Tuesday 24 February 2009

Empty boxes

Over eleven years and two months you collect a lot of birthdays, valentines, Christmases and anniversaries. Nearly one hundred of these occasions between a couple, if you’re counting.

That’s a hundred presents.

Small ones at first, signs of intent and interest, romantic ones in the hope of wooing, practical ones to help along the way, right up to ridiculously overpriced and over the top gestures.

Making up gifts, jokey gifts, and spur of the moment for no good reason gifts.

Somewhere in there, are a few special ones, ones that mean as much to me, the giver, as they do to her.

She has everything she could want, gadgetry, clothes, holidays, sparkly things, time to herself, some money to spend, and a house to do with as she pleases.

There’s nothing I can give her.

On one hand it’s a great complaint to have, she and I have both been working full time for 8 and 11 years respectively, and we have pretty much managed to exhaust our wish lists.

On the other, it’s a screaming reminder of what’s gone so very wrong, like some nightmarish fairy tale where we are supposed to learn our lesson, and emerge enlightened as to what really matters in life.

We get it.

Our house is full of ‘stuff’, but it’s horribly empty. Music, games, and movies could deafen you in any room over three floors, but it’s still eerily silent.

Silence that’s amplified when you stand on the spiral stairs and listen to the Saturday morning screeches and giggles from next door.

We have spare bedrooms living lives disguised as offices, storage space, giant walk in wardrobes, or dressing rooms. Not as they were intended, just bedrooms.

I don’t know if it’s possible to feel any stupider as you do when you realise the clich├ęs were true all along, and the joke is on you.

The best things in life are free” or “Money can’t buy you happiness

Cheesy, overused, and scoffed at, but stomach sinking true. Yes, we fucking get it.

We have everything, all adding up to nothing.

Yesterday was ET’s birthday and there was nothing I could give her.

She got a gift from Aunty Irony today though, her period.
Twenty four, over and out.


Anonymous said...

Happy birthday to ET. My heart just breaks for the two of you.

BUT... now it's time for our glorious advances in medicine to step in. Now it's finally time for them to take you seriously and get their heads outta their asses to help. I still think the key is to bug the shit out of them until they help just to get rid of you. That's how I do things. It works!

Anonymous said...


Angel said what I was going to say.

But in a much more eloquent way.

Happy Birthday ET.

Oh and BoxBoy, my birthday is in a couple of weeks, best be getting my gifts in the mail today.

Sarah said...

Shit. I'm sorry. Again.

Happy Birthday ET.

Anonymous said...

This madness has to stop soon, my friend.

I'm going shopping for some different juju I can send your way, because this shit ain't working . . .

MissyBoo said...

Happy Birthday, ET!

I really hope something happens very soon to fill your emptiness, and make you both feel complete.

Big Hugs to both of you

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry. I hope those doctors take some notice now.

Happy Birthday to ET.

Rob Monroe said...

Birthday wishes to ET.

But this f*cking sucks. Sorry man.

Daisy said...

Oh no. Happy Birthday ET and what a beautiful, sad post. I agree I do hope the doctors can help you finally, you've definitely paid your dues.

Liz said...

Bastard thing.

Now, they'll take you seriously right?

('They' being the dutch medical professionals)

Chaos said...

Well damn! Now you get to spend more time with the croc wearing brigade.

Hope things start to look a little less empty.

AnnD said...

Oh no.....I so wanted to hear good news from you. I needed to hear good news from you. I needed a miracle to celebrate and I was hoping yours was it.

I'm so sorry for you two. I hope the amazing docs in crocs can give you the baby you both dream of.

Anonymous said...

evil Aunt Flo never misses a date.

you are giving ET one important half of an essential equation -- being a wonderful partner, your love, empathy and understanding.

the other half (the burping gurgling future fruit of your loins) is not as wonderful without a dedicated father/husband as part of the deal.

do you really think our beloved ET would be happy with an a$$hole who knocks her up and around all the time?

she's half-way there. she bagged the awesome dude, now she's just got to find a way to nuke that pesky aunt.

Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] said...

Happy Birthday ET!

I'm sending my girls over for a few days - pick them up from the airport in 8 hours.

Ed (zoesdad) said...

Would it make any difference if I told you I didn't get anything for my birthday either?

I didn't think so. Sorry, man.

Jason Roth said...

I'm sorry. I'm sure it made for a somber birthday for ET. I truly hope things change soon. I echo Angel's comment.

Joy said...

It is amazing how this all really does give one perspective. What is really important and why something we want so badly is so darn difficult to get. The questions you ask yourself day in and day out and yet have no answers. It is a cruel trick that what so many people to get for free, will probably end up costing you a, if not monitarily, but emotionally. In the end, however, and I finally do speak from experience, whatever road you go down, a life is waiting and no birthday, Christmas or any other holiday will ever be the same.

Blow out the candles and make a wish!

Hilary (Maya Papaya) said...

happy birthday ET. Sincerely hoping that the next time she has a birthday you're celebrating with the best gift in the universe on your lap.

I echo everyone's sentiments: it's high time for medical intervention! Worked for us!

Lea said...

Ugh. I'm so sorry. Happy birthday to ET. Mine's coming up next week and for the first time ever, I'm dreading it. Give her hugs. That's the best.

Kim said...

Happy birthday to ET. Sorry for #24. Angel is very right. Time to start kicking doctor's doors until they pay attention.

Susanica said...

Damnit XBox. Damnit! -Monica

Maggie, Dammit said...

I'm sorry, love. Birthday wishes to E.T. anyway....

Jenni said...

Aunty Irony is a bitch, and you can tell her I said so.

happy b-day, E.

Anonymous said...

Oh bollocks! What a crappy way to start a birthday.
Wishing ET a happy birthday and a year full of all she wishes for. Aunty Irony can kiss my sweet behind ;o)

Serenity said...

The silence is the worst part. Heart-breakingly empty. Hugs to you both.

And ditto Angel's comment - bug 'em until they pay attention to you. That's what I've done, and it DOES work.


nh said...

Bollocks and the rest! Nothing more to add!

Tara R. said...

More than any other, this post made me want to cry for you both.

Anonymous said...

Shit buggery bugger fuck. I'm so sorry. Now can you kick someone in crocs really hard and make them do something constructive?

Birthday wishes to ET.

Veronica Foale said...

Fuck it.

Seems sort of stupid to wish her happy birthday after this, but happy birthday ET.

Martin said...

@Angel - Thanks, we'll see soon enough

@Kelley - yeah, you wait by the gate for the postman okay?

@Sarah - Cheers.

@tysdaddy - You would think that wouldnt you?

@M+B - Thank you.

@Ali - Me too!

@RobMonroe - You nailed it.

@Daisy - like taxes isnt it

@womb for improvement - does anyone?

@Chaos - plastic containers maybe...

@AnnD - if they can find the time...

@geeksinrome - She'll laugh when she reads that.

@Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] - have ALL your neighbours refused to babysit?

@Ed (zoesdad) - Nope!

@iVegasFamily - Thanks sir.

@Deborah - thank you.

@Hilary (Maya Papaya) - copy pasted from last year ;-)

@Lea - Happy birthday in advance.

@Kim - nice round figure, 24.

@Susanica - aye...

@Maggie, Dammit - Thanks maggie

@Jenni - she's aware of our opinions of her!

@Penelope - 'sweet' ?

@serenity - thank you.

@nh - nope. that is it!

@Tara R. - Sorry about that.

@Anonymous - yep ;-(

@bsouth - thats the hope

@Veronica - she'll appreciate it anyway

Jo Beaufoix said...

I don't like that Auntie. Hope ET had a good birthday though. Hug.

Daily Daydreamer said...

I can only echo the sentiments of all before me...so sorry to hear this.

Anonymous said...

What a crappy birthday.
I'm so sad and sorry.

Anonymous said...

Oh and best birthday wishes to that beautiful wife of yours.

Anonymous said...

Box, I love you. I do. But, seriously, man, you are looking at this thing all wrong. You are not giving a gift to your wife nor receiving one. You are giving a gift to the world. You are poised, bro, poised to actually change the world.

Karen MEG said...

Oh Xbox, this post gave me a lump in my throat. It sounds so trite, but please don't despair. 24 ... and hopefully that much closer to getting the assistance you need.

For what it's worth, I wish ET a happy birthday.

IrishNYC said...

Happy Birthday to ET.

Anonymous said...

I sat here and cried...I really truly did...I'm not going to say happy birthday cause I know it wasn't...

I hope with all my heart that the medical folks get going big time with you both now that the magical 2 yrs is over...or you need to go to a country that will.


Unknown said...

Happy birthday to ET.

And again, I'm sorry to hear all this. Life's unfairness really blows sometimes -- OK, it blows lots and lots of times. LOTS of times ...

battynurse said...

This is a fantastic post. So true.
Hope ET's birthday is ok except for that awful gift of AF.

River said...

Ah, SHIT. But Happy Birthday, ET

Mick said...

I'm sure birthdays don't mean as much as they used to. I just think it's great that you two are there for each other. That's probably what E.T.'s thankful for.

Roll on 25...

I Am Emily... said...

I'm sorry. Yes, it is one thing you are missing but in the meantime it is making your bond stronger and you more grateful for the things you do have. Saying that, I just hope to god they can help you guys so you can put this gratefulness and strength as a couple to good use. It might not help and you might be sick of hearing it, but good luck again. This story has to have a happy ending here somewhere.

Martin said...

@Jo Beaufoix - Thanks.

@Daily Daydreamer - Thank you, and welcome.

@tiff - Cheers Tiff, thanks.

@Laurie - You are smoking some gooood stuff there.

@Karen MEG - Thank you

@IrishNYC - Cheers, she'll appreciate that.

@hotmamamia - Next few weeks will tell a lot.

@Dorky Dad - Thanks DD, it blows gales.

@battynurse - Thank you.

@River - Thanks.

@Mick - They probably don't, you're right.
I hope she is.

@Tanya - You know, I keep telling myself that. Somedays I do doubt it.

Jane G said...

Belated happy birthday to ET.

I know what you mean about the house. My eleven year old niece asked me last year why did we buy a 4 bedroom house when there are only two of us? I just stammered em....and she said "for guests?" so I said "yes, for guests".

It kind of killed me that it just never occurred to her that we might have kids, since all the rest of her Aunties and Uncles on both sides have. But what can you say to a child?

Marissa said...

well fuck. this just isn't fucking fair. :(

Elf in Amsterdam said...

Hoping that this year is ET and your year!

I *think* I may have seen you at an Irish airport on Sunday evening waiting for a flight to AMS? you were reading a 20 Major Book? I was too shy (read: hungover) to say hi.

Have been reading your blog and wishing you luck, lurking on the outside but thought I should say hi!

You both deserve the best, time to demand the care I know we pay for with health insurance in this country.


B said...


can't think of anything else

'Murgdan' said...

I second all that was said...but as was already mentioned, my husband may not be able to give me any "thing"...but it's his love and support that mean the world.

And ironically, they say "the best things in life are free"...but a baby will cost us tens of thousands, so I don't know about all those sayings anymore.

Anonymous said...

So sorry, yet again for you both.

Stella said...

ah shit shit shitty.

im sorry x.

darcie said...

now I feel like an ass for my FB comments.

Happy Birthday to ET - and here's to the right thing getting in the right box for the next occassion!
xoxo - darcie

Martin said...

@Jane G - god, that is a heart breaker.

@Marissa - Nope! it's not really.

@Elf in Amsterdam - Thanks, you got it right of course.
If twenty ever stumbles over here he'll get a big head.

@B - More than enough sir.

@Murgdan - I never thought of it that way, it doesn't apply to the same level over here.
it's shameful really.

@Amy - thanks.

@Stella - I know, thank you.

@darcie - hee hee. no worries.

V said...

I have no doubt that one day you & ET will be parents. The only question is when. And when you do become parents, I hope you keep blogging cause I love your humor and that will be one hilariously funny blog I'm betting. You'll ooze the love for your kiddo(s) that Matt Logelin has but with your funny Irish flair. I can't imagine anything better to read!

PS-happy birthday to ET! :O)

DiaperPin Up Girl said...

Fuuuck. I'm sorry.

Happy Birthday to ET!

Martin said...

@Kathryn - Thank you for that. Honestly.

@DiaperPin Up girl - Thanks!

Anonymous said...

No, Box, I am not smoking weed. I tried to be cryptic, but since that didn't work, here goes.

For two years you and your wife have had your hearts broken every month. I imagine you have shed a few tears monthly, too. Yet, I remember a post not too long ago when you tried to articulate exactly why procreating is so important to you, and you had a hard time doing it, so it begs the question: Do you want to replicate your genetic material or do you want to be parents?

As I type this there are hundreds of thousands of children around the world who would love nothing more than to have loving parents and a place to call home (and maybe a full belly and shoes that fit). Ask yourself this important question: Why won't I consider adoption right now? It doesn't mean you and ET can't keep trying to conceive, and it will start you on the road to parenthood in a sure way.

Again, I say this out of love and out of having been EXACTLY where you are now. Everyone comes to this blog because it is obvious that you are such a sweetheart. But, you are choosing to have a broken heart right now. Choosing to. You have a choice, a choice that could save not only your world and ET's but somebody else's as well. I can't think of a better gift to give yourself, your wife, or the world.

Martin said...

@Laurie - Thank for laying it out as you see it, I appreciate it, I hadn't meant to be facetious in my previous response.

I have little or no answer really, adoption just isn't right at the moment. It has to be right doesn't it? It takes special people to adopt, strong people. It wouldn't feel right doing it out of desperation.

It's a huge step, a huge undertaking, as is trudging through fertility treatments, both are all consuming, one of them would undoubtedly suffer.

I will correct you on one thing, we are not choosing to have our hearts broken, we could choose any number of paths, but the heart break would come regardless.

If we had half a dozen children through adoption, every month we failed to conceive would still be the same.

There is no choice.

Bluestreak said...

Xbox, it's hard sometimes not to sound repetative when I comment, but I want your to know I read and care.

I almost never go through and read all the comments, but I read the last one on here and your subsequent response. Suggesting adoption is really easy. But I don't think it would take away the complicated feelings that likely come with the package of not being able to conceive, although it would certainly distract you from them.

What you're going through has nothing to do with choice.