I can be wound really tightly.
I can make arbitrary deadlines and goals and timelines for things that I have zero control over. (I can also do this for things I have lots of control over, and that goes really well...)
I can be optimistic to a fault.
There is a teacher I work with who calls me "Suzy Sunshine." She says it kind of like a slam, and one afternoon after a frustrating day said that I could be downright delusional in my hopes that some of my students will turn things around when it comes to work completion or behavior or motivation. I like to think that I just never give up hope. SOMEONE has to keep the faith.
I loved the quote attributed to Churchill, "Never, never, never give up." I use it with my students all the time. I used it as a mantra and had it as a magnet, holding up protocol calendar after protocol calendar after protocol calendar on the fridge.
I STILL believe in "Never, never, never give up." I am not giving up on parenthood. I am not giving up on my quest for motherhood. I am not giving up on bringing a baby into this house. I DID have to readjust how that was going to happen, and it was HARD. Hard because I clung so tightly to the idea that I could change what can't be changed, that if I just hoped hard enough I could influence the universe and my uterus and make it be so because I thought I could. I had in my head dates, "surely we'll be pregnant by THIS date," and "if it happens HERE, then I can go out on maternity leave THERE!"
And I was always disappointed.
I think I might have been smarter when I was younger, when my best friend and I agreed that, "It is always better to be pleasantly surprised than to be bitterly disappointed." This after both of us experienced divorced parents and the disappointing events that follow divorce -- promises that can't be kept, visits that don't happen, parental behaviors that make you realize your time as a child are over. Counting on things becomes almost silly.
Somehow, when enduring fertility treatments, I lost that bitter edge. Maybe because I thought that it was possible that the hard times were over, and now that I had the husband I deserved, surely things would work out positively from now on? Each loss did not teach me to be cautious. Each disappointment and setback and piece of bad news somehow didn't break my optimistic hopeful nature, which I stuck to like a Pollyanna chump. In some ways, it's a strength to remain doggedly optimistic and hopeful in the face of such continual tragedy. And in some ways, it's not facing the music that is rising in a crescendo to the end of the piece.
I felt freed when we finally realized that treatments were a vicious circle, and not a single or concentric circle, but a spiraling pattern leading down, down, down, down a drain. Once I realized that I couldn't hope anymore, that it was feeling pretty futile, that the disappointment train had taken its toll and Pollyanna had morphed into Debbie Downer, it was easier to realize...this was NOT our path. Bryce got there sooner, but he fluctuated, too. And once I could put my energies into a new process, I was a lot happier, and had hope again.
That hope is tempered. I can't have my optimism at top speed, careening towards heartache. I am different now. I am changed. I have learned my lesson.
I look at my adoption journey, and I am full of hope. But I am also realistic. I refuse to put an arbitrary date on when we might bring a baby home. I won't even put a firm date on when I think we should be home study certified -- I hope it's by the end of summer, but who knows what can happen? Better to accept. Better to realize that things will happen when they will happen. I can set dates and hope all I want, but the truth is... our baby could come sooner or later than we think. And it will have nothing to do with anything we do, attitude-wise.
I could hope that because our fertility journey was so dismal, that our adoption journey should be a breeze. But I know that's not a correlation that is accurate. Just because pretty much anything that could go wrong, did go wrong with that pathway to parenthood, doesn't mean that adoption will be smooth as silk. I expect false starts. I expect failed matches. I expect a long wait. Not because I don't have faith in the process, but because I can't be Suzy Sunshine when it comes to becoming a parent anymore.
I would rather be pleasantly surprised than bitterly disappointed.
And so I let go, in a way I never could with fertility treatments. I loosen my screws and accept things as they are. I am not catastrophizing, but I am not naively thinking that I will be matched and have a baby for Christmas, either. I hope for the best, but know that the worst could happen. And I live in the now.
Right now, we are waiting to be eligible. We have our classes in two weeks. We are that much closer to having our home study finished and approved. We are closer to being parents than we ever have been before. But we are NOT parents yet. And we don't expect an easy road.
We're just taking it one step at a time, and I think we will be more sane for it. I feel a slight loss of innocence and mourn a little bit of the Pollyanna I used to be, but I know that I will manage this journey better for being cautiously optimistic, emphasis on the caution. I always tried to live in the now with fertility treatments, and I couldn't do it. But it taught me something...
Now is all we have. Preparing for a someday baby that IS coming is a good thing, thinking that it could be in 2015 is maybe not. FutureBaby will come when he/she comes. And that will be amazing, and joyous, and change us forever. But until then... all we have is now, and each step as it comes.
Joy, and reality. Reality, and joy. Walking that line will bring us to our family without losing our minds.