle- one day of Ellie being sane, Jim being alert and responsive, Iris being loved and appreciated, this stone to be gone, and to see the light in my kids eyes when they realize that the next day they are going to Disney.