Sunday, April 15, 2018

Already?

I despise clothes shopping with the passion of 10,000 firey suns.  I have exactly zero fashion sense, am painfully cheap, and am a difficult fit (especially for pants).  Admitting that I need to go shopping takes a while,  psyching myself to actually go is a process, and a pants shopping trip usually ends (unsuccessfully) with tears and/or cursing.  Needless to say, my work wardrobe consists of almost exclusively black trousers and lightweight shirts (because I also have zero tolerance for being hot).

I went shopping on Saturday.  For pants.  It ended with no pants, a lot of cursing/self-depreciation, and a six-pack of pineapple ale.  Well, technically a six-pack plus one additional can because we have antiquated laws about alcohol in my state and we have to buy beer by the bottle or the case, and the bottle shop that I buy at gives you a seventh can for a penny.

Note to self: Banish the thought of "I haven't gone shopping at (store name) for a while now.  I should try there." out of my mind and go to where I know the clothes fit.

Why did I go shopping?  Because I'm participating in a marketing photo shoot for work tomorrow. "Participating" makes it sound like this is a voluntary activity, but really it's not.  And I am the least photogenic person on the face of the earth.  I am looking forward to it like I look forward to dental work.

I thought that a new outfit might make me feel good, or at least a little bit better about this stupid photo shoot.   But it was not meant to be.  Ugh.

But anyway, that's not what I want to write about.

I want to write about the fact that there were advisements all over the store about Mother's Day.  Holy Hell.  Mother's Day isn't for a full month.  It's nothing more than a profit scheme for the greeting card companies holiday.  The store I was at sells clothing for women, men, children, juniors, etc.

When I saw the first advertisement, my eye roll was so hard that I damn near had a seizure.   I was so annoyed. 

I suppose this is an improvement over previous years, however.

But yeah, it looks like we (at least those of us here in the US) have a full month of advertising for a holiday that doesn't apply to us ahead of us!  Pass the pineapple ale!

Friday, March 9, 2018

The day dreams died

Four years ago yesterday we found out we'd never have children.

I remember that day like it was yesterday.  Hubs and I drove separately.  I was planning to go back to work after the appointment.  I remember squeezing my car into a tiny spot in the underground parking garage.  I remember meeting hubs in the lobby.  I remember the elevator ride to the 12th floor, complete with stops on the NICU floor, the labor floor, and the postpartum floor before we got where we were going.  I remember anxiously sitting in the waiting room while two young children being "supervised" by what appeared to be their mother and grandmother played loudly (as an aside, there is nothing that anyone can say that makes a valid case for children being in the waiting room of a reproductive endocrinologist's office).  I remember being shuffled back to the doctor's office.  I remember the atta boy he gave hubs for his stellar test results.  And I remember the complete lack of compassion that he delivered my abysmal test results with.  I remember sitting there but not feeling like I was in my own body.  I could see his mouth moving but I didn't hear anything.  I knew exactly what he was saying and how bad it was.  I remember being shuffled from his office to the office of the financial guy and listening to his pitch because we didn't have the energy to tell him that it was useless information for us.  I remember being shuffled to the IVF nurse's office and pretending to listen to her because, even after we told her we wouldn't be doing IVF, she insisted we'd change our minds, and we didn't have the energy to fight her.  I remember sitting on a bench in the hallway crying to myself and texting a friend while hubs used the restroom. I remember taking the elevator down to the parking garage, paying for my parking, and making it to the car before breaking down.  I remember that by the time I made it to the exit, my 15 minutes between paying and exiting the garage had already passed, and I couldn't get out.  I remember the parking attendant coming to the gate, seeing the look of me, him saying "aww, sweetie, it'll get better" and then scanning me out with his employee badge.  It's not lost on me that the only ounce of compassion I got that day (other than from my husband) was from the parking attendant. 

I don't know why this crappy anniversary hit me so hard this year.  Or even why I remember every moment of that day.  Generally speaking, things get less hard with the passage of time, but not this day this year.

In about an hour we'll head out to see my family, celebrate the birthdays of all of my nieces and nephews, and meet the new baby.  The trip was planned before I realized that yesterday was going to be so hard on me.

I know I've neglected this space lately, but today, on a day where I'm feeling not being able to have children viscerally, I'm glad I have it. 

Saturday, February 10, 2018

On my own

I am writing this while in Florida, poolside, and soaking up the last few rays of sunshine and warmth before heading back to the cold and snowy north.

I left home on Wednesday for a work trip to a professional conference.  I don’t have the sort of job where I travel for work a lot, at least not the variety of travel that involves a plane, but I do take a trip once or twice a year. Sometimes I take hubs along and sometimes I go solo.  This time I went solo, but met up with most of my friends from grad school.  We agreed months ago that no one would bring partners or kids. :)

Don’t get me wrong, I love traveling with hubs, spending time with him, and seeing the world, but sometimes it’s fun to be on my own schedule (which is always more free flowing and spontaneous than when I’m traveling with hubs), stay out later than I usually would, drink more alcohol than I usually do, and have a great time with friends without having to consider the likes/dislikes/wants/needs of another person.  I had a fantastic time and I’m so relaxed and recharged. It’s amazing what sun can do for thr soul! I feel like I should mention that I did do a ton of work related activities too!

My flight leaves in a few hours and I’ll be back to reality. I’ve enjoyed my time here, but I’m looking forward to hubs, the dog, our bed, and our wonderful life.


Tuesday, January 9, 2018

When sad is buried by happiness

I don't make a habit of passing out advice, especially unsolicited advice, but I'm going to make an exception.

If there is someone in your life who is dealing with/dealt with infertility/you suspect they may be dealing with infertility/would love nothing more than to have a child but doesn't have a partner/etc. and someone close to them (e.g., a sibling) has a baby, reach out to them.  A simple "I love you" or "I'm thinking about you" text works great.  Let them know you're thinking about them in a tangible way, yet one that doesn't necessarily require a response.

My sister had her baby yesterday.  

You'll recall that she's basically a coward and couldn't tell me that she was pregnant herself, instead relying on our mother to break the news.

I had limited contact with her while she was pregnant and only saw her twice.  The limited contact wasn't really intentional but was a product of busy schedules.  My sister isn't the most likable person to be around when she's not pregnant, and she's insufferable when pregnant.  

I moved past the hurt that came from her cowardice.  Or at least I thought I did.  As it turns out, not enough time has passed to heal this wound.  

I lost it.  I took it harder than I did any of the back to back to back sister pregnancies.  I cried myself to sleep last night.

Beyond being a part of a group text with my mom, sisters, and one of my cousins, my sister hasn't reached out to me personally.  Which is fine.  She can talk to whoever she wants.  I muted the chat and didn't respond to anything on it before I muted it.  I'll deal with it when I'm ready.

I am hurting.

And I'm hurt.

But the hurt isn't jealousy or the all too familiar pangs of the loss of dreams (though those were there too), rather most of it comes from the actions of my mother.  Or inaction, as the case may be.  

Part of being a parent is being there for your children, both for the happy and for the sad.  And if a person has more than one child, there is the possibility of both emotions existing simultaneously.  If there is time to take a gazillion pictures and gloat about a new grandbaby on social media, there is time to send a text to the one you know is hurting.

Yet no such text came.  And still hasn't.  The message that I don't matter was received loud and clear.  God, it hurts.  

I'm so mad at myself for letting my guard down and allowing hope that she would do better this time to creep in.

I am grateful for friends who are like family.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Winter Break

Yesterday marked my return to work after a restful winter break.  As an added bonus, I don't have to go back to the office until Monday! 

A few fun things happened while I was off.

I broke my 90+ week Grammarly streak.  If you don't know Grammarly, it is a browser plug-in that identifies spelling and grammar errors.  It also calculates the number of words written, number of errors, accuracy, vocabulary, etc. and sends you a weekly progress report.  I only use the free version, but since I do so much online for work, it's really helpful and has probably saved me from looking like a fool more than once.  Anyway, what breaking the streak means is that I powered down my work computer on December 23rd and didn't turn it on again until January 2nd, meaning that I didn't do any work during this time.  As evidenced by the length of my streak, detaching myself from work is something that I obviously struggle with.  It was a streak that I was happy to see go and am excited to start 2018 with a clean slate!

We also rearranged our guest room.  Previously, it was set up as a space that looked both nice and one that would be comfortable for guests.  But what we found is that we very infrequently hosted overnight guests and because of the setup, we really didn't use the room because the furniture took up so much room.  So we rearranged it.  We disassembled the gorgeous (but large and space eating) bed, put the mattress on a simple frame, and shoved the bed in the corner.  This simple rearrangement has given us so much more space in that room, and now we can actually use it!  As an added bonus, should we ever need to host guests, we have a bed for them to sleep in.  It's funny that we held off on doing this for so long.  In the wake of infertility (which saw us reserving a bedroom for "the baby's room") we decided we wouldn't do that again, rather we'd use space for what we wanted and adapt if necessary.  Yet that's exactly what we didn't do.

I bought myself a mountain bike.  I've been wanting to buy a bike for a few years now, but haven't done it for one reason or another.  This is actually my first brand new bike.  Growing up we didn't have a lot of money so my bikes were hand me downs and/or cobbled together with various bike parts and usually shared with my sisters and me.  So it's pretty cool for me to have my very own brand new shiny bike!  Unfortunately, I've only been able to ride it once as our outdoor temperatures have been pretty miserable, but winter will end eventually, and when it does, I'm fortunate to live in an area with plenty of bike trails! 

Finally, we bought a new car.  This was a semi-planned purchase, meaning that we planned to buy a new car, just not until Spring.  Hubs knew exactly what he wanted (and hubs isn't the sort of guy who compromises when it comes to cars) so we knew it would be a bit of a process and we were willing to take our time and get what we wanted as opposed to settling or paying too much.  We'd been casually looking for a few months, with the attitude that if something popped up that was interesting to us, we'd go and look at it, and buy if it met our criteria.  Well, as it turns out, year-end deals on cars are quite good, and we were able to get the exact car he wanted but at a higher trim level and for less money than we expected to pay.  What was striking to us, however, is how different the process of buying a car was this time as opposed to the last time we did it.  The last time we had an eye to the future, meaning that we bought a car assuming that children were in our future and we were careful to make sure that there was adequate space for car seats and growing children and such.  This time, beyond casually observing that the car did indeed have a back seat, we didn't pay any attention to that feature.  It was also interesting that the last time we bought a car the salesman was keen to mention all of the features of the car that would be good for "families" whereas this time, there was not a single mention of children.  Anyway, it's a fun car and it's fun to drive.  And it's definitely not a car we could have even considered if we had a couple of kids running around.

The time off was perfect.  And for the first Christmas season, since we put an end to our family building efforts, it wasn't a miserable season that I slogged through while wishing my life was different than it is, rather it was quiet and warm and perfect.  Instead of focusing on what we don't have, we were able to enjoy what we do have.




Sunday, December 10, 2017

Holiday decorations

For a long time, there was a running joke between my sister-in-law and me, that it took getting married and having two kids before she felt truly accepted into the (extended) family, whereas all it took for me was getting drunk with Uncle Ed (then in his late 80s) on his homemade wine the very first time I met the extended family. 

Hubs is the oldest son of the oldest son and the first grandchild in both his paternal grandmother and grandfather's side.  In the eyes of his family, he basically walks on water.  I am hubs' second wife.  While I haven't asked directly, I gather from various bits of conversation with people in his family that they didn't like her, and that's putting it nicely.  When hubs and I first started dating, things happened quickly.  Within four months of dating, we moved to a different state and in together.  I expected the first Christmas gathering with his extended family to be interesting, and I had been warned by both my mother-in-law and sister-in-law not to take it personally if they shunned me.  They said that, best case, it would take them a few years to warm up to me.  It was interesting, but not in the tense way that I expected.  As it turned out, I got on quite well with his family.

Each year they do a gift exchange.  They draw names and bring a small gift for that person.  Since I wasn't around the previous year for the drawing, his grandma purchased a small gift for me so that I would have something to open with everyone else.  The gift was a Christmas tree ornament.  It's a light blue glass bulb with a dove carrying an olive branch painted on it.  Something I imagine that she picked up at the Parrish craft bazaar.  The symbolism was not lost on me.  His grandma passed away in 2014.

Hubs and I have quite the collection of Christmas ornaments.  One for every Christmas we've celebrated together.  Some have been gifted to us.  Some are handmade and gifted to us by nieces and nephews.  Some are personalized.  Some are stock from a big box store.  Some are just plain funny (like a pink glittery unicorn).  Silly as it sounds, all of them hold memories.  And needless to say, our hodgepodge tree will never be featured in any home magazine. 

I've been struggling with getting into Christmas this year.  Part of it has been the busy-ness of life, and part of it has been the fact that this season is just plain hard for me.  I thought that maybe decorating the house would help my outlook on things, and decided to put the tree up on Tuesday.

But what I wasn't expecting was the flood of memories.  Some of them good memories, like the ones that accompanied the chintzy "our first Christmas together" ornament and the ornament we bought at a little gift store by the beach we eloped on in Hawaii.  Some of them were hard memories, like the annual ornaments from the infertility years and the simultaneous hope and hopelessness that we felt when we bought them.  And some were bittersweet, like the ornament from hubs' grandma.

I had a good cry as I hung them all on the tree.  I let all of the hopes and dreams and changes in plans from the last ten years wash over me.  It was hard but good.  And by the time I was done, I felt a little better about the impending holiday.  It was even more worthwhile when hubs walked into the door, his eyes got huge, a big smile spread across his face, and he exclaimed: "you decorated!"

We no longer joke about birthing children as a prerequisite for family acceptance.  At the time it was funny, albeit in a slightly uncomfortable way.  If the same joke were made today, I'd probably come unhinged.  I'm glad that they accepted me into the family all those years ago.  If for no other reason but holiday gatherings would be pretty miserable if they hadn't accepted me.

For all of you joining me in the hard this holiday season, please know that you are not alone.  I wish I could say that it gets easier to handle the holidays.  It doesn't. At least for me.  But I've found that it gets a little less hard with each passing year.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The hard

I need to get back to writing in this space more frequently.  It gives me balance and a place to work through the thoughts bouncing around in my brain. 

I've had a lot going on lately.  Not bad, just busy.  It leaves little time for me or for writing.

Over the past few days, I've been feeling the full weight of all that we've lost.  Seeing all of the Christmas lights brought it to a head tonight.

Maybe it's the holidays and thinking about all of the traditions that we thought we were going to make with our children.  Maybe it's the sudden burst of people my age or older having babies making me wonder if we stopped too soon.  Maybe it's knowing that 2018 will bring another niece or nephew.  Maybe it's end of the semester stress.  Maybe it's all of it.

I'm struggling a bit. 

I'm trying to go easy on myself and I know it will get better again.  But tonight it's hard.