I was thinking on the post I wrote yesterday, about being so frustrated at having these markers for the school year go by and having nothing change, to still be waiting, to be staring down the barrel of the end of another year and relationships with students and parents, but also to be staring down the timeline for yet another homestudy renewal.
It is frustrating, yes, and it makes us feel like everything has stood still for us, and it really, really has in the family building arena. I mean, we do have two more profile opportunities under our belt, one reviewed and one blind, but those were both times that maybe we could have become parents. So that's something. We also found out that we are being shown electronically in one more state thanks to a newish agency partnership with an extensive adoption attorney firm. Who knows what that will bring, but it's something new...so that's movement. Sort of.
We still don't have a baby in the house. That's stagnant. We did bite the bullet and buy the stroller and conversion kit for our car seats, so that's growth (even though yet again there's no real baby to use these things yet and it makes for a very depressing back storage room). There's tiny little steps that could bring us closer to our baby, but we just haven't had anything pan out in 19 months, so that makes it feel like we are totally on hold. Because we are. There are times when it is hard to imagine a day when we could become parents, because it's been in the realm of possibility for so long. It's so longed for, but also so fuzzy around the edges, harder to see for all the waiting.
But outside of the family building arena, we have progress of sorts. There are things that have changed, and things that push us forward, baby or not.
- Bryce is nearly a whole year into the pre-qualification exam coursework for his doctorate. He has informed me that I need to stop saying that he's pursuing his PhD, because you're not technically a PhD student until you pass your qual exam, and he's not slated to do that until next year (timing is tricky, his advisor went out on sabbatical which is fine for coursework but not so great for prepping for that pesky qual exam). So while I consider him a doctoral student, he feels he's not QUITE there yet. But, he's moving forward into the program, course by course. And while it's a lot of hard work, especially on top of work-work, it's the kind of stuff that he really enjoys. Being in a university setting, learning and messing with all these neat new technologies and feeding that intellectual curiosity suits Bryce.
- I am trying to finish up my National Board certification. I have two components down, two more to go. I am starting to think that I bit off more than is reasonable doing two writing components totaling over 50 pages at once, but once all the IEP stuff is done then I can dedicate all my extra time to getting that done. And then, if I achieve it, I have five years before I have to renew, and it's one component at a time every five years. Which sounds reasonable. So that's an accomplishment that I am working towards that has forward progress.
- Bryce has been doing some little surprises from time to time, which is new (and lovely given how busy he is and we are, actually). He's always been romantic but in a very pragmatic way. I received real live FLOWERS in February for absolutely no reason other than that I had been very stressed and he wanted to do something nice while at the grocery picking up Prozac for the cat (our life is never boring). He's been trying to make things pleasant when I have the long, LONG school days this busy time of year when I get back home tired and cranky and utterly out of patience and will to cook/do dishes. And just recently there were packages that came, and it turned out that they were BOOKS for me. This doesn't help us declutter, but fun book prizes in the mail are always awesome. I've been helping out when he's having stressy days, and have had the opportunity to go bring lunch to him at his office at the university when I have a break or an unexpected day off thanks to power outages. (The recent snow had us both home.) We balance it out. Things have been quite lovely, despite the stress. And I don't have to tell you again how much that surgery in December improved things -- but I will anyway (not bleeding for months at a time is definitely a boon for my mood and romantical moments). We are fortunate to be in our 7-year anniversary year and more gushy than ever. Maybe more so to make up for the shitstorm that is our family building efforts over time...
- We are trying to make plans to simplify our lives a bit. We stalled out on the "clean a room every weekend" initiative, but plan to pick that back up shortly here. We're going to maximize our space and make our house more livable with the space we have, while making it easier to put it on the market if that perfect house comes along. (Yes, the stagnancy ruins this one a bit because I don't want to move unless we are resolved one way or another, but the market's getting weird and if that perfect house comes up I'll figure out a way to make it work somehow.) I am pushing hard for a cleaning lady. If Bryce is pushing for a landscaping service, I want help with deep cleaning, even if it's just once a month. It will also help us to simplify since the less tchotchkes you have on surfaces the easier they are to clean. This might be a pipe dream, but even if we can divvy up cleaning a little more regularly and evenly it will make a difference.
- We are going to buy some new furniture. I freaking hate our couch. It's an oversized love seat, with an ottoman that we've fashioned into a sort of fake seating bench with pillows from the oversized love seat, and it is WAY TOO BIG for our space and yet too small at the same time. It's deep, but you can't lay down on it all the way. It is a big space hog. And I hate it. We talked about getting a new couch, and I want to push it. Because it will feel like change. And I need some kind of change, even if it's just a streamlined classy new couch (that doesn't collect cat hair in the weave and is stain resistant). I also want a new dining room table, because we are still using the Target set I bought when I thought I might have my own apartment in between living at my parents' and moving in with Bryce after my divorce. I didn't, and so we set it up, but it's a weird sort of dated counter height thing that is beat to crap, and I want something with a leaf that can expand when we have a bigger house and/or for when we have more than two people over. Which is admittedly rare, but in part that's because THERE'S NO WHERE TO PUT PEOPLE. God I have a love-hate relationship with our little hobbit house.
- I am going to plan some plantings. I did a shit job of cleaning up the garden this fall, and I feel like I've been all, "ack, where does all the time go," but I need to plan for some pretties and change up the back garden, which is pretty crappy looking. Bryce made me these great raised beds for vegetables years ago, and the weird weather and time have destroyed them. I have monster herbs (who knew winter savory could become a crazy bush?) that need a new home, because I want a cut flower garden back there, dammit. They edge the patio that we used hardly at all last year, and I feel like they have been ratty and run down long enough. Some pretty tall flowers and pots will make it feel like a little paradise. I am already looking forward to planting it up and moving those herbs. (I just have to inform Bryce that he needs to fix up the walls so he's got a project too, heh heh.)
Okay, so some of these areas of progress are planned progress, but I feel like that makes me feel better. Make plans even though they could get disrupted. Because this on hold business is making me crazy. I sincerely hope that there is a baby waiting for us at the end of this journey, but if there isn't I would hate to have waited to buy a new couch or plant up the patio because I felt paralyzed and stagnant.
Please help hold me to these plans... even just typing them up made me feel better, more like we are experiencing forward movement, if not in the arena where we really, really hoped we would be. We're actually very fortunate in all the other arenas of life. It helps to remember that from time to time, take the sting out of that piece we'd like to fit in to our puzzle. It helps to know that we can rearrange the pieces a bit and make a slightly different picture in the time being, and expand upon those shifted pieces if this just doesn't work out. It helps to know that we aren't just gaping empty holes waiting to be filled with a baby, and that there is more to us than possible, incredibly hoped-for, frustratingly elusive parenthood.