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?