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 double-locked...how 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 =)