Friday, July 8, 2016

Settling In

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!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Triggers, Not Just For IF

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~.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Elephant in the Room

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.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Mother's Day Tribute, Part 2 and Part 3

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.

Part three...

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!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Home Sweet Home

We bought a house!  We are so very excited!  It is just the right house for us.  It has charm, it is a bit quirky and it is just the right size.  Can't wait to make this our home!


Friday, April 22, 2016

Good Intentions

Easter came early this year.  But in leading up to Lent, I was researching churches in my area to figure out which one I'd like to call my spiritual home.  Bummer that I could not find any with a Sunday evening mass, as I am a fan of sleeping in on the weekends.  It is also seems like a good way to end the day at the start of the week.  It takes a little bit of that Sunday dread away, a remnant from my life from teaching (Yes, teachers can have that same sinking feeling as students as the weekend comes to an end and early Monday morning is waiting.).  I scoured the Internet and FB to glean the vibe of the church and if I would fit into its community.  Then I saved the mass schedules and addresses of the churches on the short list.  My plan was to try them out.  T~ has been supportive in saying that he will attend with me, despite us having different faiths.

Just before Lent was kicking into gear, we got up one Sunday morning and went to church.  The building was a bit more modern for my taste and the priest seemed a little full of himself and a little showy.  However, I liked the vibe of the people who attended the church.  They seemed friendly and kind and it had a welcoming family feel.

But at a second glance, I realized just how many families were present and it felt like a really high ratio.  Granted this was a mass that offered Sunday school, but it still felt like a lot.  I started to feel uncomfortable and sad.  It made me realize how differently I had once imagined my life.  I pictured it with children, which would include taking them to church.  Surrounded by children and families made my heart ache.  Yes, maybe T~ and I may one day have a child.  But, it will likely be one...maybe, maybe two.  But it will not be the brood I had once imagined.  It will not be the same.

And I felt that twinge of one day having a large family die.

How I longed for a simple life and not one with all of these complications postponing these dreams of a family of my own.  How so many take it for granted that it all seems to fall into place.  Why has it worked for them and not for me?  How very far away it all feels to me as more and more people my age have finished building their families.  They are in the thick of it, the exhausting thick of it, and I feel like I am missing out.  I continue to be the outsider looking in and missing the dream that will never be.

I feel small for having these feelings.  I am tired of the heartache.  I am over the reminders of what I don't have.  It is especially difficult when I am trying so hard to be strong, to be grateful and to dream new dreams.

So, unfortunately, I have not returned to church.  I have avoided it.  It is hard to be in a place to renew your soul while it is being crushed.  I feel guilty.  I have to stop feeling sorry for myself, refocus on the positive.  It is hard to let go of a dream.

But, maybe it is time to try again.  Maybe I will try a different church this time.  Maybe I'll try a time that does not include the children's mass.

The other big hurdle is going to be getting our marriage validated by the church.  That is a whole other blob of judgment and possible rejection waiting for me.  Ugh.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Good Quote

"Occasionally, weep deeply over the life you hoped would be.  Grieve the losses.  Then wash your face.  Trust God.  And embrace the life you have."--John Piper

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Hindsight

Today, I felt happy because it was spring.

But last week, I felt guilty.  I felt guilty because I wasn't sure if I deserve to miss you both.  It was a long shot.  And honestly, your existence should not have been mentioned.  There were too many other steps to get in the propper place.  I feel embarrassed about that and somewhat angry and manipulated.  Hindsight.  Perhaps, you are not mine to miss.  But, the heart is not rational and it will feel what it will feel. You would have been seven.

It is spring, a time to turn the page and leave the sadness in the past.  It is a time to start fresh and look forward.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

In-Person Parent Time

There is a guy, Tim Urban, who writes a blog called Wait But Why.  The topics of the posts can be a bit all over the place, but many are an interesting read.  Sometimes when he kind of gets more introspective, I kind of feel like he is walking around in my head.  Yes, I think and worry about those things, too!

One thing that I probably spend too much time worrying about is having the opportunity to spend time with my parents.  Some of it probably has to do with experiencing several significant deaths at an early age.  Some of it likely has to do with IF as it brings an awareness of the fragility of our being.  And with currently being childless, I don't have kids to distract me from thinking about these particular big life thoughts.  It is not to say people with children are not deep thinkers or share similar thoughts, I just have more time to dwell on them.  Finally, some of it may be because I'm a sensitive, old soul who enjoys deep meaningful relationships and favors quality over quantity.  Parents are pretty significant people in our lives.  It freaks me out to acknowledge that my time with them is limited.

Some may dismiss my worries because they say we are all getting older and it is life that we will not have our parents forever.  True.  But does it not bother you?

Tim Urban does a very nice job of quantifying this concern of mine.  In fact, he has a mathematical, pictorial representation.  He also discusses in-person parent time.  You can read his blog here.

As I was reading his blog, I vacillated between excited appreciation and increasing fear.  It was a relief to read that someone else thinks about this kind of stuff while trying not to rev up feelings of anxiety.  He gets close to the edge of the runaway train effect.  However, he closes on an important message.  Proximity, priorities and quality matter.

I am thankful to have moved back to Ohio.  I feel a bit more at ease than when I lived in other places.  It feels very good after visiting them this past weekend just because I had the time.  Big fan of unstructured time.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Twinsters

It is winter.  So, it is the perfect time of year to cozy up on the couch and peruse the Netflix cue or watch the things you have put on your list.  As soon as I saw the movie, Twinsters, I knew I wanted to watch it.  It is about two young women who find out about each other through happen stance on the internet.  They remarkably look alike and find out that they were born on the same day and had been adopted from Korea.  Their story unfolds as they get to know each other through Facebook, Skype and texting until they finally meet in person.

I thoroughly enjoyed the movie.  It was fun to watch the excitement as they were just learning about each other and taking steps to get to know each other more and more.  It is amazing how technology allows us to connect and get to know other people so intimately, especially when they are so far away.  In some ways it reminds me of the IF community, how strangers can become friends.  I had the opportunity to meet some of the women I met through an online group for IF support.  Watching the movie reminded me of the giddiness and excitement of meeting my IF sisters.  It was life changing, as it was for the twins in the movie (but much more likely life changing for the twins).

The movie was also very interesting because it is about adoption.  Without wanting to spoil the movie, I appreciated how it told the story of how each adoption story is different.  While these women are twins and their lives have paralleled experiences, there are also distinct differences, too.  It is beautiful how the sisters are intuitive, sensitive and thoughtful of each other as they share their past, build their relationship in the present and begin to navigate how they want to share their future.

Then, how T~ and I have loosely talked about adoption, I found the movie interesting in what it brings up in terms of the thoughts, worries, frustrations, blessings and world of an adoptee.  Food for thought.  Plus, I've always had some kind of gut feeling that maybe if I were to be a mom it would be to twins.  I don't know why.  Maybe it is a wish or a hope, but I feel there is some kind of connection, but not sure what exactly.

It is a very good story.  I definitely recommend it.

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