It’s December. Only a handful of days left until we start another year anew. Before we crack open the champagne and kiss our significant other at that stroke of midnight that good ol’ Christmas craziness is taking place. It started Thanksgiving evening and will not let up until that last present under the tree is unwrapped, the last of the nog gone and nary a crumb of cookies remains. Ah Christmas!
December is truly my favorite time of year – of course there is my birthday to celebrate (check – made it another year, whew!) – but there are parties and presents, holy nights for many; lights on trees, in windows, on homes, and in hearts.
This year is a bit different, as my normally structured life has a bit of chaos in it, self induced, but still chaos; as Greg and I make the monumental permanent move out of our snug cabin in NJ. Work is crazy but I am familiar with that. A cherished family member is facing the beast of breast cancer and that makes me, well, it makes me ANGRY to be honest. How many of us need to suffer through the war until we beat this thing???!!!
All that aside, the one thing that weighs heaviest on my heart this Christmas is the decision we have made to forgo our chase for a child. Even typing those words brings me to tears. My sincere apologies to anyone who reads this and learns of this news via my blog. It has been too painful for me to even say aloud. Faced with our agency’s decision to drop their China program, the already seven years we have been waiting along with the possibility of having to wait another five, or seven years, topped with arrival of my 46th birthday… we are letting it go. Sure, there are other routes we could take but it means starting over. Doing a fourth home study. Starting a new waiting period. Facing possible disappointment over and over. Becoming part of the “sandwich” generation as we navigate the uncharted waters of being sole caregivers for an elderly parent. Again, we hold each other close and say, let it go.
The email from the agency in Washington D.C. taking over from ours in NYC, requesting yet another check and piles of paperwork, sat in my inbox for weeks. I could not bring myself to hit send on my reply until I realized my apathy could be preventing another family from receiving the attention it deserved. Gathering up my strength I sent a terse reply with few words, which I admit I am not thrilled about but it was all I could muster. I hit send, moved the original inquiry out of my inbox and walked away.
I thought I was all good with this new course our lives are following until along came Christmas. As I filled my birthday weekend with all sorts of wacky holiday events like the Santa Speedo Run and the Brewster Breakwater Beach Polar Plunge, even the Jolly Jaunt, I was hit with the realization as to why I live a life full constant motion, flying here, there and everywhere, running mile after mile. As I took a deep breath and contemplated my 46 year old self in the mirror, I acknowledged how grateful I am for celebrating five years cancer free and part of the reason I do love my wacky life is that very fact – I am here today and healthy so, why the hell not be wacky? What hit me was the other reason. Perhaps I knew it all along but could not verbalize until now: I need to move, to run and laugh a lot in order to fill that time that we planned on devoting to another.
We planned on a family; resorting to adoption only when our attempts with fertility docs didn’t pan out. Thinking we always had that option to retry, grieving process number one occurred after my breast cancer diagnosis. (It’s not a good idea to try to get pregnant when going through chemo…just sayin’) Grieving process number two occurred upon the second whisper of cancer necessitating the removal of all parts required for childbearing. I figure this go around to be number three.
Sure, I try to think positive, I have my health, my family, employment and employer sponsored healthcare (I couldn’t resist!). But at Christmas, more than any other time of the year, that yearning returns on high as toy commercials are played in an endless loop, holiday movies depicting families coming together in all sorts of fashions hit the screens and I receive holiday card after holiday card displaying the annual holiday photo of the children of my friends and family. People, well intentioned of course, point out the perks of being childless, and I willingly admit there are a few, but this time of year I would be more than willing to forgo said perks just for that moment – to see the smiles and hear the exclamations of excitement that only the arrival of Santa Claus can bring to a cold December morning.
Don’t think me a Grinch this year – we will be fine and make it through; in fact just these few paragraphs have been quite cathartic. I needed to get it out. Deep breaths. The winter solstice will soon be ending and more light will appear. I will run with my dogs on the beach, I will hug my husband, embrace my friends and my family, and realize how full my life truly is.