Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day

My thoughts on this day were found on a bench in Edinburgh, Scotland.

"When you return, speak of us and say 'It was for your tomorrow that we gave our today.'"

Thank you to all who made the final sacrifice.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Cave 2005

Heeding Mel's oft repeated bit to make backups I went back to my first IF blog. I reread the posts about possible pregnancies, fertility treatments, a hailstorm of friend pregnancies and some bad stuff that my family said about adoption.  

Then I read this post. 
When I think of the post I wrote yesterday, I know it might seem like I have never been there. Now I'm happy but I never suffered. 

I suffered. 

Here is the proof that I know whereof I speak. Here is the proof that I walked the path some of you are now on and I get it. I grok it. I know. 


I've heard infertilty compared to islands and once a cave.  

Today I think the cave metaphor is more accurate. Sometimes everything just hurts. It generally happens around the time I get my period, but still I have these times where I just need to go into my cave.  

It's dark in the cave. But that's okay. I don't deserve sunshine. Sunshine is for people who's bodies work the way they are supposed to. Sunshine is for babies, not women who can't have them.  

It is wet in the cave. Tears, blood make for a wet atmosphere. Maybe it's the blood of a miscarriage or chemical pregnancy. The blood of countless periods that came even though I was sure this time that I actually was pregnant. The tears that happened during doctors visits. During tests while nurses berate me for crying. Telling me that this doesn't hurt when it felt like I was being raped with chemicals. Tests that are embarrasing, humiliating. I have to make a joke just to get through the day. Going to a second RE to be told that everything the first RE did was wrong and I spent money, time, and pain doing a treatment that was never going to work anyway. Tears when everything around you is breaking into little pieces. Friendships, marriage, sex.  

Sometimes I have company in the cave. Sometimes my husband is there with me, but more often I am alone. Reaching out across a sea of computers to touch others who have their own caves. Others who know that the cave is lonely but you can't be alone. You ache to be with others but only others who know what it is. They know what you want and how you are hurting.  

It has to be a cave because only stone can absorb the anger. And I get so angry. I try not to. I try to be okay, but when I need to go into the cave I bang my hands on the rock until they bleed. I am furious. I am furious at every woman who ever harmed her child. I am furious at everyone who ever gave me assvice.
"Just Relax."
"Have you ever thought about lifting your legs in the air after sex?"
"Why don't you just adopt?"  
"You aren't meant to have children until you recognize Jesus Christ as your personal savior."  
"You won't have children until your husband converts to Judaism."
"A low-carb diet helped a friend." 
"Become a vegetarian."
"You're just too fat to have children."
"Well of COURSE she doesn't have kids, her husband would have to sleep with her to do that and can you imagine anyone being that hard up?" (Overheard at one of my jobs from hell)

The cave is filled with every doubt I have ever had about myself. If I gave more to charity, If I was a better person, If I was a better wife, if I SOMETHING it would happen.  

There are days I can stand the sunlight. Days I can leave the cave behind me. I send away to adoption agencies. I look at countries, at children. I realize that I can be a mother and my parenting will be just as valid. Days I see a child in my arms and she has almond eyes, not the blue of me or my husband. But she laughs in my arms and calls me mama. She takes my hand and says 'Mama come see.' And I know, I do know, that she will keep me too busy to go back into the cave.  

But she's a dream right now. And my other dreams have turned to shit. I can't believe with the innocence that I had that I will have that child. I can't believe that everything will work out all right, because I believed that once, and I wound up here, in this cave.  

I sometimes think that the worst part of the cave is that I am the only one who is able to crawl out of it. No one can come and lift me out of the depression. I have to decide that I want to leave the cave. I have to pull myself to my feet and walk my bruised and battered soul out into the sunlight. But the cave is safe, and I am safe from the slings and barbs of my own psyche and society that decides that a child's face can sell anything. A society that values the children far more than they do the parents is painful to me. Hiding in the cave is good. But I don't want to be here. And I inch myself to the mouth of the cave and it is dark and the stars shine down on me. I once believed my child was up there, waiting for the right moment to have me hold him or her. But now they are stars, and the night air smells sweet. And I can stay at the mouth of the cave for a bit, and wait for the sun to rise.

Monday, May 23, 2016

The View from the Continent - Microblog Monday

A long time ago--and by that I mean about a decade or so--when the blogosphere was young, someone coined the term Infertility Island.  Don't know who did, but the term was apt.  Infertility Island is where you stopped until you had your positive pregnancy test, adoption referral, or decided that it was enough.

I have Lotus. She got me off the island. 

This past week, I met up with a friend who I met on the Island.  We clicked in that way people do when you are in the same situation.  We actually clicked more.  I get her. She gets me. 

Our log-in dates were close to each other and we thought that we would be if not traveling together, then we would have our children close together.  For reasons that are not mine to tell, she had to drop out of the China Adoption program.  I cried when I heard that. I cried for our dreams coming to a halt.  

Then I got Lotus and all of my priorities shifted. I left Infertility Island for the parenting continent. Instead of shots and peeing on sticks I was talking my child to playgrounds.  Instead of crying myself to sleep because I didn't have a child, I would listen to her sleep and fight becoming a helicopter parent. 

I can't say I've never looked back to the Island. I have too many friends there who took the path that led off of it without children. I ache for them. My sister left Infertility Island for life without parenting. Other friends chose different paths.

Sometimes I see people look at Lotus and I see the hunger.  I get it. I grok it. I fear it. I worry that something will happen to Lotus.  I wish I could wave a magic wand and let my friends and sister be the wonderful parents they were meant to be. I can't though so I brush my sadness for them off and hold my daughter's hand. I'm fine when she reaches her other hand to them because then my Lotus has someone else to love her.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Blood ties

I tend to belittle blood ties.
Hmmm, maybe belittle is not the word.

I understand and appreciate blood ties, but when people say to me, "You can't possibly love your adopted daughter like I love my daughter because she isn't your blood." I roll my eyes and take a step back from the speaker, often both metaphorically and physically.

I have a biological sister. I love her.

I have a sister that I chose for myself in my first week of college.  I love her too.

In my heart there is truly no difference. I often introduce the latter as my sister--something that kinda gets my bio sister upset. That being said, I often don't understand it, I don't love my b-sister less, I couldn't possibly. Somewhere along the line, with my non-bio sister, the word "friend" just didn't seem to cut it.

Anyway, blood ties--not a thing.

Then there was yesterday.

We are in California visiting my Aunt and Uncle. They are celebrating their 72nd wedding anniversary--and that wasn't a typo.

My Aunt is my mom's older sister. Though over 90 she traveled from CA to NY when mom passed. She said that she was there when mom came into the world and she would perform the mitzvah of burying her. She did--bent over with her own grief she did.

Yesterday after a incredibly long and traffic filled drive we arrived to meet them and I took my Aunt's hand.

More often than not I don't think about her being my mom's sister--seriously if you met my aunt you'd understand, she's in a class by herself. Yesterday I held her hand and it felt like I was holding Mom's hand. Her touch was the same.  We sat while eating dinner, holding each other's hands. I wasn't about to let go, neither was she. We were both looking for a link to mom and found it in each other.

I love my Aunt, and she loves me. Yesterday when I held my aunt's hand I also held my mom's. Yesterday when she held my hand she held a link to her sister.  The blood is there and so is the love. Maybe it's when they aren't together, that's when people say don't forget blood.

Monday, May 9, 2016

That mothers day when I sucked - Microblog Monday

So yesterday was Mother's day.  And after years of waiting and dreading this holiday I had a holiday with my beautiful Lotus.

My father and inlaws were here too.

And I did not have a good day. I like to make this blog about Hallmark moments, good moments, sad moments, but seriously this wasn't a good time, a good day, and I don't look good when I talk about it.

First we went to get our pictures done--and that went fine.  My dad left for his Mother's day with his girlfriend. (Is it really weird to talk about a 88 year old man's companion as a girlfriend or is it just me?) Nevertheless, that is probably when I started cooking.

I kinda wanted him with me.
Did I say that? No. Did I even register it consciously until I started to write this blog post? Also no.

So I started cooking in my mind.

Prior to this D and I had a tiff because I was annoyed that the place where I wanted to have Mothers Day Brunch A) wasn't doing it this year  (was closed for the day) and B) Why in all hell was I the one to make Mother's Day Reservations since I was the mother.

So poor D, went nuts trying to find a good mothers day brunch the day before mother's day.  He found a mother's day brunch but it wasn't good and the lack of care they took with cross contamination of my allergies meant I couldn't eat. At first they wouldn't let me order off the usual menu. Then they saw me sitting there like a bad Yelp review ready to happen and they let me order off the usual menu but it wasn't very good.

My Mother In Law was angry because I was not grinning and bearing it. To tell the truth I was angry at myself that I wasn't just grinning and bearing it. Well we left and got ice cream and it was marginally better. Then we went home because my in-laws were going to watch Lotus while D and I were going to watch Superheroes save the world. We left Lotus wondering why we had to go out and of course the time we wanted to see was sold out.

And I lost it.

I was crying, yelling at D, blaming him, blaming me. This day sucked sucked sucked! I had waited and waited and I wanted this perfect day! Why couldn't anyone understand that! My mom would have understood it!

And there it was.

I wanted my mother.  Somehow she'd have made it all right. D and I hugged and then we got the uber expensive Imax tickets.  The movie made me sane again.

Today I cringe at how I was yesterday--but it's real. Sometimes I am not a nice person, and well, today I'm owning it. I remember some of the Mothers' days with my mother. How sometimes she'd be sad, or in a bad mood, and I didn't understand. Now, in the light after that day, I realize that my grandmother, my mother's mother, died when I was seven years old. I don't have many memories of her. It occurs to me how mom must have been missing my grandmother on Mother's day. She must have ached for her, and hated hearing how the whole family was together--as sometimes it was--on mother's day.

So, I'm my mother's daughter.
And I can only hope that next year will be better.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Why Holocaust Remembrance Day Matters

The first time I remember hearing about the Holocaust I was in grade school. The music teacher, talked about a man who was in charge and didn't like anyone who didn't have blonde hair and blue eyes. Since I had blue eyes it didn't scare me.

I went home and asked my mother about it and she explained more about Hitler and what it would have meant to our family because we were Jewish. This started a fascination with the Holocaust that grew as I met survivors.

Most of the survivors I met have joined their families in the afterlife. The full-throated NEVER AGAIN has diminished to Never Again and soon will diminish further as we lose the survivors to history.

I have been told that those who lived through World War II have been very concerned about the rise of Donald Trump. It brings back many memories for them. A man who panders to the worst of people and allows--no--encourages violence at his rallies helps the World War II comparisons.

So what can we do?

Do you know someone who isn't registered to vote--help them to register today.

See how you can help the congressional and Senate races.  If you can't get behind Hillary Clinton, find someone who you can behind.

Don't forget.

Don't forget that Hitler came to power because good people did nothing.

Don't forget that Hitler came to power because people did not take his Jew-hating talk seriously.

Don't forget that Hitler caused a lot of problems before he was stopped.

Don't forget!