SHOCKER!

I know this will be a huge shock to most of you but, er.. patience is not one of my virtues.

The fear that comes with not having the outcomes of regular cycles can be trying. To say the least. The anxiety and uncertainty that comes with them can be as overwhelming as a wave that threatens to pull you out to sea and almost as powerful.

Add to it your regular life, work, family issues, illnesses, petty arguments between family members and its easy for your mind to go to dark places. Where your fears take you through every possible worst case scenario.

Having just come through one of those months, with a practically miraculous outcome, what I can say that I’ve learned; is that there is a certain kind of patience that you need to stop yourself from completely doing your own head in. The hard part is not giving in to the nagging worries, the impatience and the fear of failure when things don’t go the way everyone  you expect.

I remember seeing a movie once about a couple adopting a baby from a young teenage girl, and the girl asking “How do you make relationships last a long time? The answer was definitive and while I can’t remember the name of the movie I remember it was Glenn Close and she said “Only one of you gets to be crazy at a time”

Welcome to my life. I am, as it is pointedly clear, the crazy one. My husband is the nice one. The one that quietly endures my crying, the mood swings the random hostility about how come I am the broken one and the one who holds it all together when I am literally flying into pieces.

There is something to be said for having a man like this. Mainly that while I don’t always get what I want, usually, he decipher what I need. And I love him for that. For letting me take this time to be crazy for going like gangbusters with whatever I want, if its to quit or keep going. He’s there.

I’ve said before that the list of my apologies after this process will be long and involved and may actually take years. Literally.

Maira, Molly, Julie, and Dr Yelian. Thank you for keeping on when I’ve been awful. Thank you for pushing me toward success even when I didn’t think it would be possible. And no I don’t expect every month to be like this one, this one came at a time when I really needed it.

Thank you for your incredible patience with me.

Apricots

Apricots have nothing to do with fertility but I’m in the lull between one cycle and the next so I’m going to make preserves. Who makes preserves anymore?

I do. Damn good ones I might add.

I have a secret. Mine contains about 70% less sugar than the ones you buy in the store. Why? Because if you add sugar, and wait, osmosis draws out the natural sugars from the fruit and you wind up with preserves that actually taste like fruit, preserves that hold their integrity, and don’t go bad any sooner than any other jams, jellies or preserves.

If you skim the extra syrup off the top when the preserves are boiling and put it in jars, you have syrup as well. For pancakes or crepes or french toast. The preserves can also be used in cookies, so throughout the year, when I’m baking I use preserves from my kitchen, and something about it makes me happy. Because I like to know what I’m feeding my family.

Apricots smell like summer to me. They look like tiny butts, and have that rosy blush on them. I love their colors, and I love how they look when they are all lovely and orange and golden in the jars when I’m finished. Like the summer sun.

There was a post recently that got a lot of responses, about birthdays. And the idea of being an “old” mother. That they were the child of older parents and because of that, grew up embarrassed of their parents. A lot of people commented, apparently its a fear a lot of women in their 30’s have.

I never wanted to be an “old” mom. If I am honest, the post and the comments really hurt my feelings. Because clearly lots of women in their 30’s blog about infertility, and so there are a whole group of you who support each other. Which is fantastic. But it made me feel isolated in my wish for a child because I am over 40. My own mother was 37 when she had me. She had my younger brother at 39. As a kid yes, there were times that my parents embarrassed me. But I’m sure it wasn’t because they were old, it was because I was a kid and parents are embarrassing when you’re trying to become more independent, especially in front of your friends.

My parents were born in 1935. They were depression era parents, meaning that they were born during the depression, remembered going without, so wasting food was not ok. I had 3 older brothers and sisters, so I never had a pair of shoes someone else hadn’t worn until I was 13. I had to share a room with at least one of my sisters until I was 14, because there were so many of us, and we varied in ages by a lot. My oldest sister is 13 years older than my youngest brother.

Every summer, my mother would take a few weeks and “put up fruit and vegetables” I learned how to “can” from her. I remember when she would do blackberries, and blueberries, the entire kitchen would be purple. She also did beans, tomatoes, strawberries, cherries, peaches and apricots. The mess used to drive me crazy, we didnt have a dishwasher. Plus its really hot work.

I don’t do all that. I do a little, and mostly I do it because it reminds me of good times with my mom. Because people like them, and I like to give them away.

I’ve had a bad week. In fact the last few months have been really, really hard. I try hard to keep busy, making things, doing something constructive. My embarrassing, old parents taught me that the best way to keep yourself out of trouble when things are bad is to keep your hands busy. To not allow your mind to be idle. To make an intention and toil toward the future.

Maybe its better to be young parent. Maybe. Or maybe the world would be a better place if we stopped judging ourselves and others by their age without knowing their circumstances. Did any of you love your parents less because of their age?

Somehow I’m betting the answer is no.

Unmarked

I have tattoos.

3, in mostly places you can’t see but I know they are there. I got them in the 90’s, when I was really coming into my adulthood. At the time, I thought it was important that I marked these major events in my life. Permanently.

The first one was an act of rebellion in a marriage where I felt like I couldn’t breathe. Where his violence, alcoholism and judgment, that is to say, him judging me to not be smart enough, well read enough, educated enough, pretty enough or good enough consumed me.

The second represented my divorce, and the forced independence I tried to face alone. I was so scared. It marked forever, the ending of my naivety, my blind faith, and of my trust in, there are so many words I could put here, but lets just leave it at people.

The third was about me finding myself, my voice, my path in life. Which at 27 I still hadn’t found. Looking back, I have to smile at my arrogance. I had no idea where I was going or who I wanted to grow up to be.

All these years later, I don’t think about them much, except to think that I’d be happier if they weren’t there. I wonder, if they weren’t there, that the painful memories of these events would have quietly slipped into the recesses of my mind.

At some point, after the third tattoo I realized that I have enough scars. Some you can see and some you can’t, but that I didn’t need to mark events of my life on my body. In my early 30’s I started to have them removed. But the process was so blisteringly painful that I stopped. You can remove them, but not cleanly, and not without more scarring.

Given the opportunity to do it again, I wouldn’t. I don’t regret them exactly but I’d prefer to be unmarked. The scars on the inside can be hidden, the ones on the outside, especially ones you gave yourself, can’t be. I’d prefer to go through the remainder of my life with a clean slate, a clean skin.

But that will probably never be.

I want to state for the record that I hate the word “step daughter/son”. It offends me. But I use it because my stepdaughter has 2 functional and loving parents. I am not one of them. I am secondary. I do not discipline, I do not judge. That is her parents job. I get to be the “aunt” she has fun with, who taught her to use chopsticks, to ride a bike, who plans birthday parties with her. I get to be the one who taught her to drive. Who helps her with her iTouch, who suggests songs and apps she might like.

I don’t count as much. I step aside a lot so her mother doesn’t feel like she has to share or is trod upon. I do my best to never make my stepdaughter feel like she has to choose. Because I know her loyalty lies with her mother. I understand that, it’s as it should be. This child never asked for the chaos of divorce. So it’s all of our jobs as parents to make sure she isn’t raised in chaos.

Should I ever be lucky enough to have my own child, I want him or her to grow up like my stepdaughter has. She is confident, smart, clever, optimistic, secure in the knowledge that she has a family and extended family that love her, she knows she will be well looked after, that she’s pretty, she is poised and graceful and kind. She loves animals, and school, plays the piano and looks forward to college.

J.K. Rowlings said “I’ve got two daughters who will have to make their way in this skinny-obsessed world, and it worries me, because I don’t want them to be empty-headed, self-obsessed, emaciated clones; I’d rather they were independent, interesting, idealistic, kind, opinionated, original, funny – a thousand things, before ‘thin’. And frankly, I’d rather they didn’t give a gust of stinking chihuahua flatulence whether the woman standing next to them has fleshier knees than they do. Let my girls be Hermiones, rather than Pansy Parkinsons. Let them never be Stupid Girls.”

Boy or girl, let them grow up as unmarked as possible.