Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Light Sketch

My mind is playfully dancing around the conversation T~ and I had just before bed last night.  It just kind of floated out there, all innocent like.  My heart is happy and I am in wonder in how simple and natural and easy the conversation started and flowed.  I'm not even really sure exactly when it started, it just happened and was.

T~ and I talked about moving in together.

We have talked in broad terms about our feelings and thoughts about marriage, children and things that bring us fulfillment.  We have talked about wanting to find a partner and share a life with someone special.

This conversation was a dreaming kind of chat or a light sketch about us.  No big or hard details, just feeling it out.  But, the words were said that he wants to share a home with me and I want to share a home with him.  It is all still early, but it was a real conversation with him.

And there is also something important that I've noticed about being with T~ in the last month or so.  I feel calm and confident about our relationship.  There isn't so much worry in trying to guess what he is thinking.  I just ask him and he says it.  There is a mutual transparency in our relationship.  Part of this has been me learning to be more bold and part of it is him.  And the times that we have spent apart, like being out of town visiting family, I have missed him, but I have felt at ease.  In my past relationships I may have felt twisted up, stressed and scared.  However, with T~, I feel secure-- secure in myself, in him and us when we are together and apart from one another.  Again, it is from my own growing, but it is also him.  I feel blessed to be with T~.

Monday, December 30, 2013

MRI Falling Apart?

"Getting old is hell, sweetheart."--Uncle Carl

That's what my great uncle would often say.  It was usually followed by a soft, knowing chuckle with a bit of honesty and humor.  But, he was always quick to point out that for which he was thankful, too.  It became harder over the years as he outlived so many in his lifetime.  However, my mind prefers to linger on the more resilient moments when Uncle Carl spoke those words.

Ugh.  Followed by meh.

The saga that is my shoulder injury from September continues.  Long story with an eventual MRI/MRA and plenty of deserved griping, but I'll skip all of that.  Good news is that I did not tear it nor have micro tears.  So, that means no surgery and a few weeks of physical therapy.  The bad news is that I have arthritis.  What?  How is that?  Well, apparently it has always been there but kind of quiet.  As the physician assistant put it, the injury awoken the bear.


Now that makes me feel old(er).  I am not exactly thrilled by this news.  He felt that the physical therapy should bring back range of motion and be mostly pain free.  He also did not seem too concerned about long-term treatment or who I should see next.  Seemed more like welcome to getting old(er).

I don't know how I feel about all of this, but it seems I'm fairly young to have this health issue.  I guess it will be more for me to look into for 2014.  I just want to be healthy and injury free for more than six months.  I am tired of feeling like my body is falling apart.  I'm certain there are worse things, but I'm concerned about the long-term effects and how to care for myself now so that I'm in better shape down the road, or less worse shape.  This is not helping the whole being healthy and young enough to have a baby.

But, the physician assistant said that after the physical therapy that I can take up running and yoga again, at least for a little while.  I am definitely going to be hoping for improved health in the coming year.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Betweens

My blog is in a state of flux.  Sometimes I question if I have more to write, but then a post comes to mind and it goes on the page.  It sometimes feels like a trickle.  It is not so much that I am dealing with immediate IF issues.  I have used this space to process and grieve what once was my battle with IF.  Now it feels like I am grappling with the left over reverberation, such as how this has all impacted my parents and family.  They have been marked and hurt by the process and sometimes hurt for me in what could have been.  It is sometimes unspoken and more with a knowing sigh or glance.  Pandora's box has been opened and there is no going back to how it was before IF invaded our lives.  It has left a hole and there is no undoing of that want and dream of a child my own.  That chapter in my life has closed and the loss is still felt.

But, there are new chapters yet to be written and a child could still be a possibility.  There is a chance that a new dream of a new child could be born.  However, until that time, I am in a space of in between where I must find a way to live in the present.

And it is in this space of in between that I am trying to find peace and happiness and freedom.

So, where do I look for support?  It is a really, really small niche in the IF community.  As of yet, I have only really found two other blogs where a person was once married and dealing with IF and got divorced and were still of an age to be able to conceive a child potentially.  One stopped her blog shortly thereafter and the other remarried, but then her life quickly took a turn as she faced breast cancer.  This second blog has been very validating for me in a retrospective kind of way before the writer learned of her illness.  And she continues to be inspiring in framing what is most important in life.  Her situation made her have to get off the IF roller coaster.  Then how she documented her journey put things in a different perspective.  Her blog also helped me through my mom's treatments for breast cancer as the blogger was a few steps ahead of my mom in her treatments and it kind of prepared me for what was next.  lt helped me to focus on my current blessings and helped me find clarity in prioritizing what I want in my life.

So, I continue to look for ways to help me deal with the current childlessness in my life because if I do not, I may get stuck in my sadness and grief.  I need to find a way to live my life now and be happy.  The places I find myself more so lately are the blogs of those living childfree.  Perhaps there is something for me to learn from them to help me manage during this chapter in my life.  It is not that I am giving up hope on having a child, just trying to find a way to peaceably live until it may be time to dream that dream.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

November Guys

Another picture text came my way from my Mom and it was bitter sweet.  I know it is my family's way of including me, especially living further away and not getting to be part of family gatherings.  And I hate to admit it and it is one reason why it has taken me so long to write about it.  It stings and hurts on multiple levels.  I wish it wasn't so.  I really do.  I think I was trying not to let it bother me.  But the harder I try, the more it creeps back and hurts more.

One of my godsons celebrated his birthday in November.  It is also the same month of my Dad's birthday.  Little J~ is a guy's guy and loves being around his male relatives.  My mom gets a kick out of how much he enjoys my dad and buddies up with him.  In the picture, Little J~ was sitting on my Dad's lap playing an arcade game at Chuck E. Cheese.  My first thought was, how sweet.  Which, I guess is an improvement.  But, it was quickly followed by a piercing sadness.

Then my dad sent a picture text of Big J~ and Little J~ where they both had enormous grins.  It is a rare sight with my cousin because he is such a serious guy and his little boy doesn't fall far from the tree on that one.  That picture made me smile.  It wasn't as hard.  And I was happy for them, more wholly in that moment.

I continue to get better at seeing people in pictures with their children.  But it was hard to see one with Little J~ with my dad.  I want so much for that little boy to be my son sitting on my dad's lap.  I want to be the one to bring my parents joy with grandchildren.  Durring times like these, I briefly ask myself, why can't that be me?

It also doesn't seem to be getting any easier because as my parents get older, it is just another reminder that time is limited.  My mom recently shared that my dad is thinking about retiring next year.  I don't want him to retire.  It just really means he is getting older and I don't want to accept that.  It just doesn't seem fair.  But life is not fair as it keeps painfully reminding me.

All of this probably sounds selfish, but I cannot entirely help it.  I try to rise above.  But sometimes you have to admit those ugly feelings to yourself.  Otherwise, they just eat you up and that is not good.  I guess it goes back to the idea that feelings are not bad, it is what you do with them.  So, I keep it to myself.  And I remind myself to be thankful that my parents get to have these kinds of experiences.  And it is good for my cousin and my godson because Big J~'s parents each passed away awhile ago and never met there grandchildren.  It is a blessing for all to be there for each other to give support and share their love in other ways that cannot be.

Monday, October 21, 2013


Over the weekend I saw the movie Gravity.  It was the first time I saw a 3D movie.  I was a little nervous because sometimes I've experienced some motion sickness watching a couple of IMAX films.  However, I think I picked a good one to see in 3D because they didn't seem to over do the effects and the movie was well suited for it.  Plus, the length of the movie was appropriate in that it wasn't too long and told its story in 90 minutes.  It was a  good experience and a pretty good movie.  (I actually removed a few "goods" from this paragraph.  Good sums it up well.)

SPOILER ALERT:  While the movie was about troubles in space and trying to return to Earth, it was also about grief, learning to let go and getting back to the business of living life.  Sandra Bullock's character has lost a daughter who died in a freak playground accident.  Since then, she has been emotionally stuck and just passing the days immersed in her work as a way to escape and withdraw from the world and others.

At one point she expresses a want for the silence in space.  But, when that silence comes after being cut off from mission control and being left on her own, it does not seem to acquiesce the pain of loss.  She must make a choice to live and really live or die.  There is no longer an in between.  It is when she nears an emotional rock bottom that she chooses life and moves into the space of letting go without forgetting and leans into the strength of hope--hope of a new future, a new life.

The story in the movie spoke to me, reminding me that there is life after loss.  And I need to give myself credit for being so bold to take up that strength to propel my life forward.  I did not just give up and get stuck.  I've moved on with my life and there is still joy and happiness to be had.  Yes, I have a new career, but there is more.  I'm making new friends, and slowly building a support system in Florida--to add to my one in Ohio and Pennsylvania and in the IF community.  I have a loving, thoughtful, and giving boyfriend whom I find myself falling in love with over and over.  And I am blessed with a family who loves me unconditionally.

I need to remember my own strength and dig deep and use it.  I have to trust in myself and not hold back.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Meaning Making

There was an article I read a bit ago that my sister posted on fb, but it has since dropped from her timeline and I do not remember the name of it.  It was talking about some research that was done about how people find happiness in their lives.  The article described three ways that people draw happiness into their lives.

  • Participating in activities that bring a person pleasure.  It is indulgent on the senses.
  • Spending time with family and friends in ways that cultivate healthy, positive relationships that are fulfilling.  It is about quality social engagement.
  • Engaging in work that is satisfying and meaningful and contributes to something larger than themselves as an individual.  This may be through work or volunteering in the community.
The article explained that the first one seemed more surface and that the second two seemed to garner greater depth of happiness.  That seems to make sense.  It easily falls in line with the theories about external and internal motivation and how internal motivation is more powerful.  But, it also doesn't mean that there is only one way to embrace happiness in life. There are multiple sources and it may be good to have a mix of them, too.  But, I also think about what is within your control.  If one of these options is less within your control, it could become a source of frustration.  Maybe when things get out of control, then it may be time to take a healthy step back and seek happiness with one of the other avenues.  A person may be drawn more to one of these sources to experience happiness, but a person does not to have to confine themselves to only one way.  It may be healthy to stretch oneself to experience pleasure from something that may be slightly away from the usual source of comfort.

I've been thinking a lot about my personal happiness and desire to make meaning with my life.  It's back to legacy building and I want my life and my time here to have meant something.  I'm not sure if I will have the opportunity to have a child, so I search for something else in which to pour my heart and soul.  Just in case motherhood does not happen for me, I feel compelled to do something with myself in the mean time, just in case.

It has been five years this month when everything came crashing down around me.  The mess was well within the works, but it was in the fall just before Halloween that the surreal became my harsh, cruel reality.  Five years of rebuilding...going back to school, juggling several part-time jobs, searching for a new job, moving many times to make a new home for myself, rebuilding a support network, making new friends, saying good-bye to some, trying to keep in touch with others as our lives take separate paths, taking risks, living more aware and freely, landing my first full-time job in my new career, getting that first year under my belt, learning to love again, getting my heart broken, trying to be more in the moment, learning to trust myself, relearning to trust others, taking that risk in love yet again, and refocusing on the now and the blessings I have and not what was or wished to be.  It has been a long time and in many ways I continue on the journey of rebuilding, but I will never have what I once had...both a loss and a gift.

My point is that I have been in almost a survival mode that tries to find some semblance of balance in living...to appreciate the little things and the wonderfully big blessings.  I have grown tired and I long for a break or breakthrough.  In some ways, I want all of these efforts in rebuilding to mean something.  I know myself and I take great pride in my work.  It is more than just a job for me.  But, I need balance, too.  My work cannot be my everything because only so much is in your control and I do not want to depend on someone else for my happiness.  So, now I try to temper my efforts at work and awaken the other paths to happiness...through relationship and pleasure.  I've focused so much on the work part, it can be difficult to take that much needed step back.

I have to give myself permission to be more than...

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Bones Tell No Lie

I'm a clutz.  It is not uncommon for me to fumble and bumble around.  As a teacher, it was quite hazardous for me in my first grade classroom with all of the little furniture because I would frequently bump into the low desks and chairs.  My shins had just as many bruises as some of my kids at times.

A few weeks ago at work, I fell on the stairs and injured my foot and shoulder.  I seem to be healing slowly and had a recheck appointment today.  A PA saw me this time and asked how old I was.  He said he was surprised because he said that I looked much younger.  Then the PA decided an x-ray would be good to see how things were looking on the inside.  After it was completed, he asked me again about my age.  He said, "Wow, you look very good for 36, but your bones definitely look 36 showing the normal deterioration."

I always felt blessed in looking younger and being in pretty good shape.  But, I think it has been what I've held onto for hope that maybe my body seeming to be in extra good health could help me borrow a few years and maybe the stats wouldn't apply to me.  If my bones look 36 and are showing the signs of aging, what else is clearly 36?  Have I just been fooling myself into thinking I've got more time or better quality (you know, eggs)?  Have my healthy habits and healthy living been for naught?  Today I'm feeling a greater urgency to have a baby.  I'm tired of seeing all of the pregnant people at work.  They are everywhere!  Seriously, there have been like twelve.  I feel sad and don't want to miss my chance.  Today I feel like time and opportunity are slipping away.

And I feel horrible about it all because I should be enjoying the relationship I do have.  Patience and not wishing time away in the hopes for the next step and the next step and the next step can be difficult sometimes.  I don't want to be ungrateful.  I want to be happy and satisfied for what I do have.

Monday, August 12, 2013

August Rush

The undercurrent of feeling sadness, weakness and grief sit below the surface.  I've been thinking it has been coming.  Kind of like in March, I thought I could get past it and it not sneak up on me.  But, nope.  I figured it was coming when I started making phone calls to family and friends.  I wonder if they remember or if they have forgotten.

It was in August when I married him. It was in August when we returned to Pittsburgh to move into our dream house.  It was a year later in August when he had surgery and we found out that he could not have children.  And he was already cheating on me without me knowing it yet.  I believed his lies.

I know I get emotionally clingy this time of year.  I don't like to be alone and try to fill my time with lots of people.  I have a new, lovely apartment and I did not want to spend the night in it alone.  Tomorrow I probably will.  I need to remind myself to be comfortable with being just by myself.  I need to renew.  I need to find my center and my own grounding.  I cannot get it from others.

I want to talk to T~ about it.  But something tells me I should keep it to myself.  Maybe I'll share I've just been feeling sad and that just happens sometimes, but I don't want to talk about it.  I know I'm feeling insecure and want to be careful not to project it onto him.

I wonder if others feel these swirling emotions around the time of an old anniversary?  Am I holding on too much?  When will I be over the hurt?

Today I cried as I considered tossing away my cats' vet tags.  I had duplicates, so it would not have been like all of them.  But I couldn't.  I just cried.  I looked at the years and thought about them...where I was and what had been my life.  I cried some more and I felt so badly. My heart hurt because I feel like I abandoned my cats.  I kept repeating, I'm sorry.  I'm sorry.  The tears dripped down my cheeks.  And  I was thankful as I remembered Chris's words that sometimes it is being less selfish and more responsible to let them go...to find them a good home when the stress would be too great to keep caring for them as I focused on putting my life back together again.

And I stood in my apartment feeling very alone...in a place of new beginnings alone.  I am still alone.

I have a boyfriend.  But, he is a boyfriend.  Keep expectations in check, but be grateful for what I share with him.  Allow the space for us to grow.  Look for his lead, like wanting to spend Christmas together and maybe Thanksgiving.

UPDATE:  After chatting with Julie, I am glad to have the girl time to reflect and recharge.  From our our conversation, I came to a few conclusions.  My past wedding anniversary is still sad for me.  I wonder if this is normal?  Am I holding on too much or being honest with my feelings?  But, I am making progress.  It kind of came up on me without a ton of thought.  But, it is the after ripples that concerned me.  Why do I still feel sad?

I think part of it is that I'm moving and it brings reflection.  He is married and I am not.  And going through old stuff brings sadness.  But, I have done better with letting go and donating items.

It seems better to look at the positives.  I have a good job and I'm taking care of myself.  The hurt is less.  Giving things away is easier and I'm letting go of more.  I'm making space for new in my life.  Even if I am single, I do have a wonderful boyfriend.  Like how Julie expressed, sometimes it seems it would be nice to have it all wrapped up and know how it ends.  But, that is not really living and I am doing better at living in the moment.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Mountian Lions, Tigers and Bears

Well, maybe not Tigers, unless you count that T~ is from Michigan near Detroit and kind of follows them with baseball.

Sometimes there are moments that are intimate and to be shared between two people and those two people alone.  Other times there are moments of clarity that point to something more important, something validating and too fantastic not to share.  And I do not want to forget this moment.

When I went to visit California in June, I asked T~ if he would like to join me.  He was excited about the opportunity to adventure with me to the west coast to northern California.  It was a fantastic trip with visiting family and friends, enjoying the peace of the pristine wilderness and getting to visit the Redwoods.

One evening, I wanted to go and look at the stars away from the campground along the lake.  It would really be a great place to see the vast sky without the noise of light or tops of trees.  My aunts warned it was not the best idea to venture away from the campground at night at this time of year because there were not enough campers with their noise to chase away the bear and mountain lions.  But, it was just too tempting not to try to take a little stroll.

As T~ and I were walking and talking along the road down to the marina, we heard a rustling sound in the dark brush along the side of the path.  We both stopped, looked at each other and confirmed that we both heard the same noise.  I cannot remember who suggested that we should leave, but we were in agreement and quickly pivoted in the other direction.  It was a blur, gut reaction kind of moment where we grabbed each other and ran like mad together.

My first thoughts were run, run, run...fast, fast, fast

Then I thought, oh, hope this is not the way I am going to die.  I do not want to be that person who was warned not to go into the woods at night with the woodland animals with their sharp teeth and sharp claws.  I just wanted to look at the stars!

Then as we were still clinging to each other and clumsily running, my heart wanted to melt and I fell in love with T~ all over again.  In a moment of perceived danger, his first instinct was to grab me and run, and mine was to grab him and run.  It was selfless and wonderful and I couldn't help but smile, even if there was the possibility that it would be the end.

At that point T~ and I started to slow and broke the space between us as we continued to jog while holding hands.  We looked back down the road and when we didn't see anything, we slowed again to a fast walk as we approached the campground.  We laughed and hugged and were glad that we made it back safely.

I told T~ I was so touched by his actions and how he handled the situation.  I didn't feel silly for being afraid that it could have been something more lurking the dark.  I commented that if it had been a bear, it probably would have been faster.  And if it had been a mountain lion, we probably would not have even heard it coming.  He joked that he was afraid that since I am a more experienced runner that if he had not held onto me that I would have out paced him and he would have been eaten by the wild animal.  But in seriousness, he wanted me to be safe, for us to be safe.  It meant a lot to me.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Oh, Who Am I Kidding!

Oh, alright!  So, yes, it does feel like I am settling into a new phase of my life.  Or as referenced in a previous post, that not only does it feel like I am entering a new chapter, but that it is a new part of the story.  It's like the kind of book that reads over a lifetime and it is not only broken down in chapters, but collections of chapters in parts.  That's where I am.

"Maybe Part II is about shoring up my new career, finding work/life balance, living as a single (at the moment), childless (for now) lady, and cultivating the relationships of friends, family and romantic partner with a sensitivity to balance."

However, as much as I would like IF to be out of the picture.  It is not.  It may not be front and center, but it will always be part of me.  And while my blog may focus on more my life and its current status, the IF thing may still pop up from time to time because I will come across things that will bring me pause and come back to it. 

I think my reassessment post was about putting more distance between IF and my current self.  I am also trying to give myself the space to let go and just be me...live with what I have right now in the moment.  Children are not part of this moment, at least in the traditional sense.  I liken what I am experiencing to almost like being on a break, or at least in a sort of parallel way like some of those who experience IF when they "stop trying" for a period of time...whether by choice or not.  Biologically I can most likely still have a child, but I am not in a relationship or place in my life where I am actively trying.  So, that seems to put me in the childless category-ish.  But, that could change depending on how my life unfolds in the next few years.  So, it is not like I am completely letting go of the dream of motherhood. 

In the mean time, for my own sanity and to help myself from feeling like my life is completely on hold, I need to let go and accept my life and where it is right now.  It is a healthy thing.  It is mental shift away from feeling like I am sitting on the sidelines of life.  I am trying to appreciate what I do have in my life in the moment...a really good job, a new home in Florida, boyfriend and family & friends who love me. 

IF, motherhood and babies are falling away to the side.  In many ways it is freeing.  The focus is on me and not what I wish I had.  The dream is not forgotten, but stored away for maybe another time if that space opens up.  That pressure is diminishing.  And it gives me more mental room to enjoy my current priorities.  Not everyone's life is about children.  Children and families are important, but not more important than a childless person's happiness or big events.  As a wise friend said, happy is what you make of it.

Saturday, July 13, 2013


I don't like to think of myself as a superstitious kind of person.  But if I am honest with myself, I kind of am.  And I think my experiences with IF have probably amplified it.  Irrational fear?  A willingness to do or to avoid things that you think will influence an outcome?  Unrelated efforts and events, but trying to gain some semblance of control?  Maybe.

As an example, while my former husband and I were looking into adoption, we did not decorate the designated bedroom as a nursery for our one day hoped child .  In fact, we did not put anything inside of it.  The room was completely bare, beige carpet, white walls and an empty closet.  The room remained empty out of fear that if we had decorated the room in preparation for a baby that the baby would never come.  We also did not want to have to look at the constant reminder that our home, our arms and our hearts were feeling empty.  However, the vacant room kind of did that, too, but maybe it felt like it would hurt less...if that could be possible.  In addition, it was an act of defiance in that if we put anything else inside of it, like a spare bed or odds and ends, that the dream would be lost.  We feared that by giving the room another purpose, even if temporary, that the clutter could also chase away the possibility of a baby.  Oh, IF and its paralyzing inaction, whether by choice or not.

So, keeping this illogical, superstitious thought process in mind, it has served as a reason an excuse for not writing the second part in an intended two part post.  I was originally going to write it that same month when I realized that the first post was so long.  Plus, it seemed deserving of telling not just one side of a story, but the layers of stories within one.  Several months passed and it felt like I had waited too long and the posts would be disconnected.  Plus, I had moved and was getting settled in a new city.  So then the next plan was to write it a year later, but other things happened and I was feeling grumpy and felt the need to express those feelings.  My brain was not in a place to give the second part its true attention.  Next, I figured I could tie it into another holiday in June.  But, I was in California and chasing Big Foot and got a little distracted.

Funny thing though, this superstitious behavior has been reinforced yet again!  My friend, Diane, posted something on Facebook about some recent frustrations...got to love the government and all of their paperwork and great organizational skills.  (I'm sorry, is the second half of that sentence dripping with sarcasm?  Oh wait, I'm not sorry.)  After feeling sad and angry for my friend and sending her words of support for something that should hopefully be resolved soon, I had a wave of other emotions.  Yes, these feelings were very me-centered, but at least they came secondary.  These were feelings of nonsensical validation and relief...Aha!  I knew there was a reason why I waited to write that post!  So, I am giving myself permission to wait to write part two and will work on the draft in the mean time.

Have you ever had a post that you had always wanted to write or to finish?  Did it feel like it just kept coming back to you, just needing to be completed?  I think there may be hints of needing closure, but having difficulty facing some underlying feelings, too.  It's the double-edge sword, you know it will be good, but that it may also hurt, too.  And it is okay to feel happy and sad at the same time.  Feelings are not selfish.  They just are.  It is what you do with them that is important.

Sunday, June 30, 2013


I've realized that I haven't been typing much on my blog lately.  There have been a couple of posts lingering in the back of my mind that I've been thinking about writing.  But then, there are days that I just don't do it.  I guess this blog had been a place for me to process some of my losses while giving myself some credit in plugging away at rebuilding my life.  But I wonder if that is changing.

I've come to a place where I kind of feel tired of writing about IF and try and do think about it less.  But, I'm also trying to figure out where I fit in the world.  It's a combination of past, present and future selves.

IF'er...of the past. 
Childless...at the moment. 
Once a wife. 
Mobile Therapist.
Maybe married person again someday.
Maybe Mom down the road, if given the chance. 
Lady who works with kids at a hospital...playing, comforting, guiding (a.k.a. Child Life Specialist). 

How do I identify myself?  For myself?  To others...those close within my circle and those on the outside?  Some parts of me are kept a little hidden, not exactly advertising them and wanting to be private.  Some of those parts that are below the surface.   I'd like to keep them there, but sometimes something happens and they come bubbling up, almost screaming in my face.

For instance, lately there is a range in how people respond to my answer to their question if I have any children.  Some say that I still have time.  Others say I had better get serious if I want it to happen.  Then the new wrinkle, that I work with kids so I must not really need or want any of my own.  Some hint that I must be caught up in my career to be concerned with having children.  Are you implying that because I don't have children that my fate has been decided?  Is it assumed I must not want them or it is too late?

Do I really feel like writing about this stuff when I am trying to move on with my life?  But maybe through writing about it, it does help me to pass through the pain and get to the other side?  I want to be living in the moment.  And if I am living in the moment, do I want to spend my time writing about it or just get to the business of living it?

Then I think about work/life balance.  To be honest, work has taken up a huge chunk of my time.  It is to be expected with starting a new career and working at a new hospital.  But, I want my life to be more.  It has to be more.  I love my job and I feel my work is meaningful, it has purpose.  But I have to remember to invest in me.  I'm not going to write about work here.  And since that has been a lot of my life, I sometimes feel I haven't had much to share.

However, another big part of my life has been in developing new friendships, trying to maintain old friendships and enjoying the developing romantic relationship with my boyfriend.

Maybe the maintaining old friendships it is one reason why I have kept up my blog.  I do not want to say good-bye to my friends that I have made from my IF journey.  I have a hard time letting go.  When people are in different phases or chapters in life, it can sometimes be tricky to relate...that part takes work, effort and allowing oneself to step in another person's shoes for a moment to see what is important to them.  Sometimes I am afraid of being left behind.  And starting over in a new place can be slow moving and difficult.  Making friends when you are older is not easy.  People are more established, have their routines, community and priorities.

Do I keep writing?  What do I write?

Life has been work, family, boyfriend and friends (trying to make new ones and hoping to stay connected to old ones).  Family seems to be on hold--they are all so far away.  We call, Facebook and text.  Is it enough?  I'm hoping my move to my new apartment will help give me more flexibility to see them.  But, they are busy and have their priorities, too.  But at least with family, they really understand and can be more forgiving of the distance thing.  They continue to cheer me on from afar, as my heart wishes it could physically be closer.  But, to be fair, there are dear friends who are like family and we can be there for each other even if large chunks of time pass.  Those are the friendships to cherish, a mutual understanding that life gets busy sometimes, but you can pick up right where you left off. 

Well, this post has been a bit of everywhere.  Maybe it is a bit of a window of what I have been mulling over the past several weeks.  What is the purpose of my blog?  Is it changing or is it that with my life going in another direction, so too will my blog?

There have been many chapters since starting my blog.  Maybe Part I is coming to a close, the chapters about grieving the loss of motherhood and my marriage, taking on the adventure of dating and new relationships, being a student and looking for employment.

Maybe Part II is about shoring up my new career, finding work/life balance, living as a single (at the moment), childless (for now) lady, and cultivating the relationships of friends, family and romantic partner with a sensitivity to balance.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

A Yellow Jacket

Holidays are tough for me and Mother's Day is coming.  Sometimes I can feel very lonely, whether it is a day spent by myself because my family is far away or if it a day spent in a room full of people--even people I love.  Sometimes holidays can feel like a reminder of what was lost in terms of hopes and dreams--for myself and my parents.  There can be sense of failure.

Last summer before I moved from Pittsburgh, I spent time purging to lighten the load to pack.  Overall, it felt really good and freeing.  There was a bunch of stuff that I gave to my mom to pass along to my goddaughter.  I figured she would appreciate it more than sitting in my closet or on a shelf collecting dust.  It felt good.

Then a few weeks ago my mom forwarded me a picture of my godchild, O~.  She was wearing my yellow spring jacket that I had as a small child.  My mom explained that when my cousins came for Easter, the girls wanted to go outside, but it had grown chilly and O~ didn't bring a coat.  So, my mom went into the closet and found the jacket and offered it to her to wear.  It fit her well and she wore it home.  In fact, she enjoyed the coat so much, my mom said she could keep wearing it.  The picture my mom sent over the phone was of O~ and LJ going for a walk in the woods in a park near their home.

But somehow this picture did not elicit the same feelings of when I gave O~ the Teacher Barbie and children's books.  My heart was sad, and then I felt guilty.  My mom had always said that she saved some of my old clothes because she thought that when I had children that maybe they could wear some of them.  What was once something I imagined would be for my children, was now being worn by someone else's child.  And I cried.  But, I did not let my mom know.  I didn't have the heart to tell her.  She was so excited and happy to share that O~ loved the coat and was so proud to be wearing it.

I mean, I had given pause in the summer when I gave my mom some of my stuff to give to O~, but that stuff didn't seem to have as much meaning.  The children's books were kind of a helpful reduction in the mass of books I had collected for my classroom library.  In fact, I told my mom to share with my cousins that if there were any books that they didn't really like, to just give them away.  The Teacher Barbie was something A~ gave to me as a Christmas present when we were in undergrad together.  I went back and forth on that one.  It spoke to my roots in teaching, but I kept thinking about him when I saw it.  I figured O~ would have more fun playing with it. 

But, what I had held back was a little pearl necklace.  I don't remember how old I was when my parents gave it to me, but I do remember feeling like it was one of my first real pieces of jewelry.  It is a kid's version and not real, but it was close enough as a kid.  I went back and forth.  Why should it just sit in a jewelry box when O~ could probably enjoy it?  But the nagging thought was, what if I have a little girl someday and I want to give it to her?  Would I regret giving it to O~?  If I gave it to her, would that be giving up on my dream of being a mother?  Would I be giving something away in haste and later have regret?

Somehow the yellow jacket had more meaning for me, too.  I think it goes back to how items of clothing can carry so much more meaning for some people.  And even though the jacket was mine as a child, was it mine to give away?  This jacket really belongs to my mom and it is really for her to decide in some ways, I think, maybe.  So if that is the case, what does that mean?  Has my mom given up the dream that I will have a child someday?  Has my mom given up the dream that she will have a grandchild?  I thought that coat was special.  Maybe it doesn't carry as much meaning as I thought it did for my mom?  Or maybe her intent is that O~ can borrow it and then return it when she grows out of it?

I don't know.  I just know that I feel terribly upset about it, and I feel incredibly guilty and selfish for feeling sad about it.  My heart hurts in so many different ways.  And in the picture O~ just looks so happy and like she is having fun wearing the jacket.  How can I feel so sad when it makes O~ and my mom so happy?  At least I know that by my cousin taking a picture of O~ wearing the coat and sending it to my mom she knows it is important, has meaning and will take care of it.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Unsuccessfully Resisting the Merk of March

It angers and frustrates me that infertility is a lingering part of me.  I'd like to say it is not.  Any admission that I still think about it from time to time, whether a fleeting passing of grief or a moment that triggers a deeper pain, I just want it behind me.  It does not define who I am, but it has shaped me.  Writing about it is difficult because it is easy to fall into that false belief that I should just be over it--the same kind of thinking that ticks me off from those who do not understand.  It is NIAW, so I will give myself permission to write a few thoughts sans guilt.

Currently, I am personally grappling with the question of finding resolve with infertility and finding resolve with childlessness.  They are not exclusively mutual.  You can have one, the other, both or none.  If I have to be honest with myself, I do not have resolve with the infertility.  I have resolve on shaky ground with a hoped, temporary childlessness.  There is an acceptance that things are on hold and there is still time--to not give up hope--to be okay with not closing that door just yet.  Infertility still hurts me.  Or is it that I still allow it to hurt?  It hurts me less on a daily basis, but getting through March is still really tough.  It is a different animal each year.  I guess I need to truly accept this, to allow room for the emotion, the pain and know it will likely come.

The twins would have been four years old in March of this year.

Monday, March 25, 2013

In a Sleepy Stupor...

I remember noticing T~ coming back to bed.  As I resettled myself and he joined me in bed, the words just rolled out...

I love you.

Still feeling in a fog of being half awake and half asleep, I felt a moment of surprise with the realization of what I had just said.  There was a prolonged pause and he responded with a confused, "Okay?"  My fuzzy brain was not working with my lips and I mumbled something, but do not recall it being anything really understandable.  Was I talking in my sleep again?

No.  I felt it within me.  It just slipped out.  But, it seemed so natural and effortless.  Too tired to put anymore thought into it, I allowed the heaviness of slumber to creep back over me.

The next morning, I heard T~ stirring in his living room.  I tumbled out of bed and joined him by his chair and computer.  Still feeling the need for a morning stretch in the cozy warmth of bed, I returned to the bedroom and flopped into the covers and he followed.  However, he was much more awake than me.

We snuggled up together as I recalled bits of a bizarre dream I had the night before.  Something about wandering around the streets in a city and trying to find my way while following along a lady and a strange animal.  It had the pointed face of a porcupine, but the body of a very skinny, slinky monkey-kind-of-cat creature.  If it was supposed to be a pet or ferel, I am not sure.  It weaved in and out, but at times you could hold its tail like a cane or a leash before it would then try to slip away again.  T~ softly laughed as I wondered aloud if it was a remnant of the Comic Con from last weekend and that his girlfriend must be a little bit of a weirdo.  He said that seemed about right and I would have to be a little weird to be with him.

Then, I waited to see if he would bring it up while still trying to sort out my thoughts.  My heart ached at the possibility that maybe he heard me, but did not feel the same in return.  When he did not mention it, I then lead into something else that seemed a little strange from the previous night.  I asked if he slept alright, and he mentioned having some tossing and turning.  I said that at one point I noticed him coming back to bed and I may have said something. 

T~'s face lit up with a knowing smile.  He said he wondered if he heard me correctly.  He wasn't sure how to acknowledge it, so he asked, "Okay?"  He said I repeated the words, but wondered if I was talking in my sleep or if I really knew what I had said.  T~ stated it was okay that I said it...then with an added pause..if it was true.  His words seemed laced with a vulnerability.

I told him that I have been thinking it for a while, but it just kind of came out last night.  He smiled with his eyes and said that he has been thinking it for a while, as well.  With a shared breath of relief and happiness, we hugged.

Then he looked at me and said in response to what I had said last night...

I love you, too.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Removing Relationship Hurts In Earnest

"The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them." ~ Ernest Hemingway

So, as I am entering the beginning of a new relationship, I have been putting in some effort thinking about how to clear out some of my emotional baggage--the possible roadblocks that could bring challenges into this relationship.  In someways this is unavoidable because your past is part of what makes you who you are in the present.  It has nothing to do with them.  But alas, it is the present partner that is left to deal with the other's past hurts, especially if unresolved.  My hope is that a mature approach will win.

Please know that things are going well and it is still early in my present relationship.  We are in a great place where it still feels new and in that cozy space of looking forward to getting to know each other more.  It is a special time to be romantically giddy, to drink in its innocence and to just be.

However, I was recently reminded of how past hurts can quickly resurface when I had an internal knee jerk reaction to a question from a coworker.  It was a request to help watch her dogs while she went to the beach for part of the weekend.  It really was kind of her to think of me since she thought my guy was out of town for the weekend.  But, she had mixed up the weekends and it was last weekend that he was away.  So, the plans my guy and I had were still in tact. 

My momentary panic was because in my two significant relationships, both men had, in different ways, made plans without me and I felt really hurt.  Not cool to apply for a job two hours away and not tell me, and not cool to plan a vacation for yourself and tell me a few days before leaving for it.  In hindsight, they were both running.

But, I have to give myself some credit for not getting ahead of myself, nor misdirecting these feelings of rejection.  I told myself, "Stop.  This is not (fill in name of previous arse)."  Remaining composed and not jumping to conclusions, the misunderstanding quickly resolved itself.  Whew!

What was left was my lurking concern of past hurts that may be trouble ahead for me.  Trust is clearly an issue.  I know this.  It is not the first time I have wondered if I will be able to find resolve in my issues of trusting a man.  Not being sure where to go with rebuilding that trust, I have just sat on the thought.

Then, I came across a dating article online with quotes of wisdom for meaningful love.  I clicked on the link feeling slightly pessimistic that the quotes would be predictable fru fru stuff.  However, Ernest Hemingway's words stayed with me.  It seems to go along a similar pathway with that of forgiveness.  First you have to want it in your heart, then over time it will happen.  It is about taking that risk again.  Trust, much like love, is an action and it is something you choose to do everyday, every moment.

So, it seems the simplest answer to my question of trust is to just to do it.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Tiny Invitation

Today I had dinner at my cousins' house.  S~ and S~ have a nine-month-old daughter who is as cute as a button.  However, H~ takes a lot of time to warm up to people, so I have not had the opportunity to hold her.  Poor kid has had to deal with reflux, milk allergies and colic.  Not an easy start to life.  But, she is doing much better. 

To my pleasant surprise, H~ smiled at me when I first came into the living room.  She is at the creeping stage and was holding onto my cousin's hands and walking round the house.  S~ said H~ is constantly moving and much happier when she can move freely out and about. 

After dinner, we went outside to the front yard and mingled with the neighbors, which seemed like a fairly common routine.  People gathered, set up chairs and chatted as several kids weaved in and out of the driveways on their bikes.  H~ was alternating between a push toy and walking around with S~ and S~.

As I was sitting on the ground in the driveway, H~ came walking over to me holding S~'s hand.  Then, she reached out her tiny hand to me and I took it.  Standing up, I joined S~ as H~ lead us around the driveway in wobbly zigzags.  After a few passes around the driveway circling the group sitting in chairs, she meandered to the push toy again with her mom.  I rejoined the group of adults and listened to the conversation.

After a short time, H~ returned to where I was sitting.  This time she held both hands out to me with a smile as she caught her breath in the breeze.  I picked her up and lifted her up a few times.  It was the first time I really got to hold her.  She seemed ready to go, so I took both of her hands to go for another walk.  She was picking up the pace and then held on with just one hand.  It was a mix of the warm sun, just before dipping down for a more pronounced sunset, and cool, gusty air.  As we paced the walk, my curls bounced in the breeze and H~'s wisps floated under the weight of her clip.  Faster and faster she went as she transitioned back to one hand on the push toy and the other in my hand, especially on the incline down the drive.  Little by little she wanted to do more on her own and I could sense her increasing bravery.  She then held the handle with two hands, and I quickly followed behind her keeping my hands hovering near her waist.  Smiles and giggles as she cruised to her mom.

It was a sweet moment and a welcomed gift.  It was brief, but felt like it was filling an infinite space within that moment.  Reminding me of kite flying with Little Bear in her grandmother's garden, I became aware of being present and taking in the joy.

How I have often wondered what it would be like or if I would have the opportunity to hold a tiny, trusting hand of one who is exploring her developing mobile freedoms and expanding the parameters of the world around her.  When I dreamed of motherhood, that was the kind of thing I imagined.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

I Heart Nerds

I have a tendency to date nerds.  I find myself attracted to men with nerd qualities or guys with a little bit of nerd folded somewhere in there.  I can't help it.  Of course, there is quite the variety of nerd out there, so it really isn't all that difficult to stumble into one.

When I moved to Orlando, I originally wrote this guy off for several reasons.  One, he shares a name with a previous man in my past.  Two, I work with him at the hospital, but not very directly.  And three, he is a Detroit Red Wings fan.

That being said, my guard was down.  As we got to talking here and there, I started to notice we had some shared interests.  He is funny, kind and passionate about his work.  He is the kind of person who goes the extra mile to help others and is a peacemaker type.  He carries with him a certain confidence in his work and grounding in himself.

As we saw each other at some social gatherings for work, conversation was just flowing and natural.  I often find myself smiling when I am with him or as I walk away.  A couple of months ago he asked me out on a date.  We have been taking it slowly and keeping it professional at work.  I think we have found a good balance to allow for a certain amount of privacy to allow things to develop and see where they may go.

He is a self-proclaimed king of the nerds.  He is a veracious reader, has done some theater, bakes, plays video games, hikes, does a little writing and plays board games.  Can't wait to check out the Harry Potter stuff at Universal with him!  He was a manager of a comic book store for about five or six years after being a chemist for a couple of years.  In his words, he wanted more than a job.  He loved his job at the comic book store, and said it was a lot of fun.  But, he wanted a career and after some self-reflection, decided to go to nursing school.  He says it was the best thing for him, and he is very satisfied in his work as a nurse.  He is great at what he does.  He is an interesting combination of nerd, and certainly fulfills my preference for a little something quirky while being smart, funny and emotionally in tune with himself and others. 

Friday, February 1, 2013

The Sting of Longing

The other day, another one of my coworkers asked me if I had any children.

Then later, as I was carrying a baby doll with a medical play preparation kit down the hall, someone remarked how natural I looked carrying the baby.

My heart broke a little bit...

with a combination of old, dull hurts and a seemingly semi-silly longing.

And I wonder if I am getting better at hiding it.

It has been suggested that I take it as a compliment and that people only mean well.  But it still doesn't take away the initial sting.  It takes a conscious effort to pause, breathe and mentally let it pass as it is replaced by a drifting, distant sadness where I try to feign normalcy.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Weighing in on Teaching

A blogger friend of mine has been debating if she should continue her pursuit of getting her teaching license.  She wrote a blog post about it and asked for feedback since she knows a bunch of teachers.  I wanted to share my response because people often ask me the question, "Should I be a teacher?" or "If you were to do it again, would you be a teacher?"

I think you know my answer based on my actions in my professional career.  I taught first grade in my own classroom for six years.  I absolutely loved being a first grade teacher, especially with the amount of growth and progress that kids make that year.  I loved, LOVED teaching kids how to read--to really read and and think--how to figure it out for themselves and get the meaning behind what they were reading.  I also substitute taught for several years and appreciated the different nuances of each age.  I will admit that I enjoyed the middle schoolers as much as the little ones.

However, K~ said it best.  I did not love being a teacher in today's society.  Teaching changed from the time that I entered the profession.  It is not what it was.  I know a lot of teachers say that, but I really think there is a huge difference in the profession in the last 10-15 years--more so than any other time before.  There is so much pressure with standardized testing, more is being asked of teachers with less compensation, and respect for educators continues to decline.  The system is broken and it does not feel like there is a real solution in sight because there is a focus on blame verses a view of continuous improvement that needs to be a community responsibility and effort.

I went back to school to study in another somewhat related field to give myself options, while also getting my certification in English as a Second Language.  As you know from my career search this summer, I was applying for jobs in Virginia for ESL and middle school math positions.  If I was going to go back to teaching, it was not going to be in a regular classroom.

As it turns out, the day that I was to submit my second requests for the Virginia positions to have the best chance at job interviews, was the day that I had my interview for my hospital job in Florida.  I am very happy with the path that I took and love my new job.  But I don't think I would appreciate it as much had I not been a teacher first.

There are times that I miss teaching.  I miss the kids.  I miss their wonder, surprise in themselves in their accomplishments, and the tender, funny and insightful comments without a filter.  I miss the conversations I had with my co-workers when we would spitball new ideas or chat about a new teaching strategy.  I loved building upon my craft.  But I was sad that I felt so restricted in being able to do what I could do best--building a community of learners who looked out for each other and learned to think for themselves--raising people up to keep chasing their dreams.

But, as I said, I love my new career because of my first.  Many of the teachers that I met that came into teaching as a second career were very happy in their work.  As new teachers, but not new professionals, they brought other strengths with them that helped them to shine.  Sometimes I wondered where they got their energy.  If you have a serious passion to do it, go for it.  You can always try it and if it does not quite fit, you can use your first degree to find a job that suits your needs.

Best of luck!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Dating Hesitation

Since moving to Orlando, I have been fortunate to have gone on a few dates.  It has been fun meeting new people while attracting the attention of some nice men.  One guy wasn't a good match for me.  He was a nice guy, just not quite the right fit.  Another guy was a lot of fun, but he lives a little ways away on the beach.  I get the impression he is still balancing some things in his life and the distance thing does not help that.  Or maybe I wasn't a match for him?

But, I am okay with accepting if the fit is just not there in the early phase of dating and then moving onto the next possibility.  I think I am improving in that area and not taking it as personal.  It is a good thing to feel comfortable in not feeling like I have to settle for an okay fit or good enough.  I value wanting there to be more of connection that is satisfying for both people.  I want a relationship that I can enjoy and that they enjoy with me.  I want to share a life with someone.  I want to have fun and look forward to seeing them.

Then with the most recent guy, it's still kind of early and I am trying to take things slowly.  I'm trying to return to this approach in general because I think it will help me to get to know the person better to head off getting clouded and confused.  Once I am emotionally attached it is easier for me to overlook or forgive behaviors, flaws or synchronicity that is off where it may not be the best match.

I have found myself with that familiar feeling of being tickled when I get to see him.  He is easy to talk to about similar interests and what is happening in life.  He is kind, open and insightful.  However, when we went on a few dates, I found my nerves bubbling up and getting the best of me.  I was thinking too much and not in the moment.  Panic was setting in and it was freaking me out.

In part, I realize that I feel a little more pressure with dating now than I did before when I lived in Pittsburgh.  When I was in Pittsburgh and I first started dating again, it was an adventure.  At first I didn't take it too seriously because I figured that if things didn't work out, that I would be leaving after graduation.  The plan was to get my degree, get a job and get the heck out of there.  Pittsburgh was supposed to be temporary.  It was kind of liberating and allowed me to be more in the moment.  Then I met and fell in love with RJ, which was not part of the plan.  I was coming to a place of happy acceptance that life is not always what you plan and some the best stuff can pop into your life when you least expect it.  My thoughts and hopes for my future shifted towards envisioning a life in Pittsburgh with RJ.  However, that relationship ended and I became open to leaving town, again.  This time it was with a heart with mixed emotions.  It was an opportunity to embrace a fresh start, but it meant distance from the people who became my very close friends and confidants.  Pittsburgh crept into my heart and I made it my home.  It was bitter sweet for me to leave.

Now dating feels more real, like the stakes have been raised and there is less room for error, for heartbreak.  It was so difficult for me to live in the same neighborhood as RJ after the relationship ended.  There were so many reminders of him.  There was a history with A~, but he left town.  Part of me is afraid that if things start and end with someone in Orlando, I wouldn't have a place to run.  I am afraid of getting hurt again.  And I think this is silly.  Lots of people start and end relationships where they live and they reestablish themselves.  And dating should be fun and it should be an adventure!

Finally, I have been worried that if things got more serious with the most recent guy and if it ended, I'm worried about possibly hurting him.  I want to keep things more light and breezy.  He has stated that he likes me, but knows and is understanding that I want to take things slowly.  But, I don't want to hurt him, and kind of selfishly I don't want to deal with the emotional fallout in how it may impact me.  Insert where I know I am being contradictory of myself because I have been angry and suspect that RJ did that very thing to me.  It's holding me back, I can feel it and it has been bothering me.

The recent guy is a grown man and makes his own choices.  I should not be trying to be responsible for him not getting hurt.  We each have a responsibility to be honest and respectful with each other.  But, each person is responsible for their own feelings and the risks they take.  There is some element of trust in there.

With these realizations, it has helped me to understand what I think is the root of my problem.  I am feeling a little better being able to identify my worries.  Hopefully, I can let go of them and get back to being more relaxed, present and authentic...to just be me!  It's got to be all in to give me, him and us a chance to see if it can begin and to see where it may lead.