Thursday, April 04, 2013

Travel plans?

My Beloved and I have never been big travelers. In fact, the last time either of us was on a plane (or out of the country, for that matter) was more than 13 years ago when we went to Las Vegas for a short mid-winter vacation. We even went low key for our honeymoon, taking the train to Montreal (which was so fabulous. If you've never been to Montreal, go. Go NOW).

Travel has just never been particularly high on our priority list. Babies were.


So now that babies are not on our list at all, pretty much everyone wants to know why we don't travel. Because I guess after people have finished grilling you about why you aren't adopting, the next thing they want to know is why in the hell you aren't traveling. You know, since now you have this fabulously carefree, responsibility-free, kid-free life that parents of young children can only dream of.


To be honest, I had to stop and think about why exactly we don't travel. For a big chunk of my 30s it was because I was immersed in the drama of trying to conceive, being pregnant, and losing babies. I had laser-like focus on family building, and that didn't leave room (or time or money, once we started visiting the fertility clinic on a regular basis--ah, weren't those the days) for planning much of anything else, especially vacations.

I couldn't wrap my head around anything except the idea of bringing a live baby home to stay. That was all that mattered.

And, of course, no babies came home. So we consoled ourselves by cocooning: watching endless hours of Mary Tyler Moore, going for walks together at night, visiting local farms on the weekends, losing ourselves in comic books (him) and yarn (me) and whatever else soothed our pain and took the ache away for a few blissful moments.

That just happened not to include travel.

For some people it does, I guess. But we were battered and bruised and just wanted someplace warm and safe to rest for awhile. And so we did play it safe, sticking close to home where our comforts are, in an environment over which we have as much control as you ever can in life.

As far as I'm concerned, there's nothing wrong with that. We all heal differently, after all. Maybe the travel bug will bite us one day. Maybe once we've healed a little more we'll get the urge to throw caution to the wind, pack our bags and run away to some exotic locale. But for now we've had more than enough excitement. Enough to last a million lifetimes, really.

Also, we happen to be content with the way things are. Maybe it appears as though we're frittering away our child-free life by not taking advantage of the kinds of things people with kids can't do as easily. Maybe the Hollywood version of our life story thus far would end with us climbing Mount Everest, cruising the Caribbean or  kissing atop the Eiffel Tower.

But right now it's just us curled up on the couch reading comics and playing with yarn.

Which sounds perfect (for us), if you ask me.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


Thomas' birthday came and went. Mixed in with the annual busyness of trying to promote his Random Acts of Kindness Day (thanks to everyone who participated and made the world sweeter on my boy's birthday, by the way!), were the usual flood of memories.

It's interesting how the brain protects itself. The unthinkable happened eight years ago. We held that little boy--a tiny, motionless bundle of beauty that I still can't believe I had any part in making--as his fierce little heart fought to beat. We held that little boy after it finally stopped. We buried that little boy in a cold cemetery on a mercifully sunny day in March.

And for most of the year I just think about the ways I miss him and the ways my life is different than the one I'd come so close to having. For most of the year I am okay, triggered now and then by life and the joys others experience that I'll never know, but generally okay. Functional despite the tear in the fabric of my heart that will never mend.

But on and around his birthday, my mind sinks back to those early days of deep, dark confusion and grief. I hear the sounds, I smell the smells, I see the shocking and disturbing detail that my mind somehow locks carefully away for the rest of the year. It floods back during those first days of March. Every year.

I don't know how we're meant to survive this sort of thing. But yet somehow we do. Time pulls us forward, willing or not, and suddenly we're in the next minute, hour, day, week, month, year. Still breathing, still walking, still being.

My mind is quieter now. The birthday is past, the cake is eaten, and the acts of kindness have been recorded, so the memories have quietly started to pack themselves away for another year.

I'll bump into some of them again in the months to come--those sneaky stray bits and pieces that escape now and then--but they'll unpack themselves completely again next March.

And so it goes.

Thomas Joseph, March 9 - 10, 2005
I love you, sweet boy, and I'll miss you forever and ever.