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My Patented Formula: Post a Half-Assed Tantrum Then Frantically Backpedal When I Get Called on the Half-Assed Tantrum

And the Village Burned to the Ground

I talked to my mom yesterday. My dad is not doing well. He's unsteady, dizzy, forgetful. A heart monitor found an arrhythmia. Everything keeps getting worse instead of better. The doctors think his symptoms are the results of his fall this past June and not the reason for his fall. They don't actually have any real clue why he fell but the fact remains that he might very well fall again. My mom stands helplessly by, knowing that she can't leave him, even though she can't catch him, either.

My head spun off in a million directions -- a million questions for the doctors, potential solutions to their living situation that would grant them the luxury of being able to leave the house, lamenting the lack of family near them, rehashing the conversation Jason and I had over the weekend wondering whether we should confront the inevitable and move back to Pennsylvania because clearly no one else will -- even though I could really only stammer my sympathies and a suggestion that Peapod might be have cheaper delivery fees for groceries than Acme. Mostly I just tried to dismissively wave off the real reason my mom had called.

I understand.

Well, obviously.

Of course he can't travel.

Of course you can't leave him.

Of course.

I understand.

I'm fine! I'll be fine. We'll figure something out. Totally fiiiiine.


And then today it really hit me. Like the snooze button kicked in, 12 hours later.

I'm having a baby and my mom won't be there. My dad won't be there. They won't be there at the hospital. They won't be there at my house, making the coffee or folding the laundry or picking Noah up from school or reminding me to shower.

I'm suddenly very scared. Very alone. Very heartbroken for all of us, and this loss of time and firsts that you never get back. I know they're heartbroken too -- I heard it in my mother's voice, how much this hurts her, and I'm still debating whether to publish this when I'm done because I'm afraid it will upset her -- and yet I just want to slam doors and stomp my feet and dramatically throw myself down on the furniture because I'm having a baby and my mom won't be there and I need her and it's not fair.


The Queen of Hyperbole

Oh, Amy. My mother, newly diagnosed with cancer, was admitted to intensive care within days of my learning I was pregnant with my second child. She was horribly sick as I bled and feared miscarriage, and all I wanted was for her to hold ME, to comfort ME, to not die and to make everything better.

I totally understand.


I totally know and understand the feeling of the earth beneath your feet being ripped right out from under you. I know the scared feeling, and all that comes with. But, maybe after you have some time to "mourn" the change, you can look for the positive notes in it - or, even for a new solution, whatever that may be. A door never closes without another opening - sometimes that other door is just really really well hidden. Keep looking, and keep having faith, no matter what it is in.


I'm so sorry Amy. I would feel devastated too. I'm praying for everyone in your family and I wish there was something I could do to help, but alas, I'm hugely pregnant as well and way over here in Detroit. Keep your chin up!


I am currently 6 mos pg with twins (my first)...and my dad passed 2 days ago. I wish I had some words of comfort, but I don't. It SUCKS.


I am sorry! I would want the same as you do but YOU ARE NOT ALONE! We the blog community are here. I will bring you coffee and tell you to get your stinky armpits in the shower. I understand the family things and wanting to throw a fit. But, somehow I realize it will work out! Take care!!

Walking With Scissors

I think this deserves a good, hard cry. The situation won't be any easier when you're done, but maybe it'll make you feel better. I'm so sorry. It's unfortunate all the way around. I hope the doctors are able to help your dad soon so his health starts to improve. Big, virtual ((hugs)) to you, my dear.


Oh, that sucks. A lot. And it makes me want to shout, "Oh, honey, I'll come help!" And then I remember that we haven't met, and that I'm an Internet Person, and that's kind of creepy and stalkerish and totally unhelpful.

But, um, nonetheless, I'm really sorry, and wish I could help.

sensibly Sassy

I would be really upset too. I really don't have any more words for sucks and your right, it isn't fair.


Just wanting to add to the chorus wishing you well and thinking good thoughts for your family.

kim at allconsuming

I thought you had siblings?
Where are your siblings?

You need your Mum for - let's say - a week. (I know I know, a month is way better but I'm trying to play the let's-find-a-solution role here).

There is a solution.

It's time for other family members to step up.

It's Game On people, GAME ON.


Finally I stop lurking...

Wishing you the best and I will keep you in my prayers. No matter how old we get and what we go through, our parents are our parents and we are the kids. It's ok to feel this way.

Can't wait to meet your "little" man!


A girl always needs her mother, no matter how old she is. I can't even think about having a baby one day and my mom not being there with me. Do you need to borrow a mom? Cause I would totally lend you mine. She's a good one! I promise!


Funny, my mom has lived with me for a whole year as of this month (and shows no signs of going ANYWHERE. Gah). Strange and sad how both sides' lawns seem so much greener. ...


Dear Amy,

Hang in there! It is the lamest advice and yet the only advice I have. When my mom's cancer diagnosis came back I had the same reaction. I bawled over the things she would never see and all the things that I would never have again. There is nothing more soothing than Mom and I cannot have that again. It is something that should make you upset. Stomp feet. Cry. Let it out. Keeping it in will only make you self-destruct.

My thoughts are with your family. To deal with stress of this nature while pregnant must so very hard. I hope the love and support of your husband and friends will help you through. Nothing is quite the same as Mom, though.


I totally know how you feel. At least in your case your mom truly wishes she could be there, and wants to be there. My mom planned a 3 week long vacation and left a week before my due date. Obviously she missed the delivery, we had to rely on friends to help with the older one while I was delivering, and then she was too busy catching back up at work to even meet her new grandson until he was 3 weeks old. I was hurt and scared to freakin death, but somehow we managed. You will too. Pinky swear.

La Rêveuse

I know. I hear you. My mom died in '98, my dad's wife is horribly allergic to our dog, and my MIL left the day we got home from the hospital. It was hot, we had no A/C, and we were alone. It was really hard.

You'll make it, but it will suck. But you'll make it. Hold on.

(And if you do move back to PA, I'll take you out for coffee. Promise.)

Rae Ann

I totally feel for you. When I had my second child, my mom was in the beginning stages of early onset Alzheimer's. She was at the hospital, but she was confused about who I was. Every week while I was pregnant she would ask me if we had decided on a name - we had before we'd even conceived. But anyway, this isn't about me! I'm sending warm fuzzies your way. Feel free to stomp around and slam doors!


Oh, Amy, I am so sorry. I totally empathize with you. Neither my mother nor my father ever even got to meet my sweet son let alone be at his birth. I am so very sorry they never got to meet this sweet boy (and he them).

I hope your dad feels better soon and that your parents get to spend many happy times with your new son.

It's tough that they won't be at his birth though. Sometimes you just want your mother.


You're right, it's not fair and you're absolutely entitled to feel like that. I hope that you spend some time with your parents soon and introduce them to their newest grandchild. You'll make your own firsts.


I'm sorry to hear about your dad. I hope they can figure out what the problem is soon.

And I know it's scary, but you'll get through this. My mom was with me when Cordy was born, but due to staffing shortages had to work when Mira was born and couldn't come up to help me. It was tough. But you'll also find a lot of the basics you can handle better. Let Jason handle Noah, and you worry about yourself and the baby.


That sucks! And you have every right to be frustrated and angry. And scared. Because having one running around and another one completely dependent upon you is very hard.

But you are going to get through it. You just will. And maybe you'll decide to move closer to your parents or maybe you will stay where you are and build your family independently of them. Only time will tell.

All I know for sure is that you are going to be ok no matter what. And you have lots of friends near and far to support you if you need it.


I am so sorry. I know it sucks and you have every right to have a tantrum.

Would Jason's mom be an acceptable substitute when it comes to everything non-delivery room? Hopefully she can come and help out, if that's something you would be OK with.


i almost always read but seldom ever comment. but i wanted you to know that i just prayed for you and your entire family. bless your sweet heart. all of your hearts.

thank you for sharing.



Sorry hon. I know it doesn't help, and I know that nothing I could say would, but still, I am! I really hope they can figure out what is going on with your dad!

Busy Mom

I'm so sorry, that just sucks.

Like others have said, ask for help. It will never replace your mother, but you may be surprised how someone else steps up.

You'll see your mom, soon I hope even though it won't be the way you planned at first.

I hope they get things figured out with your dad. It's a bad time to get issued your Sandwich Generation membership card, but just know there's lots of us out here and you're not alone.


I am so sorry. It's not fair, not fair at all.


I'm sorry - that sucks. (Hug)


I don't want to say I know how you feel, but I know similar stuff. My Dad moved away when I was a kid, and when I graduated with my degree, he called me the night before to say he was really sick and may not be able to handle the drive. The day of my graduation after the procession through town (I knew he wouldn't be able to make that, it was more the actual capping he was trying to get to), he called me, and told me he wouldn't be able to make it. I cried in the middle of the cafe we were at, I cry now even thinking about it.

I ended up doing a whole extra year at college to do Honours, and I didn't tell many people this, but the main reason was so he could see me graduate. My Dad is awesome, but he has his moments. Halfway through the year, I found out he was meant to be going away for his girlfriend's 60th at the time of my NEXT graduation. So I didn't mention it again until I finished my degree, then I invited him again (as the trip had been cancelled). He said, seriously, "Do I have to go?"

But he came along...he even made it for the procession. He changed his work so that he could even make it to my dinner, which he wasn't originally going to come to. It meant the world to me.

So um's bittersweet. You're sad because of what you wish you had, but at the same time you know that they love you, and that they wish they could be there, and that's what matters.


You're right. It isn't fair. You (and your family) are in my prayers.


aww. that sucks so much ass. speaking from a nursing point of view,when the figure out the meds to fix the heart arrhythmia he'll feel so much better. i wish she could be there for you, though. i'm so sorry.


i've got a lump in my throat from reading this post of yours.

(*now rereading i realize that i sort of free associated from your situation to my experiences. so, lower expectations of my actually having a relevant point*)

my parents have always been great in times of crisis. not always there for day-to-day stuff but high drama got their full attention.
then i went and had a third baby.
there was lots of drama: the baby was in the nicu, we had to move out of our house, it was summer vacation and the two older kids needed to be cared for too. oh, and my brother got married the day after the birth.
did my parents come through? eh. sort of. they let us stay in their house but there was no coddling, babysitting or cooking of meals going on. and it was pretty clear our presence was a nuisance. was i disappointed? very. does it still hurt now thinking about it a year later? yup.
but i guess it's part of growing up, NOT having your parents there to cushion your fall. discovering how imperfect, fallible and human they actually are.
it still stinks, though.


so sorry to hear about your father, but i hope that the extra precautions taken and the extended rest means he'll recover well and be able to see through many of both noah's and the new baby's future birthdays <=)

mrs. chicken

I'm a long-time lurker who just gave birth to her second baby five weeks ago today. I had a section, and my mom was three states away when the doc told me "you're going in today," which was a week early.

She wasn't there for the birth, and my father is dead, four years ago Aug. 26 he died.

While she got there late the same night, it just wasn't the same. And she stayed for two weeks afterward!

So I guess I am saying that I know how you feel. Even though I had my mom afterward to do all the stuff you described, it hurt that she wasn't there the actual day of.

And as for my dad ... I've had four years to adjust to the idea that he won't be here.

So I guess what I am saying is that I understand, and I, too, would fold your laundry for you any day of the week.

I'm so sorry you are having this hard time.


Hugs and prayers, Amy. My mom died in 2005 and the first birthday I had without her led to me sobbing like a baby in the middle of WalMart.

I've been increasingly concerned about my in-laws, and whether or not we should move to be near them. It's a dilemma you never get prepared for.


I'm 36.5 weeks pregnant. I teared up just reading this. I don't think you're being selfish or weird. No one (that I know of) ever grows out of needing Mom sometimes. Childbirth is definitely one of those times. I'm sorry I don't know much to say beyond that--just that what your feeling seems completely natural and un-selfish to me.


I'm so sorry about your dad. This is one of those times where you wish saying words could fix everything, because you'd totally be willing to say those words, but you know they won't.


I'm very sorry. My mother died when I was 22, so she wasn't there for the birth of any of my children or for my D&C for my miscarriage. My father showed up for the first one with his wife and it was worse than not coming. I have a couple of friends in my boat as well. It's not fun, but it's doable. Good luck.


I'm so sorry, especially about your dad. That's very hard on both you and your mom. Many, many hugs.


Oh, Amy...I'm so sorry about everything and hope your Dad is feeling better SOON! Can I just echo all the other nice things everyone else has said? They are all so much more elequent than I. ((Hugs))


I'm not having a baby but I understand. My mother was my rock. She died in Jan. I was lost, scared and alone without her nextdoor. But then I remembered that Mama wanted me to be happy and she raised me to be strong. I had a choice, I choose to be happy and strong. Your mother wants you to be strong also, she doesn't want you to fret. Hard? Yes, very, but doable.

Also, I live next door to my parents and sometimes it is a bit of strain, but the benefits have been far greater in so many ways. I was here for my parents through my mother's final illness and nothing was more precious than those final months.

Hugs to you and your parents. Be strong....


Oh yeah, I forgot to add that I don't think you are being selfish in the least. I think it's natural what you're feeling. You're a good person.


My mom died unexpectedly when I was ten weeks pregnant with my first son. I had to fly to winnipeg to identify her body, arrange a funeral and clean out her house. The day I gave birth to Adam was wonderous and heartbreaking all at once. You aren't being selfish. You're being human. Trust me when I say, that even on your worst day, when you're feeling alone and scared and it feels like everything is falling apart, you WILL get through this. You'll be strong even when you don't feel like you're being strong. You have my best wishes. Sometimes life is very hard.


I know how you feel, Amy. My grandmother, who was essentially my mother, passed away 6 weeks ago. I just left my not-quite-husband last week. I want, more than anything, for my Gram to freaking hold my 26 year-old hand. To tell me that I did the right thing. Sure, there are other people that love and support me, but it's not the same. They aren't her.

Be strong. You'll get through this. We both will.


Delurking to send you a hug and much sympathy.

I've been there. It sucks. You guys will be okay, obviously, but it sucks, and I'm sorry that your family is in this situation.

Take care.


Oh lady. I would be absolutely devastated.

Do you have friends who can come by more often or someone who could be at the hospital who could help offer some additional support for you?

My heart really goes out to you. I wouldn't be able to do half the things I do, ever, without my mom's support. She's the rock of my life.

If I lived anywhere near you I'd be at the door with a truckload of muffins. Cause. Um. Muffins seems helpful.

Heather B.

It just hit me that for all the times that I complain that my parents are way too close to me (my mother is literally down the hall right now) I know that in 5 or 10 or 15 years when I have children they will both - God willing - be right here. Down the hall or up the street.

Thank you for this, Amy. And you're right, it isn't fair.

(I'm now tempted to come down...)


No it's not fair. But when you're done wallowing, you need to remember this: You still have your mother. No, she won't be able to be there to make you coffee & help you out this time. But you still have her, alive & on this earth. However things end up with your dad, your mom will still get to visit you at some point and hold your new baby. Maybe not exactly at the moment that you want it, but it will happen at some point.

What's REALLY not fair is losing your mother to cancer, which was diagnosed the same week you found out you were pregnant, 10 weeks BEFORE your baby was born. That's not fair.

Just keep it all in perspective, is all I'm saying.


My mom hasn't talked to me since last mother's day. So, she missed my wedding (heck, she hasn't even met the guy yet). I had a huge meltdown after my engagement party when it became obvious that she wouldn't be present (before that I was all -- hey, doesn't bother me! Her loss!)
Now, getting ready to get pregnant, I think I'll have multiple points where I break down in tears because my mom won't be there (I'm guessing delivery will be the worst, but who knows?)
I guess I feel your pain, is what I'm saying. I hope after a few (unavoidable, inevitable, cathartic) sobbing phone calls, you'll be able to see your mom with your new baby and everybody gets hugs.



You are so right, it's not fair. It's not fair that your dad is sick and not fair that your mom can't be there on one of the most important days of your life, it just sucks! I am so sorry sweetie. Thinking of your family!


I'm so sorry Amy! My dad died a few years ago, and now my mom is dealing with what is, thankfully, a non-life threatening health issue. But when things like this start to happen you start to face the fact that one day you'll have to be there for them the way they've been there for you over the years; when really you just want to be 10 years old and have your mom and dad be there to take care of you forever.

That was rambly, but just know that you and your family are in my thoughts.


Grow up. You whine more than any blogger I have ever read. You have SO MANY blessings and you always find stuff to complain about.

Think about your parents first. And you shouldnt have published it, because it will upset your Mom and lay even more guilt on her. And did you ever think about the added stress on your Dad from your kvetching. You might want to find a way that you guys could INCLUDE them from far away. At some point in an ADULT's life, they need to turn around the perspective and take care of the ones who gave the life etc.

And think of all those women who husbands are in the service and cant be there for their children's births.


I am so so sorry for you and your family. This just sucks on multiple levels.
Much much love and hopes and well-wishes and prayer for all of you. I wish there was more I could offer.

teh Duchess

Wow. I read through this yesterday and although I wanted to delurk to tell you how sorry I am and how much this sucks and how you are TOTALLY awesome and give you something that might make you feel better the way that you do for so many people on a regular basis, I couldn't find the words and thought that anything I might be able to offer would seem so small compared to what you're dealing with. When I returned today, I was shocked at how many commenters are being slightly trollish and completely selfish in this situation. People, if you're going to offer something in this situation, offer kind words. Offer uplifting thoughts. Offer muffins, for god's sake! But, and maybe it's just me here, this is not the time to talk about your own sorrows.

So, essentially, I guess I've delurked just to say - Girl, I'm not sure what good I can do for you right now, but I got your back. And also? Have I said yet that you're awesome? Because you are.


hi amalah,
i both sympathize and i can't, quite, though without any judgment - just a very different perspective on what is pain. i lost both my parents before i was 30, so to me you seem surrounded by love. but i understand it doesn't always feel that way, and i'm sorry you are so sad now. i hope phone calls in the delivery room help.


we need our parents there to prepare us for our milestones, the first day of school, first date, first house, first days with a new baby. and as we get braver, stronger, we push them away -- "I can do it myself!"

Funny how it works, that cycle.

There is no word to truly encapsulate the suckiness of this situation. Here is my prayer: that your dad will recover enough that he can travel (maybe not by plane, but by car, where he can have rests and trips to the bathroom), that someone (a sibling? family friend?) will drive them from PA to DC so your mom doesn't have to do it alone. And that they can be there to spoil Noah, meet TiVo, make you coffee, and make many memories.

Here is my alternative prayer: that you have a healthy delivery of TiVo, that you can recover quickly and visit your mom and dad so they can spoil Noah, meet TiVo, make you coffee, and make many memories.

As a corollary, I'd like to add prayers that anonymous at 11:51 am up there discovers empathy and/or a clue some day.


I totally have to agree with Deanna. I don't hear anything in your post regarding your concern for your father - only your concern over who's going to take care of YOU YOU YOU.

Mary Helen

I'm so sorry, Amy! My mom and my mother-in-law both died several years before our girls were born. At my first daughter's birth, none of my family was there. It was strange at the time to think I was doing something so massively important without my family, but in the end it was OK. My husband was great in the delivery room and that was all I needed.

With my second daughter, my husband's aunt was able to stay with us through labor and delivery. It gave me an idea of what it could have been like with my mom there. Husbands are great, but let's face it -- women tend to be more nurturing -- probably because they've been there before.

At any rate, I want you to know that you're going to be fine. You can do this. You're awesome and you are surrounded by people who love you -- in the real world and on the Internet -- and they'll rally support. Hell, I don't even know you for real, although I sure feel like I do after reading your blog, but I would help you out in a heartbeat if Missouri was a bit closer to D.C.


My mom died when I was in my 22nd week of my first pregnancy. Her first grandchild, and she knew it was going to be a girl.

My in laws live in NC, and we are in NJ and they didn't offer to come up for the birth nor did I want them to.

My husband and I headed to the hospital and thought we would be good on our own, but we changed our mind while there and I called my sister and asked her to be present for the birth.

My daughter is now 5 months old. Not having my mother here has been the hardest thing I have ever had to go through. All she wanted was to be a grandmother and I was going to give her that gift, but she died suddenly and never got her wish. A day doesn't go by when I don't think of a question or some advice that I need from her. My father and sister have been godsends, but no one is like a mother.


Wow. That sucks in a lot of ways... for you, Noah, babyv2.0 and for your parents.

I'm sending hugs... I can't imagine having done it without my mom, either. Thanks for the reminder to hug both my parents extra tight.


Your mom folds towels? My mom came out for both of my kids and didn't fold a single damn towel. But she did tell me to clean my microwave. Be careful what you wish for.


It's not fair, your parents need your support just as much as you need theirs right now too...I'm sure that you'll be fine, try not to stress about it. (which is way easier said that done I know...)


Unfair, unfair, unfair. And I'm so sorry it's that way.

I know there's that whole thing about how we're strangers and have never met, but I'm local and would be happy to help in any way I can.

Here's hoping your dad makes a full recovery.

Katie Kat

Okay, that does it. I'm moving in. :)

Having a baby (#1, 2, 3, whatever) is naturally a time when you want your parents to be there. It's the continuation of the family; a carrying on of what they started when they had you. Not having them there will most definitely be hard, but hopefully all the good karma from your internet friends and a good phone connection to your parents will help.

P.S. "Anonymous" and "Snoucake" can kiss my LILLY WHITE ASS. Stupid trolls.

Katie Kat

And to everyone posting these "Stop whining; count your blessings; you're wallowing" etc. etc. etc. bullshit - get a life. Especially Lisa - nice... you tell Amy to stop wallowing and then are sure to get in your own bid for pity. Whatever.

Amy is obviously upset by what is happening to her dad and cares very much about him. Can't she take a moment to realize the loss SHE might be facing and the sadness she feels at not having them there for the birth of her baby? You have NO idea what she is doing or will have to do to help take care of her dad. So shut yer pie hole.


Hi Amy,

So sorry that your dad is not doing well. I know that not having your parents there will be difficult. Not only will they not be there to meet the newest addition to the family and help out but you will be worried about your dad. On a positive note this will be a good time for you Jason, Noah and the baby to establish and grow as a "new" family without the distraction of other people.

As a side note, we met this morning at school and I have to say that you look fantastic for someone about to give birth, I seriously never would have thought you are as close to your DD as you are.


um, who can't hear amy's concern forher father? possibly, people who haven't been reading long enough tyo be familiar with the MANY DIFFERENT TIMES SHE HAS HAD TO CONFRONT THE IDEA OF HER PARENTS NON-IMMORTALITY?

(why does the name edward pop into my head when i type the word "immortal"?)

anyway, amy: i think at the end of the post when you go into a sort-of run-on sentence it's clear that you're trying to convey your thoughts as the thoughts of someone who still has a part of themselves that exists as the child in a parent-child relationship. i think most of us still have parts of ourselves like that floating around deep inside. it was clear,to me, that you were voicing the dismay of a girl who wants her mama...that is a dismay that IS NOT mutually exclusive to the dismay of a girl who wants her dad to be healthy and happy.

it never occurred to me to read your words as such. so, get back in the pool. it's your pool, anyway.


p.s. just got a tweet from my friend that said: "nice typos."
so, yeah. sorry about the typos and the "parents" instead of "parent's."
maybe i should get out of the grammar-snob pool now.

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