Thursday, November 27, 2014

A Quiet Day of Thanks and Thought

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone, if this is a holiday that you celebrate.

Our Thanksgiving proper is so very quiet. Low-key. Not in a bad way, per se, but it contrasts so heavily with most Thanksgivings happening out there, and with the Thanksgiving we keep hoping to have but still haven't quite made it to.

We woke late, had a simple breakfast of cereal followed up by a delicious, miraculously gluten-free cheese danish that Bryce slaved over all day yesterday. Seriously, I have not been able to find a gluten free cheese danish, although I have been able to find cinnamon rolls and coffee cake, but not that flaky, buttery, sweet cheese-filled confection that I loved (probably too much) before I discovered such delicious things attacked my intestinal lining. Bryce found a pastry dough recipe that is incredible, buttery, flaky, croissant-like...and has brought cheese danish back into my life. God I love that man.

Since breakfast, we've just kind of relaxed, chilled, hung out. I'm reading Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty (so, so, good, if a bit difficult to read at times for personal reasons, but dead on and super suspenseful), Bryce is reading A Mathematical Introduction to Compressive Sensing, for FUN, and gleefully taking notes on index cards and filing them into his little organizer pouch. I took a break to vacuum the first floor including all the baseboards, very exciting, and we've just been sipping tea (me) and coffee (Bryce) and reading and listening to classical music while big fluffy flakes of snow fall outside.

It is a lovely way to spend the day.

But, it's SO QUIET.

We have our family Thanksgiving at my mom's tomorrow, when my sister, her husband, and one of her stepsons come down from northern NY. That will be more bustle-y, busier, but still on a small scale. We'd hoped to have my grandmother for part of the day, but her nursing home is experiencing a quarantine for respiratory viral infections and so no one is allowed out or in. Which is horribly disappointing, but for the better health of the residents, so I get it. Tomorrow is the celebration with other people, today is just us chickens.

Or ducks, because we decided to make a fancy duck breast thingamajig for dinner since it's just the two of us. Duck is fancier than chicken and they just don't make tiny turkeys. :)

It's fine, it's lovely, it's a beautiful cozy day. We're going to go for a snowy walk and then come back and start assembling our duck dinner complete with GF cranberry sage stuffing and bourbon sweet potatoes and roasted brussels sprouts. It's just so quiet.

Lately that quiet has been weighing on me. If there's not music playing I feel veritably suffocated by the silence. I just want little voices, even the wailing and whining but really the giggles and silly songs and chatter. I want our tiny Thanksgiving to be just a little bit...bigger. Louder. Fuller.

Not that I'm not grateful for the Thanksgiving we have. I have a lot, WE have a lot to be thankful for.

There's our house, which while seemingly hobbit-sized after our visit to The House two weeks ago is cozy and just right for the two of us, as is. It shelters us from the weather and feels like home. There's our health, which minus the hideous infertility and a smidgen of well-controlled asthma, is blissfully good. There's our friends and family, who support us and make us feel loved and happy. There's our careers, which are both wonderfully fulfilling and a bit exciting, if at times exhausting. There's our marriage, which I am forever grateful for, because it's the kind of marriage where we can just be and it's wonderful (even if I resent the silence and what it stands for), and we can laugh and play with each other and support each other and handle each other's bad days and handle the adversity we keep on facing with relative grace. I am so grateful for this love. I am so grateful for this life we share.

So I feel a little tad ungrateful when I have that voice in my head saying, "Yeah, you have all that, but it's so unfair that you don't have that ONE THING." And it's true, it's easy to list my blessings and feel amazingly fortunate, but that gaping hole in the middle makes it hard to concentrate on the things we do have instead of the essential element to our family that is missing. Still.

Maybe it's magnified by the drug cocktail I'm on, for I have taken my last dose of letrozole/Femara and am now onto the Follistim/Lovenox/Solution X combination. I am a little weepier in the face, a little stabbier in the ovaries, and a lot tireder in my body and soul.

I'm trying, I'm trying to be thankful for that beautiful list of things to be grateful for in our lives. I'm trying to do that at the same time I honor the loss of a high chair at our table, the ghosts of tiny voices ringing through our hobbit house. At the same time I feel a little pang when I see the tiny rocking chair that once was mine in the guest room, with the stuffed elephant sitting in it that was given to me by my mother when we were pregnant over two years ago and everything seemed so full of hope and fulfilled wishes. We are closer to that chair and elephant being appropriate than ever before -- we are in the middle of our crazy protocol that could very well end this hell for us, but if it doesn't, we have our plans in place. We are deep in Operation Make Us Parents and are hopeful that we will be well on our way in 2015, through maybe a different path than we started on, but headed towards that family we long for so deeply.

We are thankful, so thankful for the life we have while still feeling sadness for that life that remains a mystery to us. It helps in the quiet to reflect on what we have, because it's not insignificant. I just really, really hope that this is the last Thanksgiving that we're haunted by what we're missing.

Happy Thanksgiving to you, wherever you are in all this. I hope that today is a good day for you. I hope that you have much to be thankful for. I hope there is balance between the gratitude and the pain of loss, and that you have space to feel it all today.


  1. Happy Thanksgiving, Jess. Moved to tears. That suffocating quiet---yes. Sweetheart. Picturing you in the bustling, noisy chaos that is to come for you and B. Understanding that gratitude-while-sad state. Hoping hard for that gratitude-while-busy, and energized, and deafened by squeals state. Gonna happen.You are abiding with grace. LOVE xoxo

    1. Thanks, lady. I read this one to Bryce today and could not stop sobbing, so I'm strangely flattered that it brought you to tears as well. I so appreciate your support, especially as you are so close to your own immense change in quiet status! I was just saying over dinner, someday hopefully we are longing for these quiet days. Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. Such familiar emotion in this post. I often felt abundantly blessed, but couldn't fully appreciate it because of that hole. That huge, painful hole. I sincerely hope the loud, giggly, eat two bites of your meal because your too busy days are not too far ahead for you. It's so hard- I so get that, but I'll have to say, you seem to gracefully wander this path as difficult as it is.

    1. Thanks... I hope for grace but don't feel it a lot of the time. I love your hope, I can see it as you so beautifully described it and if I squeeze my eyes closed real tight I can see it for me... Thanks for your thoughts!

  3. The ladies before me said things so much more eloquently than I ever could. This is a beautifully sad post that is so well written. I don't doubt for a second that you appreciate all that you are blessed with, but the silence and all that it stands for can gut you so thoroughly. But it won't be so quiet there forever...I hear giggling, and coo-ing, and crying in your not-so-distant future.