Things Worth Saving

I wish I could say that I have a good relationship with my family. The truth is I just don’t. I can’t have a civilized conversation with my mother for more than 5 minutes, neither of my sisters speak to me, so that leaves 2 brothers. One who talks to me occasionally and the other who doesn’t. My father passed away suddenly 11 years ago.

For years I wished things were different. While I seemed to grasp that logically, emotionally there was still a sad little girl who wishes we aren’t so fractured as a family. My husband has learned that some holidays I tolerate better than others and that  some are altogether un-salvageable. Which 1. Made me think I married a pretty awesome guy and 2. Made me wonder how much my sadness has affected the family I have now. It’s a sobering thought. It made me uncomfortable, because my sadness is my responsibility. If I’ve focused on my sadness, then I’ve not been giving my best to the family I’ve created.

I’ve heard that I need to “live in the moment” or “walk out of your upbringing” and lots of other colloquialisms that seemed trite and never really resonated with me. I mean seriously where is the instruction manual?!

I was in my 30’s before I started cooking regularly, because I thought that cooking for 1 was a waste of my time and cooking for 2 was also a waste of my time.  I outsourced my housework, laundry, dry cleaning, and sometimes cooking, because my time was worth so much more than those menial tasks.

A few months ago, by accident, I realized that I save things “for a special occasion”.  Saved them for a time that’s more important than now, where I will be prettier, thinner, happier, more satisfied. Endless tomorrows that never seem to come.

What I suddenly grasped was that life is ordinary. It’s made up of lots of menial tasks, a million ordinary moments, and a few extraordinary ones. There are no special tomorrows. Yes there will be special times, but I think that the point is to see the beauty in the menial tasks and ordinary moments.

Maybe it’s time to wear that outfit I’ve saved, or to use the crystal or china that’s been sitting in the cupboard for years gathering dust. Maybe it’s time to stop looking at the past, and letting it overwhelm me. Time to realize and accept that I’m never  NOT going to be sad about it. Being sad is a normal reaction to terrible events. It’s time to make peace with it, to realize it’s never going to go away, and for lack of a better term, acknowledge that it walks along with me whether I like it or not. Acceptance.

I don’t like cleaning but I love a clean house. I HATE folding laundry, but I love the smell and feel of fresh sheets, towels and clothes. I’ve learned to enjoy cooking because I like to know what I’m feeding my family. These menial tasks, they have become a huge part of my life.

Ideally you get two chances at parenthood. You get the ones who gave birth to you, and the ones you become in whatever form that takes. My past is sad, but I’m aware that I need to put it aside, stop saving things for a “special occasion”, give my fullest attention to my family, and both work toward and allow myself to hope for a better now.

Welcome to the Circus!

Circus’ are scary, and kind of fun. You eat things you’d never eat on a regular day, feel a little pukey..and there are tons of animals right? Total bonus.

I know, no one really goes to the circus anymore because of cruelty to animals, faulty rides, tents and the weird smells. I’ve been doing the IVF thing for a while now with no success, and the only way I can cope is to point out the unbelievable roller coaster of emotions and utter absurdity of it all.

There are parts of it, that are very tender and caring, that involve a lot of feelings I wasn’t sure I was ever capable of. I’ve read a lot of blogs that are really serious about the process of making a baby and becoming and staying pregnant. Pages and pages of disappointment, desperation and despair. Of feeling unworthy, forgotten by God (or whatever you do or don’t believe in) Women beating themselves up because they are unable to do what so many do so easily.

I have those feelings too, days of self-doubt, “am I too old?” “Why me?” Days where I’ve driven myself round the bend with the “what ifs” and the “what happens when?” Days when I have so many regrets I can barely breathe.

Then the days where I can not believe that this is whats become of my life. The days where I look at where I’ve been and wonder how it is I have made it through this far, without pointing and laughing at the sheer indignity of this process. You see, I am the circus animal in this scenario.

There are so many things people don’t tell you about IVF. So many things you have to learn. A whole new set of acronyms. A new kind of diet, weird things that people say work, that defy logic or good taste, and by “good taste” I mean that taste good. You find yourself eating stuff that 3 months earlier would never have passed your lips. Wheat grass anyone? It’s awesome, it tastes just like lawn clippings. Chinese herbs? No? They taste like licorice and dirt. How about some pineapple core? Not the delicious part of the pineapple. Just the core.

Then there is the lack of pants. Which probably deserves its own post. Oh, and don’t forget to say goodbye to your sanity and dignity. Between the hormones, injections, and results, it will at times leave you. Completely.

Join me will you? Like the gypsy from an old Bruce Springsteen song, I can promise a bumpy ride with no clear outcome.