Friday, December 18, 2015

The Ups and Downs of Waiting Through the Holidays

We are staying home this Christmas. And so, we have a Christmas tree, and Christmas lights, and in general are feeling the holiday spirit.

Which is incredibly different from years past.

While we love, love, loved our Christmases in Vermont, they were our way of escaping a Christmas at home, just the two of us, no little one anywhere in sight. It was a way of creating a different tradition that didn't make us feel so sad and lonely during a holiday that is very, very, VERY centered on children. (And miracle conception to boot.)

Last year we didn't go to our Vermont vacation, but we did meet up with Bryce's mom and stepdad in Vermont since it is halfway, and that was quite lovely. We were getting ready to do what would be our final cycle, so the specter of infertility haunted us heavily, but it wasn't home doing the same old thing. And it wasn't at our Vermont haunt, where we started noticing the same families returning and realized that time marches on for everyone...except us. Despite that, we had a good time and it was nice to be somewhere familiar, yet different.

But this year -- this year we don't want to travel at all. There's limited cell reception in Vermont where we go, and I really don't want to put us in the position of not being reachable should our Mystery Baby decide to appear at this time. I don't actually believe that Mystery Baby is going to be a Christmas or New Year's baby, but if that were to be the case, I'd hate to miss the opportunity because we were tucked between mountains that blocked the signal for that most important call.

So, we are embracing the holiday. We are listening to my Christmas music that I love (and Bryce barely tolerates, but I get about 5-6 weeks of it per year, so listen we will!). Kenny and Dolly's Once Upon A Christmas, Elvis's If Every Day Was Like Christmas, the Carpenters' Christmas Portrait, the fabulous Annie Lennox Christmas Cornucopia, Frank Sinatra and Willie Nelson and Bing Crosby... these are all a few of my favorite things.

We are not shying away from the facebook onslaught of babies and children with Santa, of family photo shoots and cutting down Christmas trees and the cards that are coming in the mail.

Actually, far fewer cards are coming in the mail, partially I think because we did not send last year's. My people who are not on facebook don't know that we just had a shitty December, not that we decided to forgo cards (or their address on the card). I also see a lot more people posting things on facebook or sending an "email" card, instead of a paper one. I really like the paper ones.

I feel much less sad with the onslaught this year, because we are expecting, although in a highly ambiguous and amorphous way.

With one very big exception that hit me like a sucker punch about two weeks ago.

I have a cousin who is a nurse at a children's hospital. His wife is a costume designer/theater person, and she knew how to do a multi-step dying process to get his considerable beard to be snowy white, so he could be Santa for a church function. It worked fabulously. He made an AMAZING Santa, despite being only 30 years old. There were many photos of him in total costume, including some tongue-in-cheek replicas of the classic Coca-Cola commercials.

But this one picture.

It was him with his finger next to his nose, all twinkly-eyed, and the cutest little blonde girl on his lap. His daughter, who had NO IDEA that Santa was really Daddy.

That photo absolutely destroyed me. I just sat on the couch and cried, and cried, and cried.


- It's Christmas and that was a stark reminder that we have no child to place on Santa's lap (which is actually a really creepy custom when you stop and think about it, those kids who cry have the right idea and have very good survival instincts).
- We will not have a child who looks very much like either of us, most likely, unless the greatest of coincidences come to pass. It kind of opened that wound, as those family genes are strong and my child won't have any of it.
- He is 30. He is ten years younger than we are (an average of our ages). We are going to be so much older when we start, let alone when we have preschool aged children. It kind of sent that home.
- I just felt so sorry for us that we have yet to have a baby, yet to add to our family of two, yet to reach a milestone we so desperately wanted to reach in our thirties and are now either in our forties or about to enter them, and we still are not parents.

It was a comparison. By itself, the picture was sweet and brought a smile to my face. Within our context, it made me dissolve into a blubbery wreck on the couch, with Bryce perplexed as to why Santa made me cry.

It was the biggest down I've had this holiday season. It probably won't be the last. But the ups are higher than they've been in a long time. The ups have us ready to actually celebrate the holiday completely, to decorate a tree and imagine a wee person beneath it. Of course right now we just have the cats, one of which hadn't seen a Christmas tree in our house before, but they don't get as excited as toddlers do. We did have to put all our soft, unbreakable ornaments on the bottom, though...which I guess is practice for when we have someone else who wants to chew and climb and explore.

It feels so good to be in a place of unadulterated hope, in a place where we feel comfortable bringing back traditions that eventually made us feel sad, a little lonely, and a lot of emptiness. It's lovely to feel like celebrating, even if I don't believe that a Christmas miracle is coming our way this year. So much anticipation. Some sadness and loss, too, but much more happiness at this time that used to be just so, so, hard. I feel for those who are in the trenches, who are in the so, so hard holidays. I also totally recognize that it's possible for us to have a situation arise that would put us back into a more hopeless feeling, but so far we have been spared. Spared any kind of calls, actually, but so far spared heartbreak through adoption. We aren't naive, but we can't prepare for heartbreak at the expense of hope and joy. I refuse to do that with this process. So we embrace joy and accept the sadness that creeps in. We're just thrilled the balance has shifted so much more towards joy.

Please enjoy our holiday spirit in our Christmas tree, lit up house, and the lights on the shed that I've always wanted, and that in this year of hope and looking forward, have become a reality.

Such a pretty tree, nice and short so it looks like we have tall ceilings. Ha. 
Lighted real evergreen garland on my butterfly garden picket fence, the tree through the window, a pretty wreath you really can't see, and a hanging candle from the post hook. Love this season, all it needs is some SNOW.
I have always, ALWAYS wanted lights on the shed and on the Douglas Fir we planted to the side years and years ago. It's finally a reality, and it is every bit the way I imagined it to be. Makes me so very happy!


  1. This time of year is so hard when in the trenches or waiting for that all important call. For years, I put off decorating and trying to find parts of the season I could embrace. It was finally the year before the Beats arrived that I decided to say "screw it" and start some traditions. And just those simple acts brought so much healing and hope. We started to pull out of the trenches, even though we had no way of knowing what the path forward would look like.

    I think the decorations look amazing and I love that you're embracing traditions. No matter what happens going forward, even with the immediate lows, I hope that you find healing and lots of highs as the holidays approach.

    Thinking of you. And hoping your wait is a very short one.

  2. Beautiful decorations. Mr Turtle hung lights on our outside trees (and figured out the timer) and I cleaned the house yesterday. That is as much as we are doing and I feel pretty good about it lol. (We are going away for a week and I'm trying not to get sick - again. Good for you for keeping up your traditions and (mostly) focusing on the happy aspects while recognizing there ie room for all emotions at Christmas. There isn't any right way to acknowledge Christmas/year end. In the past years before AJ I gave myself permission to not really care or bother. It made sense at the time but to be honest I kind of regret doing that because I still find it hard to "get into the spirit". In my case it didn't become easier all of a sudden when there was a child at home (although that certainly makes a difference).

  3. It was really hard to get into the Christmas spirit while TTC and some years I just didn't even try. I love that you looking forward to Mystery Baby and have started to get back some of that spirit. I hope that the Santa picture was your last low in the Christmas season!

  4. It's been so hard for me this year to hear everyone say how Christmas is just sooooo much more special with a little around. I know they mean well, but dagger me in the heart, why don't you. I'm glad you're decorating and trying to enjoy it anyway.