Superstitious

I’m a superstitious person. Not always. Only when it counts.

When I was running races each month back in 2012, I had my routine. I wore the same thing. I ate the same dinner the night before. I did the same stretching routine the morning of. My breakfast never varied and my races were always a success. Except for that one time I didn’t do all my little rituals.

That race was a disaster and it was because my good pants weren’t washed and I skipped my pre-race coffee.

I’m not running races any more but I’m seeing my superstitious side rearing its head when it comes to our trying to conceive.

This cycle I’m late. Not super late but later than usual. After so many failed attempts to conceive, just the hope that springs from this delay is making me ill with anxiety and fully superstitious.

I’d usually be chatty about this delayed start of my next cycle but instead have kept mum. Other than my husband (and these readers) I’ve not said anything to anyone. Not even my mom. Normally I share most everything with my mom but my worries that if I speak I will break the streak of missed days is keeping me silent.

By now I would have blown through a few Clear Blue tests to confirm my suspicions but not this time. I happen to have run out and instead of rushing to the store for a new pack, I’ve stayed away and refuse to pee on any pregnancy sticks. It’s almost as if I believe that having them in my house with jinx the way things are going. That just seeing one will instantly make me not pregnant.

So I wait. No tests. No talking. No nothing. We ignore it like its the big pink elephant in the room. I get up in the morning to use the bathroom and I hold my breath. So far, no signs either way. When I return to bed, I feel my husband release a breath he had been holding with me, anxious to hear if my cycle is still late or if it is starting over.

Together, each morning, we hold our breath and wait for a week to pass. Together we anxiously ignore any signs or changes in me and hope beyond all hope that this time we’ll get the news we’ve been waiting breathlessly for.

And alone I’ll continue my little superstitious rituals in hopes that something works.

Unending Cycle

It’s Sunday. A day of football and relaxing. Time to reset for the week and enjoy your time off before starting over again on Monday.

It’s Sunday and here I sit in an apron, smelling strongly of bleach and cleaning supplies, sipping a mild tea meant to help boost my ability to conceive this month.

This month marks a year and a half of trying to have a baby. That’s 19 months or about 82 weeks. Roughly about 575 days of the same thing each cycle: hoping, wishing, trying, logging, monitoring, and then nothing.

My job changed recently. I left the high stress job sitting at a desk Monday through Friday, 7:30-4:30 to a little less pay but a much larger reward. I’m stressing less and I’m home more. Plus I’m doing what I love and have passion for. I’m in the classroom teaching and touching lives.

Even with this change, each month is the same. We try and hope, crossing our fingers for a positive. Then nothing but the silence of one single pink line and another month gone.

We’ve done a lot on our own. We’ve changed our lifestyles, we’re keeping healthy (as we can) and we’re adding natural supplements to help boost our chances. But I’ve got to be real and accept that we may need the help of a doctor.

It feels silly to need help. Jake came into my life so easily and without even trying. But this struggle after having had a healthy pregnancy years ago is real and painful. I feel I’m failing and that something is wrong with me. And in some dark corner of my mind I also feel that I’ve done something wrong and this is my punishment.

Thanks Catholic upbringing.

We’ve been open when people ask about our goal to have more kids and we’ve been even more open about the fact that we’ve been trying for some time. This tends to be met with incredulous stares and confusion. They look at me and ask “But you’ve been pregnant already” like I don’t remember or that the thought hasn’t crossed my own mind, too. I know they don’t mean harm but it sucks to hear.

Oddly, as open as we can be, we don’t share much without being prompted first. I doubt more than a handful of people close to us know we’re trying and have been for over a year now. It’s kept close to our vest and if asked, we’ll chat. Otherwise, it’s a battle we fight alone.

Here we start another year, 2015. Another year, another month, another day to try again.

Little Deaths

Our lives are about to change. In a short few weeks I’ll be leaving my job after 7 years and I will be starting down a different path.

In less than a month I’ll leave here and begin substitute teaching.

Yes, I’m returning to teaching after years of wondering if that would ever happen.

And I’m terrified.

First, I must say my husband has been super patient and very supportive of my decision. Hell, he encouraged me to at least fill out the paperwork and just turn it in. He saw it as an opportunity to work through that first step, just applying. When I got past that step and onto the next, the interviewing, he again reminded me that what was most important was just going through the steps and completing each one. And I did.

Then that step turned into a job offer and the opportunity to start substitute teaching this coming school year.

Sadly, I didn’t react like I think people wanted me to. I don’t think my brain has clicked over yet to how thing may be this coming year. Instead, I’m stuck on the fear of leaving what I know, the comfort of my everyday being the same. So instead of rejoicing I’m scared.

I drove back to work from my interview and realized I wouldn’t have to commute as far for much longer and instead of sighing in relief, I felt a pang of sadness. When I walked in the door and heard my dad and saw my sister in her office, a little hole opened up and my sadness deepened.

Since Monday when I received the good word of my hiring on, I dealt with little deaths along the way. Today I was asked to write my job description, explaining all the tasks I am responsible for at my desk. It wasn’t an odd thing to ask and made total sense but it felt like I was writing my own obituary.

I’ve never been in a situation like this before so I’m treading into completely new territory. First, I’ve never had a job for this long. 7 years… that’s a good long time in one place. Also, the last 9 years I’ve been the financially responsible adult for my son. I left teaching when an opportunity opened up in a better position so that he could have insurance and a steady income to not only cover our basics but also to stock away some savings while we were at it. and now I’m leaving that cushy job for another one that’s not as lucrative but it’s a passion I want to follow. It’s hard, I feel selfish and risky, feelings I don’t cope well with.

But I’m doing it, step by step. And I’m grieving as I go, letting those little deaths come and go as they please. I’ve got a few weeks until I’m officially done and moving on and by then I bet I’ll be thrilled and looking forward to my first day as a teacher again. For now, I grieve and fret over the what-ifs and the unknown.

For now…

Little Pebbles

In the last couple of days, I’ve acknowledged that I am feeling down. I can’t put a finger on where it is coming from but it’s there, hovering around me like a soft grey blanket that holds all the warmth in and keeps everything else out.

It’s funny, since putting words to my feelings, I’ve noticed every little negative detail in the past few days. It seems that when you are down and feeling low, you notice every little pebble that normally wouldn’t catch your eye.

Lately (and I know it’s probably more my perception than reality) I’ve been noticing how insignificant I am. How little of an impact I make in the world. It all started when I realized a group of people I saw regularly are acquaintances more than friends. This all rolled together with my hermitude made me feel so isolated and left out. Why wasn’t anyone making the effort to be friends with me?

At first I was very upset and wanted to blame everyone else, that they were blind to the goodness that is my friendship. Then it came to me slowly; I had done this to myself. I make myself untouchable. Why? To keep my heart safe, maybe. I’ve lost a lot over the years, especially in the last 4, that I seem to have built a shell around myself. Also could be that I get so emotionally drained by people and tired in general after social interactions that it’s easier to keep people at arms length than to submit myself to a commitment I don’t think I can keep. And I hate being judged when I don’t want to socialize like others. I like my solitude and my space but I also like to be around people, just on my terms.

Suddenly I could see each and every little pebble of social awkwardness and antisocial behavior and anything NOT the standard I had done in the past and it seemed so overwhelming. All these little pebbles under foot, scratching at the bottom of my toes. And each time I picked up a pebble to toss away, I’d find three more.

So I began to wonder, out of honest curiosity, what it is that makes me a good friend? What draws people in to me? What do I have to offer? Right now, not much. But in the past when I had friends and people in my life that stuck around, what was it that kept them near?

I didn’t think I had changed much over time but I’m starting to see that the common issue with my social life is me so I must be doing something wrong, something different to keep people from wanting to stay in my life.

This all seems so dark and self deprecating but it is what it is.

Now to work on it.

The Great Malaise

Ever get the feeling your skin doesn’t fit, nothing is right, and everything is wrong? But, when logically considered, all is right with the world and you actually have no complaints? It’s like feeling ill but having no fever or symptoms to prove you aren’t well, instead you just feel like the color grey: not black or white, just in between and void of any characteristics that make you stand out.

My life right now has a very mellow shade of grey hanging over it. I can’t tell if I’ve brought it on myself (which I acknowledge I’m wholly capable of doing) or if some outside force is wreaking havoc on my view of things. If something has painted my rose colored glasses a dingy color to dull my view of the world around me. Things seem blah.

I blame myself, as always. I can’t seem to handle the changes in our lives and for some reason I’m bringing the whole ship down with me. I know I’m not the only one feeling this deep sense of malaise. The contagion has spread and affected those around me and we’re all feeling a little under the weather, emotionally. Sensations aren’t as heightened and happiness seems to be hiding. Instead of feeling joy and anger, everything just feel… meh.

But this is life. The ups and downs and how we adjust to them. How we muddle through the crap and celebrate the good. We’ve been riding high for so long that I forgot what it was like to hit the bottom and scrape along looking for a morsel of joy. And I’m hoping this is the bottom and that I have no where else go but up from here.

The biggest issue is figuring out what is causing this malaise. I know I’m down (and I’ll refrain from using “depressing” or “depression” because that’s more than just a feeling, that’s a diagnoses) but I’m not sure what’s causing it. Could it be the expectations I feel that have been placed on me? Or the expectations I’ve placed on myself? Could it be the uncertain times ahead that, for some, trigger excitement at the unknown but for me trigger anxiety? Who knows right now. It could be anything and everything. Either way, I’m feeling down and lost and very much alone.

For now, I’ve taken the first step: I’ve acknowledged that there is a problem. And from here on out I just need to work through it with care and kindness for myself and without judgment.

The March Of Minutes

A string of pearls, listless and bemused,

hangs languidly from the hands of the clock,

striking slowly with little intent.

Pointedly, the hands drag and stalk the Hours,

marking the March of Minutes.

And I wait.

I take a step, with precision and exactness.

Then I wait some more,

the tightrope I walk swinging and swaying.

Gently. Tense.

Slender beneath my feet.

I inch forward, tickling the wire a fraction at a time,

then I stop. I am poised. Listening to the creak of the string, swaying.

And I’m waiting.

Again.

 

 

Letter To My Son: Your Girls

Dear Jacob,

I’m writing this letter to you in the middle of the summer. You are almost 8 1/2 and growing like a weed. Last night, even with a healthy snack or two and a full dinner including some of my soup followed by dessert after, you were still hungry. I swear I can’t feed you fast enough and I get the feeling that this is how things will be from here on out.

This is also the summer you got your first pets. After months of reading and prepping for it, we brought home two baby girl rats. And, you were beside yourself with glee.

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We named them Twinkletoes and Mia. Twinkletoes was white with a grey face and Mia was the same but with a brown face. The girls were terrified the moment we put them in their cage. They huddled together in the corner just shivering with fear. Poor babies…20140721-130148-46908747.jpg

But that didn’t stop you from loving them. The day after they came home you were up before the dawn to spend time reading to them. I could hear you quietly sharing your book and lovingly reading the story of some helpful penguins. But that wasn’t enough, you had to hold them. And try you did! You reached in without fear and held onto Twinkletoes with so much patience and grace. She wasn’t having any of it and not long after you can into my room in a panic to tell me she had gotten loose.

It didn’t matter. Your dad and I got her back in her cage and we calmed you down. You were so concerned and afraid for her but you wanted so badly to just hold her tight, to cuddle with her and to let her know she was loved. We planned to let them settle for a bit and not to force them out of their corner. You had other ideas…

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That little moment of panic didn’t stop you because you were determined to gain the girls’ trust. We spent time at the library pulling up books and you’d show me that we did, in fact, need to spend time holding the girls each day, even if they were scared. We needed to show them we could be trusted and that we didn’t mean them any harm. So I went with it. You presented such a strong case backed up with information you had researched that I couldn’t say no. Together we carefully reached in a pulled the girls out. Then, you cuddled and held your girls when they would let you and whispered sweet words of comfort to them and they listened. With you, they seemed at peace.

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And when they weren’t in your arms or hearing a story read to them, I found your nose deep in a book about rats and the best ways to care for them. You were like a sponge, soaking up everything bit of information to make you the best rat caretaker ever. It had become your mission in life to care for your girls as best as you could.

It’ll be interesting to hear you relive these days when you are grown. To hear what you thought and what your memories of these first pets were like. How you perceived yourself in this time, if you saw what we did. If you saw yourself as a dedicated friend to these four legged sweethearts. If you saw yourself grow both in spirit and heart as you learned to care for something smaller than you.

Son, I saw this happening before my eyes. In those first few days with the girls you aged and matured so quickly. I saw you go from the boy who had to have the last word in EVERY agreement to the boy who thought of his pets first. They were the first things you checked on when we got home, they were your first thoughts in the morning, and you were always thinking of new ways to engage them and play with them.

It felt like overnight you went from a boy to a young man. You had a purpose and it was to love and care for your girls.

I hope when you look back on these times that it is with love and positive memories of a time when you were very happy.

Love,

Your Mama