Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Grateful

2015 is rapidly coming to a close and the internet is filled with advice and reflections on New Year's resolutions. In addition to looking forward many are looking back on this past year, remembering both the good and the bad and all the lessons in between.

This past year has been a whirlwind of change for the Grey/Cristy household. Starting with hitting a wall, making difficult decisions about career and life-goals (the big one for me was making the decision to work at the Beats' daycare) and ending with a cross-country move that has strained us financially and emotionally (both Grey and I are missing Seattle more than we imagined). All of it taxing and yet filled with hope as we're beginning to see some paths forward.

Over the holidays, a theme of "thankful/grateful" emerged. Sure, there's lots to worry about. We still have a long journey ahead that is filled with so many more obstacles. But honestly, after living through infertility and all that was lost all of this seems very doable.

In 2012, Keiko Zoll published a radical post about being thankful for infertility. The timing of her words was a shock to me, as I was cursing this disease for all the grief and pain it had caused in my life. I remember reading Keiko's words and thinking that I was happy she can see the goodness, but that there was no possible way I ever would.

And yet, over the last 3 years, I've begun to be thankful and grateful too. Realizing that so much self-doubt was shed during that journey. Realizing that I learned what hitting bottom felt like, what being an object of pity meant and what it truly meant to be living as one who was left. That as much as I feared all those things, that the fear was far worse.

I learned that hitting bottom, though scary as all hell, meant a chance to start over, shed all fears and doubts and to start again. I learned that uncertainty opened doors I never knew existed as I was too focused on a certain path. I learned, also, how much stronger I was than I gave myself credit for. That the image I had held in my head for so long of being less and unworthy was not who I really was. I learned the motivational power of anger and the importance of asking "why." But most importantly, I learned that I deserved to love and be loved. All with so much help and guidance from the amazing people I've meant while on this journey.

Looking back, Grey refers to 2012 as the "year of the black." And yet I also remember all the rainbows. Something similar happened in 2015. There were certainly some dark moments, with us wondering how we would even survive (literally). But there are also those insane high points, like the first day I walked onto campus to start my postdoc and hugged my advisor E. And there were also the insane moments like sitting on the plane as a family of (2 cats, 2 kids and 4 suitcases that we would all live out of for the next 7 days) after somehow making it through security with the whole crew.

I guess my point is that 3 years later, I realize I too am grateful. Grateful for infertility and all it taught me. Grateful for all the lessons I continue to learn. Grateful to my family and that we have one another. And grateful to still be a part of this community.


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Let it snow!

For my 21st birthday, all I wanted was for it to snow. I had just gotten back to my apartment at college and was preparing for a road-trip to the West Coast for the Rose bowl. My friend and I had made plans to meet up later in the evening to celebrate me hitting this milestone and he asked me if there was anything special I wanted.

"Just for it to snow," I told him.

And that night it did. Big, fat flakes that rained softly down from the sky, covering the world in white. I remember giggling like a small child and forcing my friend to dance with me in it. It is still one of my most treasured memories.

Two days ago, I turned 37 yrs old. The day was a quiet one, just the way I like them. But secretly I've been wishing for snow. Ever since we moved to Boston, I've been hearing about all the snow from last year and boy was I in for it as they assumed someone from Seattle had never seen snow. (The ribbing all stopped when they learned I was raised in Minnesota, as Minnesota snow removal crews had to be called in last year)

This morning, as He-Beat and I began our usual morning routine, I noticed it wasn't as dark outside. Despite hearing the sounds of frozen rain hit the sides of the apartment, I held my breath as I raised the shades hoping the illumination was due to a white ground cover. As I let out a squeak of delight, He-Beat came running up to me, looking very curious. It's not the first time he's seen snow, but it is definitely the first time he'll remember.

As I type, the snow is melting due to ongoing rain (which is suppose to freeze tonight). But the memory of this morning, watching He-Beat play in the snow with unbridled joy (She-Beat wasn't too sure about it, unfortunately) has left me smiling for most of the morning.

Monday, December 28, 2015

#MicroblogMondays: Explaining actions

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.


"I just want an explanation," he said softly. I could hear the pleading in his voice, an attempt to understand what had happened to result in over 4 yrs of radio silence. 

My mom had just turned the phone over to my dad, after spending 30 mins filling me in on their Christmas celebration and updating me on all things family. She had asked about the Beats, gleaning information about their size and weight, wanting to know what they liked to do and liked to eat. All of it fluffy conversation with me purposefully skimming the surface the whole time.

My dad started our conversation asking how I was, how we were and what we were up to. It becoming clear he was waiting for my mom to be out of earshot when we asked me the question I knew had been on his mind for all these years. What happened?

During my last conversation with my folks my mom asked a similar question, but it was immediately clear she was picking for a fight. In that case I immediately felt myself tense and began nervously evading an answer, knowing full well she wouldn't take it well. With my dad, it was a different story. Taking a deep breath, I immediately relaxed as I let the truth flow out of me, telling him about how my mom's push for Grey and me to adopt my cousin's son had been the final straw. 

My dad and I have always been close. So close that when I cut off contact with my family, I heavily grieved losing him. All the hurt came rushing back as we talked, as it became clear how much he was hurting from that severance. But unlike my mom, he was trying to understand. Though he reminded me he didn't agree with what I did, he was trying to empathize.

I'm still process all that happened during our 30 mins on the phone. All mixed up with a lifetime of memories and emotions. The feeling that with this reconnection is also a metamorphosis for our relationship from parent and child to something more fitting. But also finally recognizing that I indeed hurt someone I love dearly while recognizing that he too hurt me.  

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Finding our "perfect"

In December 2012, following a full year for failed fertility treatments, adoption falling through and so much heartache, I found myself sobbing into my dinner. We were days away from final round of IVF and I was hopped up on Lupron. My in-laws were out visiting Lucus's family to meet Grey's new niece and between the stress of this upcoming cycle and the knowledge that we were once again going to be alone for the holidays, I broke down.

Sitting across from me at the table while I cried into my chicken, something in Grey broke. Something broke in both of us as we were so exhausted from all the pain and the loneliness that came with this journey. And so in that moment, a decision was made. Somehow we had to make Christmas as tear-free and relaxing as possible.

The next day, Grey purchased a Legos Millenium Falcon (the set he has wanted since he was a child) and a good bottle of scotch. The plan for Christmas eve was to drink heavily while watching the Star Wars trilogy (Episodes IV-VI) and assembling those Legos.

The end result, outside of a model of the Falcon sitting on our coffee table fighting off attacks from two curious felines, was also a Christmas were the gloom and uncertainty caused by infertility was kicked out the door. At least for a little while. We didn't know what was going to happen within the next few days or even within the next few years, but we were determined to find some peace and merriment despite the uncertainty.



Fast forward 3 years and a completely opposite situation. Upon first discovering the Christmas tree on our landlord's porch, the Beats are overwhelmingly excited about celebrating Christmas. Christmas eve is spent making sugar cookies, singing Christmas carols and reading stories about Santa's pending visit.


The next morning is spent unwrapping gifts, with the Beats excitedly flipping through books, building with next blocks and struggling to share the lone Daniel Tiger troller gifted to them by family friends. After breakfast, the whole family is loaded into the car to visit a local park where they spend an hour playing with other kids as other parents are on a similar mission of burning off any extra energy due to sugar. And then it was home for lunch followed by a much needed nap for all.


Later in the evening, after the Beats were asleep for the night and Grey and I were cleaning up, I reflected on how different this holiday was from ones in the past. The easy joy that came in every moment, even the less than perfect ones. And yet, I remembered too the Christmas from 2012 and the perfection that came when we needed it most.

Sitting in the coffee shop this morning working on a manuscript, I overheard a conversation between two women complaining about the misery in their holiday due to certain details being less than perfect. Either an in-law saying something that threw them off their game or a child melting down over not getting a certain gift. And I realized that our society has put too much emphasis on being "perfect." That if you don't do certain things or meet certain standards, somehow your holiday can be ruined. But the truth is, the we also play a part in allowing the "ruined."

Over the past month, I've had two close friends announce they were stopping their pursuits to expand their families. Both are rightly heartbroken. And both are grieving during the holiday season. I've thought about both of them throughout the last week, remembering how difficult this time of year is while grieving and imagining the pain they are experiencing during this time. Knowing that there are many who will attempt to minimize their pain as they are both parenting a small child and there's added pressure to "be merry."

And yet, even though they are grieving, I have every confidence that they created their "perfect" Christmas. I don't know exactly what that may have looked like as I've yet to connect with either of them and it is very likely there were less-than-perfect moments. But my hope is that there were moments of peace; moments where they could hold their beloved children and smile. And that though it may not have been perfect in the eyes of others, it was perfect for them.

Where ever you are in your journey this holiday season, whether newly diagnosed or resolving, my hope is that reflecting back you can find your perfect moments. Be it a moment you laughed your ass off, did something insane or even took some time to find peace. My hope is you can recognize those perfect moments you created and that those are the memories you carry with you for a life time.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Of ears, teeth and peanuts

Last week was an appointment filled week for She-Beat and me. Following our relocation to Boston, one of the first bits of business once getting health insurance established locally was setting up appointments to follow up with ENT on She-Beat's cholesteotoma surgery and to get her in to see an allergist. In addition, I was very overdue for seeing the dentist for a cleaning due to my previous dentist having both limited hours and such frequent turn-overs in staff that resulted in incorrectly canceled appointments (one receptionist canceled, then another called to inform me that they were charging me $60 for a missed appointment. Quickly corrected, but still not good).

First up was the ENT. Following dropping both He-Beat and Grey off at their respective locations, She-Beat and I traveled into Boston proper to have her ears looked at. The hour we spent waiting to see the doctor passed quickly as she entertained the staff by pointing out all the different types of fish in the waiting room aquarium and commented on story after story that we read together. Finally the doctor was ready to see her and we found ourselves in a room filled with cotton balls, tongue depressors and all sort of shiny metal instruments. The ENT staff made note of all the mischief a toddler can get into in under 2 minutes when they finally came into the room and somehow managed to convince She-Beat that the pack of crayons they had located was far more interesting then all the instruments that were at eye-level.

The long and the short of it is that outside of some very minor scarring on her ear drum, She-Beats ears are normal. They look normal and her hearing is in the normal range. We have a final follow-up appointment for both her and He-Beat in June to see how their ears are doing following ear tube placement, but to get this news that all is moving in the right direction was a great relief. That and the knowledge that we now need to plan art projects with cotton balls and popsicle sticks.

On Thursday, I spent my lunch break getting my teeth cleaned and checked out. Since moving, I've noticed that one of my front teeth seems to be lowering, which is now affecting my bite, and that the gum is receding a bit. The hygenist insisted on x-rays as she was having difficulty getting ahold of my previous dentist for this information. What we learned is that overall things seem normal, my one front tooth seems to be lowering and I also have a bone spur on my upper gum that needs to be looked at. So in the new year, I have an appointment with the endodontist to determine if that tooth is even still alive and from there we'll for a plan of attack. Needless to say, when he began talking about a root canal I was far from happy, but we'll cross that bridge when we need to.

Finally on Friday, Grey and I packed up the whole family for a trip to the allergist. Due to unpredictable traffic, we arrived early than expected. This resulted in both Beats entertaining most of the floor as they played chase and ran up-and-down some empty hallways to burn off energy. One older gentleman asked if he could take He-Beat home after he saw what he described as a "giggling blonde blur" fly by him.

Prior to the appointment, Grey did some reading about allergy testing. Given what we know about the immune system, both of us are not enthused about skin testing due to the high false positive response and the potential to cause an adverse reaction solely by introducing a concentrated amount of the antigen. So when the allergist offered doing a blood test, looking for peanut as well as cashew and pistachio antibody levels, we jumped at it. This morning the results appeared in my inbox with completely unexpected news: She-Beat tested negative for all three allergies. The allergist immediately sent an email warning us that it didn't rule out a potential for a reaction, hence we need to follow up with a feeding study at the office, but the news offers so much hope.

The long and the short of all of this is that after almost a year of ER visits for chronic ear infections and an allergic reaction followed by 5 separate surgeries, physical therapy and constant fear about exposure that could trigger an allergic reaction, we may finally be in the clear. Sitting in the bathroom this morning with Grey as I read those test results, it was clear both of us were breathing sighs of hope. That all the advocating we've done may have finally paid off.

Beginning of January is when the feeding study happens. Around that time I'll be seeing the endodontist. And if the worst news we get from all of this is that I need a root canal, I'll take it.

Monday, December 21, 2015

#MicroblogMondays: not a creature was stirring

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

Winter break is looming for many academic institutions in the northern hemisphere. Though there are students who still have final exams to complete, most have fled campus and are making there way by plane, train or automobile to their respective destinations. 

I'm currently sitting in one of these deserted buildings taking a break from writing and experiments to revel in the quiet. It's strange how these moments of silence, which bring to attention noises we normally fail to notice during the normal hustle and bustle, also recall memories and moments one may have not focused on for a very long time. Or remind us of how much has truly changed, even when we felt like the world was passing us by.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Letting it all out

It's 5 am. He-Beat and I are snuggling on the couch, with me attempting to convince him an extra hour of sleep is a good thing. Without warning, the light on our fire escape next to the couch comes on. A motion sensor light that is easily tripped by gust of wind. And yet my heart is in my throat and I feel the fear wash over me. Carefully I look outside, making sure that there is nothing and no one there. Yet there's a chill that remains.

Since yesterday's post and following my friend's advice about writer's block, I've been spending more time analyzing other areas in my life that are giving me pause or creating anxiety. Not surprisingly, the theme of fear has come up again and again. Fear of failure, fear of fighting unnecessary battles and even fear of seeing harm to my family. Fear has been manifesting itself time and again. Part of this theme is coming from reconnecting with my family and, specifically, dealing with my mother. I'm so tired of being baited into fights or being blamed for the rift that exists between us. I can't be truthful with her on my own thoughts and feelings as I know all too well that any hint that her actions in this will result in a massive explosion. Still, there's an additional element I haven't ever talked about openly. Solely out of shame and guilt that we were even part of this.

For 8 years, home was not safe. The condo Grey and I lived in was in a building with neighbors who were mentally ill. I've talked before about Fleur, an older woman who's poor grasp on reality was ripe conversation as most could not believe half of what we lived with. But I haven't talked about the two neighbors who shared walls with our unit. On the left side of us lived Cyrus, an older man who hinted he had OCD and certainly suffered from narcissistic personality disorder. Our introduction upon moving in was him asking if we were certain the sale had actually gone through (suggesting strongly that we were trespassing) and then informing us that he regularly listened to all conversations in our unit by pressing his ear to the walls. Cyrus struggled with me in particular as he learned I was in graduate school, which was something he believed no woman should ever do. This belief was regularly demonstrated by regular rants against neighbor women followed by poor attempts to flirt. A lot of what kept Cyrus's rage and envy in check was Grey, as it was clear he was absolutely terrified of him physically and in complete awe of him psychologically and professionally.

The other neighbor who lived on our right was a man who was only a few years older than us. Overly friendly from the start, he struggled with boundaries and was easy to offend if there was a difference in opinion. About two years following moving into the building, he knocked on our door and asked to speak with Grey. During that conversation he confessed  that he was about to be arrested as he had raped his 16 yr old daughter. Despite all of this, we were both counseled that it was unlikely he was violent and following his release from prison were encouraged to help promote his re-entry into society. Initially he seemed to be taking steps to do just this, with many in the building working with him to help him establish a business and keep him away from temptations. But after awhile, he regressed back to old patterns and habits of drug use and drinking. He pushed the limits of his parole and found ways around safe-guards. In the end he burned everyone who was supporting him. And when called on it and a lawsuit followed due to actions he was pleaded not to do, his reaction was violent, with blame and hatred cast to anyone who dared question him.

It's been over a year since both of these individuals sold their units. Both of them blaming me specifically for having to sell and move on. The neighbors that now flank our unit are so completely opposite from these two that there were days Grey and I were in awe over not having to whisper during conversations or worry about our home being broken into. And honestly I thought that all of that was in the past. That we could move on.

And yet, on the heels of recent shootings and responses from certain political figures, I find myself increasingly upset and struggling. As people who are fast to point fingers and gleefully preach hate, I find my heart in a not-so-peaceful place.

The problem is I know that meeting violence and ignorance with the same fixes nothing. Yelling at those who preach this hatred and ignorance never does if not results in them screaming that much louder, claiming they're not afraid to fight when it is clear that are absolutely terrified. But sitting back and allowing them to spew lies and hatred in an effort to understand is getting to be too much. I'm still nursing wounds from such efforts and dealing with the fallout of getting on their radar.

So, in an effort to finally come to some resolution, I'm sucking it up and putting all of this out there. I'm ashamed that I ever had dealings with a convicted sex-offender or believed that I could help this person re-integrate into society. I feel afraid after living next door to a narcissist who harassed both me and Grey and made home an unsafe place to be. And I'm angry because the few times we talked about all of this with others in hopes of finding help, most responded with silence or looks of shock. And the long term affects have become where I still worry about finding one of these assholes at my doorstep, pointing a gun through the window.

I don't expect anyone to fix this, because the reality is that no one person can. Nor do I expect pity for what we've lived through. What I want more than anything is to stop having to live in fear. Worrying that what I say, do or how I live my life will somehow result in my family being harmed. Because no one should have to endure that. And I'm so tried of fighting it.

Monday, December 14, 2015

#MicroblogMondays: Writer's block

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

I've been finding myself pulling away from this space. Posts drafted in my head are going unwritten and comments unanswered. Too often, when I sit down to write, the cursor key sits blinking back at me. It's been frustrating and there's been many times I've wondered if the best thing is for me to close up shop and wish everyone well.

Last week, after a particularly bad presentation in lab meeting and frustration over the fact that writer's block has also seeped into my work (I have a review due in January that I have yet to generate a good solid draft for), I wrote a friend who is in the middle of writing a science fiction novel. I honestly expected some general tips, such as drafting an outline, creating a space to write and even setting a schedule. All good bits of advice and things he did suggest. But what I didn't expect was for him to identify something I wasn't even being honest with myself about.
Many people say that writers block, or procrastination in general, is all about fear (and I think that's sort of right). For me, anyway, it's about the discomfort or despair, even, that comes from knowing I need to do something, but not having a sense of what will get me there or how to know if what I've done is good enough. This is distinct from being unable to do something (as) being unable to know, or perhaps believe, you are making the right first steps or being unable to visualize the steps from where you are to completion can make it very hard because there's a little voice there that says this is pointless, you're not doing the right thing, it's all a waste of time.
For awhile now, I've been trying to determine what my place is in this community. The Beats will be 2 1/2 yrs old at the end of this month and it will be 3 yrs since that finally round of treatment that lead to them coming home. Our family is complete, hence there will be no more rollercoaster rides. So I'm struggling with quilt as I watch those I previous sat in the trenches with reenter in order to continue to expand their families. There are many days where I worry I'm causing more harm than good.

There's also fear in putting my thoughts out there. There are now some serious scars from being attacked by those I believed I could trust and cut down because my experiences or life choices differed from others. It's easy to talk about having a thick hide or being resilient until one is attacked. And, quite frankly, though I respect others' opinions or viewpoints, I really don't want to be engage in fights where one party is intent on winning at all costs.

So instead, I've found myself labeling posts as "pointless" or "a waste of time." I've allowed myself to be silenced as I'm burnt out on potential drama.

But maybe, just maybe, I need to stop worrying about all of that. Take chances again with writing from the heart. Because those I've met and loved in this community have done just that. Trolls be damned and all.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Breaking the rules

From a young age, I've been one to strictly adhere to rules. From walking in a straight line, waiting my turn, obeying traffic laws and even not cutting tags off mattresses. Being the eldest child and grandchild didn't help, as it was firmly engrained in me that it was my job to set a good example for both my siblings and younger cousins. Hence I was the "good" child, excelling academically, obeying curfew, going to college and avoiding any situation that could potentially bring shame upon me and my family. I did what I was told and believed firmly that there was a natural order that should be followed.

That all changed when I found myself diagnosed with infertility and watching my family fawn over teenage cousins who found themselves pregnant. My world was rocked as I found myself shunned and discarded, with my mother emphasizing that attention needed to focused solely on them. As time has gone on, more examples have surfaced where breaking the "rules" or ignoring a beneficial order has hurt us while helping those who take advantage. From hanging onto our condo through the financial crisis (we learned recently that others who went through foreclosure have recovered financially and are now purchasing houses), to following advice of mentors (the fields I've been discouraged from are now very lucrative and hiring) to even advice on career transitions (don't get me started). The long and the short of it is that despite what others advise and attest to, there are many examples where cheating the system can actually be more rewarding.

This past week things came to a head. With She-Beat being sick, I've been home with her meaning I've been missing more work than I care for. Granted the bonding that has happened has been priceless, but considering I have a limited amount of time to do my postdoc, I've been feeling rushed. What doesn't help either is that I'm still not sure what the next step is after this. E and I have began this conversation (finally got brave) and she still believes there's a lot of opportunity in academia, particularly within our field. The thing is I'm still uncertain if this is even the right path. On top of this, Grey hasn't been happy at work. Though only 3 months in to this position, it's already clear that the environment he's in is not engaging enough and he's frustrated with the culture that values punching a clock and billable hour over quality and insightfulness.

Yesterday evening, we had a heart-to-heart. We talked about being tired of following the rules and doing what others suggest. About how those who admittedly insist on procedure do so without having to live with the consequences we face. And a decision was made to start breaking some rules. To start reaching out and looking for opportunities. So Grey is warming up his networking again and I've scheduled a meeting with one someone in upper management at one of the big 3. In addition, I've started leaning more on others about their viewpoints by asking "why." Why do you believe this? Why are you so opposed? And what is your motivation for advising us so?

Already I'm facing some pushback. It's truly amazing how angry some people will get when advice is not immediately followed or adhered to. As if somehow it's a direct affront to do otherwise. Still, staying where we are and following the rules is hurting us. It's time to break them.

Monday, December 7, 2015

#MicroblogMondays: New traditions

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

Last week, I came home to find our landlord has set up a Christmas tree on her front porch. Glowing beautifully in the night, I smiled and wondered what the response would be when the Beats got home with Grey after he picked them up from daycare. 30 mins later I got my answer, when both toddlers swiftly ran by me (not even stopping for their usual hug hello) and began excitedly point to and chattering about the "yellow, blue, green and red strawberry tree." After explaining that the lights (shaped like strawberries) where instead Christmas tree lights, they spent the rest of the evening talking about the Christmas tree and even insisted on saying good-night.

Given all of this, next weekend Grey and I are planning on getting a tree. To prepare, we began preparations by continuing a tradition from last year of making ornaments. This year we made salt dough ornaments, which both Beats were so excited about. Outside of remembering the importance of sharing cookie cutters and taking turns, each toddler did really well with this project and were easily entertained for over 30 mins. 

And the end result is fitting given all that has happened this year.


Monday, November 23, 2015

#MicroblogMondays: Small moments

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

In the fluster and buster of the week, I hit a point where I craved a moment of familiar. So over the weekend, I found myself flipping through treasured cookbooks and recipes. And my imagination ran wild with the possibilities of losing myself in creating things from dough.

It was immediately settled for Sunday afternoon that I would teach the Beats to make chocolate chip cookies. As they watched the Kitchen Aid spin while flour was added to the egg, sugar and butter mixture, their attention was glued for what was happening in front of them. They lost interest when it came time to use the oven (partly due to me locking them out so to prevent anyone being burned), but quickly regained interest upon getting their first taste of what was created.

It's funny how with all the craziness in the world, caused by large events that seem completely out of our control, it's the small moments that can ground you. That simply taking a moment to so something so simple as mixing cookie dough and sharing the end product can instill a sense of calm and a promise for a better tomorrow.

Monday, November 16, 2015

#MicroblogMondays: Frazzled

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

I was on the train when I first learned about Paris. Sitting in a tube of steel that was preparing to go underground, I scanned the news feeds that described the horror occurring in the city. Sitting quietly, I felt my body grow numb as my brain shut down. So much tragedy. All of it nonsensical. 

Sunday night, I felt the same anxiety rise during a conversation with my mom. The second she asked "what can I do for you?" I knew she was baiting me for a fight. Grey watched me in horror as I attempted to subdue any confrontation, listening instead as my mom went on about my paternal grandmother and how she was navigating that situation. All the while baiting me with comments about how all of this was new to her and that she wanted to know why I was now attempting to reestablish contact. What it comes down to is she's upset I did reach out to her as soon as I learned I was pregnant. But attempting any explanation will only lead to a fight, which she's unconsciously pushing for. And so I unsuccessfully try to calm her down before declaring I can't do any more for the night. Feeling numb and beaten afterwards.

One thing that continues to baffle is how insistent those who foster hate and anger are of their position. There's a certain pride they take in causing destruction and pain, as if it somehow justifies their own feelings. What they fail to ask is why there is this need to fight. What motivation is there to be won by taking? 

My nerves are raw from all of this. The danger seems so needless and the hate so stupidly unproductive. And I wish there were clear answers towards peace with all of this.  

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Finding a path

It's Tuesday afternoon and I'm in a lecture hall sitting on the floor as it's standing room only. The office for postdoc affairs has organized a panel regarding how to successfully navigate interviews for academic jobs and, though new to this position, I am obliged to attend. Looking around the room, which is packed to the gills, I watch many senior postdocs fidget and furrow their brows as the professors give their insight into how to successfully navigate academic interviews. The explosion at the Q&A session clearly catches the faculty off guard as they are hit with question after question about "exactly how" to successfully secure a job. One professor's advice to "have fun" and "be excited" is brushed off. It's clear the stakes have risen.

Since the beginning this postdoc, I've wrestled with what exactly my long-term career path will be. E and I haven't discussed the particulars yet as I'm focusing on writing a review, getting experiments off the ground and thinking about funding. But it's a conversation we're likely going to have within the next year or so as I will need to prepare for the job market. The thing is, I struggle with how to tell her that I'm no longer convinced academia is a good fit.

The path for anyone pursuing careers outside of academia is an elusive one. Even with the obvious step towards industry, the reality that this transition is a lot more complex with many, many different facets is something most training graduate students are unaware of. Hence where my problem comes in as even though I'm aware of these roads, I'm lost as which one to pursue at the moment. What little I know of industry doesn't appeal as my training is not medically focused. There's the flip of pursuing something more business driven, but the limited exposure I've had to that culture where money is the main driver has left me with a sour taste in my mouth.

A few nights ago, I ventured way outside my comfort zone and attended a seminar on strategy consulting. The theory behind was appealing and given my training I thought it could be worthwhile pursuing. Instead I left the session feeling sick and deflated after the presenter spent most of the presentation talking about her work with a large energy company and the strategy behind soda pop distribution. Whining later that evening to Grey (and him chuckling following a couple "I told you so"), I realized that this was going to be a lot harder than I thought.

Similar to infertility, the road forward usually isn't clear. There are suggestions on how to proceed and often people indicating which directions are often the best to take. But at the end of the day, a lot of this process is filled with failure. Coming up against walls and deciding whether to turn around or scale them. Most often, the ultimate ending is never what was expected and becomes a question of whether the path chosen is one that allows the decision maker to grow.

I'm struggling at the moment. I know I need to continue pushing and exploring options. After all, it's the reason I pursued this postdoc as I knew it had the potential to open doors. And yet there is the temptation to put my head down and not face the unknown. Not yet anyway.

Monday, November 9, 2015

#MicroblogMondays: the other side of the story

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

"I don't care if you're going to tell everyone about what I have done to you. But please, just don't forget to tell them about what you did to me."
~Author unknown.

This past weekend, Grey and I received news that his eldest nephew is leaving his mother. For years since my BIL divorced his first wife, she has used games and lies to drive a wedge between this boy and the rest of Grey's family. Granted, Grey's eldest brother has had his role. He's made decisions that haven't been in the best interest of his family. But the story has been very one sided.

Over the past few years, though, the truth has been coming out. The picture-perfect lifestyle she worked so hard to maintain has unraveled. The final straw came when a new boyfriend harmed our nephew's dog, making it clear he wouldn't hesitate to do so again. And with that plans are in motion for him to finally break away from her.

I've been reflecting on all of this with my own reconnection with my parents and past failed relationships. And how quick those observing are to judge given limited information. Most often, those that are loudest and share only their viewpoints are the victors in winning the populous, with others quickly condemning the other party. In divorce, children are often encouraged to chose sides, backing one parent over the other. In break-ups, groups of friends usually favor one half of the former couple over the other. There are winners and losers, often determined on limited information.

But often, there's another side of the story. A side that can reveal complexities that humanize both parties and blur the line of winner vs. loser. And given enough time and a little bit of digging, the truth tends to reveal itself. 

My own mother has a long history of painting things in black-and-white. Making it seem like someone is completely in the wrong in order to justify righteous behavior. The problem is, though my mother truly believes that certain actions and interactions have been justified, she often struggles with seeing how someone else was hurt in the process. The narrative in her head wouldn't allow for if because doing so meant she might actually not be completely in the right. And it was this pushing and righteousness that drove me away. That built the brick wall that exists between us still today.

On the heels of this news, my heart is heavy. There's a lot of good that can come if the wheels of change are enacted. But there will be grief in this process too. For I know my nephew loves his mother with all his heart, her flaws and all. Just as I love my own mother. But sometimes, screaming and fighting to have one's side of the story be heard isn't worth spending yourself. Sometimes the best thing to do is walk quietly away.


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Hum

Since moving to our new home, Grey and I have developed a weekend ritual of running the Beats. Sometime on Saturday and Sunday, we pile into the car and go to one of the many local parks with trails. During these hikes, the rule is one parent per child with He-Beat racing ahead as fast as his legs can carry him while She-Beat explores at her own pace; sometimes running, but often doing a meandering walk while looking around.


This last weekend, while out on one of our family runs, I realized that She-Beat was humming. Slowly picking her way down the trail, looking all around except for what lay ahead, she was blissfully in her own world. Listening carefully, I was able to recognize some familiar tunes, such as her singing the alphabet or "itsy-bitsy spider," but generally her humming consists of her own compositions.

Music has always been important to me, allowing me to convey emotion in ways that words often fail. As I child, I participated in local choirs as I could easily carry a tune. As I grew older, though, I became more reluctant to sing as I was terribly self-conscious. And with infertility, music became almost nonexistent. I remember Grey looking at me solemnly one evening while in the middle of treatments and confusing that he missed hearing me sing. During that period of deep mourning, my voice had been lost.

The arrival of the Beats forced me to find my voice again. Holding them in NICU, I followed Grey's lead of singing to them while we did Kangaroo care, sharing songs that brought us hope. Following bringing them home, the singing continued to soothe them back to sleep or during bath-time. But it wasn't until I started working at their daycare that I really learned the power music has over children, being a quick way to deescalate any situation and quickly get their attention. There were countless days that I sang myself hoarse, always learning quickly to disregard any feelings of self-consciousness.

Hearing She-Beat humming completely caught me off guard. Watching her dance her way along the trail as she hummed happily I realized I was witnessing something that my heart had longed for. It doesn't matter whether she has perfect pitch or is composing original scores. What matters is She-Beat is finding music within herself.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Embracing Halloween

Like many small children, Halloween use to be one of my favorite holidays. From carving Jack-o-Lanterns to carefully planning a costume. All culminating to a night where packs of kids would roam the neighborhood, excitedly showing off costumes and collecting a stash of candy to make it to the winter holidays. During college, Halloween took on a new form, still with creative costumes that were meant to be shown off, but this time to parade along the main street between campus and the capitol building, all with the end goal of a party or two. The spirit of Halloween was always to let loose and explore a side of yourself that was otherwise hidden or suppressed.

It's been several years since I've tapped this side of myself. Part of this has to do with laziness of aging (house parties really don't have much of an appeal), but the other factor is that Seattle isn't much of a Halloween town. New Years, most certainly, but Halloween tends to fall to the wayside. 

Upon arriving to Boston, Grey and I were thoroughly warned about New England Halloweens. A trip to the hair salon was spent answering directly questions about plans for celebrating and advice on where to purchase costumes. Invites to Halloween-prep parties started filling our inboxes. And lab conversations revolved around costumes and activities. In addition, our morning ritual now included watching the Beats stop to say good morning to all the pumpkins and ceramic pumpkin people that were accumulating on our landlords front porch. 


Despite this, I was still not prepared for what awaited me the Friday morning before Halloween. As I sat on the bus and observed all the costumes surrounding me, I began to remember why Halloween was so important to me as a child. As I marveled at the courtyard of pumpkins, I allowed some of that long suppressed innocence to resurface. The creative energy that has been repressed for so long.

Embracing this spirit, Grey and I took the Beats out for their first round of trick-or-treating. It didn't matter that none of our costumes were perfect or witty. Nor did it matter that we only visited a few homes or that the jack-o-lanterns we carved were simple in design. What mattered was that we gave ourselves permission to participate. To celebrate in our own way.


Hoping you all had a wonderful holiday.

Monday, November 2, 2015

#Microblog Mondays: The difficult child

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

It's 5:30 am. He-Beat has been awake for the past 30 mins and, unlike his sister, refuses to be convinced that another hour of sleep is worthwhile. After 30 mins of being kicked, head-butted and having my hair pulled, I announce that it's time for him to go back to his own bed. This announcement is greeted with tears and a tantrum. Crying inconsolably, I gather this small child into my arms and place him on his bed, feeling utterly defeated.

The past couple week has been a hard one. Both Beats are fighting colds and cutting molars, making them both incredibly sensitive and testing. Grey and I have been weathering many a meltdown, finding there are moments where the best thing to do is simply giving space to a child who is clearly overcome with emotion. He-Beat in particular has been trying. One moment all is well and he is happily playing, but with transitions or moments he is told "no" comes the meltdowns.

We've been warned about this stage; the "terrible twos" that don't end until they are around 4 yrs old. We've been told it is a trying period and given so much advice on how best to address this. Their teachers have also been wonderful with offering insight and reminding us that there are no red-flags because of this behavior. Still, it's been scaring me on a lot of levels. During some of these meltdowns, I have flashes back to the incidents I weathered with a child I worked with at their daycare who is 3 yrs older. A child who had similar meltdowns and tantrums, flying into rages at his peers in a manner that left so many worried about the physical safety of his classmates. How despite his intelligence, how emotionally stunted this boy is and how greatly negative his life is becoming because of it. I know it's completely unreasonable to make this comparison, especially since this behavior is to be expected during toddlerhood. Still, it's hard not to see the pattern.

The other level is a personal one as I also endeared being labeled a "difficult child" and still have emotional scars from it. And I worry about He-Beat being labeled the same way, suffering from all that comes with this stereotype.

A few weeks ago, I happened upon a post from a woman who confused similar fears. A note of warning, as this person is both a non-IF blogger and one who is very vocal about attachment parenting (lots of fuel here for anyone looking to start another version of the mommy wars), so proceed with caution with reading. But what this post did touch on nicely (and bravely) is the fear that surrounds raising a child who requires more.  And though He-Beat doesn't have the same energy levels as her son, I found myself nodding along with a lot of her confession.

I goes without saying that I love both the Beats with my whole being. That all I want for both of them in this world is to grow and thrive, reaching their full potentials and following their dreams. Part of that, though, means facing all of this head on. Monitoring the tantrums and helping them both to learn how to manage these strong emotions and interacting with others. Still, I wasn't prepared for the emotions I would experience with all of this. The continual feelings of failure and guilt. The anger that would arise from my own memories of childhood and how unworthy I felt. And how desperately I want to prevent history from repeating itself.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Navigating reconnection

A pattern is becoming established. Every two weeks I send my mother a text, asking if she and my dad will be around to talk. A scheduled time to call is decided on, usually on a weekend evening, giving me time to talk as the Beats will be asleep and to plan. Then, when the time comes, I sit in my chair armed with a phone, a glass of water and a mental plan.

At this point, I've been keeping things vague but answering questions. My mom has been very intent on updating me on all that's happened on there end. Laundry lists about work, the status of my grandmothers, updates on my siblings and nephews. When conversations do come back to me, its usually about my motivations. Why now? What has changed. Though I talk about infertility, I have yet to give them all the details. But I know they can sense something has changed.

One of the hardest parts about reconnection is establishing firm boundaries while also remaining open. To make it clear that while I am attempting to empathize with them, there are also things that will not be tolerated. Grey and I have struggled so much with this, especially as these interactions bring back so many hard memories. All the tools David and Dee gave us are being stress-tested with every interaction. And more often than not I walk away feeling like I'm failing.

But one thing that has become clear too is how much of a weight has been lifted from this openness. The burden of secrecy was impacting all of us in a negative way I hadn't fully realized until now. As I reflect on this, it's hard not to draw parallels between this experience and that of those going through adoption and even the decision to share their infertility journey. To experience yet again why openness is always hard to navigate, but also the benefit for doing so.

We're due for another phone call soon. Grey and I have had many difficult discussions about when to share images of the Beats and how much information we should be sharing. More often than not, things get heated as both of us are struggling. He's still very angry with my parents for their decisions and outlooks. So we continue to work together, being cautious yet open each step of the way.


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Seven

We waited until 10 pm to light the candles. Even though those participating in the Wave of Light were instructed to light candles at 7 pm, we still consider ourselves West Coasters.


Standing in the kitchen, we lit 7 small candles. 7 representing those embryos who didn't make it. And as we looked down on those 7 little lights, I watched as Grey cried in a manner I haven't seen him cry in since our losses. I watched him grief for what could have been, but was lost too soon.

There's a stigma associated with loss. Both in that you're not suppose to talk about it, but also who even is allowed to grieve. Grief is categorized based on whether you've ever been pregnant, had seen a heartbeat, whether the pregnancy was problematic from the beginning, from ectopics to those with hosts of other issues. We are pressured by others not to grieve as we are reminded that there are those who lost more. That they had it worse.

And yet, how can one possibly quantify pain? Step inside that person's shoes and determine that they aren't hurting as much? And what good comes from this comparison? Of telling someone that don't hurt as much or could never possibly know how painful it gets? Winning that argument never resolves grief and only isolates further.

So instead we stood in our kitchen and allowed the tears to fall. Because it is only through acknowledging our grief, facing it head on that we can heal. And though we will never be cured of this pain, the scar tissue that continues to form makes us stronger.

Good night my angels. You are forever in our hearts.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Confession of an arachnophobe

The itsy bitsy spider climbed up the water spout
Down came the rain and washed the spider out
Up came the sun and dried up all the rain
And the itsy bitsy spider climbed up the spout again.


I'm not fond of spiders. Haven't been for as long as I can remember. My parents tried to help alleviate my dislike of them when I was a child by reading E.B. White's "Charlotte's Web" and learning about food webs. All that work went out the window when I learned about Shelob at 8 yrs old and then later when I learned more about the predatory nature of spiders.

The only thing I loathe more are scorpions.

So I've been hard pressed as of late as the Beats have become fascinated with spiders. Starting with Casper Babypant's rendition of the "Itsy Bitsy Spider," to Eric Carle's "The Very Busy Spider," to an entire 2 week unit about spiders at their daycare. Honestly, it's taken a lot to suppress the primal urge to squash and run away screaming. To talk with them about their observations.


And then something unexpected happened. Upon arriving in Boston and moving into our new home, the whole family discovered a common brown spider who resides by the mailbox. The Beats greet her every morning and evening, huddling around her web and excitedly pointing out their own "itsy bitsy spider."

I want to crawl out of my skin.

For all spider-lovers out there who are intent on educating me, trust me when I say that though I intellectually understand how fascinating and important spiders are, the hatred remains. 6 years ago, I attended a talk about spider silks (there are 6 different types) and learned about how the department of defense want to use this knowledge to improve soldier's body armor. Many in my cohort were focusing their dissertations on ecological problems, so I was well versed in food webs and the importance spiders play. I get it, spiders are unique and fascinating creatures. Then there's also the symbolism that spiders embody. Creation, rebirth, femininity and protection. During the Beat's NICU stay, there was a spider who resided outside their window and the nurses reminded me daily what a good sign her presence was. In addition to all of this, there's also a simple fact that while spiders (and scorpions) give me the willies, I'm strangely okay with crabs and lobsters. Grey likes to remind me what a hypocritical wuss I am.

Which brings us back to my current dilemma. I've made a deal with the spider. I won't attempt to cut her life shorter than it needs to be due to the Beats. But come winter, it is her job to find a space out of sight and move on from this world. Problem is, despite temperatures dropping down to freezing over the past week, she willfully refuses to give up the ghost. Instead she greets the Beats in the afternoon, displaying a new version of her web for them to marvel at. All the while growing and getting fatter off what little prey she finds.

I'm a bit at the end of my rope with this situation. As stupid and trivial as all of this seems, I'm secretly worried that this spider is going to find her way inside my home and become an addition to our family. Grey reminds me that we have larger, more pressing issues to worry about (and he's absolutely right), yet still I find myself hoping for temperatures to plummet sooner than later.

Itsy bitsy spider, pretty please go away.

Monday, October 26, 2015

#Microblog Mondays - Still

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

It's hard to believe how fast time is flying. So much to do daily and yet not enough time to tackle everything. Grey and I are still settling and adjusting. Though our collection of moving boxes is slowly disappearing, the end is still not in sight. The fact that we finally acquired dishes, allowing us to finally do away with paper plates, should give you an idea of the slowness of all of this. Frustrating and yet necessary all at once.

On top of settle, there's the ongoing negotiations with my family. Following lighting the powder keg that was the news of the Beats, my parents (particularly my mother) are making efforts to navigate reconnection. All of it needs to be slow and the information we give them is deliberately vague, but it's happening. Grey is worried, though. He's worried I'll fall back into old habits and allow my mother to take over, abusing the Beats in the process. So a lot of this we still need to negotiate. All of which is draining.

At any rate, all I can offer is that though busy and navigating so much, we are more than alive. Though this transition is far from over, we are learning to find moments of joy and relish new firsts. All the while, trying not to worry that we are still not where we want to be.

Monday, October 5, 2015

#MicroblogMondays - Powder keg

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

Friday morning, my dad's youngest brother bombarded my phone with urgent texts. Each one was urgent and wanting to know when I was going to contact my parents to deliver the news. Being a pleaser, I found myself fighting the gut reaction to immediately address his urgency with a matter that only peripherally affected him. Still, I knew the time had come to rip off the band-aid and tell my parents. So plans were made to contact them Friday night.

For the past 2 years, I've played this phone call out in my head. Every scenario ending bitterly, with me justifying too much and attempting to get them to understand my side. For the actual call, Grey sat beside me. Reminding me that I should keep things to the facts and to keep it short.

The reaction was very different from my parents upon learning about the Beats. It was easily apparent that my dad wanted to meet these two, being willing to work on healing and moving forward in order to have a relationship. My mom was a different story. It took less than 5 minutes for her to throw poison on the conversation, announcing that she didn't mention me at all to anyone anymore. The veil of indifference an effort to both hurt me and mask her own anger and pain about the situation. 

Though the conversation was short, the news light the fuse to the powder keg. I knew the drama was coming, as any tsunami comes following an earthquake. Sunday night it began to manifest with a text from my uncle in Seattle about a message from my mom. A phone call to my mom's youngest brother confirmed my fear that she's planning to lash out at him over keeping the news of the Beats from her. I spent the better part of the evening beat on this uncle about the fact that my Seattle uncle was blameless in this situation and convinced him to contact my mom to get this message across. This was followed up with speaking to my Seattle uncle and aunt to give them a heads up of what was potentially coming, allowing them time to prepare. On top of this, I received a LONG email from my sister Marie this morning. One that I need to pick apart and process, as it's filled with things that leave one simply shaking their head.

All of this makes me want to drink; to numb my mind with a little bit of Scotch. And for anyone who knows me, this is a rarity as I'm quite the light-weight. Still, I'm working on moving forward. The tsunami is due to hit today, with many aftershock waves to come. Hopefully Grey and I have got to higher ground. 

Friday, October 2, 2015

Settling

After 3 weeks of being here, there's still much to do. Slowly boxes are being unpacked and items put away. Repairs and logistics are being worked out. And we're settling into a routine.

Still, there are moments where I find myself in disbelief. Things that others take for granted around me leave me in awe. Such as looking for a book I've been meaning to read for many years in a library dedicated to the author. Or seeing this museum display and learning it's mere footsteps away.


I'm struggling with both feeling displaced and not. Part of me is freaking out because I'm not freaking out enough regarding my new environment and those surrounding me. I know the path that brought me here is drastically different from many around me and yet I'm finding I'm also unapologetic for the difference.

A lesson learned from infertility. Of all the struggles from the last few years. Maybe even acceptable of those from a lifetime.

Slowly, I'm settling. Even during the moments it feels unreal.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Processing it all

The last few days have been a jumble. Between the rush of beginning family reconnection, being in the second week of a new position (still so surreal) and still struggling to settle, my brain has been foggy.

Sometimes music is the only thing that helps with sorting it all out....


Monday, September 28, 2015

#MicroblogMondays - Healing rifts

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

For the past 4 years, I've had zero contact with my family. This decision was a guilt filled one. After all, those who cut-off contact with their families are suppose to be mentally defective and emotionally impotent. Yet I knew at the time that I needed this space in order to address what lay ahead. That juggling navigating an infertility diagnosis and fertility treatments would be emotionally impossible if I was also managing the expectations of my mother. 

The idea of reconnection surfaced about a week after the Beats were born. Sitting in NICU, I received a text from my brother letting me know that my parents were on the west coast and wanted to see me. In that instant, I wanted so desperately to share my babies with them. But I was also scared shitless at the idea of them finding out about these two fragile beings, harming them indirectly in order to get punish me. Collapsing in the parking lot later with Grey (somehow I managed to hold it together while in the Vault), I confessed my fears and conflicting desires. A decision was made at that point to continue with radio silence, but to revisit reconnection as the Beats grew and became stronger. As our family grew stronger. 

And as time went on, I thought more about this. Torn between taking this step while also wanting to protect my family.

Over the weekend, it became apparent it was time. With the move in completion and the reality that we need to make some changes to an old agreement, I made two phone calls: one to each parent's younger brother, who are trusted uncles. Both responded quickly and we utterly elated and exacerbated. And the news of the Beats floored both of them.

So, the ball is rolling for this final chapter. The plan is to reach out to my parents this coming Saturday. All of it seems surreal and terrifying. None of it has gone the way I imaged it would. All of it still has the potential to explode (especially as the news of the Beats will likely shock them all). But I'm progressing forward. Especially boundaries while trying to heal rifts.

Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Ode to the Emerald City

Fourteen years ago, a young woman in her early 20s packed a moving truck and moved to Seattle. She had no job lined-up on the other end, a minimal cash cushion and zero experience with the area. But she had an aching desire to follow her dreams and to answer the call for adventure. To take a chance only a few she knew had taken of leaving home and going into the unknown. 

Choosing Seattle wasn't by accident. A couple of years before she spent winter break traveling to California with college friends for the Rose bowl and immediately became hooked by the beauty of the west coast. It was the following year, though, when she went to visit friends in Seattle that she knew she had found her new home. A land where sea and mountains met, filled with endless possibilities for adventure. 

And so she traveled from the home she had known for 22 years, leaving behind family and the safety net to start a new life. Many thought she would fail, returning home within a couple of years in order to start a life. Others chastised her for pursuing what seemed both impossible and frivolous. Still she pressed forward and embraced her new life in the Emerald City.

Seattle gets it's nickname of the Emerald City for two reasons. The first being that it is surrounded and filled with greenery. The second being due to the fact that the city stays green throughout winter months, due to the endemic plant life. The beauty is this area is truly unmatched anywhere else in the world and with easy access to both the mountains and the sea, it's an outdoors-minded individuals dream. That first winter in Seattle, I spent more time exploring the local ski areas and hiking trails than I ever had in the midwest and rock-climbing became a regular activity with friends. Like Dorothy, I found myself mystified by this new land. I swore I would never leave

Two-and-a-half weeks ago, Grey and I packed our family into two vehicles and traveled to the airport. Loaded with 2 cats, 2 kids and some carry-on luggage, we boarded a plane to leave this magical place we had called home. As the plane climbed above the city and rounded Mt. Rainer, reflected back on the past 14 years. All the good and the bad that came from this place.

In a weird way, both Grey and I feel like we broke up with Seattle. Both of us came to this place seeking a change and adventure. In fact, we literally arrived a day apart from one another and lived only a couple of miles away from one another before we met. While dating and during the early years of our marriage, we spent a lot of time exploring the outdoors and the city together. It wasn't long before we were claimed by natives as being natives. Seattle was a part of us.

And then things changed. As infertility hit, so did the economic crash. The condo we purchased was in the heart of a region that was seeing a socioeconomic war, which only worsen as tech came into the area. Suddenly, our Emerald City wasn't as green as it once was. The laid-back nature began to disappear and the culture rapidly shifted. Inside of Emerald, people started referring to it as the Crystal City, with glitz and luxury pushing from those immigrating in pushing out the natives. Dear friends left, seeking new homes. And we felt left behind.

There's been a lot of good things that have come from this move. Two weeks ago Grey started his new position, which he is greatly enjoying. Our new apartment is lovely, with a garden on the property that the Beats readily explore and easy access to parks. And I started the dream postdoc that I had all but given up on this week. The spirit of hope and adventure is definitely alive in our house. 

But we're mourning what we left. Because a part of us will always belong to Seattle. The Emerald City is where so much changed. Where, even though we faced the trauma of infertility, Grey and I also forged a relationship that is stronger than ever. Where we learned hard lessons that have taught us who we truly are and that we are stronger than we ever knew. The place where the Beats were born and we closed a chapter in our lives. That despite the bad, the good that is inherent to this place. The beautiful memories we will always have of our time there. 

The rain will forever flow through our veins. 


Monday, September 14, 2015

#MicroblogMondays - Landed

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

I don't know even where to begin. There are stories of packing, stories about final days. Stories about living with relatives (which went surprisingly well and we are so grateful for). 

There's also stories that induced so many tears and lots of anxiety on my end. Incidents with neighbors. Jaxson being rejected from boarding and fears he won't make the flight (he did, though TSA was VERY scared when they saw the cone around his neck). Then the day we thought Jaxson got out.

And then there's the story about the whole family flying from one coast to the other. Surviving a 3 hr wait for a rental car. And our first few nights here.

So many posts could be written from the last 3 weeks.

Instead, I'll leave you with a two word summary: we've landed. We're here. And all of us, including Jaxson and Daisy, are feeling the energy from this change. The anticipation of what is to come and the hope for the future. 

Sunday, September 6, 2015

#MicroblogMondays: back alleys

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.


There's a stigma about alleys; those back roads hidden from plain view. Often bumpy, resulting in less traffic, they are viewed as dangerous places. As havens from the undesirable and those with ill intentions. Yet these overlooked spaces have their own beauty and stories. Access to a more vulnerable side of people's lives. 

This past summer, the Beats and I have been exploring some of these alleys. Walking along the dirt roads and catching intimate glimpses into the lives of our neighbors. It's telling to see how our neighbors maintain their back spaces. Some actively hide these spaces, enclosing them so one can't see. But others reveal a side of themselves that are so beautiful: large gardens, areas for pets and even simple spaces that are reserved as a refugee. 

As we've walked these alleys, exploring this world, drawing the parallels between these journeys and my own through infertility have come easily. How undesired these paths are. And yet the unseen benefits from both journeys. 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Falling into place

Time has been flying on this end. So much to do in each waking hour and yet not enough time to address everything in a manner Grey or I are comfortable with.

As of this morning, we have a new address in Boston. As of Friday, pods and car moving as been organized. As of last Wednesday, we've confirmed a management company for overseeing the rental of our condo. As of Friday, we are talking to the vet about flying Jaxson and Daisy to our new home.

There's still a lot to do. I have to line-up daycare, we have to begin packing, we have to set-up some logistics to make sure renting goes smoothly and we can vacate. And we need to find someone to look in on Jaxson and Daisy.

But as of tonight, the major things are out of the way. The foundation is laid. Now the rest of the pieces need to fall into place.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

#MicroblogMondays: Jump

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is?Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

Last Tuesday's decision to move has set off a chain reaction. Following Grey formally accepting his new position, we both informed employers of the news (long post on this later, but for now trust me when I say this hasn't been easy). In addition, we've met with realtors and property managers, making the decision to rent our condo. Grey is also traveling soon to hunt for a new place to live and we are making arrangements to have our car shipped and our stuff moved/donated/sold.

All of this has to happen before the end of August. 

Needless to say, there's a lot of stress and uncertainty at the moment. Finding information and making decisions has become priority one, all while wrapping things up at work. There's also a lot of emotions that have surfaced as we've been preparing to say farewell to a city that has been our home for the last 14 years.

Lots to do; not a lot of time. But we're ready to jump.


 
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