Second Cousin and her baby

I told myself that I probably wouldn’t play much with the baby, but my heart melted when I saw his big smile.

Bob’s oldest Cousin from his dad’s side got married and had kids at a young age.  Her daughter is about eight years younger than Bob.  Bob and this Second Cousin grew up in two different towns but would see each other during summer time.  Second Cousin has an arranged marriage set up by her parents at about 20 because she wanted to come to the US to study.  She and her husband used to live within a half hour from me.  Of course I didn’t know anything about them when I first started dating Bob.

After our first date, Bob and I chatted for a long time on the phone.  He warned me that he had baggage that he would have to carry with him if he ever got into a serious relationship.  He told me about him being the only child of his parents and their expectations of him to marry someone that they would choose. Dating a non-Hindu Brahmin would be a big no-no.  I tried my best to understand the circumstances but they were beyond my world and my imagination at that time.  I really didn’t know that dating, choosing your own boyfriend/girlfriend, and deciding to get married on your own are not things that are expected in his culture.  Bob and I continued dating as he tried to find a way to share this news with his parents.

Three months after we started dating, Bob’s parents arrived from India for a 7-week visit.  At the airport upon their arrival, Bob told his parents about my existence after they had traveled for over 24 hours.  He asked if we could all have lunch together that weekend.  I think his mother was so in shock and exhausted that she just said Okay.

Of course lunch didn’t happen.  I did not meet them the whole time they were here in the US.  In fact, I didn’t even get to meet them until I stepped into India as Mrs. Bob, with a changed last name and a new status.  His parents changed their minds and would not want to have anything to do with me.  Bob had to sneak out on the weekends to see me.  It created such an awkward situation for him that I don’t know how he survived those weeks.

It was during that visit that my birthday was coming up.  Since it was his first time celebrating my birthday with me, he had planned a celebration for me and had to struggle to come see me as his parents expected him to be always around when he wasn’t at work.  He snuck out regardless.  On the day of my birthday, I got the weirdest text from a phone number that I didn’t recognize.  It said, “B could do so much better.  At least find someone pretty.”  Whoever it was knew that it was my birthday and wanted to ruin it for me.  I was furious but there was no way to find out who it was.  This behavior was so juvenile/middle school that I could only laugh about it.

We had no way of proving who it was that sent that text.  But I often suspected Second Cousin since she was just around 22 at the time.  She would be the person who would have contact with his parents.  I just couldn’t believe that someone would do something so juvenile.

Since nobody was supportive of our marriage from Bob’s family, I had never met Second Cousin as nobody from his family came to our wedding.  Her parents were actually nice to me in India.  They came to visit me at Bob’s parents’ while Bob went to visit his grandmother who pretends that I don’t exist.  Since then, I feel comfortable with his Cousin.

I finally got to meet Second Cousin when her mom came to visit her last October.  Cousin cooked a truly authentic South Indian meal for us.  Second Cousin was courteous and didn’t seem like somebody who would send a text like the one I received.  What I noticed was how she complained about being tired and I couldn’t help but stare at her belly.  I had a feeling that she might have been pregnant at the time.  Don’t ask me how I knew.  I just had that hunch.  And of course she was pregnant.  That was right around the time when Bob and I were at a lower point in our TTC journey as we were approaching the end of our first year and had nothing to show for.  It was at that time that we started talking about going to IVF seminars and really getting the ball rolling.  Second Cousin’s pregnancy  was not welcome news.  Of course she got pregnant easily.  She is so young.  I was jealous and felt sorry for myself.

Said baby is now three months old.  We were invited to go visit with Bob’s Cousin this past Saturday.  Before we arrived at Second Cousin’s house, I said to myself in spite, “I don’t care”, “It’s her baby”, “I won’t want to pay too much attention to that baby”, “I will sit afar and not touch him”.  Ha.  I don’t know why I am holding grudges against a fertile woman and her baby.   When that door opened and when I saw that little face, my heart melted.  I found myself holding him, playing with him, watching him coo, and engaging in interactive peek-a-boo with him while all the adults chatted.  I shared my professional tips with Second Cousin about speech and language development.  I guess I can’t really be mad at a very cute little human being and his overly tired mother.

Maybe it was her that sent that text.  Maybe it wasn’t.  I have decided to let that go and just enjoy having some Indian relatives around if Bob so desires to keep in touch with them.  Who knows?  Maybe I’ll have my own little life growing inside me the next time I see Second Cousin and her super cute baby?

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11 thoughts on “Second Cousin and her baby

  1. Gosh, the prejudice on the part of your in-laws in breathtaking. I’m so sorry that you have to deal with it. Babies, however, are too sweet to resent. We’ve been hanging out with my husband’s cousins and their 2 year old. He’s the sweetest boy, and while my heart hurts for what we don’t have, most of the time I’m just enjoying that little one!

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  2. Every time you write about your in-laws it makes me irrationally angry. No, wait, I think it’s rational, actually. Anyway, it’s so good of you to find it in your heart to welcome her little one! I still find it hard to be around babies at all (especially if they belong to people I don’t particularly like) so you’re definitely one up on me.

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  3. Wow, again, I can’t believe how much you have to deal with having the in-laws that you do! But getting to eat authentic Indian food… YUM.
    I’m glad you were able to enjoy the baby. It’s such a hard thing– obviously most of us love babies and so want to hold them, cuddle with them, etc. But then there is the reminder of what we don’t have. It’s definitely a struggle.

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  4. I’m really happy for you that you were able to enjoy the baby. That’s something I find really hard to do, so I’m glad that, since you had to see him anyway, that you were able to be happy about it in the end.

    Happy ICLW

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  5. That text is just awful…so hurtful. I think it would have wrecked me. I really admire the grace with which you’re handling all of this. I don’t know that I could do it.

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  6. Here from Mel’s roundup.

    I think it’s really telling about your character that you are so compassionate with Bob about his situation. He is really in a cultural generation gap that is difficult for many Americans to understand, and it sounds like you are very understanding.

    As for cousin, if she did send that text, I imagine that she feels awful about it now that she knows you a bit better, and now that she’s grown up a bit. You’re very gracious to let it all go.

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  7. Pingback: A Few Recent Conversations and My Thoughts | In Quest of a Binky Moongee

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