What is family? I’ve posed this question to myself my whole life. That’s probably because I was an only child and my relationship to my mother was bittersweet and often challenging. I never felt extremely close to my family. I loved my parents, even when they drank heavily. Thus, I grew close to my friends and their immediate families.
My parents didn’t really plan on having only one child. It was luck or unluck. My mom told me that back in the late 1950’s her gynecologist informed her that the chances of her ever having a child were almost zero. Not long after that she got pregnant with me. I guess that kind of makes me a miracle. Or, maybe that’s giving me too much credit.
My mother never told me exactly why the doctor concluded she’d never have children but, I have my suspicions. When I started having periods I also started having horrendous cramps. Always on the second-first full day-of my cycle. I missed a lot of second period days of work. I may have explained here before that they were so bad I wanted to cut my ovaries out with an Exacto knife. The worst was when I a felt as though I was actually going to crap my ovaries out. No lie. That’s how it felt. In years past I’d describe this to my female friends and those of them who shared my monthly pain would basically say, “Oh my God, that is exactly what it feels like.”
Now, that I’m old enough to no longer experience that monthly female joy-the one in which I got to spend a third of my paycheck on feminine hygiene needs and the mamahoochie size stash of pain killers-I realize that what my mother and I had was most likely endometriosis.
Mom had told me her cramps were so awful that she’d end up in the emergency room sometimes and often under sedation. I can believe it. I consumed many glasses of red wine or herbal tea plus Ibuprofen, Excedrine or Pamprin (Midol? Might as well eat a chocolate bar) while soaking in an almost scalding bath.
When Brian and I became an item and I met his parents I learned his mom, a cardiac rehabilitation nurse, used to get bad cramps. Her remedy: a Swedish concoction called, Glug. I am not exactly sure what was in it. I think it was red wine, vodka and brandy. Those clever, unbelievably tall Swedes. I jest, I’m sure there are short ones but, mostly, I’ve met really tall ones. Glug would konk me out and usually it cured the pain.
I’d rather let the medical website speak. Here you go:
What that doesn’t say it that the condition is such that tissues, like uterine lining, grow outside of the uterus and around other parts including, I think, the ovaries.
Aren’t you guys jealous? Doesn’t this sound like a day at the beach during excellent weather and a dearth of hungry sharks?
Luckily, I never had the pain during sex part. In fact, sex has always been at the extreme opposite end of that continuum. Also, never had the pain voiding bodily wastes, only when I had food poisoning.
How did I end up on this subject? Well, I was making scrambled eggs (appropriate, no?) when I began thinking about what is family and how that includes animals and external associations such as close friends and society at large. Then I began thinking about how my mom’s reproductive issues affected the size of our immediate family.
Thus, I have many family concepts flying around my mind right now. I want to write about how animals-pets-are family members. It kind of bleeds (hmm, kind of a delayed pun??) out of my blog about losing Cammie.
By the way, I never once felt lonely being an only. I never once felt cheated not having siblings. In fact, all my close friends have siblings and as a kid I was witness to the many sibling fights: “You wore my sweater.” “What did you do with my, ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maitenance,’? I need that book for an English paper!” Or, “Did you listen to my Jimi Hendrix album because there’s a scratch across, ‘Hey Joe,’ and now it skips like crazy!!” This last one was truly a crime against culture.
Later, as a psychology major I learned about a few of the positive correlates (read: NOT causation) to being an only. One is generally higher IQ. Whoohoo, I’ll take it.