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Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

It does appear as though the direction we’re taking is rebuilding the house. Joe was there yesterday evening with the adjusters and mooring company, and they’re going to be gutting the house either tomorrow or Monday. And instead of it taking 2-3 months, as they originally estimated, it’s now looking more like 4-5 months. In other words, we’ll be lucky to be home by Christmas.

Joe got my wedding ring out for me, as it had been left in my jewelry armoire that will have to be replaced. And he got SGB’s manuscript off my brand new dresser that will have to be replaced. Are you sensing a theme here? Yes, the furniture is going to have to go. Even the brand new stuff that we got last Saturday. Less than a week ago, it was, and yet it seems a lifetime.

On the positive side: the hotel is just 10 minutes from my office. I can only hope the apartment they put us into next will be as close. Another perk of being in the hotel: free breakfast. Someone else doing the linens and making the beds. Clean towels every day. That’s good, right? And we get to have the dogs with us. (Poor babies–they’re so discombobulated they don’t know what to make of things. And how do you explain it to them? I’ve tried, but you know, they’re dogs, probably not understanding anything I say.)

Other positives: I get to go buy new clothes. And shoes. And at least one more handbag. My house on the inside will be all new. I get to buy new furniture. Yes, I’ve already started looking. (Hey! Stop laughing! Yeah, it may be 4 or 5 months until I get to go buy that new furniture, but if I start looking now, I’ll have a good idea what I want and where to find it when the time comes.) And new makeup. Sephora, here I come! And a new piano.

It’s just that when you try to sit down and think of everything that you’ve lost, it can be very overwhelming. I was making lists yesterday, and they only covered the bare minimum of what was in any given room. All my junk jewelry–cheaper to replace than to try to clean. The 3 or 4 fascinators I never got to wear–will the smoke smell ever come out of them? A basketful of scarves. My books. Notes from my Shakespeare & Chaucer classes (just in case I ever decide to teach English). Journals. Blank books. Note cards, stationery, books where I’ve scribbled down favourite recipes. Cookbooks. Beautiful leather-bound very expensive books about the Crusades and various medieval writers. All my numerous copies of The Canterbury Tales. Notes from my Dante class. My grandmother’s journals (which I devoutly hope are in our storage unit but I’m afraid they might not be). Photographs. Holiday decorations. Mostly things that others would attach no value to, but to me are priceless. The clothes that I was planning to pass along to the incomparable Izzybella or Sarah-bear. The clothes I’ve been saving as I’m on my journey to smaller sizes.  All my beautiful shoes–the cream brocade grannie boots, the black lace guess do-me heels, my bitch boots, all the wedges and heels I’ve been purchasing over the last 6 months or so. And my handbags–most of them comparatively inexpensive, but still hard to replace.

Heck, even my bathroom scale! I don’t know how I’m doing weight-wise, because I haven’t been able to weigh myself since last Sunday morning! I know I’ve been doing some stress eating, but compared to what it would have been pre-banding, it’s absolutely nothing. But I like seeing the numbers on the scale every day. It keeps me focused.

The ugliest bridesmaid dress ever, that I was going to take to the cleaners and then sell on e-bay. Now I guess I’ll just stomp on it and let it be thrown away. The most beautiful formal that Izzybella got some years ago, and that I swore I would someday wear. The baby christening gown and blanket made by my grandmother years ago, that I was planning to pass down to my niece when she’s old enough to have children, that my stepsister’s daughter was blessed in, that Izzybella was blessed in. That I won’t throw away, of course. I will make every effort to have it restored because that, too, is priceless.

And the most treasured things of all are the memories. Memories of Molly, when we first brought her home, with her adorable afro, lying on the floor doing the Molly Flop. Stan gnawing my shoe that was bigger than he was. Molly burying full bags of Joe’s Christmas candy in the back yard. Chase putting on Joe’s heavy gloves and heading for the fireplace, startled when he was stopped, and explained, “I Joe!” Chase seeing me pour out the dregs of a milk carton for his brother, and started bellowing, “Milk! Milk!” and not calming down until he saw me take a full milk carton out of the refrigerator. Alannah and Kyle climbing the tree in our back yard. Chase wandering around nakey after his baby pool-soaked diaper fell off. Christmas Eves with Ben & Janine and their kids. Clover coming to give me a shot in the butt when I was doing IVF trying to have kids. Danny and I, staying up all night after watching Blair Witch Project because we were too spooked to turn the lights off. Crying my heart out in the long days after the IVF failed. Molly peeing on an area rug right after we told Joe’s friends from Australia that she was a good dog and never tinkled in the house. Christmas after Christmas after Christmas. Joe making huge pots of mashed potatoes for Christmas dinner. Joe making huge pots of mashed potatoes for the two of us, and danged if we didn’t manage to eat every bite. Molly being incensed at Mom’s being allowed in the then-yellow room, when she wasn’t, and defiantly going in there to tinkle the day Mom left. The bathroom door constantly coming out of its hinges. That Christmas morning when I sent Molly in to wake up Izzybella, and she enthusiastically complied, jumping onto Izzy’s stomach and kissing her face. The day I drop-kicked a multi-pack of Wolf chili because I was in a snit, and dang near broke my toe. Joe playing guitar so loudly that I could hear it from the inside of my car as I pulled into the driveway. MoMeNTuM meetings. Jehara bringing me my beautiful awesome wonderful zen box that’s now smoked out. Dancing in the living room with Joe. Dancing in the living room with Molly. Having Molly join me when I was practicing yoga in the living room. Spending three months sleeping on the recliner in the living room after having had knee replacement surgery. Laughter, tears, arguments, hugs, kisses, joy, sorrow–the soon-to-be-torn-down walls of our home are replete with the emotions and events from the past 13 years. Those things can’t be replaced. But the new walls will be erected, and in 13 years, we’ll have 13 years worth of memories to look back on.

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Summer Camp: Day 28

Day 28 – What size family do you come from, what size family do  you want, and why?

Read more:  31 Days of Blog Juice at Creating Motherhood http://creatingmotherhood.com/2011/06/28/summer-camp/#ixzz1ShFG66MQ

Birth family: 1 brother (3 1/2 years younger than me) and 1 sister (8 years and 3 days younger than me)

Step family: 1 stepbrother, 1 stepsister

Adopted/step: 1 adopted half-sister (who was a first-cousin by birth)

 

What size family do I want? I wanted at least 2 kids. I got none.  However, Clover so generously shares her brood with me, so I have a daughter and 4 sons. Thank you, Clover.

 

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Just Thinking

I didn’t mean to go this long without updating here. But you know what they say about life: it’s what happens while you’re busy making plans.

About 6 weeks ago, I was diagnosed with Bipolar II Disorder and put on two new medications. I turned out to be incredibly allergic to one of them, and spent a miserable week scratching any part of my body I could reach, missed two and a half days of work, and had a lovely trip to the emergency room.  Then two weeks ago today I was put on a different medication. I’m not, thank goodness, allergic to this one. But it has seriously messed up my sleeping schedule. Due to the rash one weekend, being out of town the next weekend, and sleep problems the next two weekends, I’ve missed church. And I HATE missing church. I long to be there.  I’ve kept adjusting the time I take the medications, but am still having incredible problems with it. A friend of mine is in nursing school, and she is looking them up to see if she can help me figure out the best time to take them that will interfere the least with my sleep schedule.

Today’s been a horrible day, and I’ve spent much of it either in tears or on the verge of tears. There’s no good reason for it that I can figure out; I’m just tired and drained. I asked Joe if we could go to a movie after I got off work, and we went to see Mamma Mia!  I loved it, loved the music and performances, but I still sat there and blubbered like a baby. Seeing the interaction between the mother and daughter just killed me.

If Heavenly Father had tried, I don’t know what trial He could have given me that would have been such a painful one as infertility. It’s just agonizing. I don’t want to be, and don’t think I am, a woman who sits around and cries all the time because she can’t have what she wants. I’ve worked very hard to find the blessings in my life–and there are many–that I have specifically because of the infertility.  But there are those times when it hits me hard right in the gut, and I feel like I can’t catch my breath, and it hurts so much to know that I’m not a mother, I won’t be a mother, not in this life. 

I’ve got a very good friend, whom I love dearly, and it looks like she is finally pregnant. This is her second round of IVF, and she used her frozen embryos. I wanted this for her as much as I wanted it for myself, and I’m excited and truly happy for her. And I feel like such a selfish little whiny crybaby that as I’m writing her to share her joy, this little thing inside me says that I just wish I could have it for me, too. I never want to take it away from anyone else. I never want anyone to have to deal with infertility. It almost takes away from everything you ever thought about yourself, everything you ever dreamed and hoped for. It makes you wonder if you’d be a bad parent, and that’s why you can’t have kids, until you see so many bad parents out there. Children aren’t given to people as a reward for good behaviour, nor are they withheld as a punishment for bad behaviour.

Whenever I think about this, and think about how important the act of creation to me is (and it’s desperately important, which is why I write, why I bake, why I cook), I keep coming back to the words of a primary song.

My life is a gift; My life has a plan. My life has a purpose; in Heav’n it began. My choice was to come to this lovely home on earth; and seek for God’s light to direct me from birth.”  (“I Will Follow God’s Plan,” Children’s Songbook 164-165)

Getting the diagnosis of Bipolar II Disorder didn’t change me. It just put a label on some things that describe me. Being infertile didn’t change me. I’m still myself, still Faith, still a daughter of God, still a daughter, sister, wife, mother. And I know that as empty as my arms feel right now as I long to hold my children, that’s how full they will be on the other side of the veil when I get to hold them for the first time.  There is a purpose to my existence. There is a plan for me. I don’t have to know what the plan is. I just have to trust in my Heavenly Father and be obedient, and I will fulfill that plan as I go.

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Sorry to take such a long time between posts. It’s been a busy week, albeit a very good one as well. I met with my bishop on Friday afternoon, and accepted a calling to be Relief Society pianist. I’m excited about it. I love playing piano, and love Relief Society, so it’s a plethora of good things all mixed together.

Joe and I went to church together yesterday morning, which was absolutely lovely. I bore my testimony for the first time in quite some time, and was set apart after the meetings. We then spent much of the day sharing scriptures, talking, etc. He pulled out one of his mission scrapbooks and was reminiscing about the high and low points of his mission. We also watched a documentary about The Screwtape Letters that was quite interesting.

Sorry to be so brief, but time is short. I’ll be back to update more shortly. Have a great day!

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Reflections

Back when I changed my name, started trying to be true to myself, etc., I think I may have thrown out the baby with the bathwater. I was so determined to quit trying to be a perfect Mormon housewife just for the sake of fitting in that I also foolishly quit doing things I genuinely enjoyed. 

It’s kind of like when I first met Joe. All my friends were telling me how perfect we would be together, and I was so annoyed that I’d made up my mind not to like him and not to go out with him. It finally occurred to me that not doing something just because everyone was telling me I should was as foolish as doing what they said for that reason only. So I decided to go out with him and see what happened. And the rest, as they say, is history.

So right now what I don’t have is money to spare. What I do have is plenty of flour. I bought a jar of yeast a few days ago for less than the cost of a single loaf of bread. And now I have two loaves of bread in loaf pans, sitting on the stove, covered with a dishcloth, silently doing their work and rising. In another couple of hours, I’ll have two loaves of piping hot bread, and I’m going to slice off the heel of one loaf, slather it with butter and jam, and thank my Heavenly Father for blessing us.

I do like to cook, and bake. I’ve let myself get so busy with other things that I forgot about those small pleasures. And since we followed the counsel of the prophets, at least in this one thing, we have plenty of food storage from which I can prepare good meals. I spent about $9 today at the farmers’ market on some fresh peaches, an apple, some green beans, some cherries, and a nice onion. Dinner tonight will be stir-fried vegetables with strips of steak left over from last night.

I also realized that even though I declared a moratorium on crafts those years ago, I actually do enjoy doing some crafts. And does it really matter if I can’t do something perfectly, or if it doesn’t measure up to what I’d wanted to do? Why should I let my perfectionist standards keep me from doing something badly, as long as I enjoy doing it?

So I’m back to allowing that part of myself back out into the light, and I may be baking more and I may make some jam and I may do some dreadful crafts. And as long as the bread’s good and there’s light and life and love in my house, that’ll be just fine.

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During my lunch break today, after running the errands that needed to get done, I stopped in for a brief visit at Half-Price Books. I was really wanting some MoTab music, but couldn’t find anything. I checked in the religious books, to see their incredibly small selection of LDS books–nothing that I didn’t already have. While I was there, I decided to get a copy of C.S. Lewis’s Screwtape Letters for a quick re-read before I pass it along to a friend.

Then, as I was standing in line to pay, I saw the golden snitch: CDs of James Earl Jones reading the King James Version of the New Testament priced at $20. I have a copy of the Book of Mormon on CD already, and oh, how I would love it if James Earl Jones would read that.  Anyway, back to my point–I did quickly snatch it up and listened to the first four chapters of Matthew on the drive back to the office. I love his voice!!

Also, my beloved sister Izzybella sent me an e-gift certificate to Deseret Book for Mother’s Day. She knows how difficult Mother’s Day tends to be for me, and she said she wants me to know that she fully supports my efforts to get my life in order. I was very moved by her characteristic kindness–she’s always doing things like that, and it means a lot to me. Anyway, I got the DVD Praise To the Man, and a Neal A. Maxwell book, Not My Will But Thine. They should be coming soon in the mail, and I can hardly wait to devour them.

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There is a fantastic post over at Feminist Mormon Housewives about Mother’s Day for the Motherless and Infertile.  Mother’s Day has been a very painful day for me for a long time, but not, fortunately, because I’m motherless. In fact, I have a plethora of mothers. Let me tell you about them.

First there’s my Mom. She loves me so much that she carried me the two extra months when I refused to enter this earth. She even loves me so much that when she finally did go into labour on December 7th, she kept begging for me not to be born on Pearl Harbour Day. I granted her desire, popping out on the 8th to say hello. She’s encouraged me in every pursuit. She indulged my book habit. She made fun of me when I needed to be made fun of, and laughed at my smart-alecky comments when I was a kid. We had some strain as I hit my teenage years, but what mother-daughter pair doesn’t? I’ve been proud of her all my life. She sets her focus on what she wants, and she goes out and makes it happen. She was the first female certified latent fingerprint examiner in the state of Georgia. She has her Ph.D. She has taught high school and college. She has published numerous books, including fiction and non-fiction. She loves me. And I love her.

Then there’s the Monster. You know, the wicked step-monster of fairy tale fiction. Well, not so much with the wicked, although we had a good stretch where we cordially disliked each other. I’m not sure when that began to change. I know that we both made efforts to overcome it, because obviously we were going to be part of each other’s lives whether we wanted to or not. She loves my Dad with all her heart, and I appreciate that. And she hides a soft, mushy heart under what can be a stern and off-putting exterior. I’m pleased to tell you that not only do I love her, I really like her.

My sweet mother-in-law is older than my other mothers. Where I was the oldest of 3 that my mother gave birth to, my husband is the 5th of 6 children. She has the softest heart I’ve ever encountered, and she loves all of her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. I haven’t gotten to spend as much time with her as I’d have liked to, since we’ve lived far away ever since we’ve been married. When we are together, I see her loving tenderness towards all the family.

And now that I’ve told you about my mothers, let me tell you about my children. I know, I know. I don’t have any. Well, that’s not strictly true. See, for several years before the IVF in 2000, I knew that I was going to have a pair of twins, a boy and a girl. And I knew what their names were going to be. I was actually nervous about my son’s name, because I felt that his first name would be the name of my husband’s birth father rather than his step-father. I’ve never met Joe’s birth father. He passed away before I came into the family. And Joe didn’t necessarily have real great memories of him. So how could I tell my husband that I wanted to name our son after his father?  So I kept proposing different names, and one day while we were in the car, Joe asked me a question. “What,” he said, “if I know our son’s name and you don’t?” I immediately said that he was the priesthood holder and the head of our family, and I would follow his inspiration in that matter. Then he told me that he felt our son’s first name should be his father’s name. I felt completely awed. When I told him what I’d been thinking, we were both very deeply moved.

So since I’d known for several years that I was going to have twins, a boy and a girl, I went into that IVF with perfect faith. I never, at any time, doubted that I would get pregnant and would have those twins. Even when it turned out only 3 eggs were viable, after my initial distress I calmed down. I only needed 2. And even when they were only able to transfer 2 embryos, I was okay with that. Because 2 were all I needed. Things were great for a few days, but I knew by the time I had to go back for my pregnancy test that I’d lost the babies. The test results confirmed my knowledge, and as I’ve said before, I was never able to try again before having to have a hysterectomy.

In the days and weeks after the loss of my two little ones, I was searching everything I could find for an official church stance on miscarriages. Because in my mind, it was a miscarriage. They may not have had a whole lot of cells, but they were growing for a few days. And I knew them so well. And I couldn’t find anything that brought comfort. I prayed and prayed and wept and prayed and wept some more. And I had the impression from the Holy Ghost that those two children would not be coming to me on the earth, but that they were waiting for us beyond the veil, and I am their mother and will still get to raise them. I asked Joe if he had felt that. He said that he hadn’t, but the Spirit bore witness to him that I was correct.

So every now and then I get to feel the presence of my children’s spirits with me. Not often, and not for long, and it always leaves me in a puddle of tears because I so much long for them. One of my best friends had her last son a few months before Tad and Ellie would have been born, and every year when T. gets another year older, I get a pang, thinking of where Tad and Ellie would have been, what they’d be like, what we’d be doing together as a family.

And that’s why I have such a hard time on Mother’s Day. Even writing this I’m sitting here crying. And I know that my heart will be so full on Sunday that I’m not quite sure how to handle it. I’m going to church. I want to. But I may have to spend sacrament meeting sitting in the foyer. I hope that’s okay. I’m not sitting there hating Mother’s Day because I don’t have children or because I don’t have a mother. Mother’s Day hurts because I do have children, but they’re not here. They’re not anywhere on the planet that I could go to and hold them in my arms and hear them call me Mother.

If you see me on Sunday and I’m crying or teary, you don’t have to worry about not knowing what to say. Just smile at me, give me a hug, let me play with your baby’s feet, let me cry if I need to, and just love me. 

Thanks.

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