Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Important Thing Is to Get Up

I am incredibly sad today. Like, deep pit sad. Tight ball of grief in my chest, tears in my eyes (no Up required), unsure how to move on with my day sad.

I went to visit my best friend for a few days, but that's not why I'm sad. Mostly.

I left on Sunday, much later than I'd hoped (3:30ish instead of 1:30-2:00) because I was slow-moving and...sad. I haven't seen my friend since all things April, and her life is just so vastly different from mine. The three children probably have something to do with that: the exhausting hustle and bustle and chaos that fills her life and will never, ever fill mine. The contrast between the quiet and order of our little house and the beautiful cacophony and entropy of hers is always hard, but I was worried it would be harder now. Plus they are going on a beautiful Maine vacation up to Acadia, and I was putting together things to bring down and show them that were put together for us by my mother-in-law before I went for the first time in 2009, and that suddenly filled me with a dense gray fog because I realized I was going to help plan a trip that we'd hoped to do with our child someday, that I'd be sharing all the awesome places to go, the must-sees, the family-friendly hikes and activities...and we won't get to share that with our own child. It made me incredibly sad.

I feel like the past few weeks have been reminders of all the things I don't know what to do with -- sorting through picture books and keeping a whole bunch, but wondering...why? Who am I going to share them with? Who am I going to page through my tattered copy of The Little Ballerina with, a book from the 50s that was my mother's and is about a girl with weak legs who takes ballet lessons as therapy and then (totally believably) becomes the Sugar Plum Fairy in the recital, complete with toe shoes? Me myself and I, that's who.

(c) 1958

I'd probably be the awkward bee in the back

Maybe children who come visit. Will they care that this book mattered so much to me because I had weak ankles and took figure skating lessons to help as a little girl? That I could totally relate to Carol, although not the part where she becomes the star of the show because Grace is certainly not my middle name?

Then there's the Harry Potter books. I've read them all, multiple times, but Bryce never has. You know why? He was saving them to read with our child. I guess we'll read them together now, we talked about doing it as a Luddite Night activity come winter, but it's a sad thing to see the traditions you'd hoped you'd share with your own children become couple traditions that won't get passed on. I mean, happy that we can have couple traditions and share time with each other in this way, that is certainly special, but not the same as what we'd envisioned that's now gone.

I'm feeling the grief hard today.

My best friend said that it seems I've been spending a lot of time on the floor. Some of it is for physical comfort -- to lie on my back on the floor and do some spinal twists really helps give relief to my lower back/hips that are really bothering me lately. But I think she was talking about the facedown floor time.

She sort of has a point. I had a day where it took me the better part of an hour to get up off the floor. This day was when I found out that my friend was placed with a last-minute baby within days of me telling her about how we'd made our decision.

I went for a walk, but then after the walk...

Same pose, different floor.
The floor is very inviting.

I had a great time visiting with my best friend and her kooky family. The kids were loads of fun, and there were good times all around. I have no pictures of me with her kids, probably because I don't have to worry about putting them in a book that will entice someone to place their baby with me to parent. I enjoyed the experience, and didn't worry about having photographic evidence (which is always nice, but I'm sure there will be plenty of times in the future to take more pictures with those goofballs).

I survived the youngest, a 6-year-old girl, asking me about my "baby bag" (I use my diaper bag as a weekend travel bag because lots of pockets and it's quite nice), asking why I don't have a baby, asking if I'm a mother, asking why I'm not a mother... I was okay. I survived the Table Talk question card that asked "If you could live with any other family than yours, who would you live with?" and they all said "Jessica and Rice!" (They call Bryce Rice, and now Rice Pudding apparently. I can't say "Bryce" because they'll say, "Don't you mean RIIIICE?") Which was lovely, but also sad.

And then after a few fun days of child fun in the morning and evenings and adult fun while they were at camp (shopping, walking, and lunch in Rheinbeck! Climbing Mount Beacon! Lunch near Vassar! Sweaty morning hike in Locust Grove on the Hudson! A walk around the grounds at Hyde Park!), I drove home to my quiet house.

But it's MY quiet house with MY love and MY cats, and I was glad to be home and hug Bryce (aka Rice Pudding, a nickname he's not so sure about) and pet the kitties and go for a pre-dinner walk with the anticipation of delicious margaritas to follow.

And then at the end of the walk we ran into neighbors who'd been in the adoption process for four years, and they were pushing a stroller.

Because they were placed with their daughter through a different agency a month ago, the last week of school.

What the fuck, Universe? Are you TRYING to test the confidence in our decision? Are you TRYING to torture me with all the What Ifs and my sordid brain saying "oh, everyone who knows you and these other people are going to think you're a loser who gave up too soon, just look at what happens when you stick with it!" We couldn't have MISSED that interaction by even 5 minutes?

It put us both in a bit of a funk. I went over and said hi and was introduced to the beautiful little girl, and Bryce was just fuming that the timing put our paths together on this night where we should have been in a great mood, doing a little trip planning and snuggling up on the couch.

Instead we were both incredibly sad and ordered pizza and had one too many margaritas.

We are confident in our decision. It was the right one for us. But even Bryce said that these moments do make a body wonder if our decisions leading up to this were the right ones. Those pesky What-Ifs are a freaking plague. What if we'd started the process earlier? What if we'd gotten a second opinion earlier and gone to a different clinic and just gotten pregnant? What if we'd chosen a different agency? Did we make the wrong choices that led up to where we are now? I mean, so much of everything was a choice that I NEVER WANTED TO MAKE. I didn't ask to be put in these situations, in these circumstances that lead to one path or another. I do not regret our decision, which is good because I sure as hell am not going out to buy more baby gear so we could give it a go with another agency. We. Have. Had. Enough.

But these moments, so close together, sure as shit make you question things for a nanosecond before reverting back to the "OUR SITUATION IS DIFFERENT. We are NOT wearing the same shoes. I am NOT weak. I am NOT a quitter." mantra that is getting me through these things.

I am going to go for a walk so that I can reset myself today. I spent some time on the floor, mostly on my back (but a little with my face in the carpet, I'll admit it). The important thing is to GET UP. I think there's absolutely nothing wrong with sinking into the floor when it seems that cosmic forces effing hate you. But get up. Go for a walk. Do something to clear the fog away.

That's my plan, anyway (cue monster thunderstorm rumbles thwarting my plan...guess I'll walk up and down the street like a lunatic until it starts to feel too dangerous. Sigh).

Update: Totally thwarted by thunderstorms and heavy rain. Stopped now though, so three hours later maybe I can go for a bit of a walk before errands. Thank goodness for the hula hoop.


  1. I'm sorry for this hard period. For all the sadness. For the second-guessing and questioning following moments with others. It sucks, plain and simple. Holding you in my heart.

    1. Thank really does suck. I'm better today though. Yesterday was a rough one.

  2. I'm sorry. I hope that the fact it's so hard now means it will be better later. It sounds rather cathartic to go walking in a monster thunderstorm....but stay safe, of course.

    1. Me, too. I know this is going to come and go in waves, but it seems like I'm just getting knocked over with rogue ones. I almost went out, and then a GIANT lightning strike happened nearby and the thunder was RIGHT AFTER so I was like, Um, nothankyou. And I unplugged the laptop. :)

  3. I'm sorry for all this hard stuff that just won't quit, and for the unfairness of it all.
    I have been in a funk for a couple days now too, for other reasons, and you are very's ok as long as you GET THE EFF UP! So yeah, I am gonna stop my pity party and do just that. Thanks for the reminder, Jess. I really needed that today! (((Hugs)))

    1. Thank you so much. Oh, I'm glad this came at the right time for you! I am much better today. I am hoping that there's a little lull in the hits for a while. :( Hugs to you as well!

  4. Sending hugs and good thoughts your way! You are amazing and you are weathering this incredibly shitty period so well. You are right, just get up. Even when it's hard and when you don't feel like it.

    1. Thank you so much! I don't know how well I'm doing when before I got up I was literally faceplanted in the carpet in my office, then sobbing so uncontrollably that when I called Bryce we had to switch to texting so he could understand me. :( But then I got up and caramelized some onions for enchilada casserole and sat on the porch for a minute and felt a little better, even though I looked a wreck and felt utterly drained. But today is a better day. <3

  5. I'm so sorry. All of it is so unfair and hard. Going through grief is painful and difficult with all the many triggers and reminders - those days suck. Sending thoughts and a hug.

    1. Thank you so much. It was a rough day for sure, so many things and spirals. Today is a sunny day an I have a lot to get done, so I'm hoping I won't end up facedown on the floor at all today. Thanks for the thoughts and hugs!

  6. Damn.

    I'm not going to be a mom and I only know one other person in real life that's currently processing this situation, and that friend is still going through treatments so even she and I are in different places. Everyone else was able to become parents. It's hard. I love my husband and what we're doing and our plans, but I still struggle with all of my friends and family experiencing the "hustle and bustle and chaos" that you describe and that I always wanted and dreamed of having.

    What the hell am I going to do with all of my kids books? I have boxes and boxes of books just sitting in storage... For now I'm thinking of hanging on to them and, in a couple of years, volunteering somewhere where I can read and share all of them with some kids. I hope I can get to that place though. All of my kids books are still a tender subject for me right now.

    And then you had to run into the neighbors?? Running into them and their stroller (not to mention their new baby) does not give you the opportunity to take a break from being happy for others. Dammit. How exhausting and disheartening.

    I'm glad you're feeling your feelings. I'm sorry so many of the feelings suck right now. I really like old kids books, and I love your copy of The Little Ballerina. Thank you for sharing. <3

  7. Girl, that's WAY too many F yous for one person to handle. I'm so sorry you had to deal with all that. You do make me smile with the facedown on the floor. And really, doesn't pizza and too much alcohol cure everything??

  8. Mega, mega *hugs* heading your way.

  9. Oh, good grief, Universe. Stop it now. Jess is doing a fantastic job in a really hard situation and is it too much to ask for you to lay the eff off??

  10. Ugh. You are right not to compare. Your situation is different. You and Bryce made the best choices for you both. Universe, please cut Jess some slack.

  11. Oh Jess I'm so sorry that the universe keeps slapping you in the face when you are at your most vulnerable. Sometimes we do have to hang out on the floor (maybe face up though? Face down doesn't seem as comfortable- especially on the wood floor)...but you are right in that we do eventually need to get up. Life is going to go on whether you like it or not. I hope that you have had some better days since this one.