Monday, November 29, 2010

A New Thanksgiving Tradition

This year, my darling husband decided to institute a new tradition. Rather than simply having everyone state what they were thankful for, he had us all tell each other what why we were thankful for them personally. He asked the person being talked about to sit facing away from the group and not say anything, so there would be less awkwardness and no chance to argue or downplay the nice things being said about them. Instead we had to sit quietly and just accept how much everyone loved us. You would think we would have all jumped at the chance to have our egos stroked like this, but everyone was humbly reluctant and uncomfortable, especially MS’s old-school grandfather, who we made go first. He is not one to emote or take compliments easily, so he resisted this “navel-contemplating” exercise, but finally submitted when we told him he couldn’t have any of my freshly-baked-from-scratch pumpkin and apple pies until this was done.

We started telling Poppy why we were thankful for him, beginning with his daughter, my mother-in-law. MS originally wanted to limit the time spent on each person to three minutes, but by the time she was finished talking about how much she loved her father and why, three minutes had passed and the rest of us hadn’t even spoken. So it took awhile, but it was worth it and we all enjoyed talking about why we were thankful for everyone. It is such a habit for me, and everyone, I think, to be picky and critical of others, to complain and find fault. I found it very uplifting and healing to focus on only the good in each person and being able to let them know how much I love them and why was something that I haven’t previously been comfortable doing, especially with my in-laws. We were all touched by the nice things said about us, and I was surprised at how they all perceive me, it is different than how I see myself, as I said, I tend to be a little critical of everyone but the absolute hardest on myself.

We all enjoyed the pie we earned and then MS and I headed to dinner at a restaurant with my family. When we got home we told them the same thing-we have to do this before you get pie. After a few groans and protests, my family also agreed. We started with my grandmother, then my dad, mother, sister, then Michael-Scott, and finally me. I was in tears nearly the entire time. When my father spoke he told me how I was so special to him because I was the one that made him a father, and that being a dad was the best thing he’s done in his life and it is so amazing. I cried because I was touched by what he said, but also because I know being a parent is one of life’s highest callings, it’s all I want, and I’m still so terrified that I might never be a mother. Overall though, it was an amazing experience. I am so grateful to my husband for suggesting this, it made the holiday so much more meaningful to everyone and brought us all closer by allowing us to express how we felt and appreciate and share love for one another in a way that we rarely do. I have never felt so much love for and so much love from my family as I do now, and I hope that their experience was similarly uplifting.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Bad Timing

When we first started dating, my husband and I talked about how our relationship was a bit like the movie When Harry Met Sally. They were best friends, had a lot in common, had this great chemistry, but they could never get their timing right for their relationship to work until the end.

Our relationship had been similar. I met my husband many years ago because I was dating one of his friends. My boyfriend at the time introduced me to all his friends and the instant I saw my husband I felt that butterfly-in-the-stomach nervous sense of excitement you get before giving a speech or, I would imagine, jumping out of an airplane. He made me nervous and excited I thought he was gorgeous. I won’t claim it was love at first sight, but it was something. Of course, I was happily dating his friend, and he was a good guy who would not actively pursue his friend’s girlfriend. Especially after I broke up with that boyfriend and dated yet another one of his friends. But he was always there, being cute and inexplicably frustrating me. I was always overly critical of his girlfriends and secretly thought that none of them were good enough for him. I was too dense to realize it was because I thought only I was good enough for him and honestly felt like there was no potential for a relationship between us, he just wasn’t right for me and I didn’t waste any time thinking about us ever being together.

It took us many years of sexual tension, late night talks and incessantly teasing and arguing with each other before we finally figured out we were meant to be together. The timing had never been right, but when it was it was amazing and we had that weird, movie magic moment of realizing that the right person had been there all along.

Now I feel again like my life is being consumed by timing and missed opportunities. I thought our timing was so awesome-we got pregnant right when we wanted to and it came at such a wonderful time for our family-what better news to temper my mom's diagnosis than the news of a new baby? The timing seemed perfect, and when I went through the loss one of the worst parts of it was dealing with it and with my mom, worrying that we might not get another chance for her to have a grandchild. The timing couldn't have been worse.

I am hoping that the same happily ever after end result that applied to my dating life will someday apply to my reproductive one as well. I hope that, as some of my well-meaning friends try to tell me, someday I’ll look at my family and realize it was all meant to happen the way it did, and that I’ll love my kids so much I’ll know that there was a reason why I went through this loss. I hope they’re right. It’s hard to imagine when you’re still waiting, trying and hoping.

Right now I just feel frustrated and upset that I should be big, pregnant, well into my third trimester and ready to pop early next year, and instead I’m losing weight, nowhere near pregnant and once again suffering at the hands of bad timing. MS is traveling so much for work, he is gone when I need him to be here. We’ve only been able to start trying again since last month, and it did not work, so this month I had a lot of hopes pinned on getting pregnant and having happy news to share with the family at Christmas, but, due to more bad timing, it’s not looking so good. I know I need to be patient but the idea that I’ll reach my first baby’s due date and still not be pregnant is upsetting and discouraging. I don’t know how I will handle that, except that I have seen so many other women handle that, or worse, with strength and grace, I hope I can be that strong, if I have to. More than that I hope I don’t have to face it at all.