Thursday, January 2, 2014

Christmas recap

I know Christmas isn't over yet...but we're back from our Christmas trip to visit Mr. M's family in the blizzardy North, and I'm back to work tomorrow, so Christmas vacation is just about done. (boo)

Christmas this year was...a lot of things. No one word to describe it, so I'll just share some stories.

Fantastic meeting with my spiritual director
My spiritual director lives in my husband's home town. He's the priest who married us and has become a really good friend. I arrange to meet with him whenever we're visiting, and this trip was no exception. The basic "theme" I shared with him was: "I feel stuck. My life is not panning out the way I wanted it to. Instead of being a stay-at-home, bread-baking, home-making mama, I have a stressful, demanding job while my husband is in school and the kiddoes are not coming. And I don't see any clear, immediate way out of it!"

(I explained to him how we have some medical options but are finding them difficult to schedule, and how adoption is a no-go as long as we live in our bedrooms-without-windows apartment.)

"Well," he said. "You do seem stuck!" Ahh...affirmation that I am not going crazy! 

Then he gave me two wonderful gifts. 1) the freedom - almost the "permission" - to do nothing for a while. In other words, my head has been aching as I pound it against doors that seem locked and about not pounding for a while, he suggested. Especially with the home / adoption situation - how about just letting it go for now. (Instead of, for example, scouring Craigslist to find another place to live or feverishly calculating our assets every month...) It's just so hard to "let go" for a while, because I'm afraid motherhood will never happen, you know? It was a good reminder that I can just live my life, keeping my heart open to the "next step" but stop pursuing it so frenetically...

And 2) he affirmed the goodness of my life, the goodness of my marriage, how I am not incomplete or lacking or somehow "less than" simply because I'm not a mother. It's crazy how easily I believe the lie that I need a child in order to be fulfilled/worthwhile/fill in the blank. Of course I desire motherhood so very badly...but it was so good and nourishing to hear (from a priest too - extra bonus) that God loves me and my life is valuable, here and now. Mother or not.

Not-so-fun family get-together
Over Christmas, Mr. M's extended family has a big ol' party. His mom is one of 10, so there are lots of aunts, uncles, cousins, and little kiddoes. It's a great group of people (and great food) but my IF insecurities were raging big time...ugh, I was just feeling so jealous and left out as the cousins with little kids (two have four each) were fawned over and everyone wanted to be around them and their adorable kids in Christmasy outfits. In comparison, we're just boring old adults who don't do anything cute...(even typing, this sounds awful, but I imagine many can relate...)

There was a really hard encounter too: we're talking with a cousin, about Mr. M's age, and ask, "Where's your wife?" "Oh, she's at home not feeling well. The second trimester has been pretty tough on her." Whoa...we didn't even know she was expecting. That was a really tough moment because the last time I saw this couple, the wife was complaining to me about how her mother-in-law was pressuring her to have kids and she didn't know if she wanted to yet, etc. etc.

Even worse, the cousin then asks us, in an irritatingly nonchalant voice, "So, when are you two having kids?" I utterly hate that question...the "when" drives me up the wall. As if it's just a question of flipping a switch or something!! I was already thrown off by the surprise pg announcement so I said (probably not too nicely), "Actually, we've been trying since we got married, so that's kind of a touchy subject. So far God hasn't blessed us." I think he realized it wasn't the right question to ask...which it wasn't! Why do people think that's any of their business anyway?

Thank goodness there was alcohol at the party...that encounter really threw me off balance, although I guess I shouldn't be surprised at other people's rudeness...I was probably rude in return, mea culpa. (The cousin did apologize to Mr. M, out of my earshot.)

And to end on a happy note...

Lovely time with nieces and nephews
When I'm with our eight nieces and nephews (they all live in Mr. M's home town), I almost forget about being childless. They are just so fun! They're between the ages of 10 and 16 and we just had a blast over break playing charades, making bracelets, watching the Hobbit, looking at all their Christmas loot...I love being an aunt and I wish so much they all didn't live 6 hours away!

Lovely Christmas gifts
I know Christmas is not about the gifts...but I was pretty pleased with mine nonetheless =) New cozy pajamas with matching slippers, a mini French press to take to work, the game Dominion, gift cards to Joann's for sewing supplies, etc. Made me feel loved =)

Onto the new year
We spent new year's eve with another married couple at their place, playing games, eating, laughing. It was pleasant company and surprisingly I didn't feel completely depressed over another year ending without becoming a mother! I think the graces from Christmas and from my meeting with my spiritual director were still active, I guess. And there is something nice about a completely new, fresh, blank year. Of course I wonder if this will be "the" year...please please please God! I'm grateful to God for the gift of being grateful at New Year's, especially for my husband. Another year with him - I'll take it =)



  1. We can relate of wishing to see our life differently... It's hard, their is no way around it. 2014 marks 4 years now of waiting and with our move adoption is on hold too... Sending hugs! Wish we could do more to help!

  2. "God loves me and my life is valuable, here and now. Mother or not." Yes! Thank you. I need to play that on repeat in my head. It's so easy to forget, but so importantly true!

    This was a great update! Though I'm sorry Mr. M's cousin was so insensitive. Grrrr. I don't blame you for quickly finding the bar after that.

    What do you think of Dominion?? We got Munchkin and Agricola for Christmas and love them both. Extra bonus points to Agricola for being a good 2 player game. Munckin's cool too, but requires at least 3 people. Sigh. Another unplayed fun game, much like Catan.

    Happy new year, friend!

    1. Dominion is great!! Excellent for 2 players, a lot of variety and relatively quick (hour max). We want to try agricola next!

    2. hmmm... I need to look up these games... we love Catan, but play it so rarely as you need 3+ people!

    3. Yay for Dominion! We'll definitely need to check it out. Let me know what you think of Agricola. Also, here's the list I use to pick out favorite board games for couples now:

      I thought Biblios sounded interesting... "As an abbot of a medieval monastery, you compete with other abbots to amass the greatest library of sacred books." ... but I wasn't able to find it online. Quite, an interesting idea for a board game! :)

    4. I'll have to look into that game! Our new game of the year was "Ticket to Ride" which I actually ended up liking despite first impressions. Also, they played "Puerto Rico" after we left but ended up thinking it was pretty fun as well.

  3. Feeling "stuck"--and hating it, and trying to appreciate my current life and *live* it-- was such a huge challenge for me. It still is to some degree, as I am so so ready to be done with this job, but need to hang on til May for the health insurance. Thank goodness for your spiritual director :-)

    I really hope this is *the* year for you, too!

  4. Yay for an awesome spiritual director!

    I had to go back to work today - and yea, 6:00 am stunk :(.

    What a double whammy of the surprise announcement and then the comment - I've had a few moments like that, where I just couldn't smile and keep my mouth shut. Though, at least the cousin apologized - perhaps another ripple?

    Continued prayers for you my friend!

    1. I'm not particularly pleased with my reaction to the cousin...but you're right, I do hope at the least he learns to not ask that question of people! That would be a plus.

  5. Sounds like a great Christmas, with the exception of the nosy cousin. It reminds me that on Christmas morning, my sister was asking my youngest sister when they were thinking about having another kid and "hmm...not that so and so is 18 months old, I am sure you get asked this by other people, right?" My DH and I were sitting 2 feet away and I was praying that she wouldn't look at me, because seriously, I probably would have said something snarky and then gotten Christmas off to a rotten start. This the same sister that asked me a couple months ago "when are you going to have your second kid" and she knew that we had miscarried 2 children in the past year. My mouth dropped open and thankfully I didn't say anything I regretted, but seriously???

    I think you handled it gracefully and with tact actually. I don't know why people ask that kind of stuff. Last time I checked, what happens in my bedroom stays between my husband and I. Ugh...

    1. ...stays between my husband and I, until we are ready to make some pregnancy announcement down the line (if that is the case). Okay, I will shut up now...I hope that makes sense. :)

  6. I love that you got to meet with your spiritual director, and I LOVE his advice to you! Wonderful! Yes, I have absolutely been there with feeling left out while families with kids were the most interesting. It's rough. But I'm glad it sounds like things went well overall!

  7. Glad you could meet with your spiritual director. You time with your inlaws sounds like mine. I Luv ours neice's and nephews, but there is LOTS of cooing over the little ones, and is just feel out of place. Sounds like a lovely New Years!