I have been missing for a little while here because life has been psychotic. Remember how I'm pursuing my National Board certification? Well, ha ha ha, with all the insanity of March and April I really did not get a whole lot done on the, oh, over 70 pages of writing that was required to finish out the second half of that process. I had planned to do a lot over April Break, and then, well, I went a little koo-koo and couldn't quite do that as I was trying to put myself back together again. But, the submission date was May 17th, and I had to get both components in as I have a grant covering the cost and if I don't I have to pay it back (to the tune of nearly $2000), and I wanted to finish SOMETHING that I started, so I worked like a banshee over the past two weeks to get it done. I managed to submit Component 3 on Monday and Component 4 late Tuesday night, after literally writing every day after school until bedtime and all weekend long, minus my mom's graduation ceremony for her graduate certificate at the divinity school and a Mother's Day lunch on Saturday afterwards with my sister and my mom and the guys. SO MUCH TYPING. I wrote and compiled 50 pages for Component 4 over just four days. I sincerely hope I pass.
So, that meant that I wrote and wrote and wrote all Mother's Day. Which is just as well, because this is my first Mother's Day where I have the knowledge that I will never be celebrated on this particular holiday, that it will never be for me. Every year I hoped that THIS would be the year I could be included in Mother's Day, and every year I was left going, "Maybe next year." And this year, it's "Okay, so...never." But, I didn't really get to think too much about it on the day, since I had to type type typity type and edit, from the time I got up to when I went to bed. With the exception of food, which let me tell you, National Board has left me exhausted but also with extra poundage due to the increase in takeout in our household during this time. Because my deadline coincided within days with Bryce's deadline for his course this semester, and so it's been a real house of stress around here. And a real house of non-environment-friendly takeout containers filled with Indian food, BBQ, pizza, Thai... and then sitting for hours. Not the best combo.
And behind all this work is my sadness.
I love on Mother's Day to have a good wallow, and I was denied that this year. So today, I am off on a personal day to celebrate being done and take time to recoup from the insanity that was my push to get my National Board writing done after having my world turned upside down, and also to have my Mother's Day Wallow. It is now safe to go back on Facebook as most of the Mother's Day posts are below my feed. Well, safe-ish. I am reading Ever Upward by Justine Brooks Froelker and drinking coffee and trying to type even though it hurts, because of yesterday. And in a way it stings to take a personal day. Because those have always been saved in the past few years for my adoption leave, since I get 5 paid days for the adoption of a child, 8 if I tack on my personal days. And so I saved them. Well, I don't have to save them anymore.
What happened yesterday, you might ask?
Well, in a wonderful twist of 2017 being The Year Of Urgent Care, I fell flat on my face walking into school yesterday morning. As in, I was wearing a cute olive green dress and my Dr. Scholl's tan wedges (Dr. SCHOLL'S! Not any stupid wobbly high heel nonsense!), and carrying my bag, and purse, and coffee, and flowers for my TA's birthday, when I hit a seam in the sidewalk going down the hill from the parking lot to the door and my foot teetered and I lost my balance and BAM! I dumped it, hard. Face-first. I am a disaster. I scraped up my knees something awful, chipped my FitBit (although I suspect it took the impact that could have broken my wrist, so thank you, FitBit), and scraped up my left hand. Oh, and my pinky immediately swelled up all purple and raspberry-looking and hurt like a bitch. So I lay there on the ground (did I mention my dress was short? Thank goodness for modest underwear), bleeding, crying, coffee and flower water pouring down the hill, while a coworker who had JUST COMPLIMENTED ME ON HOW CUTE I LOOKED came running to help me. You don't look quite as cute covered in blood and mud with mascara running down your face, let me tell you. I just shook my fist at the sky and was like, "WHY? 2017 has to DIE! WTF!" She ran to get the nurse, and more teachers came out, and the flowers were whisked inside just in time as my TA saw me on the ground as she came in and rushed over, and I took a real fun wheelchair ride through the halls of the first floor to the nurse's office, doing the Queen's wave because I felt so awkward and like a spectacle (although that probably didn't help). Meanwhile, one of the teachers used my phone to call Bryce and tell him that he needed to come pick me up and take me to Urgent Care, and he DIDN'T BELIEVE HER and thought it was a joke, because HOW MANY TIMES IN ONE YEAR CAN YOU GET THAT CALL? Apparently, several. My principal came to see me and told me I needed a bubble. I apologized and said, "This is my second Worker's Comp claim in a few months! [remember the ice skating elbow incident?] I am a LIABILITY now!" and he said, "Well, it's a good thing your assets outweigh your liability." HA HA, yes, but for how long at this point? How embarrassing. I got sent to Urgent Care, told not to come back, and got my bazillionth x-rays of the year. I swear, I should glow by now. Luckily, my pinky is not broken even though it looks terrible, it is just badly sprained, and everything else is just black and blue and scraped up. Oh, and I strained my ribs somehow, so I am in a tremendous amount of pain. I'm never quite sure what movement will cause the excruciating pain, but apparently twisting around is one and putting my arm above my head to do things like shower and get dressed causes it, too. I am a mess.
|This doesn't do justice to the way I grated my knees...|
|My right knee hit harder and is pretty purple today.|
|My poor hand. Luckily I'm right-handed. My pinky is purple all the way around that first segment. Amazing how much you need your pinky, small as it is...|
|Swanky new blue splint.|
So basically, I finish National Board and my celebration is halted by yet another injury. Sigh.
When it comes to adoption, I have been slowly rolling out the news that we are done. It has been interesting. My principal literally started to cry (a silent man cry) and said he was just so sorry for this, and so sorry that there's a child who won't get to have us as parents. Which made me cry, because it was a beautiful way to put it. He understood, but it is very sad. He was one of our biggest cheerleaders through this process. I told a family friend I've known since childhood who called to check in, as she asked how "The Baby Hunt" was going, and when I said we were done and it was hard and we were sad but looking forward to a new life without the limbo and striving and near misses, she got really upset and then interrupted me and said, "I just want to SCREAM! I'm just so mad on your behalf, it should have worked out, you'd be such amazing parents! You'd be a wonderful mother! Argh!" I told her I appreciated her fury and sense of injustice on our behalf. I have gotten that reaction a few times. Some people ask if we think we'll ever return to the process. I can't think of that right now. Throughout our whole journey I was bad at breaks. Some people are able to put this aside and enjoy life without being in the thick of it as they take a break for a few months, six months, even a year. I envy that ability. I could never do it because I obsessed about wasted time, the clock ticking away, and I just wanted to keep my head down and just keep moving doggedly forward, so certain that working hard would result in achieving our goal. And now, to think of being like, "We'll just take a break and come back to it," well, that's not resolution, is it? You never know what life can bring, and I can't promise that we wouldn't consider something different later if we feel a push to do so, but I hate to disappoint people...it's not likely. If we are going to embrace our life as a family of two and move forward, we have to do it without any What Ifs, without keeping a nursery JUST IN CASE, because otherwise it's not a real resolution. It's just more limbo. And I have had my fill of limbo. We. Are. Done. We need to move forward without any caveat. And that is hard for people to hear, but it is necessary for our survival.
Sometimes, I can't bring myself to tell people. Twice someone has asked me about adoption and I can't do it, I can't tell them that we're done. I don't want to in that moment. And that's okay. I usually tell them it's been hard, and we've had 6 opportunities in nearly 2 years but nothing ever quite works out, and then they say something like, "Well, I just KNOW it's going to work out for you. I PROMISE. You are both just so deserving of parenthood." And I know that if I tell them now it will probably go poorly (and I usually say, "I wish deserving had anything to do with it, but it doesn't..." and don't address the futility of making promises like that) and so I just hint that we won't always have the stamina to keep going, and how very long we've been at this quest, and plant the seed so that it's not a shocker when I do reveal that we are done. Whenever that may be. I haven't really decided how to share that beyond this space and the 1:1 conversations we've been having with people. Which is okay, but at some point I'll have to rip the bandaid off. Because there's a lot of people who fall in that in-between space.
In the meantime, Bryce and I are planning our summer vacation, the extravagant one, to be a honeymoon of sorts. We never did take one, as I signed for my first delivery of Ovidrel in my wedding dress. So now, we start a new life together, knowing that it will be us and the cats and maybe a dog after we take a couple years to be free. We haven't yet decided what to do about our house yet. That's for another time. Right now we lick our wounds and feed our sadness with vacation plans and celebrating THE LAST DAY OF PREDNISONE (which is today! Finally!) with a fancy dinner this weekend.
Thank you again, for all the love and support as we wade through the suck (as Mel put it) to get to the other side, to slowly reach acceptance and look forward to the joy that awaits in our new life together. Of being free of the albatross that was trying to make something come to fruition that just refused to materialize, no matter how we approached it, at least in carrying it so heavily. It will always be with us, but more as a specter and less as a physical load around our necks. And now with my National Board over (and scores not coming out until DECEMBER), and Bryce's class over, we can go into the warmer months with time to rediscover who we are without the quest for a baby, who we are just us two, and what our life can look like in this new reality.