Monday, July 16, 2012

Perception

I can't find my sunglasses. It's not like it matters anyway, because I made a big scratch in them. But now I have about 4 pairs of sunglasses that all have scratches on them. So instead, I busted out a freebie pair I picked up at a party last year... and let me tell you... they're special.

Picture white Fay-Ban sunglasses. {I'm not as cool as my friend Alli who is also 4.5 years younger than me who calls her own sunglasses FBs. I even urban dictionaried-- clearly a verb-- it to find out they are, indeed, fake Ray Ban sunglasses which have apparently made a comeback}.

Exhibit A.

I had to go to the County Clerk's office today to pick up B's birth certificate because I forgot to mail in the form nearly 5 months ago when he was born because I was a little busy or something. And also, I had no rush to get things moving since the document would still be there, 12 miles away, as long as I waited. Maybe there was Andrew guilt in there, too, because I don't have any documentation that he ever existed according to the state of Illinois. Maybe I can get that, but I honestly still have too many emotions about that. Except now we decided to get B a passport for some upcoming travel (more on that later) and the procrastination had to stop. Let's also not discuss how I nearly broke down right there reading at the top, "certificate of live birth", because I'd never seen that for my own child typed on a piece of paper with my own two eyes before.

Also, perhaps the cutest thing you've ever seen is a baby's passport photo.

Exhibit B.
We had him in a collared onesie to show his sophistication, but he naturally pooped through that before we arrived at the drug store for the photo opp. Random white thing in his mouth = glare. You try getting a baby to close his mouth for a photo!

I'm getting away from myself here. As I walked into the County Clerk's office, I wanted to appear respectable to have a baby in my possession. And when you're asking for documents such as birth certificates, you sort of feel like you should present yourself respectfully. So here I was, walking in with my white Fay-Bans on and totally, utterly embarrassed. I was convinced people thought I...

A. Was 18 years old
B. Had just stolen this child
C. Had Illegitimately acquired the child and was totally white trash/uneducated. 

As Ray and I entered the Post Office together later to submit the passport paperwork, I was telling him that people were giving me weird looks and I was convinced these stupid glasses were making people judge me inappropriately. He said I was being too self conscious. I assure you, if I saw a lady with white Fay-Bans with a baby, I would totally think less of her and drop her down at least one college degree. At least. Shame on me, maybe. But I speak the truth. Someone has to. And for the record, I'm one of the least self conscious people around-- I truly don't care what people think of me most of the time. But when it comes to being a mom, I'm quite protective of that title. I've mentioned that a time or two before.

I took the glasses off before we got into the Post Office. Oh, and in case you're wondering, both parents must be present in case the other happens to be trying something sneaky and abducting the kid or something.  We were happy to be inconvenienced by this requirement. Because, the horror.

It got me thinking further about this whole perception business. I stood putting the groceries into my trunk this afternoon with B's carseat in the cart {not resting on top, ever} and wondered if there were other BLMs out there getting out of their cars or purchasing their produce that were burdened by seeing my seemingly perfect life. She's young and has a baby and is buying groceries and looks relatively in shape and is wearing stupid Fay-Bans that make her look 18. Wow, I wish I had that life. The life of happy.

The truth is, it is happy. Most of the time. But there's definitely so much emotional baggage and sadness still that it's not perfect and I'm not just living the perfect little life with my perfect little husband and child and delicious produce and driving my perfect little Honda around. I envied these women I saw every single day from the day Andrew died until the day B arrived and I still envy them in so many ways. I envy their emotional stability and full hearts that will never be missing a piece.

It's just plain interesting how much we can assume about others without knowing their story. I try to remind myself of this, but even I get caught up in the battle of perception. Maybe this post was all over the map, but it's something that's definitely been looming around in my brain these days. 

10 comments:

Melissa said... [Reply to comment]

I constantly wonder if another BLM sees my growing belly and thinks I am a first time innocent Mom. A Mom whom is more concerned with weight gain and buying the perfect stroller than actually having everyone survive the pregnancy. There are days when I wish I would wear Ava's loss somehow, a billboard, announcing to all whom see it that I am a Mom living without her daughter. I wonder if the mere sight of my belly is causing anyone pain as it has done in me so many times before. Sometimes a billboard would be easier.

AlliFerg said... [Reply to comment]

I really like B's photo. That is priceless!

Maybe the white Fay-Ban's are a little more surfer/stoner than black?

Do you ever feel judged for having a nose ring? I always did & it was part of the reason I took mine out!

Caroline said... [Reply to comment]

Oh I love this post. Well I hate it, but that's because I understand where you are coming from and I hate that I do and hate that you do.

First, totally feel the same about FB's. Saw way too many out in CA - at least out there I could chalk it up to legit surfers though. Still looks ridiculous.

"Certificate of Live Birth" - still screams at me whenever I look at Finn's birth certificate. I have a good friend who lost her daughter after she was born (she maybe lived a few minutes). They hospital stamped in big red ink "DECEASED" across her birth certificate. So cruel. I'm sure she needed that clarified.

And then I see Cale's "Fetal Death Certificate". . . so many feelings on that, like you said.

But I know what you mean about wondering if people see my life and think it's so nice because I have this cute baby and SUV and oh everything must just be oh-so-perfect.

Like Melissa said, maybe a billboard would be easier.

Sigh. . .

LookItsJessica said... [Reply to comment]

I often think about how if I saw myself a year ago, I'd have rolled my eyes or thought something not so friendly. It's interesting how everyone appears to have it all together but inside there is still sadness. Strangers will never know.

I love B's pic. The little faux 'glare-tooth' is awesome!

LauraJane said... [Reply to comment]

I have been laughing about this line for two minutes now... "We had him in a collared onesie to show his sophistication,"... Because, CLEARLY, his sophistication needs to be displayed. And the drool glare- so cute! I was thinking, OMG, is that a tooth, and if so why hasn't she told me this? :)

Still laughing here.

I've been thinking a lot about perception, too. People seeing us in this pretty little house, with a baby on our hip, thinking we've had life handed to us on a silver spoon... If only they knew (which they will, once we introduce ourselves to the neighbours). Bah

Marianne said... [Reply to comment]

What a great post. I felt the same way when we were struggling to conceive - jealous of the perfect life of soccer moms everywhere. But we never really know if a person is happy.

Umm maybe I'm dumb but are you not supposed to sit the car seat on top of the cart? I kept her strapped in and it clicked into place on the cart. She's outgrown that and now sitting in the cart herself so it's kind of a moot point now but just curious - is that just one more dangerous thing I have accidentally been exposing my baby to?

Brooke said... [Reply to comment]

I love the baby passport photo!

I also know what you mean about wondering about people. I thought a lot about this when I was pregnant--were people assuming that I was completely happy and had everything I wanted with this baby bump? I also wondered if my belly made other people feel uncomfortable like other pregnant people made ME feel uncomfortable. We definitely have no idea what battles other people are fighting.

Gina said... [Reply to comment]

This is the second post I've read about wondering about people tonight. Clearly, we all do it. I know I do!

Renel said... [Reply to comment]

Great post.. I was laughing for the first half and nodding in the second. Perception is an odd thing. I wonder if there are other BLM out there hating on me and my beautiful son and the baby I'm growing. Oh how perfect one son one daughter... Oh wait and another daughter. Ugh...I probably don't scream "my baby died" at every event or outing, I don't exude depressed and lost to the general public but... It is my life, we just keep going.

I'm all about collard shirts and onsies.

Brie said... [Reply to comment]

Love the passport. Our little guy got his at 8 weeks old and it took about 15 attempts to get him looking forward with eyes open. LOL.

I often wonder the same thing when I am out and about--are there other BLM's who see me with my baby and think I don't know pain ( since they don't know my journey of loss)?