Here we go again...tomorrow is the first day of school. A new school year, some new assignments, and no maternity leave in sight. I was so hoping this year would be my year to be able to stand up in a faculty meeting when they say, "Does anyone have any announcements they'd like to make?" and say, "Yes! I'm expecting my first child!" I feel like a jerk, but I am dreading the announcements that will inevitably crop up this year. Life goes on, just not for me. It's hard not to feel a little bitter about that.
Going back to school is a good thing for me. I could use the routine and regular schedule that school provides. I compartmentalize better when I am in school, and can (for the most part) be a normal human in that role. I am the teacher, I have students who depend on me, there is no time to cry into my plan book and woe-is-me myself at school. That's what my car is for. Ha, ha. Seriously, I have bigger fish to fry traveling between two schools with two new classes in the morning. I have tried to be prepared and have spent a lot of time either in school or on my laptop over the past few weeks. I just can't wait for the year to start and the momentum to get going. I'm excited for this year. I am good at being a teacher. It distracts me from being really awful at reproducing.
In one of my schools, teachers create and display collages to show a glimpse into their life and interests. It's a great way for students to get to know you. Last year I did not do a collage, because I started the school year at a disadvantage (a week late, thanks to the ectopic experience). I could have done one retroactively, but I just did not feel like it. I had other more pressing things to take care of. This year, although my summer was tainted with loss again, it was not the kind that hospitalizes a body, and so I had time to do a collage. I may have gone a little overboard. I may have done one for both buildings, since I had already bought the materials and had plenty of photos. I may have made this a kickass, scrapbook-y collage. See, most collages have the wedding photos, the vacation photos, and then A SLEW OF BABIES AND/OR SMALL CHILDREN. The halls are lined with family portraits. My collage is missing those, unless I add some embryo pictures (I do realize this would be incredibly ill-advised, no need to worry). So, I decided that my collage was going to be pretty and highlight all the ways that we have a very full life without all those adorable photos of babies or siblings holding hands at Christmastime. Kind of like our Christmas card last year, which, since it was still missing a baby, was full of pseudo glamour shots of the two of us to show just how awesome it is to be just the two of us. (It is pretty awesome, minus the CRUSHING sense of failure in the family-building department, financial stress, and feeling that we are stationary objects while the rest of the world moves on to the next stages of their lives...but still we are awesome just the two of us.)
Here it is, my creation that took up the larger part of our dining room table for several days:
I have shots of Maine, wedding shots, both kitties (which were not labeled as "furbabies..." because...ew.), glittery fall leaves, owls, snakes, my gardens, reading stuff, and some tasty vittles that I cooked up. Not bad... For those family members out there, I decided it was easier to just keep it to me and Bryce. To include even just nuclear family would require a much bigger piece of paper (two sets of divorced parents means four sets of paired parentals plus siblings and their families=a collage in itself). I had fun picking out stickers (Dimensional pumpkins! Snakes! Music notes! Glitter leaves!) and putting the whole thing together. The other one is a little different because I didn't have doubles of all my photos, but it basically shows the same thing. We have fun and I am an interesting person, even though I do not have children. The only thing that was a little sad was looking through all the pictures of Maine. We really, really missed our annual vacation there this year. The week we normally go was not available, and we couldn't book another week because we had no clue how things were going to go with the FET. Next year we will go no matter what--it was way too sad to miss all of our favorite places and the ultimate relaxation that is camp. Going through the pictures I could almost feel the sea breezes on my face and feel the gentle rocking of the kayak on the lake. We have lots of great memories, but it was sad to realize that we hadn't made any new ones this year.
So, I started thinking--what should I say when people say "How was your summer?" I know that this is not meant to be a soul-searching question, just a conversation opener at most and nicety at least. I decided to think of all the GOOD things that happened this summer, completely separated from fertility. I'm taking fertility out of the mix because other than realizing what a completely kick ass team we have for our medical needs, it all pretty much sucked. Here is the good stuff:
- I was nominated for a national blog award.
- I read 17 books (and half of two more books that I had to abandon for upsetting subplots)
- I designed and planted a butterfly garden.
- I spent a lot of time with my Grandma and realized I am still a Scrabble whiz.
- I cooked a lot of really good food with Bryce at the grill helm.
- I spent time with new friends and old friends.
- I picked 5.5 pounds of blueberries.
- I grew a ton of tasty cherry tomatoes. (Trying to focus on that and not that my big tomato varieties all rotted from the bottom up this year...)
- I was a 4-H Evaluator at the NY State Fair for record books, scrapbooks, and creative writing.
- I am still smiling, despite having the second horrible August in a row (couldn't resist, but it's a major accomplishment).
I did pretty well, given all the bad things that happened this summer. I think I can pull something pleasant out of my hat when people ask what I did this summer. And now I have a collage that makes me smile and reminds me of all the good that I have. I am ready to focus on that for the time being, and not all that we lost and are having a devil of a time trying to gain. Despite our loss, it was a good summer. I am somewhat recharged and refreshed. I am ready to go back to school.