Sunday, February 21, 2010

Coffee with Amy

Got together with Amy this week.  Amy is someone I was moderately friendly with when I was first married (pre-divorce).  She has three kids, all gotten by IVF, so I thought I'd bend her ear a little and get some advice from her.

So we got together at the nearest Bux, and started slurping down the slop, decaff for me since I started my fertility treatment.  I do love my Java, even if it's Starbuck's horrible brew (I'm a Dunkin Donuts coffee girl, but Starbucks has nicer cafes).  After about an hour, Amy confessed to me that she and Bruce were seeing a marriage counselor.  And that she thought about leaving him about three times a day.  And, having been down that road myself, did I have any words of wisdom for her.

Eesh.   And here I was being all jealous of Amy and everything.  She has kids.  She is married to a lawyer.  She hasn't worked in the entire 15 years she's been married.  She's pretty and thin.  She strikes me as a happy person.  But, she's not.

Bruce, apparently, has trouble telling her he loves her, and so consequently, she feels very unloved.  Yes, she hasn't worked since she got married, but that's because she has all these medical issues, and since she's the stay-at-home Mom, she's stuck with all the housework.

"Basically, I am there to be Bruce's slave, to pick up his socks and dry-cleaning, to raise his children, and to have sex with him.  Not so fulfilling.  I want out."

After I got over the shock wave of her confession and "the grass is always greener" stopped replaying in my head like a old Barry Manilow song that you can't shake, I told her this.  I said, if you still love Bruce (she does), keep up the marriage therapy and work on the marriage.  Divorce is horrible.  It's gut-wrenching and horrible.  It's a last resort.

"But it sounds like your divorce saved your marriage," she replied.

I told her that in some weird way, that was true, but that we were not to be used as any sort of example of good marital behavior.  What happened to us was very, very unusual.  After a year and a half of virtually no contact, my husband decided to do whatever it took to put our marriage back together and to make our marriage work, almost unilaterally, and I followed suit.  But you just can't expect that kind of stuff to happen to everyone.  We also didn't have kids.  "Do you have any idea," I said, "what divorce will do to your kids?  Work it out.  Figure it out."

Amy cried a lot.  She's been through so much with Bruce.   Medical issues, religious crises, infertility, financial strains, everything.  She and Bruce are an interesting match.  Bruce is very bright, overly-educated, frum-from-birth, ex NY'er, a little cold, not very good looking.  Amy is model-pretty, midwestern ba'alat teshuvah, not hyper-academic, very warm and spiritual.  I wouldn't have put them together.  But I am pretty bad at matchmaking.  I tend to be very shallow about it.  Amy is taller than Bruce.  That alone would have thrown me.

I picked Amy's brain about IVF, and found out that she has been through hell-and-back to conceive and give birth to her kids.  It's funny, I never really thought of her as an overly strong person.  She comes off as a bit ditzy.  As I get older, I find more and more that many people are simply not whom they seem to be.  (What really throws me is that I am not whom I seem to be.)

Our coffee convo went on for hours, which was unusual because I'm not feeling very social these days.  I've been through months of medical testing, had enough blood drawn to create a whole new person, and I'm on a variety of meds that make me cry for no reason.  But I couldn't tear myself away from Amy, and she really seemed to need to talk.  My heart was breaking for her marriage and for what she's been through and for how hard she was working to keep it all together.  I wanted to help, but knew that I couldn't.

I've been so wrapped up in myself, more so than ever lately.  I've been slacking off on what little work I have, I stopped returning phone calls and emails from friends, and I haven't been to shul in almost two months.  I'm totally focused on this baby thing.  Dealing with all this medical testing and insurance issues is an all-consuming full-time job.  I don't have the emotional energy to deal with anyone else's stuff.  But there was Amy, pouring it all out to me.  I listened, I ordered more coffee, and listened some more.  It's funny; Amy and I are not particularly close but I find her very easy to talk to. 

I've been so narcissistic lately, I forgot that the rest of the world has problems too. 

1 comment:

SuperRaizy said...

Like all your posts, beautifully written. I feel like I was there at that coffee shop with you and Amy.
Sometimes the only thing that we can do to help a friend is to listen. And sometimes it's perfectly OK to get totally wrapped up in your own life. We're only human, there's only so much we can handle at one time.
Wishing you much hatzlachah in your quest to have a baby.