Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Looking Forward


It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work.  It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.  --Unknown

I hope to find peace in 2015.

Wishing you the best in the New Year!

Microblog Mondays

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Flipping the Calendar

Today as I was flipping my work calendar to get a glimpse of what I already had scheduled for the next month, I heaved a sad sigh.  It seems of late that my life is blocked in month sized segments.  My work schedule is a heavy influence, but about a month at a time is all that I seem to be able to handle.  And the pages just keep turning and time keeps passing by me.  I feel relief when I get through a month, but then it is just another month that has passed.

I have planning my wedding to look forward to this year.  I am really excited, and so is T~.  We are nearly finished with finalizing the venue.  Then we will start figuring out the other large details, such as an officiant, photographer, flowers and music.  And I can seriously start shopping for a dress.  There is much to look forward to in 2015.  It makes me feel happy.

Then in the back of my mind, as much as I try to push it away, I worry about time...time to build a family.  T~ and I have talked about it and we would like to have a child or two.  We agree on small.  He is open to adoption, but it would be nice to try for a baby of our own.  With every passing month we grow older.  I want to enjoy us, and let our relationship continue to grow and unfold.  I'd rather not rush things just to try to get to a maybe baby.  I don't want to wait or put it off either.  Ideally, I would prefer to be married for a year before having a child.  We want to enjoy our first year of marriage.  I don't know how we will feel by then...we may want to try sooner or a tiny bit later.  And if we were to get PG, I want us to be able to enjoy that, too.  I don't want to put us on a timeline.  But, I also don't want too much time to pass.  I am scared of us missing our window of opportunity, but it may have already passed.  Who knows?

Every now and then I will click on a link to a parenting blog that was posted on FB.  Sometimes I read them because I am curious and other times I read them because maybe one day I will find the information helpful to know...maybe...maybe.  Some of the writings are touching or insightful.  Sometimes I tear up a bit, a sting, and I think to myself I must be glutton for punishment.  (The words that got me were I want them to have babies.)

This most recent post made my heart ache.  A mother reflects on her time in motherhood.  She realizes that this life that she has right now is beautiful and something that dreamed about as a girl, a girl who always imagined herself as one day being a mother.  She also believes that when the end of her days come that she will look back on this time as the best part of her life.  (She could be wrong or she could be right.)  But, what she decides to do is to be thankful and drink it all in and allow herself to fully be in the moment and appreciate it.

I wonder, if I don't become a mother, what chapter in my life will I most be wistful?  What part of my life will I hold dear and want to relive in my mind over and over?  Am I living it now?  I find it a little hard to believe while I feel like I am waiting in hope or longing for a dream that may not come to be.  

And that is why I try to shove those worries about time passing to the very farthest corner of my mind.  I am trying to find some space of peace to be able to be happy living the life that I do have.  I am trying so hard to enjoy and make the most of the life I have with T~ right now.  It happens at times, but I want more moments of balanced happiness than those of longing.

What are the chapters in the lives of the childless that are most meaningful or peaceful or happy?  What do the childless wish they could relive just as it was and not as they might have wished it could be?

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Heart of it All

It was really good to be home for Thanksgiving this year.  My fiance and I went to Ohio to visit our families.  We had six days, and we spent the first half with my family and the second half with his.  It was really nice because T~ got to meet more of my friends.  My brother surprised everyone by dropping in for the holiday, traveling up from North Carolina.  My parents' reaction was priceless.  T~ and I looked at wedding venues, too.  While it was very full, it still felt unhurried and with quality time with those we love.

I really miss living in Ohio.  I miss home.  The trip was just further confirmation for me that I want to move back.  Fortunately, T~ would also like to move back to Ohio.  It fits us both well.  I want to be closer to our families...a car ride verses a plane ride...to be able to spend time with them for holidays and everyday life.  I feel like I am missing out on so much!

This has been the year that has filled me with more urgency and want to spend more time with my family and closest friends.  I've always enjoyed spending time with them, but time is precious and limited.  I feel a greater need to get home.  Priorities are shifting and I may not have the patience or the time for my career to catch up.  Plus, if I want a chance of trying for a family of my own, time is running out.  I may have to chose, but hopefully something will work in my favor soon.  A friend of mine said I was nesting.  I am just so thankful to have T~ in my life and that we are in it together.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Ugly

I am afraid of my parents dying before they are grandparents.

It is an ugly thought.  It is not one I want to admit.  As much as I try to push it away, it keeps slithering back.

I have had a really hard time lately.  Should I be realistic or keep the faith?  Part of it is coping with living childless right now.  Opportunities for motherhood are not completely out of the picture.  That door has not closed, but time is not on my side.

But, I do my best to remember to live the life I have now and embrace the love, joy and blessings I do have because sometimes what the heart wants, it does not get.  Actually, I just had a conversation about this concept with my fiance and how it relates to work, which has been a challenge in starting and establishing a second career.  I want to have a full-time position, but my field is competitive and jobs are limited.  It may take awhile, and it is important to consider at what cost as time keeps passing.  I have worked hard, but I may not get both.

T~ is a rock.  At least we have each other and he is dedicated to making the most of what we have.  I am happy to share my life with him.  And I remind myself again to breathe.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Arm Wrap Up

Yesterday was my last session of PT for my shoulder.  There were a lot of emotions.  Nearly eight months of therapy after a failed attempt of treatment from another care provider and fourteen months since the injury.

I am thankful for being able to get a second opinion and to then get the care I really needed and advocated to get in the first place.  I am thankful for the doctor who believed my pain and that I should not settle for partial healing and movement of my arm.  I am thankful that he referred me to a fantastic PT group who also took my concerns as real and my desire to get better as true.  The new doctor and PT group found it reasonable for me to want to be able to put on a coat without pain or hook my bra when getting dressed in the morning or to be able to sleep through the night.  They recognized that my injury and healing process were atypical and were not going to give up.  They were able to work with my injury so that I could avoid surgery or manipulation under anesthesia.

It took a long time, and with very slow and steady progress.  They did not place blame or make me feel badly for it taking so long to recover.  They focused on the forward progress no matter how small.  They acknowledged my efforts and were my cheerleaders.  They listened to all of the little, subtle details of what I observed or noticed along the way to make adjustments or tweaks in their treatment plan.  They did not make me feel silly for being frustrated by some of the limitations I had experienced in my range of motion.   They were glad that I wanted to be able to throw a baseball again or reach for the cereal on the top shelf or be able to make snow angels.  I did not just want to settle for partial results.  Sure, I may not get back to exactly how my arm was before the accident.  But, I don't have to settle for good enough.  They understood that I wanted to get back to as close to my normal, which may be a bit farther than most because of me being hypermobile or naturally more flexible.  It was not a crazy expectation or unrealistic.  It was just me wanting to be me again.

So, before I left on that last day, I thanked the PT therapists who worked with me.  I also thanked other staff for their patience and kindness.  Once I stepped out of the hospital, I cried a little bit.  Tears of relief, tears of saying good-bye and tears of thankfulness.  Hopefully, it is over and my arm can heal that last five percent on its own with my own exercise, regular living and time.  I am walking away feeling confident in the medical care I finally received.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Blogging Relationships

Sometimes after commenting on another person's blog post, you realize that your comment could make a good blog entry.  I found Mel's post, Don't Starve the Good Bloggers, to be an interesting read.  It suggests diverting the energy in responding to trolls towards supporting the bloggers you enjoy reading and where their story, their writing touches you.  I like the idea of investing in others and sharing kindness.  The comments from the post seemed to follow a conversation around how people post comments or how often they receive them.  It reminded me of fostering relationships and friendships.  Below is my response to the post and its dialogue.

I think the blogging relationship between readers and writers follows similar patterns of friendships over a lifetime.  Some people are long time friends, some are casual friends, and some are work friends.  Some are neighbors or people you have met through a common interest, like going to the gym or taking an art class.  Some have that instant kinship or that feeling like you have been friends your whole life, and then a new chapter begins.  They will always be dear to your heart and you might miss them.  Some friendships ebb and flow where there are periods of closeness and periods of distance, but then closeness again.  People's lives change and we may go down separate paths.  The most fortunate of friendships are the ones that you can pick up right where you left off, no matter the time between.

For me, I feel like I am in a very small niche of the IF community.  When I started my blog, it was after the active TTCing and shortly after my marriage had ended.  It was and has been a way for me to process what I went through and the lingering shadows that follow me now.  I had made friends in the IF community from another source of support online before everything fell apart [in my marriage] and followed them here.  So, upon entering the blogging community, I started with a very low readership because I was not actively trying.  It has never been huge.  Who would read about "their worst nightmare?"  But, I keep writing for me and maybe, maybe it might be of help for someone out there.

And I've kept up in reading this blog [Stirrup Queens] because I enjoy what Mel has to say and because I have found some voices who have been through kind of what I am going through and are on the other side, the side without children.  It gives me a light in how to live right now as a childless person.  I may get another chance to try to be a mother, but not at the moment.  I find comfort in knowing if I have the opportunity to try to be a mother, I am connected to a place where others are actively trying.  But, it is also a space that if I remain childless, that there are women here to show me I'll be okay.

Thank you to all who read my blog!  Thank you to those who post comments, as well!  Thank you to the lovely ladies who have shared in their friendship with me beyond the online world and IRL!  Hugs!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Good Reminder

Read a microblog post that had a fantastic quote.  So, I'm borrowing it and putting it here so I can come back to it as needed.

"Be soft.  Do not let the world make you hard.  Do not let the pain make you hate.  Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness."--Kurt Vonnegut

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Watching From the Sidelines

It's not just me who sits on the sidelines...

When my parents came to visit, we all spent a day at the pool.  Growing up, my dad was the big kid joining in the fun with me and my brother, cousins or neighborhood kids in the pool.  I think in part it comes from my dad's youthful, playful spirit.  He would toss us in the air, ending in a splash of giggles and asking him to do it again.  Or he would make big waves in the pool with his long arms.  Or we would shout our requests for him to do cannon balls or jack knives.  In part, I think it comes from him growing up in a family of one in thirteen with a large extended family.  There was always a mix of ages and always children around.  As he grew older, his older siblings started having children, so there had been a pretty steady flow of youth in the family.  And it was fun to play and laugh and enjoy each other.

There was a small group of boys in the pool with their rough and tumble play.  It could have been a scene from my dad's youth with him and his brothers.  Growing up, Dad would have joined in our silly fun for just a moment.  But, these were not his children or nieces or nephews.  Of course, he would not initiate any interaction; it would not be appropriate by any means.  But, I felt like I could see the twinkle in his eye as he smiled and chuckled at the boys on the edge of mischief as he stood along the side of the pool.  There also seemed a kind of hesitation or a faint sadness.  Maybe that is me projecting my feelings of loss. But, these were not even his grandchildren.  If I can't give him one, will he ever get to be in that moment again...to experience the joy of a child that is part of your family, your inner circle and play?  Has the moment passed?  Has it passed for me?  And for him?

Microblog Mondays

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Back to School

Labor Day has come and gone.  The last of the flurry of pictures and posts of the first day of school pics has just about wrapped up from the last few weeks.  Lots of proud Moms and Dads.  I am happy for my friends and family.  But, I am tired of feeling sad.  It's not just the baby pictures.  But even more as of late, seeing my friends and family send their children off to school makes me feel like my dream of a child is shrinking and so far away.

The twins would have been in Kindergarten.

Microblog Mondays

Friday, August 29, 2014

Up in the Air

Literally and figuratively...spending time on a plane and traveling and what possibilities lay ahead.

August and July have been all over the place as far as my career.  Things seem to be going well with my part-time position in that my work is appreciated by the families and my team.  It feels good to have that kind of success and I am grateful.  My hours have fluctuated up and down and now probably up by a lot, but still not full-time right now.  There have been changes in the company and one of my coworkers took another position.  So, I'm taking it one day at a time and do the best work that I can.

With things still not being full-time, I had followed a couple of promising leads.  However, I have not been successful, but have been SO close.  Both said it was a difficult decision, but want to keep my information on file should something come available.  Fingers crossed!

But for now, I will have to let go.  As I have said before, interviewing gets me dreaming and there is so much that I want in my life, my life with T~.  I would like a steady full-time job, healthcare benefits, retirement benefits, a house, travel, and to be in a place that when we are ready to start trying to have a family that we feel ready and not scrambling for the next steps to get us there.  It is hard getting your hopes up and to then be let down.  I am sad because I really wanted the last position, but it is all out of my control.  I did the very best that I could.  They really liked me, but the other person had just a little more experience in the specific department they were hiring.  It hurts to keep putting yourself out there.

Thankfully, T~ is very supportive and he understands that I need a break.  He admitted that he did not realize how competitive my field really is and underestimated how long it would take to get a full-time job.  Right now, I'm going to focus on my current job and enjoy some normalcy in my life.  It will be nice to focus on my life with T~, make wedding plans and slow down to enjoy life's simple pleasures.  I will accept the peace in my life and the other things will come in time.  I will keep hoping that the things in my daydreams will come in time.  And I will keep reminding myself to be thankful for the blessings in my life.

Then, T~ and I got to get away for a long weekend to go to Gen Con, a gaming convention, where I got to enjoy trying new board games.  It was nice to spend time with T~'s friends, too.  And it was nice to explore more of Indianapolis and be away to relax.  We both needed it and I hope we can plan for more time away soon, even if it is for a weekend.

And finally, between all of this running around, T~ and I decided to look into a new apartment with our lease being up in September.  We have been packing and doing all of the stuff that goes along with moving while trying to keep it loose in case plans changed.  But, as the month wrapped up, most of the stuff that was up in the air is now more clear.  We will be moving to the other side of Orlando, which will greatly help with my commute.  We are looking forward to having our first home together where we move into it as a couple.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

He Asked Me to Marry Him...

And I said yes!!!

I am over the moon happy.  :)  My heart feels so full and I am just bursting and I can hardly put it into words.  I love T~ so very much and I am so happy he loves me so.  We both cried and his proposal was loving and thoughtful and special.

I am so excited for the next steps in our lives together, to share in a life together!  I feel so blessed!

We're going to be getting married!!!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Full House

A couple of months ago, T~ and I were doing a couple of test runs using Facetime on his iPad.  He was letting me borrow it for an interview.  At first we tried his older brother and sister-in-law with their two children, but they were not picking up our call.  They often Facetime with T~'s mom so he knew they had an account.  No luck.

Then, we tried T~'s younger brother and sister-in-law.  They answered the call and said they would help out.  After we got it set up and connected on Facetime, T~ asked his brother how he was doing.  He gave a vague answer and they both seemed quiet and almost kind of shy.  Knowing his brother, T~ softly teased and asked his brother again and called him out on that something was up and to just say it.  Looking back at his wife who was sitting beside him, they seemed to exchange looks.  She smiled and he seemed somewhat in disbelief and then he said they were going to be having a baby.

We congratulated them and they were happy.  They asked us not to tell anyone yet because the news was still new.  They had been TTC for about two years and were in the process of considering possible IVF treatments when they naturally got PG.

T~ and I suspect that they had just found out.  The timing of the news, the EDD and their reaction during the conversation.  Plus, they asked us not to say anything.  It felt like such a private moment between them that we just happened upon.  It was one of those rare intimate moments that you witness between a couple and you feel like an observer.  It is beautiful, but you feel a little awkward having witnessed it and out of respect for their privacy.

After our brief conversation and learning of their news, T~ and I said our good-byes.  We looked at each other barely taking it all in when T~'s older brother suddenly called on Facetime.  Still in shock of his younger brother's news, we fumbled through the conversation with his whole family and their mother, who was visiting.

Glad that we had kept our word about the news and once the Facetiming was finished, T~ asked me how I was feeling.  It was very kind and thoughtful of him to ask.  He didn't want to see me hurt.  But, I wasn't.  T~'s younger brother and sister-in-law knew that I experienced IF during my previous marriage.  I told T~ that news of babies can affect me differently.  Most times when I hear about a couple that has been TTC, I do feel happy for them without hesitation.  I think it does not make me sad because I can relate to the pain they have gone through to get that BFP.  They appreciate the miracle of conceiving a child.

So, fast forward to the present where T's younger brother and sister-in-law have already shared the news with their families...and why I can post about this story now.  In the sharing of their news, they also made a video and posted it on Facebook and YouTube.

T~ was excited to share the video with me, proud future uncle to his younger brother's child.  We watched it together and it was beautiful and touching.  And not even halfway through I started to cry.  T~ said he was sorry that he showed me the video and felt he had been thoughtless in that it did not cross his mind how I would feel.  I told him not to apologize, but I appreciated his concern.  I told him I was glad he showed me the video--he was being a proud uncle-to-be and sharing his life with me.  I would not want him to hide that.  I told T~ that it was a combination of happy tears and sad tears because I could relate to so much of it.  But, there are more happy tears than sad ones.  And this will not be the first or the last time that I will probably cry.  I told T~ that it is okay.  I would rather share in his life, his happiness.  I think my reaction may have helped him understand on another level just how big of a deal it can be to have a child.  It truly is a blessing.

The video took my breath away.  It really is beautiful and I am happy for them with all of my heart.  At the end of it, I had a feeling of yay, you did it!

Click here for the link.

Monday, July 7, 2014

It Became Real When I Called My Mom

"No, Mom," I calmly paused to let the words be taken in and to allow myself to take a patient breath. "My body cannot naturally carry a child.  I should be able to get pregnant, but my body does not produce enough of the right hormone to sustain a pregnancy."

And then my mom sobbed into the phone and the biting sadness of it finally felt real.

There have been times in my life when I wanted to cry, but it just would not come out.  It could have been shock, denial or just plain stuck deep within me.  But I know that pause within myself and know it is only a matter of time before it all comes tumbling out.  And when it does, there is some relief in the release.

It was in May when it was seriously brought to my attention that there could be another reason why it was taking so long for my arm to heal from its injury in September.  It seemed that I had frozen shoulder, which usually occurs in older women and my medical providers were confused because I am younger than the typical onset age for such slowed healing and that I am in good shape and exercise regularly.  It was narrowed down to three possibilities--diabetes, early menopause or hypothyroidism.  So, I did some follow-up with an endocrinologist and my Ob/Gyn in late May and early June.  

Thankfully it is not diabetes or early menopause.  However, I have borderline hypothyroidism.  Right now I do not need medication to treat it as far as daily living goes.  But, the endocrinologist's nurse practitioner warned that if I wanted to get pregnant, I should come in to start medication otherwise I greatly risk losing the baby.  She was getting ready to gently, but firmly, lecture me on why it is important to take this medical advisement into consideration and that the risk is real.  I kindly interrupted her and shared briefly about my past experiences with IF.  While in the past it was related to my previous spouse's health and not mine, I was fully appreciative of the seriousness of the situation.  She paused and backed off some and said usually people do not really get it and she is trying to protect them from getting hurt because they often come in for the medication once they find out they are pregnant, but by then it is often too late to sustain the pregnancy.  She was doing her job.  I'm just glad that she listened to me.

Even though this seems to be a medically manageable situation and there could be worse news, it still has its own heaviness and sadness.  Some of the spontaneity of trying to have a baby feels lost.  If or when that time comes, it will not be as easy as just kind of going for it.  It will have to be planned, an appointment scheduled and then a follow-up before really trying.  It is also another obstacle on top of my age.  It's not turn my world upside down kind of news.  It more like the deflating of a balloon.  

And it is important for me to be able to recognize that feeling.  Just give me a moment.  I am also a little sad because things have been going well with T~ and me.  As I have been allowing myself to daydream about a possible future together, part of that has included the possibility of a child.  Just as I feel like I'm getting to a place in my life that the possibility of having my own family could maybe happen, this news shakes that up.  A tremor, not an earthquake, but still unsettling in its own way.  As the years tick by, I've almost been somewhat preparing myself to accept if I am not to have a child how to have happiness and fulfillment in my life as it is.  Then as things have been unfolding with T~, the dreams of a child, a family awaken again.  Straddling these two worlds is not easy.  And this recent news with my health has a bit of a dampening effect.

However, on the flip side of this news, if I were to try to have a child, at least I can be proactive about it.  Having this information will save some heartache had I been trying and not been successful.  And of the diagnoses out there, this one seems to be a bit more manageable...maybe, I have not tried or done the research, but that is what I am hoping.  Also, there are no antibodies, meaning that I had always had this condition or was predisposed to it.  Sometimes you can not have it, but if a parent does, then your body will create antibodies, which will eventually turn and attack your thyroid and then you develop hypothyroidism.  Long story short, for me I find some comfort knowing this has always been present and it is not like if I had tried getting pregnant when I was younger that would have changed things too much.  I would have been angry if I learned that I could have become pregnant had I not been with my previous spouse for so long.  He made a lot of hurtful claims at the end of our relationship that he was never serious about the marriage and really did not care about having children.

But most of all, I am thankful that I could talk to T~ about it.  We have had conversations in the past about not taking either of our fertility for granted.  He remains positive and said that he is open to adoption, as he has said in the past.  I truly believe him and I think T~ is the kind of man who could love any child and call them one of his own.  As T~ has said before and continues to say it, love is what makes a family.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Fighting Sleep

Where did June go?  So much is happening.  It is hard to keep up.  But, I try to take it one day at a time and be thankful for my blessings.

But, recently I find myself fighting sleep.  I am tired, but I just can't seem to go to bed.  I know why.  I am stressed.  There has been a lot of change since the start of the year.

The other part is that I have been avoiding writing about it because if I write about it, then it is real.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Seashells and Sunshine

Sometimes things seem so perfectly timed, but were unplanned to begin with.  I love when spontaneity makes life feel magical and alive.

Last weekend, a college friend of mine invited T~ and I to join her, her husband and their child at the beach.  They were staying at her dad's beach house for a couple of weeks on a private island along the Gulf of Mexico.  Within a few hours we made the plans and the next day T~ and I drove out to the coast.

It was a lovely weekend and exactly what I needed at just the right time--time with an old friend, a weekend away from home, time at the beach, sharing my friends with T~ and spending time in good company.  It was just the right amount of time spent with good people, nature and taking it easy with no real plans.  I felt relaxed, rejuvenated and free--things I haven't felt in a long time.  And I loved sharing my friends with T~.

One thing that I enjoyed about the weekend was just being lovey with T~.  We had an opportunity or two to go walking on the beach just the two of us.  We had some meaningful conversations.  I shared with T~ that I am tired of waiting to live my life and that I don't want to put things on hold until the rest of life catches up to be just so.  We talked about us and our future and hoped next steps while collecting shells and walking along the surf.  I felt beautiful, content and happy.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Work Life Balance

A large part of my career change was inspired from experiences volunteering in children's hospitals.  It is very humbling, heartfelt work and a privilege to help others in a time of need--to bring comfort, confidence or everyday living.  There were many small steps that all seemed to fall into place and fit very well with the wisdom that everything happens for a reason.  I loved teaching, but I am also blessed for this new direction and still being able to use my educational background to help children and families.

However, another benefit was that I was searching for a career that may lend itself better to work life balance for me.  Teaching is an art, and like many artists, the work does not leave you when you go home.  It is ever evolving and ideas crop up at anytime.  I loved and thrived on the creativity.  Sometimes it felt like I was ever problem solving in how to better teach children, help them figure it out and build a community, or at least that was how it was for me.  Summer was a time to recharge from the grind of the school year in its marathon style to prepare kids for the next step, the next grade level.  But, of course summer was not always "off," as there were classes to keep up on certification or the draw would come back and I would find myself doing some research or a mental homework of sorts in how the next year would be different.  I was very invested in my teaching and I cared a great deal for my students.  I always knew I would say good-bye at the end of the year.  And kids and families have a way of touching your heart.

Some people said that it would be different when I had kids of my own, that your priorities change.  Sometimes that left me with a bad feeling, like I cared too much about my work or that what I was doing wasn't really that important.  But one teacher told me, it is not that you care less about what you do, but that over time you figure out how to do it faster, be selective in your tasks and make room for your own children.  That seemed more reasonable and sensitive.

Then IF and divorce entered my life.  At the time I was substitute teaching after relocating for my former husband's work.  I was not sure how I was going to be able to continue teaching.  Going into the classroom broke my heart.  I was still very good at it, but there was a shift.  I realized that teaching was somehow integrated into my life dreams that were slipping away.  There was a hollow feeling of sorts, and that I was a shell of myself.  I almost felt like I was just going through the motions, which I was not so much really because I was very attuned and in the moment with my students.  But, everywhere I looked was a reminder of what was gone...a marriage, family and a dream of children.  I needed a change to give myself the space and time to heal.  It was difficult to imagine re-entering the regular classroom.  What if I never had a child of my own?  What would happen then?  Would teaching consume me?  I felt there was a slippery slope for me that I would risk becoming one-dimensional, single and alone with only dedication to my career as my life and that I would get lost.  Teaching is a noble profession, but I did not want to risk losing myself, my happiness and potential to expand as a person at a time in my life when I felt vulnerable.  Fortunately, I was self-aware to know that it would be easy for me to get lost in my work instead of true self-care.  Some people did not understand, but I was fortunate that I was able to go to graduate school full-time.  Many of the small pieces along the way pointed me towards my new career and I decided to take a chance.

While I am still finding my footing in my new career, I think I made the correct choice.  It is nice to be able to end the work day and not bring home additional work on a regular basis.  As with many jobs, there may be times that you bring work home.  But, it is considerably less and allows me to really spend more time with loved ones and friends.

Over the last several months, I have lost some of that work life balance.  Looking for new career opportunities and starting a new part-time job can kind of do that.  I has been frustrating for me because I want loved ones, family and joy in living to be important.  Sometimes it has felt like I have been in survivor mode and trying to take care of basic needs.  It is important, but after awhile there is a longing for normalcy--to be able to better enjoy free time, make plans for the future and just be.  It is one reason why I have not been writing as much in my blog.  I think that is understandable. 

Slowly, things are getting back on track to a degree.  I have had more to write about, too--actually a lot to write about.  But, I have not had the time to do so.  During the month of May, I kept a post for myself with a running list of things to blog.  So, that is what I have been doing during the first part of June, going back and writing the posts that I wanted to write.  I felt it was important for me to go back and add them in as a way to document my life and thoughts so they better reflected the timeline of them.  So, if you are now coming across this post and really want to catch up on my blog, I suggest you taking a look at May.  Hopefully, I can also get back some of that work life balance that I was in the process of learning when I left Pittsburgh and beginning to enjoy when I came to Florida.

More to come...

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Wanting to Know the Secret

As I believe I have mentioned before, there are times when I am drawn towards articles about relationships, especially after having been through divorce.  At first, I read them to try to glean reasons why my past relationship ended in divorce.  Then I read them when I began dating to learn more about beginning new relationships and to reset my expectations as I embraced dating as an adventure.  But, eventually I wanted to come to a place in my life that I would be ready and wanting marriage with that right special person.  I am hopeful for that with T~.

So, now the relationship articles that catch my eye are more about how to have loving, fulfilling long-term relationships.  There was one, which of course I cannot find now, that was about the secrets of older couples and the common characteristics their relationships had.  I want be married again, and when I do, I want it to last.  But, as I read this article, I could not help but be reminded of my relationship with my previous husband.  I felt sad because at some point I thought he was my best friend.  Briefly, my feelings of grief returned with a faint longing of having hoped it would have worked.  It is not at all that I want it back or him, it was more of a feeling of mourning something lost.  I did not like these feelings or that I thought about my previous husband when reading the article.

After a few weeks, I decided that feelings get stirred up now and again.  And more importantly, it takes time to build a foundation for a solid relationship with depth.  It is more about knowing that I want that with T~, and that it will take time to get there.  Life is not a race, but a journey and one that I want to share with T~.  I have decided to focus on what I am thankful for in my relationship with T~ now and what I appreciate about him.  He is loving, patient and kind.  He pays attention and is thoughtful and sensitive.  He makes me laugh and loves to surprise me.  I am so thankful he is in my life!  I hope I am doing the same for him so that he feels loved and supported, too.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Leading into Mother's Day

As the years pass, Mother's Day does get easier for me.  I am still in that space in my life that a child could be a possibility.  The acute pain is not as it was when I was actively trying to be a mother.  The sorrow is more distant, somewhat of denial and somewhat of acceptance.

However, it feel like there is a greater presence in advertising for Mother's Day during the week leading into it this year.  I could be wrong.  But, there seems to be more news stories, advertisements on web pages, FB memes and pictures of Mother's Day teas.  My plan is to avoid social media and the internet on Mother's Day, but I am finding myself having to ramp back earlier because the celebrating feels like it is extending into a week.  It is good for people to express true gratitude for their moms.  I just have mixed feelings.  I am trying to balance protecting myself and not hiding from the world.  It seems silly, selfish and sad to feel pain from expressions of love.  I want to be happy for others, but I also don't want it all so much in my face.

I had a few tears when I picked out the card for my mom this year.  She has been so supportive, loving and patient and I am so grateful for so wholly feeling her love.  As the years pass, I become increasingly aware of my parents' mortality.  They have some health issues, but they are managed for now.  I cannot help but think that time is limited.  It is limited just as much for me as much as it is for them, or more.  If I ever get to a place of motherhood, will they be able to enjoy it?  It is a question that lingers in my mind, especially as I see friends who are experiencing ill health and death with their parents.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Twin Quiz

I confess, I am a junky when it comes to taking the personality quizzes you find on facebook.  I rarely post my results, but I love taking them!  Yes, I want to know what kind of house I should live in or which Disney princess I would be or which two words describe me.  And just when I think, I am done with this silly, mindless time suck, there appears the next quiz to fill the hole of gaining more personal insights.  Haha!  I am such a sucker.  :)

But, there was a quiz that gave me pause.  At first, I was just going to pass on it.  But, then I saw a guy friend post his results and thought what the heck?  The quiz was called, "How Many Kids Are You Going to Have?"

I wasn't sure if I wanted to know the answer because I was a little afraid it would say "zero."  Then, I went back to my friend's results and his comment.  He is single and got "one" and made a hopeful remark that sounds about right and that he hopes to meet a good woman someday.  It struck me as simple, honest and sweet.  So, I took the quiz.

My result was "twins."  The blurb said something about two for the price of one--in maybe wanting one pregnancy, but being blessed with two.  It made me smile.

As I am getting older, I find that I am changing my thoughts on family building.  When I was younger and in my twenties, I daydreamed of having four to six kids.  Over time, that number is decreasing.  It is in part because of practical reasons, time and managing expectations.  But, it is also in part with wanting less, to simplify things in life--like having a smaller home, less things.  My mind has been shifting towards thinking that maybe one child is all that I would want--to be able to devote more attention, time and resources towards them.  But, getting the result of twins makes me happy because maybe deep down I still do want more than one child.  There is also something very special about twins.  It speaks to me somehow.

The quiz gives me hope.  It is not too late.  It is validating in that it is okay to still playfully dream of a child.  That I am still deserving to be a mother, maybe someday.

Friday, May 2, 2014

My Stuff

When T~ asked me to move in with him, I was over the moon happy.  I still am.  :)  Things were progressing in our relationship and I was hopeful that was where we were going next in our relationship.  When things changed with my job, I was afraid that would be derailed.  It was not and it actually bumped up the time frame.  And we were good with that.  I felt so loved and thrilled and couldn't wait to move and be done with it.  In fact, from the day T~ asked me to move in with him, we spent every night together.  The move was slow and took two months, but we were living together from day one.  I am so thankful that it went the way it did.

T~ and I were both sad that the whole moving in together didn't go as we once imagined.  When we initially tossed around the idea, our intent was to move into a new place together.  A fresh start for both of us in this new chapter.  But, things didn't go that way, and I moved into his place.  T~ has made every effort to make the apartment feel like our place.  We have a good balance of each person's furniture and decorative things.  The rest is in storage in a garage where we live.

Somewhat secretly, I felt very relieved that we have a place to store extra things.  I know stuff is just stuff and it doesn't really matter.  Stuff can be replaced.  But, I was so glad that we didn't have to sort through and decide what stays and what goes in order to condense things down.  As much as I have been wanting to move in with T~, I am not ready to give up some of my stuff.

My stuff is kind of like a security blanket.  I'm scared sometimes.  I was married once and thought it was going to last and it didn't.  I've been hurt before and it took a long time for me to be where I am.  I have the stuff I need to live independently and comfortably.  I am afraid to get rid of any of it for fear of something similar happening.  I don't want to have to build that up again, especially since I feel like I am so far behind in life.

It is not that I have doubts in my relationship with T~.  It is just that I know how awful it can be to have your life turned upside down, ripped apart and shattered when it was the farthest thing from your mind and that it all happened so fast.  I am afraid of that happening again.  When you have been burned before, you know how bad it can be and want to avoid that kind of hurt again.

There have been times that I felt silly or badly about wanting to hold onto my stuff.  I don't feel like it is about having doubts in the relationship.  It may be more like doubts in believing in my own judgement or that I deserve to be happy.  Sometimes I am afraid of the good things in my life, only to have them taken away.  I am afraid of getting too comfortable.

I know some of these feelings are normal, as I read similar things from another blogger who divorced and remarried.  She was lucky to have a partner who was patient and understanding and let her hold onto her extra stuff.  I think it takes a kind, selfless person to know it is not about them and to allow the other person to get there  in the time they need on their own.

But, eventually if I want a more permanent life with T~, I will have to let go of some of my stuff.  It is silly to keep it all.  Fortunately, T~ is patient and understanding.  There is no rush to narrow things down.  So, I can hold onto my stuff for now until I can build enough trust that one day I will be able to do it.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Fix You

Somewhere along the way this past year or so, someone said something about God that really spoke to me.  It seemed to click with a peaceful acceptance.  I have always believed that things happen for a reason.  But then someone took it a step further.  They said that God presents us with challenges for one of three reasons.  He is trying to help you to grow.  He is using you to help someone else to grow.  Or, He is moving you out of harm's way.

I like that.

So when I am feeling like I am in an emotional place of betweens, I find it helpful to listen to Coldplay's Fix You.  It is just the right balance of releasing sadness and turning towards hope.  It allows me to grieve and honor what was lost--a dream, something that showed promise or a change in direction.  Sometimes it is a person, a place or a plan.  But by listening to the music, it helps me to let go.  That is not easy for me.  I want to hold on tight.  I want to hold it all and stay in that moment.  But, that is life.  Life is change.

This is also a song I play for myself when I feel close to being afraid--just near that space before the tipping point, the anticipation of change and that somehow life will soon be significantly different.  Again, it is change and sometimes laced with fear.  But then I will listen to the song and it helps to bring me past all of those mixed up feelings.  And as the tempo rises and the music becomes more bold, I feel as though I can get through it, get beyond it and there is hope.  Sometimes I can imagine myself running in the brisk, cool air while building my speed to a sprint at the end of a great run.  It is a sense of soaring wrapped in determination and confidence.

The theme of returning home reminds me of a safe place, a place of roots and grounding where I am always loved.  It reminds me of my family and their unconditional love, supportive friends embracing joy and giving it up to God.  Letting Him fix you.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Mopey March

Hopefully, this is the last retrospective post for a while.  I want to get back into writing more regularly.  I feel better when I do write.  It is cathartic.

So, March highlights:
  • Still looking for employment and on the roller coaster ride of highs and lows of the job leads.  It is always a good idea to do your research while filling out applications and when preparing for interviews.  But in that research process, I start to picture my life in the alternate possibility and I get my hopes up.  It helps to build my confidence up, get excited about the position and I interview better.  However, when I learn an answer is no, it is very sad for me.  I try to remind myself to take a deep breath and to keep trying.
  • Life has felt imbalanced in that I feel like I am always working--trying to find a job, going to appointments for my arm and moving.  Super happy to be moving in with T~, but moving is stressful.  It is not uncommon for people to revert to old patterns or habits when they are under stress.  I found myself unnecessarily walking on eggshells wanting T~ to be happy.  He noticed the overcompensation and thankfully called me on it in a loving, kind way.  I told him I realized that I was feeling apprehensive about being happy about us moving in together because it was almost like waiting for the other shoe to drop.  So many times in my life has it seemed that good things were on the horizon or within my grasp for a short time only to fall apart or to be taken away.  Fear is a terrible thing and I am trying to let it go and be more trusting that life is going to turn out okay.
  • I have found myself pulling away from people.  I get the feeling that I want to crawl into a hole and hide.  My pride is hurt and I feel embarrassed.  But, when I do spend time with friends and family, I feel better and refreshed.  I am grieving leaving my last job because I miss the good work I was doing, miss my co-workers and had hoped for so much--especially because I had hoped they would start hospital school services.  But, other parts of it were not a good fit.  I know that and take comfort in those that share how much they valued me as being part of the team.  I am thankful for their support as I find my next position.
  • Leaving my apartment was emotional.  It never really felt like home.  I liked my first apartment in Orlando better.  It felt more like home and had many more happy memories there.  This last apartment was during a change in the tide, one that I was hopeful would bring many good changes.  Then my career took a different turn and I am sad about that.  However, my relationship with T~ continued to grow.  But in the process of searching for a new job, I feel like some aspects of my life with T~ are being put on hold or constrained.  It is not easy, but I am thankful for our love.  Moving in with him is a blessing, both for us and closure.
  • I was also crazy sick with a terrible bug for almost two weeks right during prime moving time.  It was really hard to lay off of packing to let myself rest before the final push.  Thankfully there was help!
  • Finally got to see a specialist about my shoulder!  Back at PT, but with a group associated with a hospital.  It seems that I injured my arm to a greater extent than what was initially thought.  Because I am flexible and somewhat double jointed, my shoulder snapped back into place when most people would have torn it or broken it.  Not me.  It is thought that I not only strained ligaments, tendons and muscles, but also blood vessels and nerves.  This means probably a recovery that is twice as long.  But at least I feel that I am getting proper care.  That is huge, especially because I haven't been able to sleep without pain for about six months.
  • Then finally, finally--to end on a happy note--I was fortunate to do some volunteer work for a week.  It has been something I have wanted to do for a while and now grateful to be able to do so.  It was a wonderful life experience that demonstrates the power of humanity to be part of something greater--with meaning, joy and purpose.
March has been about taking it one day at a time, setting small goals and moving forward.

Friday, February 28, 2014

February Run Down

Time is strange.  While it feels like time just keeps flying, I also feel stuck and that things are moving slowly.  I am busy everyday but I wonder, how much am I actually accomplishing?  It is another back dated post, but I seem to want to jot down some notes so that maybe I can see some progress, movement or forward motion.

Looking for a job is a full-time job.  It is a constant cycle of researching, completing applications and following up.  There is always more.

My health is important and having insurance is a priority.  There is relief that I can get it, but it is expensive--the laws vary from state to state and there are so many variables as to who is eligible for reduced premiums.  My arm still hurts and I need care.

Emotional IF meltdown with a trifecta of triggers.
  • Read an article linked from a blog about new research suggesting that the decline of egg quality is more like in the range of 33 to 37.  It means that egg decline begins earlier than 35 and that the range ends more quickly than previously thought.  It is more like dropping off a cliff.  While I know getting pregnant at 35 or after is high risk and greatly reduced, I thought there was more time in the decline.  I thought the time to be more realistic for it not happening for me would be around 40 or 42.  If the cliff is 37, then I have about six months to get pg.  And that is highly unlikely because the timing has been derailed for me.  While I am in a relationship, it is not the right time for us.  We just moved in with each other, my career is unsettled and I am unsure where I may be living in a year.  Life feels like it is on hold again in some ways.  And while the pause button has been pressed, time keeps passing and my window of opportunity gets smaller and smaller.
  • This got me thinking about my age and I realized that I am older than what my mom was when my sister was born.  My mom had my sister when she was 35 and I was 11.  I look at what my parents had at my age--marriage, a house, children, career and being part of the community.  I am nowhere near that and I feel like I am just floating and drifting from space to space.  There are no roots, stability or routine.  Everything is up in the air.  While some envy the freedom of my life in having choices to make my life whatever I want, the reality is that I am limited in my choices.  The economy is really tough and I don't want to rush my relationship with T~.  Time is a limited resource.
  • Then I return to those urges where I so very much want to be a mom.  And I wonder, was having a sister 11 years younger than me as close to motherhood that I am going to get?  Will I only get glimpses of it through my godchildren?  Will I only experience it through the joy I feel for my friends as they share pictures and stories about their own children?  Is it just not supposed to happen for me?
March is coming and while I am not specifically sad about the twins, I think I am feeling that undercurrent of emotion.  It has quieted down this year.  I think that I have made significant gains in my grief over the loss of adoption of them.  I think these overwhelming emotions are more related to facing the possibility that I may not ever become a mother.  Time is not out, but at some point you have to face reality--even getting ready to face that possible reality.

The twins would have been five-years-old this year, preschoolers getting ready for Kindergarten.

Friday, January 31, 2014

January Blur

This is a back dated post.  January in many ways was a very tough month for me (on top of several tough months leading into it).  I don't know how to write about it.  I did everything I could do and I feel I came out stronger and more confident in myself in the end.  However, I'm not working at the hospital.  It was not the right fit.  I took a risk.  But in starting my second career, I need a place that is more established and with more resources in place.  So, I am looking for my next career opportunity.  Please send me prayers and good vibes to find the place I am meant to be and to call home.

In the meantime, I think about what my friend Karen said and what other dear friends have said to me in the past but with a twist.  When one door closes, another one opens.  But sometimes you may have to walk down a hall to find it.  It speaks about having patience and it may take time to find the right job for me. On a good note, I am blessed with supportive friends and family.

Of course, I believe that everything happens for a reason.  That reason may still be showing itself and unfolding.  Only time will tell and I try to free my mind to possibility.

Although, maybe one reason why I came to Orlando was to meet T~.  As a matter of fact, T~ has been amazing.  And despite these challenges, our relationship has grown.  We are fantastic.  He wants me to move in with him and I am.  :)  It feels right and I love him so very much!