Father’s & Their Days

Where do I start?!

Life has been QUITE the whirlwind lately.

We have FINALLY finished painting!!!  The whole house got a fresh coat of paint from the ceilings to the base boards, we have new carpets in the bedrooms and hubby is currently working on redoing the deck, adding a pergola and building a fire pit.  I even added some feminine touches to the front and back yards with flowers and new mulch.  Go me!

We.  Are.  EXHAUSTED!  But we are content.

It’s funny how infertility can permeate your mindset.  People are always telling us “When you’re not thinking about it, that’s when it will happen”,  when what they REALLY need to be telling us is HOW to not think about it!

The last month or so has been so insanely busy that there have literally been times that I have had to remind myself to breathe.  Not to mention all the times I had to remind myself that murdering your spouse is illegal (especially if you get caught).

But if you had asked me where I was in my cycle during any of that time, I would have been able to tell you.  While there was no timing intercourse or charting temps or testing for ovulation, I knew right where I was.  And not because I was paying any attention to it, but just because I’ve gotten so “in tune” with my body.

Believe me, before all of this infertility mumbo jumbo, I was ALWAYS caught off guard when that time of the month would roll around.  Of course, before I was on some of the meds I’m on, it was more like once every 3 months.  Oh, blissful ignorance.

I was just commenting on a friend’s blog today that it’s so easy to get caught in thinking “maybe if I distract myself with [insert activity here], I’ll get pregnant.”  So we tuck that hope away and immerse ourselves, all the while trying to tune out that little niggling that says “HEY YOU!  I’m ovulating here!  Are you gonna do something about it?!”

J & I said goodbye to our old apartment and christened our new home – a couple times (sorry M-I-L and all you Sensitive Sally’s!) – and just genuinely enjoyed each other’s company once we got past the most stressful parts of moving and new homeownership.

I’d be lying if I said that the little seedling of hope that had been sprouting in my heart wasn’t devastated when Aunt Flow faithfully arrived the day before Father’s Day.

Father’s Day.  Another one of those holidays that brings mixed emotions.

It would have been nice to give J an extra special Father’s Day gift this year.  But alas, he’s just stuck with me – again.

Father’s Day is a kinda touchy holiday to begin with for me.  It was hard for me to feel like I had a father for the most part growing up.

My biological dad was, in all my childish naivety, my hero.  The man who I didn’t really know, but could do no wrong in my eyes.  He lived 3,000 miles away while I was growing up, so it was easy to keep him on a pedestal.

There was the man my mother was married to when I was in my 20’s, who was awesome.  Soft-spoken yet firm.  He had to step in to a tough position.  And he did so with grace.  Even though they aren’t married anymore, I will forever be grateful to him for the role that he played in my life.

And then, there’s the man that was there for all the years in between.  My anything-but-step father.

We had a rocky relationship while I was growing up.  I’d say the responsibility for that is spread pretty evenly.  I wasn’t his “real” daughter and I had a father that I was always searching for ways to get closer to.  I felt like he had his family, and I was just kinda … there.  His responsibility, but not really his.

He always worked hard – and worked us harder sometimes, it seemed – and provided well.  Him and my mother owned a business and they kept us kids busy stuffing statements and licking envelopes.  I don’t remember them being around a whole lot when we were younger.  There were quite a few nannies and babysitters and I recall MANY times that I was home with my siblings as the babysitter as well.

As a child, it felt like they didn’t want to be around us.  But now, looking through my adult eyes (thank goodness for those, huh?), I can see that most of the time spent away was in an effort to provide.

The times that I remember them being around were always crazy.  Like the cross-country trip to Pennsylvania in my dad’s ’66 Lincoln Continental with suicide doors (exactly like the car in The Matrix) with our tent trailer attached.  Yup.  4 kids, 2 adults and the feeling like we would NEVER get out of the car again!  We did see a LOT of cool stuff on the way there and back, and some of those memories are BEYOND priceless.

Today, the relationship I have with my then stepfather is extremely different.  When I was in my early 20’s, we had a LONG (occasionally loud) conversation about the past, put it behind us, moved on and he bears the prestigious title of ‘Dad’.  In fact, his back yard – the backyard of my childhood home – is where J & I got married.

He still works very hard.  And provides very well.  We may not always see eye-to-eye and I may not always agree with where he stands on some things, but we know each other well enough to not overstep the boundaries or expect the other to come around to our way of thinking through anything beyond their own idea.

He’s opinionated, but understanding.  Traditional, but open-minded.  Has high expectations, but easily forgives.

I remember J meeting my dad for the first time.  We had gone to Birmingham, Alabama to help him flip a house and then when we got home, J promptly broke up with me.  After shattering my heart and then deciding he’d messed up and wanted to be with me, I told him it wasn’t just me that he would have to ask forgiveness from now.  So he wrote my dad a letter.  (Don’t tell anyone, but I have both letters – J’s & dad’s response – saved in my email!)  If I had any doubt that J was the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with, it was removed after reading that letter.

And I remember being SHOCKED at my dad’s reply.  Not just because it was absolutely perfect and forgiving and just what J needed to hear, but because he said some things in it about me that I never even realized he thought about me.  It’s always an eye-opener when you get a chance to see yourself through someone else’s eyes.

I am so grateful that we have been able to overcome what started out so rough and forge a path that is all our own.  I am blessed that I have someone that I can call anytime I need advice or encouragement – or even to be talked out of something.

At a time in my life when it seems other people are dropping like flies through the trials, it is really nice to have someone so consistent to rely on.  Even if we don’t talk for a couple months at a time, when we do – after the obligatory ribbing – we can pick right up where we left off.  For that, I say from the very bottom of my heart, THANK YOU.

Me & Dad

My bio dad is still in my life as well.  We talk occasionally and I’m grateful for him, as well.  In fact, the two of them even shared the privilege of walking me down the aisle and giving me away.  I know, not very traditional, but I felt it was fitting.

So, while Father’s Day was tough for the obvious, present reasons, it was also filled with thoughts of years gone by and memories that are still to be made…

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One Down, One To Go

Well, I made it through Thanksgiving!  The biggest accomplishment of it all?  I didn’t even CRY!!!  I had to pull myself together quite a few times, but not ONCE did those little moist menaces blaze a trail down my cheeks!  While a large part of the suckiness is that we are facing another holiday without a baby, the other part is that – I MISS MY FAMILY!  Yes, it was my choice to move to Kentucky.  Yes, it’s my choice to STAY in Kentucky.  But that does NOT make it stink any less!  ESPECIALLY when I go online to look at the price of plane tickets!

Stack Of Cash

I’ve been watching people do the “Thankful” posts on Facebook…  You know, the ones where they take a break from complaining about EVERY. SINGLE. THING in their lives for 30 days to express the things they should be thankful for every day?  Don’t get me wrong, I’m NOT saying that they’re NOT thankful for those things all year-long, it would just be nice to see Facebook flooded with posts of thanks and love all year, rather than just one month.  I started doing them at the beginning of the month.  First – I’m not very good with keeping up with things like that.  Second – while I can be as gushy and sentimental as I feel here, I almost feel … uncomfortable … doing it on Facebook.  (Weird, I know.)  Third – I’ve NEVER been one to follow trends.  Fourth – after watching both my mother and my mother in law battle cancer the last two years, I’m thankful every day.

This is the 3rd year I’ve spent Thanksgiving with my husband and his family.  Part of his family was missing also, as his sister and her husband and children are in Florida and couldn’t be with us.  Every year, they go around the table and everyone says what they are thankful for.  I was thankful that every time one of them said they were thankful for family, I felt like I was included in that.  I KNOW that they all consider me family.  I consider them family as well.  It still just touches me in a place I can’t quite describe to be reminded that they do.  Although, as much as I loved being around the table with them, my heart was hurting to be home in California with the other half of my family.  My side of the family hasn’t had a Thanksgiving together in probably 8 or 9 years, partly because I moved away, but also for reasons that are another blog entirely.  I still remember little traditions that we had and I seem to miss them more when the times come around that those traditions were carried out.  As I read through a blog earlier by A Hundred Affections, I was reminded just how much traditions shape us as we grow.  Those memories NEVER fade.  Though, it seems, the ones that dull suddenly come rushing back when presented with a mere vision of how life WAS.  I will forever be thankful for those memories.

As we all migrated to the living room to stretch out and relax after stuffing ourselves, conversation flowed freely.  The kids were running in and out and up and down and all over, like they always do!  At one point, my nephew came in to tattle on his sister.  I have never been a fan of tattling.  When I owned my child care, they KNEW that I simply wouldn’t tolerate it.  I feel like children need to figure out how to resolve conflicts as early as they can without having to resort to some kind of interference on an authority figure’s behalf – as, if they don’t, it will only transform them into those people who run to management or whoever when they have issues later on in life.  Anyway!  As JW insisted that he “wasn’t tattling, she just won’t do what I want,” I imparted some of my “wisdom” on him about what tattling really was.  No matter how long I am on this journey, I am NEVER prepared for the question that came from the friend of the family – “Dacina, why aren’t YOU a mom yet? You seem to have ALL the right answers for these kids!”  “Uh.  Um.  Well.  Uh.  Yeah.  We’re trying.”  (not so wordy now, huh?!)

The temperatures out here have been on a steady decline the last month or so.  It even SNOWED the other night!  There is just something about snow that is so peaceful and magical to me.  Having lived in a town for a large part of my life that would bring snow storms to dump amounts as tall as I was, watching the snowflakes fall automatically takes me to this peacefully reminiscent place in my mind.  I know people think I’m crazy when I say this, but I LOVE the sound of the falling snow.  “Snow doesn’t make a sound”, you say.  I say, listen next time!  That quiet whisper you hear in the air when it’s snowing are those magical flakes touching everything and blanketing the world around you in newness.  I can’t think of anything else that can completely transform everything in my view as efficiently and beautifully as snow.

This picture taken by Me

This picture taken by Me

I’m REALLY hoping for a White Christmas this year.  More than that, I’m hoping that I can make it through Christmas as tear-free as I made it through Thanksgiving!  I’m prepared for it to NOT be as easy, however.  Even just thinking about it I can feel those bullies tugging at my ducts!  But, I’m going to put on my big girl panties, wrap the presents, decorate, play Christmas music, buy presents and generally put on the performance of a LIFETIME.  If I leave the room for a minute unannounced, just know this – I may not be ok at that moment, but I will be.

im okay