Tomorrow will be fine. We are hosting Thanksgiving, and my husband's mom and stepfather are here from Maine and my parents are coming down and so we will have six people at our table. We are lucky, because there won't be people who aren't in the know about our family situation (or lack thereof), there won't be small children there, there won't be so many of the landmines and pitfalls that can beset a holiday dinner with family. There may be the off unintentionally thoughtless comment, but I think we can get through those. All in all, it will be not nearly as painful as it will be for others in our shoes, others wearing shoes we've worn before -- when no one knows the extent of your pain and you have to do a gritted smile through everything and try real hard not to scream when something thoughtless is said and attempt to make it through without drinking all the wine in the house.
The Christmas parties...they will be okay. We have a couple we're going to where I don't know very many people and neither does Bryce, and so the "do you have kids?" might come up, and I just don't have a socially appropriate answer to that one anymore. Much less when someone tells us how lucky we are not to have a babysitter or to get a full nights' sleep. Yes, yes, that's great, but we would RATHER BE HOME WITH A BABY, THANKYOUVERYMUCH.
One Christmas party might be challenging but I am trying to keep an open mind. Challenging because there are expecting people going to this one and some new mommies and women who are obsessed with all things babies and children, and I have nothing to offer there and do not at all want to listen to a birth story or birth plan or how hard it is to make it through the holidays without a glass of wine. Luckily, there's also another couple who has no children, and while their circumstance is different from ours, they will be our allies that night. (It will also be challenging because there's a fair number of supporters for our president-elect, and I can't keep my big mouth shut when people say things that are just plain ignorant. I try to do it with kindness, but holy hell it's going to be hard if there is spewing of vile crap at this party. My goal is to both keep to my personal integrity and NOT get my husband in trouble, ha.)
Another is my work party, and this is usually awkward because everyone talks about their families. Not like parents-family, but children-family. I have NOTHING to add here. I have given all the updates I have. The people hosting have two small children and the house is full of evidence of tiny lives, and that can be hard. It's easier when my other administrator hosts, because his kids are mostly out of the house and his oldest is a senior. Not a lot of tiny person detritus in that house.
And...cards. Heh heh heh, cards. So you will remember that last year our holiday card featured the beautiful adoption shoot that we did in November. Well, a year has passed and no dice (story of our lives), so we decided to do a different kind of shoot. When I have the photos I'll share, but let's just say we spent a fair amount of time on Sunday doing a shoot that I like to call "Norman Rockwell Gone Horribly Wrong." Very tongue-in-cheek. Very different vibe from last year's abject hopefulness, but still not sad. Darkly humorous. I hope it comes across the way I want it to. I mean, I hired a photographer and got my hair done in period early 1950s style and did my face the same, so I sure hope it's worth it! Gave me a chuckle, at least.
|Sneak peek of hair and makeup...|
So what we decided was to throw our holiday into the fuckit bucket, and book four nights in Vermont. It feels somehow selfish to spend a family oriented holiday by ourselves in a setting that's entirely restorative and based on outdoor activities, reading by the fire, eating and drinking decadently... but then again, things haven't worked out as we'd hoped yet again and so this will keep us from being sad saps around a tree in our living room, alone with each other again. It's going to be great. It's what we need. I am SO looking forward to it.
And so, that is how we are getting through the holidays. I look forward to the cards we'll receive, with children who once were babies and now are reaching double digits, even though they mark a march through time we've missed. I look forward to the parties and the get-togethers and sending out our own snarky card that shows just how time has stood still, in a cheeky way. I look forward to hiding away from it all in the valleys of Vermont.
I can hope that next year will be different, but if it looks like this, that's not too shabby either. I am pretty darn fortunate. I have an incredible love, friends to celebrate with, and the resources to hide away in a snowy mountain retreat. Although all the pieces we'd hoped for aren't in place, we have a beautiful life, and I am very, very thankful for that.
I hope the holidays are kind to everyone this year. I hope you find a spot of brightness in what can be a dark time if your family isn't where you'd hoped it would be.