Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Bag.

No, not the purse. I never did get one. My fabulous sister-in-law got me a really fun satin leopard print bag which I love. So I can skip the splurge. For now. (Though this Tory Burch has me drooling!)

OK, back to topic.

I'm going to be honest here. I've been really struggling lately. The last few months have been really intense at work and life has been super busy. Not enough time for me. And I feel like my life is flying before my eyes and I'm not slowing down to enjoy it. But in processing how I'm feeling, I realized that much of my current angst comes from The Bag.

Envision that all those years back, when we started down the path of trying to start our family, I carried around The Bag. Every roadblock, hurdle, loss and frustration along the way has wound up in The Bag. All those fertility shots? Yeah, they're in The Bag. The doctors? Yup, they're in there -- and they aren't small. Stephen and his birth mom? You better believe it. The Bag keeps getting bigger and the load just gets heavier. Yeah, I mourned not having kids biologically and am completely committed to adoption. But that doesn't mean that all of what we've been through is forgotten.

What I recently realized is making The Bag extra heavy, though, is that at every turn, I add another smiley face button onto the outside of The Bag. So with our first miscarriage came the "Hey, this happens to lots of people! Let's try again!" smiley face button. And with the fertility treatments came the "Check out our home science experiment! I'm so lucky that my husband is good at administering shots!" smiley face button. And with the loss of Stephen from our lives came the "He wasn't meant to be ours and our baby is still coming!" smiley face button. These buttons are becoming as heavy as The Bag itself.

It's not that I should buck my nature; I'm always inclined toward the positive. And when it comes to the adoption process, on most days, hope is all I have, so I need to muster up some sunshine to get through. But I also have to allow myself to feel the full range of emotions related to this journey so far. It's been exhausting, sad, frustrating, heartbreaking. And I think I do myself a disservice by always pinning on another smiley face instead of feeling what I need to feel. I wonder if I'd really let myself grieve along the way if The Bag might be a bit lighter now.

So I'm going to try and honor my feelings and unload some of The Bag's contents. I probably won't stop adding smiley face buttons, but hopefully I can balance them out with really processing some of the emotional weight of the last several years.

I'm going to end this post on a happy note. I learned today that friends may be a bit closer to being parents on their adoption journey and may have a little one within the next six months. You know who you are -- know that we love you and can't wait for you to be a family. It's a beautiful thing!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Define "A Few"...

Is "a few" two? three? 'Cause it's been two months since this post and my phone is awfully quiet.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The (Maternal) Grandparents

After several months of work that had me at an all-new level of exhaustion, I took a long weekend up in Massachusetts (aka "The 413" or "No Ad") with my parents. As always, it was great to be with them and to spend time in the idyllic Berkshires, particularly now that it is finally all thawed out.

I'm lucky to live close enough to my parents that I get to see them with some regularity. It's about eight hours by car, or less than 90 minutes by plane. And we are conveniently located mid-way between them and my sister, so we get to see more of my parents and my sister than they see of one another. Despite the fact that I see them fairly often, I've been struck on the last few visits by the fact that, well, they are getting older.

My parents had me fashionably late for the era -- my mom was 33 and my dad 35 when they had me, putting them a good 8-10 years older than most of my friends' parents. And while we had planned to have bambinos long ago, I'm now 38 and Bill is 41. So we're even more "fashionable" than my folks were when they had me.

This year, my mom turns 71 and my dad turns 73. I'm grateful that they are in reasonably good health. They walk, they travel, they are active in the community. They are funny and fun to be around and it has been a joy to see them enjoy retirement. But they're definitely getting older. On this last visit, I was struck by how my dad got short of breath on walks. He has been such an avid walker for the last 20+ years that he's known around town for walking. But even a small hill had him puffing. He didn't seem overly winded and didn't stop talking, but it was hard not to notice that change from other walks we've taken in the past. My mom, on the other hand, had a hard time hearing. Again, nothing serious, but if she was in the next room and turned away, I could be talking in full voice and she might not hear me.

While these small issues are just parts of getting older, and no cause for alarm, it reminds me of their mortality. And reminds me that whenever baby arrives, they won't have the same kind of spryness that younger grandparents have. They will love and dote and care about our little person, and they may be able to keep up until he or she is two, but then they'll be just too fast. I teased my mom that I'd have to train our child: "Speak up for grandma, honey!"

My sister and I often say that we got dealt the best parents out there. We are incredibly lucky to have been raised by parents who love us unconditionally, taught us to feel and experience life, and modeled how to give back to others. I know that I'm lucky to have them to lean on, and I hope I can do as well in raising my own children as they did in raising us.

What's the point of this post? I'm not sure. I guess I am sad that that while we feel deprived of parenthood, my own parents are in their own holding pattern, awaiting the arrival of their first grandchild. When Stephen arrived, it was hard to contain my parents' joy. And when he left our lives, the hole was there for all of us. I want to bring that joy back, and I want my parents to have as much time in their lives as possible to experience grandparenthood. Because I know how much I will enjoy seeing them in that role. And because I look forward to a time when we can revel together in what it means to be parents and grandparents. And because they're going to be amazing.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day

How is he? How is she? Is her heart soaring from her first Mother's Day as a mom? Does she celebrate Mother's Day at all, or is that not something that the Thai community here does? Does she ever think about how close she came to deciding not to be a mother to him? Will he ever know? Does she look at him every day and feel grateful that she made this decision? Is she happy? Is he well cared for? Is it more comforting for him to smell the smells of Thai cooking and hear Thai spoken all around him, as he did in her womb? Is he spoiled? Is he healthy? Will he ever know that some white woman about 10 miles away thinks about him and loves him all the time? That she has stopped mourning his loss on the day to day, but that on THIS day, it's impossible not to have an ache in her heart so painful that she can't bring herself to even think of it.

She can only keep on living if she believes that there will be another and this other will be the one that was meant to be. Because if she loses all hope, what will be left of her?