Sunday, March 20, 2011

Feeling Something in the Air

March is a difficult month for me. I wrote about it last year in my post, March Madness. Even though I feel like I have done a lot to process those events and feelings, there is still a trace that is felt now. I have found myself to be quite emotional for the past few weeks. There are times when I can barely hold back the tears that seem to come from somewhere deep within me--a great and overwhelming sadness. When I stepped outside on Friday, there was something in the air, the wind and the sunshine that took me to that place again in a snap. But the sadness that I felt was somehow different. It was like in layers, some distant and some newly surfacing. The welled up feelings seemed to suddenly fall into place and crystallize in one moment, in one breath. As I am moving beyond my past relationship and my past life, it is the loss of motherhood that haunts me.

A few weeks ago, I was volunteering at the hospital and visiting with children who needed a little extra company. As I reached into the crib to pick up the infant, the blanket slipped a bit and I saw the stripped print of his sleeper. He was wearing the same sleeper that I had purchased for the babies I had once hoped to adopt with my ex. The same sleeper that still sits in a drawer in one of my nightstands.

Of course I was sad and I gave pause in that moment. But I also tried to push aside my feelings so that I wouldn't completely fall apart while sitting in the hospital with this child. I rocked him and sang songs to him.

After I left, I wondered what my baby would have looked like, would have felt like in that sleeper. And then I realized that if my ex and I had been able to adopt those twins from Utah, they would have turned two-years-old this month. I could be the mother of two-year-old twins right now. What would we have already experienced together? What moments would I have treasured? What would we be doing right now? I pictured taking them outside and going to a park, going to the grocery store or holding their little hands. And it all just makes me so sad. The chance of motherhood seeming to have slipped past me.

And has it really been two years? That feels so long and far away. And then I feel like it is pitiful that I still have the sleepers. I have felt ready to pass them along for a while, or at least that is what I have told myself. I no longer feel like giving them away means giving away the dream of motherhood, either, which is good. I just haven't found a place that seems good enough to give away something so significant to me. I can't tell you how many times I have driven past the Good Will store or shook my head as I passed a donation drop off box. But, my most recent thoughts on the sleepers have been to maybe donate them to the hospital. I don't know, maybe.

It is time. I have held onto the sleepers for too long and I don't want to feel like they are holding me back. Before I do, I think I will write a letter. I need to have my good-bye and I think it will be good to write about what they had meant to me.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Double the Fun!

Just for sh*ts 'n giggles I feel like I should enlighten anyone who comes across my blog. Given than I am both Finnish and Irish (and German and Slovak) , I have two special days! And I feel pretty special to have them both.

March 16th -- St. Urho's Day

March 17th -- St. Patrick's Day

If you are wondering what the heck is up with St. Urho's Day, see the link above. I have a friend who likes to give me crap that St. Urho's ledgend is a rip off of St. Patrick's story. But then again, Finns get to celebrate first and I get to celebrate twice!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Not Quite There Yet

As of late, my mind has been wondering about my future. I think I might be getting a little ahead of myself in my worries about where I want to focus my job search once I graduate. I feel this pressure like I need to decide where I want to settle and make roots. But I am realizing that I think it is more important to have grounding in myself and to take my roots with me in where ever that might be. I want my life to be open to the possibility of having a family with someone I love. My heart aches to be a mother. But I know that is not on the map for me at this point in my life. I feel I need to first get my career in order and to establish a self-sustaining independence. And I don't want to just find anyone in order to just have a family. I need to remind myself that I want a loving and respectful partner to share in the adventure of life.

I am scared about the possibility of moving away from RJ when I am done with my studies. I wonder if RJ thinks about me as being part of his future? I wonder if he feels pressure in the direction of our relationship? I know I am feeling pressure and I feel like it is affecting my ability to be genuine and present when I am with RJ sometimes. Other times I feel like we are just in the flow, like the night that we spontaneously worked on a puzzle quiz together. I find myself questioning the fit of our relationship and if the out of sync feeling is a result of me being a graduate student and going to Columbus or if it is us. I feel like there is some distancing. Is this because RJ's feelings have changed for me? Or is it in my head and I could actually be the one who is giving him mixed messages and distancing myself from him? Then the layer of feeling sad about motherhood complicates things for me and I have to separate that from my relationship with RJ at the moment.

I talked to my therapist about my sadness surrounding not being a mother. He said it takes some getting used to not being married and time to let go of some of the things that may come with marriage. I am experiencing grief. And it has recently been brought on because I am having difficulty with the fact that three of my closest friends from growing up are all pregnant. One is a first time mother-to-be and one is expecting her second and one is expecting her third. I am being lapped on multiple levels and I don't want to feel ugly about it. I feel guilty about how to be there for them without feeling hurt.

Then I was babysitting for some friends of mine this week. It was such a sweet day with their two kids and I loved every moment. It wasn't until later that evening that I felt the bittersweet sadness. I realized the meaning of that twinge earlier in the afternoon as I was buckling one of the kids into his car seat. All of what I did with the kids was so simple, but I loved it and it felt so natural. We colored pictures, watched the mail truck drop off the mail, and took the dog outside. Our time outside with the dog could be an entire post because of all of life and silliness in it. Their favorite part of the day was helping to clean up poop. The snow finally melted and the yard needed some extra cleaning up. And because the house sits on a hill, the poop gets flung into the wooded valley. Leave it to my teacher ways to even use the experience in a teachable moment about what it means to stand down wind as one of the kids said how stinky it was to stand to the right of me with the shovel. And even with the sadness, I am still thankful to have had that experience.

My mind knows that I am not in a position to be a mother right now--financially or relationally. I know I am young and it is still a possibility. But it is my heart that feels so sad. I just want others to hear that and accept that--period. I want acknowledgement, not a solution or pep talk. And I need to remind myself to be patient and to do one thing at a time. I need to refocus on the now. I am a graduate student and a single woman in a dating relationship. And I do and I don't want to talk to RJ. I don't want to hold back in a way that would be detrimental to the relationship and I don't want us to talk all of the time. I think I am just going to have to go with the moment and see how it unfolds.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Columbus Bound

So it has been a little busy for me since my last post. And I kind of wanted to wait to share once everything was really in place and confirmed. But, yep--I'm going to Columbus for the summer! I feel really good about the program because they were really excited about me and I felt really excited about them, too.

Pittsburgh did make an offer and I felt honored. Before finalizing my choice, I talked to one more person on the staff. My main concern with passing up the internship in Pittsburgh would maybe hurt my chances of getting a job in their hospital once I have graduated. It made me feel better about my decision to go to Columbus because they understood the benefits of going to another hospital in developing my career. And it can help me in looking for a job in Pittsburgh when I am done because I will have something to bring back with some fresh ideas. It is a risk, but one worth taking.

On a personal note, it is important to me to go to Columbus because I want to be able to open up as many opportunities for myself once I am done with my graduate studies. About two years ago, when I really started my journey with pursuing my master's, I had no intention of staying in Pittsburgh. I wanted to tie up the loose ends of my divorce, get my degree and get out of this town. I lost half of my life with the divorce--half of the people I considered to be family-- grounding in familiar places with what had once been happy memories--my home--my hopes and dreams--my identity. Granted I had a few friends, but they are married and you can only be some one's third wheel for so long.

Then as I started going back to school, I decided I needed to put myself out there. I needed to be around people and I needed to be active and to feel alive again. Instead of waiting to finish my degree to restart my life, I chose to live in the moment right then and there. I felt free and wanted to make every moment count. It was scary, but also thrilling. And so I got to experience a whole different side of Pittsburgh. It was like I rediscovered the city and made it new all over again, just for me.

I am more involved and more connected. I have been able to share in the happy moments of rebuilding my life with my old friends and I have made new friends. I am thankful for these friendship because of the support I have felt from all of these very special people who have come into my life. And one of those special people is RJ.

But I want my decision to stay in Pittsburgh to be just that--my decision. By going to Columbus it will let me take a step outside of Pittsburgh and to experience another city. I will be able to test out how it might feel to move somewhere else and to start anew. It will give me a better perspective on how I really feel about Pittsburgh. I don't want to stay because I don't feel like moving my crap or because it is easy. I don't want to feel any regret or resentment about staying in Pittsburgh. It can't just be about a guy or because this is where I got stuck as a result of my divorce.

I hope that all will work out in the end. I am feeling a lot of pressure like I have to make a choice and that somehow it feels permanent. But I think I need to allow myself to be more fluid. And when I do get my first job after I graduate, that I should remember that this doesn't have to be the job I stay at for the rest of my life. If it doesn't work out, I can always change. I just have so many dreams I wish to happen and I am afraid of loosing more time.