Sunday, May 10, 2015

This Is Not (Really) a Mother's Day Post

This was my sixth Mother's Day where I am not a mother, but really, really want to be. Somehow, though, this wasn't quite so awful.

I have written so many Mother's Day posts before, where I talk about staying off of Facebook, and hanging out in my backyard so I don't have to see the Stroller Brigade and/or other people's festivities, and drinking lovely cocktails at 2:00 in the afternoon, and celebrating my own mother on a different day to save myself the torture of going out somewhere for brunch and witnessing the joy that everyone-but-me seems to have.

But this year? This year I almost missed writing a post near Mother's Day at all. Partly because life is ridiculously busy right now, with the merging of adoption (home study classes next weekend and last of paperwork in this week), my birthday, the kitchen renovation, and Bryce's grammie passing away. And partly because we inadvertently didn't really celebrate it this year.

Originally, I was going to host a brunch with my sister at my mom's house on Saturday. I was up for doing it on Mother's Day proper, but my mom wanted my sister to have more flexibility with her travel arrangements and so Saturday it was to be. My sister, who is very enthusiastic about our adoption plans, expressed interest in doing something just us ladies to celebrate our various ways of mom-ness. My mom for having us, her for having her stepsons, and me for having my soon to be baby. Except I'm not quite ready to celebrate that as if it is a given. We are not eligible yet; our home study is not complete. I don't know if I'll be a mom for NEXT Mother's Day, and so it seems premature to be celebrating my impending Mom Status now. Plus Mother's Day is still really, really hard. Did I mention there's been six of them without any change in my parental status? I felt badly, because she was bursting with joy and feeling like FINALLY, we can celebrate this holiday without this specter of loss for you! (My words, not hers.) But I'm not ready. That cloud is still raining on my Hallmark Holiday parade, and I have suffered too much loss throughout this journey to feel confident that I'll be a mom sooner than later and have the right to celebrate Mother's Day for myself. Still an empty hole where someday there will be joy on this day. So I politely declined and said I'd be happy to celebrate the two of them, but I wasn't ready to be included.

But it turned out I didn't have to walk that line of celebrating and feeling excited but nervous and like a Mother's Day imposter, because Bryce had a calendar snafu and made the whole Mother's Day celebration shift.

He called me on his way home from work last Friday, and was all excited. "I booked your birthday trip! I got us something really special! It's going to be great! We're not doing anything NEXT weekend, right?"

I felt horrible and didn't want to burst his bubble, but I kind of had to. "Um, nothing except it's Mother's Day..."

"SHIT SHIT SHIT! I can't cancel or I'll lose at least half the room fee! SHIT!"

So I let him know that it wouldn't be a problem, I would call my mom, I would explain the situation, we would move Mother's Day and celebrate it separately. And so I did. My mom was totally understanding, and so was my sister. And, in a way, I was kind of relieved. I could take my mom out on Wednesday to a lovely dinner and not worry about feeling awkward that I was the only non-mom in the room. And really, what's better for an infertile woman, albeit one who has started the adoption process, than to spend Mother's Day weekend in a B&B in Ithaca, far away from all the Mother's Day brou-ha-ha?

And so that's just what we did. My birthday weekend trip was AMAZING. I was able to (mostly) forget that it even was Mother's Day, and focus on a nice romantical weekend with my awesome, thoughtful, handsome husband.
Said handsome husband, in the rock garden on Cornell's campus.
We went to an Inn in Ithaca, right near the Cornell Campus. It was so neat, a very modern and almost industrial sensibility but with lovely details like a private deck. A private deck where we had our customary first-night-on-vacation glasses of champagne from a mini bottle, and then had delicious cheeses and a yummy pinot noir out there in our pajamas until it was time to go to bed:
Birthday/Vacation bubbles on the deck
Sunset view from the private deck
Using evil fertility medication coolers for good...
The next day, we enjoyed our homemade muffins for breakfast (mine gluten free, including a very yummy lemon streusel made with almond flour that was incredible) and coffee. The setup was a little off-putting, because you made your own coffee and everything was self-service, including the dishes, which wasn't made entirely clear ahead of time but was fine. Things like that are nice to know, because usually when you go away you don't want to have to do the chores you do at home. But, it left us on our own without needing to socialize much for most of our stay, which is kind of un-bed-and-breakfasty, but fine with us. We ate outside on the public deck, keeping company with the bizarrely drone-like carpenter bees. Those things are hilarious -- they are like giant bumblebees, but attracted to wood and super territorial. Also, you would hear a buzzing near you, and see a big hovery bee shadow RIGHT ABOVE YOUR HEAD, and when you looked up it would zoom off and then go right back to behind your head. Very disconcerting at first, but then kind of endearing. Like little alien spies hanging out with you all the time, reporting your movements back to the mother ship.

Saturday's big activity was walking ALL OVER the Cornell campus. Man, that is a beautiful (and huge) campus. It was gorgeous. And HOT. We are not used to this much sun. We went to all the places that a friend at school had highlighted on a map of the campus -- she'd gone there some time ago and knew all the really pretty things to see. So we visited Sage Chapel, and the student union (whose name I can't remember but it had a really pretty lookout over the hill and down to Cayuga Lake), and the A.D. Dickson house's azalea gardens, and the Cornell Store, which is completely underground and a mecca for interesting books. I may have spent some birthday money there and added to my giant stack of to-read next to the bed that is creating a fire hazard. I cannot WAIT for summer when I have more reading time! Sage Chapel was really gorgeous, although for some reason the heat was on. There were astronomical paintings on the ceiling above the buttresses, and stained glass and mosaics on the walls, and intricate stonework on the floors. There was a crypt of sorts with amazing sculpture work (of people gone by, but still beautiful) and more mosaics and stained glass. It was AMAZING. We felt really, really old walking around campus surrounded with people at least 20 years younger than us, but it was also kind of invigorating. It was a place that got Bryce all jazzed up about academia and his upcoming exploration into a PhD program. He just thrives in that kind of environment.

A pretty quad-faced view from the lookout at the union
A lake-facing view from the lookout at the union
After walking around campus, we went around Beebe Lake and walked around the Cornell Plantations wildflower and herb gardens. So pretty, and we come there at least once per year but at different times, so it was interesting to see what was blooming now.

Obligatory silly-face picture in the gardens...I think we have
one exactly like this in all our vacation photos.
We spent about 4-5 hours walking all over, in the sun, and then went to the Farmer's Market to have some Ethiopian food for lunch on the docks. I've never had Ethiopian food before, but it was AMAZING, and the injera (strangely spongy tortilla-like bread-like substance) was made with teff flour, so I could eat it all! We had to get back to the inn to shower and maybe nap and relax on the deck and then get ready for dinner out, so we ate it in the common area and headed up.

Unfortunately, all the pollen (SO MUCH POLLEN) and walking in the heat and asthma issues and weird atmospheric pressure doings had started a massive migraine brewing. I had been trying to stretch out my neck and shoulders and prevent the stupid head pain from happening full-force, but it was not to be. I took a nap to try again to get rid of what was fast becoming a nasty migraine, but it only made it better for a short while. We had dinner at a beautiful restaurant up at the top of the hill, in Cayuga Heights. It was set to be a great evening, except we BOTH weren't feeling well (probably too much sun) and my head was throbbing to the point where I had to massage it constantly, and for some reason our room of the restaurant was about 80 degrees. Seriously, everyone was sweating buckets and someone even tried to open the emergency exit door to get a little air in there. So that, combined with the fact that I ordered duck (because I love me a good duck) and it came out awful (dry, overcooked, hard to cut, and the fat wasn't crisp) was a disaster. I felt awful. Poor Bryce was beside himself that the evening was such a bust. There was nothing to do but go home early and go straight to bed.

However, in the morning I felt MUCH better (and so did he). We got up early, since we'd gone to bed at 8:30, and headed out to the Sapsucker Woods Bird Sanctuary. My goodness that is a beautiful place. We saw a zillion birds, and I inexplicably took at least five pictures of GEESE. Canadian geese. We have those all over, but for some reason they were picture-worthy in their natural, swampy habitat. It was a fun walk, although we heard bullfrogs. IN MAY. I don't think those are supposed to be much more than tadpoles in May! It's been so hot they must be on speed development or something. Very strange and disconcerting. We took a lot of fun pictures in Sapsucker:
Can you find the turtle?
The strangely-arresting-in-the-wild goose
I think you can actually SEE the pollen in this picture. Also,
it was snowing apple tree blossom petals, which was really
pretty, if you could stop sneezing enough to see it. 
The elusive purple-breasted Jess. Har har.
A different kind of silly shot. It was so bright we couldn't see
the screen, but that turned out kind of hilarious. Also, I
enjoy that Bryce's head looks bigger than mine. That isn't
so in real life. At all. I can eclipse him, easily.
After the bird sanctuary shenanigans. we headed back to Cornell to check out the Cascadilla Gorge and the suspension bridge. If you know me, you know that I HATE BRIDGES. I hate driving over them, I hate walking over them, I hate them, period. So I consider it an accomplishment that I walked over the suspension bridge and then ANOTHER bridge to loop around the short gorge trail. (Bryce had to point out that the two cables were ALL that were holding that bridge up, and that it was swaying while we walked across it, and didn't I want to lean over and look straight down? NO SIR, NOT AT ALL, AND NOW I WILL RUN ACROSS THIS FREAKING BRIDGE.) The views were spectacular, though, and although it was really hot and I was ridiculously sweaty at this point, it was so worth the 126 or so slate steps we walked up and down:

This is from the Stewart Street bridge looking up. See that
line all the way at the tippy top of the tree line? THAT'S
the suspension bridge. I want super duper credit for
walking across that thing. 
Looking down from the street bridge. There is
a man standing down there! Beautiful, but
really, really high up. 
That pretty much ended our trip...we came back and packed up and ate the last of our muffins and checked out. Except I broke my own rule and went on Facebook, and was pleasantly surprised but brought to tears. Several of my friends had posted something on my timeline, either about adoption being a child growing in your heart, not your tummy, or a post on thinking of those who aren't quite celebrators of Mother's Day yet, and it moved me to tears. I was super cranky and the tears and posts reminded Bryce that it was actually Mother's Day and that even though we had done a REALLY GREAT JOB escaping from it, that specter still cast that damned shadow. This time I was touched by the posts and text messages I received from people who were thinking of me and waiting for the day this day is truly mine. I know now to skim past the "rah rah I'm a mom and it's the best thing ever and the most meaningful thing in life and my body is amazing because it made so many people parts, blahbitty blahbitty blah" posts. But still, I felt a little empty, because even though we are so much closer to becoming parents than we've ever been, and those home study classes coming up next weekend are going to start an epic ball rolling (and then an epic period of waiting for some indeterminate time), it's still a holiday that does not apply to me. It's another little stab of being outside the club.

I'd say we did a good job of trying to celebrate other things this weekend though, spending quality time with Mother Nature and each other, enjoying our time just the two of us while it hopefully dwindles down to nothing. I am so grateful to Bryce, for giving me the best birthday gift of a fun experience (and a distractor from a holiday that normally throws me for a loop). I hope that your Mother's Day was filled with peace and love, and if you are waiting to celebrate, that that wait dwindles down to nothing soon as well.


  1. Glad you had a good time - I definitely need to come up with a plan for future holidays after the fiasco of yesterday. Also - love the repurposing of the cooler! I didn't get anything that good from my meds, just some sharps disposal containers and extra diluent. Although I do use the sharps containers to make big ice blocks to use inside coolers so perhaps ex-fertility club = cold beverages?

    1. Thank you -- it really was a good time. AND you're not likely to run into many pregos or strollers on the Cornell campus. :) Oh wow, that's a FANTASTIC idea for old sharps containers... giant ice blocks. Mine are still filled with nasty syringes, but that is motivation to make at least one empty and give it a try! We use a lot of the cooler packs that came in the meds coolers, because they're meant to keep things cold for 24 hours and so they're fantastic for road trips. I am all about repurposing fertility crap to add to our enjoyment of life. :) Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you don't have more fiascos anytime soon.

  2. Bryce is such a great guy! What a wonderful trip that was able to take your mind off of everything, even if just for a short while :) I also love what you did with the ol' cooler!

    1. I am a lucky, lucky lady! And yeah, I loved every minute of using THAT cooler for toasting our romantic weekend away. Like sticking a particular finger to the saga of infertility. :) Thanks for your thoughts, especially at this time for you--someone must be napping... :)

  3. I'm late to this party, but can I say again that you and Bryce are so stinkin' cute. I think that I might have a crush on Bryce. Fabulous birthday weekend doing *exactly* what I'd want to be doing on my birthday weekend. Shielding you from mother's day (inadvertently, so weekend getaway didn't feel tainted), fabulous food, fabulous B&B, that and the autobiographical letter. Yep, definitely have a crush.

    So, so happy for you. You two are going to make the best parents your baby is out there and he/she is going to love you.