Fall! I love fall and everything in it! The weather is crisp and beautiful, the leaves change colors and it is sweater weather. I love the smells of fall, especially pumpkin! Pumpkin everything, yes please!
(Not pictured: Pumpkin Beer)
I also make some awesome pumpkin chip cookies. I love fall!
Tal* smiled and said, "You know, whenever you talk about our future kid, you always say him."
"Oh. Really?" It took me by surprise, and I chuckled.
We were talking about our work schedules and the possibility of a new position opening up in my department. I work second shift and that is not so kid friendly. While the new position may get me home slightly earlier, I would lose some of that time with a longer commute. More importantly, the hours are not guaranteed as they may be adjusted based on need and I could end up with the same schedule. Better to stick with the known for now.
But, it is still kind of funny to me that in our conversations about a possible future child that my default is boy. In my mind's eye it flips back and forth between a girl or a boy. Although, what comes tumbling out when I speak is boy. Hmm...
*I'm switching to referring to my hubby as Tal because typing the tilde following T is a bit annoying and old.
This year I made a resolution to not backdate my blog posts. While I have been mostly successful, it has ended up with me posting less. Not sure if it is really getting the result I intended. Whoops! Although, I think it has given me an opportunity to step back and think about my blog space.
Last year I had wedding planning to sprinkle into my rotation of posts. It was nice to take some of the focus away from my past IF experiences or how IF pops up in my life here and there.
Maybe a shift set in motion. This year there have been times where I may feel at a loss for what to write. I have not been as inclined to write about IF, so I guess I have not been writing as much. I've needed my life to be more, which it has. It just may not be well reflected in my blog. I should probably just write more about the everyday or what is current, rather than trying to make that connection to IF specifically. Just write about life as it is.
It was a day to steal away some fun before the last of summer got away. After all of the unpacking, tending to some house projects and hosting visitors in our new home over the last few months, last Sunday was a lazy day for us. T~ and I went to Kings Island.
The summer afternoon was made to explore the park, which was my first time visiting. Sunshine, bluest of blue skies and puffy white clouds greeted us as we crossed the gate. Hand in hand we meandered through the park. We road a couple of the coasters, took in views from the tower and shared a funnel cake. Then before heading out, we ended our visit on the tall swing ride as the sun was starting to set. It was beautiful. My heart felt full and my soul at peace.
T~ and I stopped at a friend's house on the way home and visited for a bit. As we left for the evening, it was the first of the cool nights to lick at our heels as we hopped into the car.
It was good sleeping weather. A heavy sleep under the weight of the blankets long forgotten from the summer's heat was woken by the cool of the next day's morning.
While this summer has been spent unpacking the house, we have also hosted friends and family when they have come to visit. It has been nice to have people over at our house. Quality time with those we care about is important.
I was a little nervous when one of my best friends came to visit with her three kids, who are also my godchildren. They are six, five and three. I wanted them to have fun and enjoy themselves. And I hoped that I would have enough to keep them busy! I'm not a mom, so I was a little worried. Could I hack it for a weekend? Of course my friend was coming and it was not like I'd have them all on my own, but I wanted to do a good job.
Fortunately, our new house is right down the street from a fun little park and splash pad. I was just hoping for good weather. There is also an ice cream shop down the other way. So, that was good for a walk and a treat. Then I looked online for touristy kinds of things and there is a nice children's museum in town. Plus, if we had good weather, there are nature parks with hiking trails that the kids could handle, as I've seen other families there in the past.
I had an outline of big ideas, but wanted to think about the time between, too. Kids have a lot of energy and if they do not have something to do, they will find something. So, T~ and I went shopping for toys. He has young nephews around the same age. We figured buying some toys would be a good investment. We picked out some things for inside and outside play. I tried to get some things that can be gender neutral and a few things that may be a little more gender specific. For example, Legos are great for many kids and for a good range of ages. Lots of kids like to play with kitchen sets, color, use play-doh and play with outdoor toys, like hula hoops and a kickball. But, I also got some superhero action figures with a couple of small vehicles and a princess doll set with a small fold up castle. I tried to stay within a budget and not get too crazy. Another thing we had going for us is that my husband has a good collection of Pixar movies and we have Netflix. Not that we want to rely on TV, but it was likely to rain.
In addition, I worried about what the kids would want to eat. I checked in with my friend and then went grocery shopping. Again, I didn't want to go crazy, but at least have a few options. I just really wanted my friend and her children to feel welcomed. I thought about the times my brother and I would visit family as little kids and tried to pull from those experiences as to what made us feel comfortable and welcomed in someone's home. A little bit can go a long way.
Finally, I was concerned about whether or not I'd have the energy to keep going the whole weekend. I'm pretty used to a quiet house and that is very different than three small children. I hoped I would not feel overwhelmed.
However, the weekend visit went very well! The kids played nicely and had a lot of fun. I got to enjoy quality time with my friend. And I hoped she felt like she may have gotten somewhat of a break with the trip. Her husband has been very busy with work and as a stay-at-home mom, she does a lot of the caregiving.
The kids loved the park and splash pad. We went to the park the first night after dinner. They had a lot of fun going on the swings and teeter totter and climbing equipment. The next morning we went to the splash pad before it had a chance to rain. The day before was better weather for it, but the kids still enjoyed it. They were very silly running around, slashing and filling a bucket of water. Just good old water play and exploring.
We also went to a small, free farm at one of the Metro parks. It ended up being smaller than we thought and it was self-guided. With the possibility of rain, we were the only ones there. I thought it was kind of a bust, but it turns out that the kids got a kick out of it. They talked quite a bit about it the next morning.
They had a blast at the kid's museum, which I'm very glad that T~ came along so that each child could be paired with a grown-up. This gave each child the ability to explore and spend as much time as they liked in the different areas. It flowed well and we generally stayed together, but one or two may have lingered before moving onto the next thing or maybe skipped something that was not as interesting from time to time. We spent quite a bit of time at the museum. It was fun to play along with them, too.
The kids were very cute. My friend said they could not wait to come and visit. She said they were so excited to come to our house. I've been to their house lots of times, but I think this was a fun adventure for them. Snuggles and hugs and happy memories made. I hope my friend comes to visit again, and we'd welcome the kids, too. It was a successful, fun weekend!
It has been about two weeks since we moved into our new house. It is already starting to feel like home.
When we first moved our stuff into the house, we then left for Cleveland for my cousin's wedding. So, we didn't stay in it until after we came back from the trip. T~ walked me across the threshold. Newlywed fun, and a great way to celebrate just over six months of marriage!
I kept fairly mum about the house as I was worried something may not work out. We actually put an offer on another house in February, but we missed it by an hour. There was a contingency offer on that house and the other family sold their house just before we submitted our offer. It was disappointing. However, it all worked out because we really like this house more. The other house was very nice and an easy practical choice, but it was one of four houses we looked at when really starting to look since toeing the waters in the fall. It almost seemed too good to be true.
Our closing was in the beginning of May. You can see a picture here. It took us about six weeks to move into the house because we needed to get some electrical updates. While the kitchen and bathrooms has been updated, the rest of the house only had two pronged outlets. We needed to do a little bit of updating to be able to plug in our TV and computer. Plus, there was no previous washer and dryer, or even electrical outlets for them. We believe the prior owner who lived in the house may have used a hand crank washer or went to the laundromat. Plus, I wanted better lightning for the basement stairs and a light/fan combo for the main bathroom. Not flashy upgrades, but we are excited about them!
However, with the delay in our move, it gave us time to take advantage of some nice sales. We bought a new washer and dryer. It is crazy the amount of technology has changed washers and dryers since the last time I went shopping for them. Leaps and bounds! Whenever I turn them on, I feel like I am in the future. We also bought a new couch and got a really good deal on it. Unfortunately, the old couch does not fit in the basement, so we will have to sell it. Then, we got some awesome super sales on two rugs. One is for our bedroom and one is for the guestroom. We have hardwood floors throughout, which we really like.
Still plenty of packing, but it is coming together slowly. We are happy to be in our new home!
As my hubby and I were finishing dinner, he offered to clean up the dishes, which I appreciated. He is a kind man and always willing to help out around the house. Sometimes he spoils me.
His nephew's birthday was the next day and the present still needed wrapped. So, I thought I'd help and pick out some wrapping paper and wrap it. I went to the closet in the guest bedroom in our apartment. As I was considering the options, I came across a roll I had not seen before that had obviously been used.
It sucked my breath away. And I called out and asked, "What was this pink, flowery roll from?" T~ responded from the kitchen with a vague, "I don't know." My eyes became tearful and my heart sank with my thoughts starting to run all over the place. I commented that I hadn't seen it before and I wondered what it had been used for. He said in a puzzled voice that he didn't know, but then quickly followed that it must have been for his mom and recalled buying her something recently.
I took a breath and felt terrible for the ugly mess of thoughts coming to mind. The wrapping paper was a trigger, unbeknownst to me, reminding me of my past spouse's infidelity. I did not want those thoughts and it upset me to feel those ghostly feelings. It also surprised me, as those distant thoughts seemed dormant, but quickly and sharply came to the surface.
T~ had recognized the change in my tone and came to check on me from the kitchen. At this time I was trying to regroup myself and shake off the old hurt. He hugged me and asked what was wrong as he held me. I shrugged and did not want to talk about it. He asked if it had something to do with my ex-husband, and I nodded. He asked if I wanted to talk about it, and I shook my head no. T~ said he was sorry to see that I was reminded of him and the hurt he caused. And I said thank you.
T~ held me for a moment and I felt better, and secure in our relationship. I am thankful for T~'s patience, compassion and understanding. He did not make me feel less or like I was questioning him. He acknowledged my pain and we moved on, with the rest of the evening quite pleasant and normal.
After the divorce, I had a conversation with a friend who had gone through divorce herself. I felt broken and wondered who would want to be with me having been divorced. My past felt so big and heavy. I didn't know what to do with it. Fourteen years was too much to ignore, but it was not something I wanted to discuss with a romantic partner either. Carli told me that I did not have to hide my past and that one day I would find a man who would love me, all of me, and that he would be able handle my past--not that it would be the focus, but he would understand and not be afraid of it. After thinking about my single days and dating and with my relationship with T~, she was right. And I am happy to say that person by my side is T~.
Before I started my blog, I found support for IF through a Baby Center forum group. Each of the ladies that I met there has been successful in expanding their families, which I am sincerely happy for them. Several of the ladies have even been fortunate to have more than one child. Overtime as families started to grow, people transitioned away from the forum. But, many have maintained a connection through Facebook. It brings me joy to see them happy with their children. They glow in their love for their children and families. You can tell from their posts that they are very grateful and do not take for granted their blessings. Life carries on and life brings challenges, but they handle it with strength and grace.
However, with being in different places in our lives, there has grown some distance. It is natural to happen. It is the ebb and flow of time and where we are in life. But, it can be very lonely being the last of the group without a child. When the last person had their baby a few years ago, I felt very sad and even jealous and angry at times. I didn't write about it then because I did not feel like openly having a pitty party for me. There may have been an entry that had a sentence or two that referenced it. I edited it out because I did not want to hurt anyone's feelings or push them away. But, the distance continued to expand either way. I'm sure there are many reasons. Sometimes people just have to move on to do their healing from IF. Priorities obviously and rightfully shift. There is more common ground with those who are also in the life stage of raising children.
As much as I don't want it to, it hurts. Sometimes it is more and sometimes it is less. More often than not, it is less now, but it has taken time. Then I wonder, when will be the day when everyone is done growing their families? Will I still be without a child? Has that day already come to pass? That will not really be known for quite sometime. It will just silently happen and only to be determined by looking back to see when it was.
At least I feel like I am in a better place of acceptance now than when I first realized I was the last of the group without child. And I have found other blogs to read, some parenting after IF, some trying to grow their families and some that are childfree. Always new people to meet along the way. Just not sure which way it will be for me.
Four years ago, I wrote an entry about my friend, Dianne. She was the first person, outside of my previous spouse, that I confided in about IF. I had been suffering in silence for about a year when she opened up and shared her story, and it allowed me to tell the beginning of mine. She also guided me to where I could seek support from a community online, which I am forever grateful.
At the time of when I wrote the first post, my intention was to write two parts. The first part was in thanking Diane for all of her support through some very rough spots and transitions in my life. The second part was to be a celebration, which it still is. However, there are many more lessons I have learned from my friend that deserves recognition.
So, before there is part two, there should really be a part one and a half because it is often the journey and not the destination that has the rich stuff in life.
When I met Diane, she and her husband had been trying to have a child for quite some time through a variety of ways. However, they were on a break, and one that seemed to be considering if they had hit their limit. To someone who was new to this whole IF journey, and had just felt so much comfort from our mutual disclosures, it was a bit jarring. There were feelings of relief, sadness and hope that were suddenly tapped by meeting someone who had been there and really got it. It was quickly followed by feelings of confusion, fear and loneliness. How could I be learning about all of this stuff and now you all are going to stop trying? I just learned about your journey and it could be the end, without a baby?
Fortunately, unfortunately, I had an aunt and uncle whom struggled to have a child of their own and I had learned as a young preteen that each couple makes the best decisions for themselves and it is to be respected. While other couples may choose various, alternate paths to creating a family, it does not mean that every couple tries everything or for a defined amount of attempts. Every couple has their limits, which only they can know. I kept quiet. But on the inside was cheering for them, as one may tend to do at the beginning of their IF ride.
But, Diane taught me the value of stopping, whether by choice or not. It is important not to loose yourself. Take time to invest in you. Center yourself. Be kind to yourself. Love yourself. If you get a little lost, get off the roller coaster and rediscover yourself because you need the best you. When you are the best you, you will have more to give. You are special, worthy and strong. Remember, you deserve to be happy, regardless of the outcome. Be more than, always be more than.
Time passed, and Diane and her hubby decided to try and grow their family one more time. Then, part two...
Diane called with fantastic news! They were matched and were going to adopt a baby boy! Joy upon joy!!
And that was just a few months before Mother's Day four years ago. I was thrilled for my friend. She seemed to be in a place in her life that was not distracted in desperation (my feelings at the time if I was in her position, not her feelings necessarily), but a tempered hope to try one more time while living her life as it was. I believe it helped her to be more present in her joy of that moment. It was beautiful to see Diane and her husband welcome this adorable little child into their home.
This I would have shared four years ago, but time slipped by and it felt too much time had passed. Plus, I realized that while Diane and her husband adopted the little guy, it would take time through the legal system to make it fully official. So, I did not want to jinx it and justified that I could wait until his official day in court. Unfortunately, that took much longer than expected by no fault of their own. But, that day came and I was so very happy for all of them.
So, more time had passed and I told myself, next year. And this post sat in my head. But honestly, it allowed me to learn a few more things from my friend, Diane.
Diane is a wonderful example of a mother who loves her child deeply. She is an awesome mother. It is an honor that she shares this special person and their moments together with family and friends, and that I get to see him grow up in pictures and in person. Diane and her husband are truly grateful in their blessing of their special little guy and it shows through in their pictures and stories and how they interact with him. They are realistic, too. He is a kid and kids do all kinds of stuff that we love and that drives us crazy and love some more.
Diane also seems to strike that balance of not over sharing and keeping some things just for themselves when it comes to online media. She is also mindful of others, especially those who have lost children or who are hoping to have a child one day. And Diane is not alone, as I have other friends that I have met through the IF community that do so, as well.
But, I think the other thing I learned from Diane and other mothers after IF is that "getting your happy ending" does not equate to making everything else better with no more worries. Life carries onward. And with it, there are health issues, bills, caring for the sick, disappointments, job loss, house repairs, death of a loved one, rationships to nurture, moving homes, career transitions, going back to school, loss of a pet, difficult decisions and so much more. It can be easy to get lost in the idea of an idealized, imagined life. It is important not to forget why you wanted to be a parent and to welcome a child into your family for the right reasons.
So, again, it is the journey that teaches. Sometime it is the journey that follows a moment in time, too. Thank you, Diane! Thank you to the other ladies that I met through this online community! You all have taught me so much. And in your words, Diane, ...Happy Mothering Day!