Monday, May 29, 2017

Packing Up the Nursery

Last summer I went to visit friends from high school, and we went out to lunch. It was fun to see everyone, although not so fun to be the only woman not a mom at the table when the conversation inevitably went to PTA, choosing a house based on school district, public vs private school, birthday parties, etc. etc. etc. I may have felt a little fish-out-of-water and irritated about it (but not upset with them, this is a commonality, this is the stuff their lives are made of), so when someone asked, "How is adoption going?" I may have answered like so: "It's slow, actually, and hard, and sometimes you feel like you could be a parent any second and you feel real hopeful and sometimes you wonder how you would go about returning a nursery." Ha HA ha ha ha, gallows humor for the win.

Well, except here we are a year later, facing a nursery we no longer have a use for, more than two years into a failed experiment in family building. I don't really feel comfortable with returning things since so much was bought for us (and that window is likely closed, given that our showers were over a year and a half ago). So we decided to box everything up into tubs and get it into the back room this weekend, and look into places to donate to.

It's going to be real fun to answer the question, "What did you do over Memorial Day weekend?" tomorrow. "Oh, I don't know. I dismantled my dreams. You?"

We found a place that sets up women who have decided to keep pregnancies they weren't initially excited for through my mom, and there is a woman who is due in July with a little girl who will likely get most of the gear we have to donate. The person who runs it is coming tomorrow to get everything, to take the sum total of our hopes and dreams (and everyone else's hopes and dreams for us) out of the house and give it to someone else who can actually use it, who will truly benefit from and get some joy out of everything that caused me so much sorrow when we packed it all up yesterday.

Such as putting all those tiny, rolled, washed-and-ready-to-wear onesies into a compact sterilite tub. Well, not all of them. I kept a couple for some unknown reason, maybe proof that this actually happened, that once upon a time we believed we could manifest this tiny human into being.

So many cute little things that we couldn't fill.

The tiniest ones are on the bottom. So many I bought during IVF, in fits of hope and magical thinking that buying onesies would bring a child to us, show the Universe that we were serious about this whole thing. Huh.
That wasn't the hardest one though. Strangely enough, peeling off the owl and tree wall decals was the worst. It literally felt like I was ripping a newly formed scab off a very deep wound and the pain was almost physical. Those decals really made the nursery LOOK like a tiny person's room, and now there's just this one little corner left with lovebirds that I felt I could leave as a sort of nod to what the room was once going to be.

Nothing but blank wall space now. I don't know if you see it, but I think it looks as bereft as I feel.

All that's left of the decals. I want to find something to go above the two birds, but I just don't know what. Probably something mildly snarky. Or a heart. Or both.
It's hard, so hard to see all these absences where so much hope once lived.

We did move the cubes into the reading nook, and the little owl rug that we bought in Southwest Harbor, Maine, two years ago.

Worked perfectly.

Hey, little owl(s).

The dresser went into my closet, replacing little rickety cube things that held bras and pjs and yoga pants and swimsuits with something more solid and grown-up, even though it was meant to hold tiny things.

The room is pretty empty now, minus the indentations in the carpet where the crib and dresser used to be, and the real fancy piece of plywood and sawhorse desk setup I'm typing on right now. We did order a desk, which hopefully comes in less than two weeks, that fits perfectly where the cubes used to be and is an L-shaped thing with a bookcase along the side so there's storage and drawers and surface area but compact enough for this tiny room that is being refashioned into my office.

Also, I bought a beige chaise lounge online today. I think it would be nice to have a little reading/napping spot in here, by the window. I had my heart set on a futon so it could also hold a guest, but apparently I can't find one that will fit in the limited length we have and through the door clearance that also doesn't look like a piece of crap. Oh well, a chaise lounge will be super swanky and luxurious feeling. Maybe I'll get into a cocktail dress and lay on it with a martini in my hand. Regardless, the setup in here will be different than anything that's been here before, which will feel good. Freeing.

Lots of clearing things away. Lots of moving stuff out. Lots of feeling like there's a giant hole of emptiness inside me. For some reason, the poem "Harlem" by Langston Hughes runs on repeat in my head (alternating with "Everything Is Awesome," which is mildly concerning as that's my anthem for lost marbles, although I'm replacing it with "Everything is awful...everything is cool when you're part of a team, everything is awful...when you've lost your whole dream..."). The whole "What happens to a dream deferred" bit bothers me, because it's not deferred. It's gone. But I feel like stinking meat, like I might explode. It is definitely, definitely a heavy load.

It's good to get this done, to clear things out and get them to people who truly can use them, who might not have what they need without this massive donation. But man, doing it all so quickly sure does give me whiplash. It makes me feel sad. And angry. And like I'm swimming in disbelief that this is where we ended up. Even if it is the right decision for so many reasons, even if it allows us to let go of this dream we've been chasing at so much personal cost, it hurts so much to physically let go of all the things that represented all the hope we had that we'd get that call and be chosen and finally become the parents we wanted so badly to be. The grief, frankly, is overwhelming. But it will not be this raw always. Soon our house will look differently and we will continue planning our vacation and we will start seeing more of the positive aspects of leaving this struggle behind. But now? Now it sucks.

Sorry, not a microblog at all, I guess I was backed up from not writing in two weeks. If you want to read more #Microblog Mondays, go here and enjoy! 


  1. Oh, your beautiful nursery, and oh, your beautiful heart (which matters so much more). This is such a terribly sad task. I hope it helps that all your kit will do someone a lot of good and bring her so much happiness. I have every confidence that the new room will be wonderful. I hope you do take that photo with the martini.

    1. Thank you. It was a terribly sad task. It does make me feel better that it's' going to someone (or more than one someone) who will really get use out of it. I will TOTALLY take that martini photo. It's happening. The chaise arrives next week...beware! :)

  2. The sadness I feel from reading this fills my heart. I do not doubt this decision being the right one to help you guys move forward, but it doesn't make it any less painful. And I'm so sorry for that. So sorry you have to take all that you envisioned, box it up and send it off for someone else.

    The plans sound lovely. You reclaiming this space for something else that is beautiful and yours. And I fully support the cocktail dress.

    1. Thank you. It is definitely the right decision, but holy cow does it hurt. And hurt and hurt and hurt. Boxing up our hopes is probably one of the hardest things I've ever done. I can't wait for my desk and chaise lounge to arrive and make this space feel more new, more different, less sad empty space (although the divots from the nursery furniture are gone since I've vacuumed...). Yes to the cocktail dress... I smell a fun photo shoot in the next two weeks!

  3. So courageous. So strong. So sad. So necessary.

    The beginnings and the plans for the new purpose for the space look and sound delightful.

    1. Thank you. It was necessary, and so, so hard. SO hard. But I can't wait to share the pictures of my office space, all done up.

  4. Such a nice thing that you are doing with the donation. I'm sorry the grief is overwhelming but it'll definitely get less raw and your life will begin again

  5. Oh Jess (((Hugs))). What a hard, but necessary, day. I can't imagine how difficult that must be, to dismantle everything and give it all to someone else, having never gotten the chance to use it yourself. I am so, SO sorry for the suck and unfairness of it all.
    On a lighter note, I think you just came up with one of the photos for this year's Christmas on the chaise lounge in a cocktail dress, holding a martini😀

    1. Thank you. Dismantling was definitely hard. Packing it up to leave was infinitely harder though. Oooh, a Christmas card shot with the martini... I think that one may have to make it on there!

  6. A dream has died.
    So many hopes
    So many plans
    And now
    Your arms have been filled
    With hope and anticipation
    And then anguish and disappointments.
    Now empty,
    Your arms can hold
    The joys of the future
    You do not yet know.
    Empty for now,
    They will fill.
    One day
    Another dream
    Will fill your souls.

  7. Wiping away tears. You are so generous to donate everything. I wish things had turned out differently

    1. Thank you. I feel like so much of it was gifted to us, and if we have to face this end we didn't want then at least we can create a happier beginning for someone else.

  8. I hope that the worst part is over now and that you'll be able to decorate the room for new purposes and start to look forward. I'm really sorry. I can imagine how heartbreaking it must have been to pack up all those baby things you won't get to use. Big hugs

    1. I honestly am having a hard time figuring out what the worst part about this is... every day there seems to be a new one. :( I am looking forward to the new decorating. It was so heartbreaking. So much promise, washed and folded and set aside for someone who won't come to us. Thanks for the hugs.

  9. I'm tearing up as I read this because I can FEEL the heartbreak with you. And then I laugh when you deliver one of your gallows humor zingers. And then I want to weep again.

    What a lovely gesture of where you decided to donate. That made me tear up, too.


    1. Thank you. I appreciate your tears and your laughter. It was important to us that our end be someone else's happier beginning. Especially if the news wasn't initially real happy. Thank you for the love!

  10. Oh boy. I bet this was a very tough weekend. I wish that things had turned out differently for you guys.

    I agree with Charlotte- the dress and the martini on the new chaise lounge? I automatically thought that it would be perfect for your Christmas card!

    1. It was, it totally was. Incredibly difficult. Yes! I think that photo is happening. It's got to! :)

  11. My heart aches for you. I remember packing up my nursery for donation. I can't believe you did it in one weekend. It took me a week. And lots of tears. And I didn't even have any furniture- just lots and lots of stuff I'd been saving (books, onesies, stuffed animals, toys). It gets better. Not soon enough. But eventually. As you create and work toward new dreams.

    We moved so we're in a different house now, but our second bedroom now has an L-shaped desk with bookshelves where I do all of my work for school. It's decorated with all of my favorite art and there's nothing in this room that was meant for my children. It helps.

    I'm so sorry. It hurts. It's sad. It's hard. Good days will come again and bad days will still show up too. I hope to send you strength and acknowledgment through this comment. What you are doing is indescribably difficult and you are doing an amazing job at life and sanity. <3

  12. I thought I had commented on this post, but I guess not. :p Again, I am just so sorry for everything you've been going through. I am in awe of how quickly you've made these changes... although I guess there's something to be said for getting it over with quickly, right?? I only divested myself of (most of) my maternity wardrobe when we moved last year, and I still have most of Katie's things -- but then I didn't have a whole lot to begin with. I'm sure if we'd had a crib, car seat, etc., we would have donated that as well, long ago. Love the changes you have made/are making to the room, and I hope that it all helps, even just a little. Sending (((hugs))).