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.


  1. I love the story of drinking, Star Wars and assembling the Millenium Falcon! Christmas is so much better when you decide to just do whatever the hell you need to do (or not do) to make it work for you. So glad that joy cones easier nome for you. For us too, though with current situation of my dad's cancer and what I can only describe as years of accumulated Christmas apathy, it's joy mixed with other emotions. But I've been able to accept the joy and fear and regret all together. I guess that's my strategy - a sort of radical acceptance of whatever life throws at me. I am looking forward to being able to experience Christmas through AJ's eyes when she is a little older.

  2. I love this. I was definitely reflecting on Christmases past this year as well, and you're right - I did find ways to make those last few years before her work for me. A lot of times, that meant doing whatever the heck I wanted to do, without concern about what anyone else might have to say about it. But hey... sometimes you've just got to do what you've got to do.

  3. Such a beautiful post... I loved this best,
    But the truth is, the we also play a part in allowing the "ruined."
    I'm glad this Christmas is so different for you, and that in the one that could have been "ruined" you and Grey made your own "perfect." I'm a big believer in making the best of what's been thrown at you, and while sometimes there's tears and feeling a vast unfairness, it's so nice to know that you can make things unruined.

  4. Thank you so much for sharing such a raw and inspiring post. I am glad for you that your Christmas is so much better. My prayers are always with you. Wish you belated merry Christmas!

  5. Turning inward to what *I* want does create a decent chance of becoming a perfect moment.

  6. I really loved this. The reminders that we can reclaim the day, do what we want, and take joy in the little things. I get very impatient with people who expect things - whether it is at Christmas, or for a wedding, or prom, or whatever - to be perfect. Life isn't perfect. What makes us think we can control it?!


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