Monday, December 24, 2012

Just be.

Knowing this would be tough for me, especially if I went to visit family, ever growing (with several babies this year), I stayed home.  I also knew that means there has to be adjustments, to avoid feeling lonely, abandoned, sorry for myself (mind you, that is somewhat irrelevant), to avoid becoming Scrooge Bah Humbag! I know already that looking at my Yule tree, I had visualized having children open presents, and so I had to change myself, my expectations- even when I don't want.... (:::eyeing the neighbor who is going forth and back between her car and her place- dang..that's a LOT of presents...), Sorry- I have ADD tendencies! Now where am I...oh yeah, when I don't want to change- since I felt that is very much like giving up on myself.    You know?  

Anyway, instead of feeling sorry for myself,  I am treating myself to several things- 

::: I cheered the runners and walkers on, hanging out cups of eggnog last Saturday at the Merry Christmas 5K eggnog challenge.  It was fun watching the runners- there were elves, Santa Clauses (and some Mrs Clauses), and even presents (I didn't take this photo- but that's what I saw!)
 
(from Courier-Journal)

:::: driving and then walking among the holiday lights in Lexington, while sipping the hot mulled cider. 

:::The lights in Mega Caverns-  the only cave you'd even drive through to look at lights! 


:::: made a lot of 7-layered bars to give away at two shelters.    Here is the recipe I used from Internet:

::::treated myself to Wild Eggs- my favorite breakfast- Farmer Market Skillet (between you and me, it's absolutely to die for!)

::::completed three blankets- one for nephew, one for a cousin's kid, and one to donate at a shelter- and currently working on a blanket in colors of berries.  

::::taught neighbor how to play Mah Jongg (not the computer game, but the real game as practiced in China)- she is getting hooked to it, so I expect we'll play this when time allows!

:::::got myself a lot of books at this used bookstore, plenty to keep me busy for several days!  


Tomorrow, I will try the recipe for lamb stew (slow cooker)- in the meanwhile of it cooking, I am going to take my dogs out to hike in the Tom Sawyer Park.  I got the Sims 3 Supernatural expansion and so I'm looking forward to tweak my characters into vampires, fairies and werewolves, oh my!  

There's presents under the tree, for me and my puppies- and I do look forward to opening them while enjoying my White Christmas Dream drink-  (here is the recipe: White Christmas Dream)   By the time the presents are open, the lamb stew will be yummy...


Wish y'all a survivable holiday, either by yourself or with family, full of love (and that means loving yourself as well.)  


Monday, December 17, 2012

........

Here I am sitting, staring at the monitor, with tears down my cheeks.

Just had tried to read an article about children who had died last Friday, and failed.

I don't have words but for this,


"There is a sacredness to tears.  They are not the mark of weakness, but of power.  They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues.  They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and unspeakable love."  Washington Irving. 



Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Coal

Ouch....  One has to do all the paperwork, the fees (at least 18,000 dollars) in total of fees such as adoption study fee, U.S. processing, adoption program, etc, etc..and all that would be from 12-36 months, even with that, there's still the risk that one might not be approved.

Looking at the child who needs to be adopted soon, I determined, I didn't want him to wait that long (especially that I hadn't done any start on adopting process, even less the application)- if there's a family who can give him a forever home sooner than I could... that's what he needs.  

At least, I tried. 


Of course, that's easier to say.  


In response, I had found myself buying toys and snacks for my furry kids. I had a good time filling two darling stockings I found at Target; Lola and Hairy would absolutely love the presents!  Lola and Hairy are  opposites.   Hairy likes sedate objects, brain-stimulating (like toys that have snacks in them, not easily dispersing), while Lola likes fetch-able toys (tennis balls, squeaky small dolls that can be thrown, etc).  Hairy likes to be brushed and groomed, while Lola prefers shirts and bows.   She really thinks she's a human baby. so that's a win-win for me.
Anyway, there was a complication, in which I suspect why my response was stronger to the Facebook announcement of the deaf child seeking adoption as I shared in the last post.  You see-  my cousin and his wife had their second baby more than a week ago.   Don't get me wrong, I'm happy for them.    It's like... everyone are having babies more often in the family. I'm trying to exercise a reality check with myself to remind that it's not because of me, but that it's the young folks wanting to have children.  However a darker voice within my heart states: "You sure they aren't trying to have babies just to avoid becoming infertile like you?" 


I try to swat that question away, but sometimes it's harder to do so on some days- sometimes I wish I am deaf  to that horrible demon pitching self-guilty accusations and self-blaming barbs at me.  

Earlier today, I had a thought, watching the very pregnant co-worker waddling across the room; 

This year I'm getting coal from Santa.  

Well-  if I had a coal burner, I could stay warm.   

Friday, December 7, 2012

Heartpause

"Anyone interested in adopting a four year old deaf boy from China. Inbox me if interested. Serious inquiries only."


This is what I saw when I signed on Facebook a few minutes ago, on the new feed from a friend sharing on her page.  


My heart stopped.  

She's very active and well-loved in the Deaf community, and so I know if there is a Deaf boy, she's looking for a future home for him. That's how big her heart is, and something I admire about her.  


But WHY NOW?  It's like I'm feeling sorry for myself, with the first anniversary coming up, the clouds getting darker and darker.  

Then... BOOM! 

There's a possibility of having  a child.  I could have a new family by Christmas?  A child to raise, to share laughter and sign language with me, to love, to educate and to introduce to new worlds?  Please pinch me!

Then, I get a slap from my logical side (Gemini, y'all know) pointing out  yet I'm in no emotional or financial shape to take in the boy. 

Then I find myself swinging back; my heart is screaming at me: 

When then? When will you have another opportunity? 

I had to struggle, arguing with myself.    There's a part of myself, pushing me to contact the friend to find out, what's the catch, having hope and yearning in my heart, while the other part of me is pointing out that it's not the right time- sure I have a full-time stable job, and even that I have a second bedroom (I had gotten that in hope of having a child when I moved four years ago). However, I'm not rich enough for repeated airfare, legal fees, adoption fees at this time, and what if... what if I'm not approved after all?  There'd be so many Deaf folks who'd love to adopt him, so a Deaf single woman in her 40's?  I'm pretty counted out. 


Of course, my mood plummeted.  


I hate being realistic.  





*******   A few minutes after I wrote this, I said to myself, "fuck this- I'm going to ask her anyway."   At least I want to say that I *tried*.   Yes that means I could experience worsening grief, but...  

You know..I have to try. 


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Cookies

*psst!*

Can I tell you a secret?  


Whatever I feel mad, sad, sorry for myself, pissed, I cook.  When I want to throw things, or rag at someone, I cook instead.

I realized, as  more down I feel with the first anniversary coming up lately these days, I increase cooking.


I can't help but find the humor here.


You see..... every year, I had made three-five batches of cookies for holidays. Usually.


Now this year- Cookies and candies, I have made so far this weekend:

Peppernuts
Gingersnaps
Oatmeal butterscotch
Snickerdoodle
Chocolate chip and walnut cookies
Cereal drops
Chocolate fudge
Chili chocolate cracked cookies
Nutmeg cookies
cranberry pine seeds candy (with white chocolate)


And I'm not even done.... Still a lot of spices and stuff on my kitchen counter awaiting for me to make more.

I sure feel like that Ms. Betty Parker.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Shopping and Bias against disabled parents





Thanksgiving had come and gone.  It was somewhat good, just with mom and some neighbors.    Now, we gotta hope that Xmas would come and be gone without any incidents, like weeping.  I can't say it won't happen.  

I had gone to the baby department of Macy's to get some clothes for my baby nephew, one of his holiday gifts...and it was harder than I thought.  Even more at the book store.  Some of you have read a post that I wrote much earlier this year, of how much I love reading. So getting books for the nephew was tough, looking at books, thinking "if I had a child, I could get that...." eyeing 'Boot and Shoe', "or this", of another book 'Star Wars Alphabet'.   

Bottom line, I got clothes and books for the baby nephew and they are all wrapped, soon to be mailed.  :::pat on my shoulder:: 

 I did it. 


While reading posts and articles on Facebook (yup, I have an account there, nothing to be embarrassed about.), I saw an article shared by a good friend.  Its title grabbed my attention "Facing Bias, loss of children, disabled parents should get more support, advocates say."    I clicked on it to read.


After reading, I feel validated that what I have gone through with planning to have a child, or adoption...  you see, it'd be hard to adopt as a single woman... even more as a deaf single woman who uses American Sign Language as her communicative language.    I have always had a fear that if I had a child, in my 20's and 30's, that I'd have to go through court to fight to keep the child, especially with my maternal family- I love 'em, but there's a bias that deaf cannot do anything.  They'd think I'd put the child in danger just because I can't hear.   So that's one of many reasons why I hesitated getting pregnant.  It was only when I became 40 and more confident in myself, I decided "hell with them, I'll get pregnant- and if that comes to court for custody of the child, I'll fight like hell." 

That didn't work out, dear readers. Despite some success getting pregnant, none had gone past the first trimester.     

Then, I looked into adoption, I read about requirements of international adoption, and of articles about surrogate mothers/single women (or with lesbian partners) trying to get pregnant with semen from deaf donors- and I have noticed folks in those articles had fought.  Some won..and some lost, especially with deaf semen donors and some international adoption.  Even some local adoption would put disabled individuals last on the waiting list to adopt...  

*sigh*     some days I'm pushing up my sleeves and say "bring it on!'  and on other days, I feel hopeless. 

It has been more of the latter feelings for those days-  rare to experience the former feeling of confidence...  I can only hope I'd experience that more often- not now, but perhaps next year or so...

I want to say "Bring it on" to fight for my right to have children, even if they are adopted or foster or by surrogate mother someday and stick to it.  I want to have hope...


Like the photo says..hope is a bitch. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Doomsdays

Hadn't much energy or motivation to write a post lately.  

Thanksgiving is coming less than a week.  Whee.....

Xmas is coming up in a month and so................   Whoo

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0360486/


It feels very much like the doomsday to me than the holidays.


Last November and December I had gone through tests (MRI, sonograms, ultrasounds, etc) with so thousand thoughts
 "Can I have children or not?"
 "They're so wrong." 
"What is it in my uterus that they don't know?"

So many questions, with fear of unknown what was on the horizon. So many answers with the knowledge that it was not going my way.

I tried to protect myself (and other folks) by telling folks that I was fine, and that if I can't have children, no big deal.

Now, the holidays, the doomsdays are coming, I had made a decision.

You see----

 Last year, I was empty on Christmas, just two days after the doctor told me there I cannot have children. I was a zombie sitting there on the couch, watching cousins laughing as their toddlers opening presents.  I slapped a joker smile on my face as I was told two days after I cannot have children, that I will be an aunt.
Just typing this, I have tears coming down my cheeks. It still hurts recalling the pain from the last holidays.  In the emptiness, I kept thinking "the doctor is wrong" while I stared at the little children cuddling in my cousin's arms, my heart breaking. They have to be wrong. Yet in the heart of the darkness, I knew it the truth.

I love my family, don't you get me wrong...  however, despite the many family relatives in the room, I felt....
alone.


All that emotions were nonexistent all because Christmas was only two days  since that I had seen the doctor.  I had no time to process all that during the holiday visit.  I was a puppet, all smiles, not wanting to spoil it for everyone else.

I chose to keep everyone else's illusions that everything is okay, while neglecting myself.


Now, this year, there is two babies, and one on the way.


I'll pass.  I'm going to protect myself.

At least, I have to work on the 26th, which gives me the excuse to stay away.



Perhaps, I'll be comfortably ready next year.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The world is watching.

How far we had gone to achieve voting.....


Not even a century had gone past since Women had gotten the civil right to vote.


Let us not forget the disabled- they are ABLE to vote

Help people exercise their right to vote- volunteer and protect their exercising to vote.



Afar you are, yet close you vote! 


May common sense, honor and inner strength prevail over fear, threats or delusions today on the day that may determine the next fifty years. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Spooky! Scary! Happy I am!

I have read several fellow bloggers on things they can do without children, and of how they can take advantage of things not having to worry about children.  I do see their point, and I do look forward to the time when I'd appreciate being able to enjoy things child-free..... but that's not yet.


Until today.



Vampires!  (Fright Night)

Monsters (Jason from Friday 13th)

Spookies (Freddy from Nightmare on Elm Street)

Werewolves!  (Van Halsing)



My point?     
 I can go on ghost hunts (which I did last year and will do again this Sunday)!   

 I can go walk in abandoned places at 2 in the morning.   

I can get lost in the corn maze for hours before I get out. 

I can wander in the cold night under the full moon walking my labyrinths.

I can go to haunted places such as:   

Waverly Hills Sanatorium, haunted forests, scary mazes, hanging out at the bar giving out 'creepy' drinks and admiring each other's costumes at "Halloween Bash at The Bard's Town." 


....and I don't have to worry about finding a babysitter and checking my watch;

....and I don't have to worry about whether the kid wants to cut the trip short because it's "too cold", "too boring" or "have to cut it short because of school tomorrow;"

....and I don't have to worry whether if the kid can handle the scary part:

....and I don't have to worry about the kid needing therapy later on if I wear a scary clown mask and jump out from under the bed scaring someone witless.  


Now I feel much better for one thing. :)  






Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Hardest to write.



Had written a post last week.  I felt I had taken my heart out of my chest and started to squeeze the life out of it while typing the post. After finishing writing, I kept staring at the post as if it was a hive, full of buzzing bees.  Of all posts I had written, this has to be the hardest, most painful to write....

And I'm afraid to share it. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Journey by car

Road trips- one of my favorite way to meditate, believe it or not.

Longer the road takes you, it's easier to mull on things, or nothing at all.

Often there's catharsis or 'ah ha' moments somewhere afar.  A few times I'd need to pull over to write something down to avoid forgetting about it!

I had driven 2226 miles to Colorado and back to Kentucky, with four days to do it all by car.


Mind you, not with a scarf over my head, or driving a convertible car with the top down....  that'd be a mouthful of bugs for sure...

Let me give you examples of some ah ha moments I had thought up through road trips....

"Guys REALLY forget things. If you want them to remember something, put it on calendars, next to their favorite chips."

"Religions are small ideas- they depend on followers to make them big (enough to make war) or small (enough to develop communities.)"

"Simple things are simple because complications are what people understand and live for. They have to make things complicated because to realize things are simple, are to realize life CAN be THAT simple is too much for them."

 Those are some few examples....

On that note, I'd not go on a road trip for a long while....  the last one was somewhat too much for me- 2226 miles is the top record for me alone so far.  One thing I have to add....while driving, I didn't get to think about childlessness, babies, family, nothing.  Just empty mindless while driving.


Although....I'm eyeing Louisiana for a road trip next year....Cajun food and attitudes,  hillbilly swamps, plantation county, Mardi Gras and Bourbon Rue.... I'm up for that!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Red footprints


Soon I am off to Colorado, the state of red sand and red stones for a week. 


To teach about labyrinths.  To teach about mindfulness and self-care for survivors of domestic violence/sexual assault.   To walk in footprints of heroines who had found inner strength to change their lives for the better.   That can be said for us who are living with childlessness by circumstances and/or infertility, too. 

A step on the journey, long it will be, but the journey itself is more important than the destination. 


Friday, September 21, 2012

Can you imagine not having a child?


As you look at your baby in your arms, re-counting his fingers and toes, admiring her long eyelashes, feeling the heartbeat, you look forward to explore the world with the new family member. 
Can you imagine a life without your baby?  No patting his back to hear him burp; no raspberry-blowing on her soft belly, or no tickling to hear his laugh?

As you pick your toddler to put him on his tricycle, laughing at her mess as she samples her first birthday cake, and reading the book “The Hungry Caterpillar” with him on your lap, you cherish the moments.
Can you imagine living without your toddler?  No squeaky toys to pick up, no kissing ‘ouches’, no “good night, moon” reading at bedtime?  

As you watch your son stepping into the school bus, kissing her trembling pout as she looks at the teacher for the first time, and his smile of pride as he gives you his test with ‘B+’ in blue, you’d think you’d never give up remembering those times. 
Can you imagine driving by a school, no one to jump out of your car; no one blowing a kiss for you to catch; or no announcing losing the hamster during the show-tell?  

As you walk to the mall in a mixture of excitement and dread knowing you’re going into a battle with your daughter over clothes again, paling as you open the cellphone bill yet knowing that’s somewhat expected, or looking on with pride as he scores a goal at the  soccer tournament, you chuckle in fond remembrance. 
Can you imagine not being there to hold her as she cries about her first break-up; not being there when he goes, “Mom…!” as he rolls his eyes; or not giving a high-five as she comes home excited, to exclaim she got accepted for the middle school basketball team?

As you tremble in thought of him learning to drive, arguing with her about her outfit on way to school, and dreading have the Talk with your teenager, you convince yourself that it is worth the entire struggle to see him become a young adult.  
Can you imagine missing seeing her smile at you shyly in her prom dress, and, missing out on cheering as he opens his letter of acceptance to his college, or missing the opportunity to be there at her undergraduate graduation?  

Now, you know that’s what you’re expecting as a mother.
Now can you imagine what it is like for us non-moms? Can you imagine what we feel as we hear and see your babies and the potential, knowing we are living without?  

As you look at your baby, can you imagine living not having your life without a child?   
Neither could we imagine.  We didn’t expect that either. 
For many of us, we have to live without children due to circumstances and infertility. 

Can you imagine how you would feel if someone tells you, “you can’t have a baby;”  “Your egg didn’t take in this 9th attempt;” or “After all that tests and interventions, I’m sorry to say we may have to consider that you cannot have children after all”?   Look at your baby and can you consider what it’s like not having a baby?
Could you imagine how you’d feel if someone suggest adoption after you had already considered countless times, when we had asked the bank for a loan for the third time to be rejected, and when we went through months of home study to be told that the birth mother picked the other couple over us?  Search your baby’s face and can you wonder the heart-wrenching frustration? 

Now, can you see why it is heartbreaking for many of us, to even smile with you bravely, yet experiencing heartache?  Can you see how we have to be strong, struggling not to break down in tears, as you look down at your baby and melt in his smile?  

Hence, give her a break when your sister is not up to coming to your baby shower.  Accept if not understand, when the friend does not want to experience living vicariously through your pregnancy.   Ask, without presuming, whether that your cousin would want to hear about how it went for the first day of school or not.  Offer consideration of visiting your child, “when you are ready” to your sister-in-law, instead of saying “oh, you can take my baby anytime” in a humorous way.  

Be compassionate yet not pitying us.   After all, we have to find our courage to live without children.  Be supportive, yet not judging us.   After all, we have to adjust to a child-free life and learn to live fully.   Love us, yet not forget us.  After all, we didn’t forget you, our friends, our sisters, our aunts, our cousins.   We try to be there for you, but sometimes we need you to be there for us too.  

Can you imagine doing that?  

Monday, September 17, 2012

It's all lies

 Lately, I find myself in a bout of emotions, crashing and rolling like waves.     Lately, there have been times when I'd encounter so many photos of babies, baby announcements, even a photo of a dead baby in its coffin (who'd even think sharing THAT on Facebook?), and....

I throw in the towel.  


I see people share posts of loving their mothers, loving their children, being so grateful of being a mom, and I kept thinking, "is it me or are they doing that on purpose to rub it in?"  Several times I remind myself, they have the reason to be happy.

A part of me then snaps, "Then why can't I either be happy?"

 *sigh*  No way to go around that right now.  And I think what adds to the complication is that I'm not in a relationship, so I don't have someone, where I could let go and be told it's okay.  

I was getting to know someone.  He knew of my situation.  Yet I knew then he didn't 'get it' when he asked "what if I wanted children later on? What if I want to have kids? I don't want adoption but children of my blood."  and I looked at him and said, "that's something you have to think on."    

I knew it when later on when I heard nothing from him.  

It has been seven months since the hysterectomy.    The world has been moving on, while I find myself stuck.     I have said that I have been okay.    Things are good.    Things are going good.  I'm better.  


Guess what?  It's all lies.     I'm not okay.   I find myself hateful- angry- bitter- tearful- sad.  

I hate 'em.     I hate that they have babies and I don't.    I hate guys who think they can decide for us women.  I hate the cultural mentality that a woman is nothing without children.  I hate women who think everything can be fixed by having children.  "If I can't find a job,  might as well have a baby!"    "To save my marriage, I gotta be pregnant."  "Everyone else is pregnant, so if I am not pregnant, I'm a freak."    I hate 'em.  

I am angry that I didn't get a say in having children or not.  I am angry that everyone else around me is able to pop babies out, except me.   I am angry about the woman who had killed her unborn baby a week before its due date.  I am angry at the world for moving on.  I'm angry at idiots who feel women should keep their legs crossed, blaming the woman for rates of pregnancy when clinics providing birth control, one by one, are shut down in name of  "religion."   I am angry at people who want small government, yet is fine with the concept of having government in our bedrooms, even in our beds (or bathtub or car or on the beach.) I am angry that I am infertile.  

I am also bitter at ex friends who claimed they were friends, but when they found out I couldn't have children, they dropped me like a hot potato.  Such pals I had...  Bitter at folks who said they'll be there as they did a week after my surgery, and then they disappeared off the surface of the world, basically blocking me, not explaining- nothing.  At least I'm entitled to an explanation, wouldn't you think? Now I find them on another page under a different name (while a friend left a comment on my page), brown-nosing someone I knew.  They had fed on each other, being supportive of each other on the surface, yet being so hateful behind each other's back, being angry that one copied one other, "She got that idea from me, I'm sick of it!" and "Can't she be original, why does she copy me in everything?"  I could tell one other about what they had talked about each other behind each other's back, and me trying to stay neutral all through it, with ugly truths, but why should I open a can of worms?  I have enough on my own hands without dealing with their drama.  Beside if they could do that to someone (me) who trusted them during a vulnerable time, I wouldn't trust them again, as far as I could throw them.  Burned once, lesson learned.  

I am tearful here and there.   My eyes fill up with tears looking at a baby announcement I got in mail.  I wipe tears away as one new grandmother joyfully shares a photo of her holding her grandson. I reach for a tissue as I finish a movie 'Bride Wars' with such dismay, as two characters look at each other, "you're pregnant?" with excitement. I struggle not to cry as a co-worker talks with other about their babies.  Tears go down cheeks as I touch my hand on the monitor, aching to have my own baby, not even liking that photos of babies are found on Pinterest inadvertently. 

I am sorrow filled.  I grieve that so many things had happened horribly.  I am sad that some folks are dastard, that they would go low to hurt when someone is already low.  I am lying on bed, saddened that sometimes truth hurts, even leaving wounds behind.  

So..I'm better.     That has to be the biggest lie one has to live with in the world of infertility.  

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Remembrance

As y'all know, I had been away visiting family for a week last month.   Don't get me wrong, I love my family- but that trip was also very emotional.

Very emotional.

Grandma has dementia.  Relatives had told me how bad it is, although I kept hoping that it is not that bad as they said- I was thinking back to seniors that I helped taken care of at a senior center many years ago. 

Seeing my grandma, it was both bad and good. 

Relatives took me to see her at a memory care center.  Seeing me, Grandma brightened up as if I was the sun. She opened her arms, I entered them, feeling her love and warmth. It was so obvious she was  happy to see me after a year and half.    To relatives' surprise, Grandma tried to sign- and I recognized some of them- giving me hope that she did indeed recall how we communicate (I was dreading that she'd try to talk with me, forgetting our mode of communication).  We talked a bit, although we wrote forth and back (relative voiced for me.)  I observed that she had lost a lot of weight, she is much smaller.   I kept my tears inward, knowing that if I wept front of her, she'll cry too.  She's certainly empathic.    I left promising that I'll visit her again (daily). 

My aunt cautioned me that Grandma might not remember that I had already visited her, the next time I see her.    That reminded me of one senior consumer I worked with-  basically each day is the first day for her- just like in the movie the 50 first dates. I'd come in, not knowing what to expect from her.  Most of times, working with her was a good experience- most of times. 

The next time I saw Grandma-  she was equally so happy to see me- and I realized- she didn't remember seeing me yesterday.    

My heart broke.  I ached for her. I felt tears filling up in my eyes, and I fought hard not to let them spill out. 

 Watching her and Aunt K chattering,   I realized something.  no matter what, she still remembers loving me, even if it is anew daily. 

And that day when we had the interpreter (as I spoke of in a previous post, not being happy due to the not-qualified interpreter), again Grandma was so happy to see me, not recalling that we had been together the day before.  The interpreter did try to take up the conversation, telling of her own church interpreting or of her children in which I interrupted telling her that it's NOT about her.. It's about me and Grandma, It's our time together.  I found myself balancing my patience and tolerance of the interpreter who kept misunderstanding me, so I'd have to repeat myself two or three times, knowing that I'm losing time (and grandma's energy). 

At that time, I realized I had a gift that Grandma had given to me for years, and this gift is now time to share with her back. 

"Do you remember the house fire?"  Grandma asked. 

The relatives were puzzled- they were uncertain what she was talking about.

I nodded, "yes, which one- one in Henderson or your family home?"  She beamed, "my family home."  That was when she was a child.  I affirmed remembering what she told me.   She was so happy. 

She then talked about cooking certain foods when she was young, or of the pond near her home, and I validated, recalling them with her.  

You see, Grandma had told me her stories when we cooked in the kitchen, me being six years old.   She shared funny childhood stories as we shopped for clothes to fit my adolescent body. She disclosed to  me of  tough times as she grew up while I was visiting her from college.

No one had closely paid attention to her history throughout many years.  I may be deaf, but I listened and memorized her stories.  I wrote them down in my journals as I grew up.  And now I still remember them, now important to her now that she cannot remember her late years, but of only her childhood to when cousins and I were children.    

So those are her stories, her history, her life.  She is re-living her life in the stories, and that's what I can do, and I did.  I remember her stories. 


On the last day, I hugged her, not knowing if I will see her again.  So she knows something, and  we looked at each other.  She did not want to let go.   I glanced back at the door, and she was already disappearing into herself on the sofa. 

She is living in her memories, and I will write this down, another note in my journal, to memorize. 

Another part of Grandma for me to cherish in memory, even with the heartbreak. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Running out

Got permission from a friend for me to share this with y'all.

I'm sure this is old news to fellow  bloggers in the infertility/childless community-  just found out that a friend is pregnant. I was truly surprised since she had said she had no plans to get children- but then again that she said that a while ago.  Now she has a guy, things could have changed, and it certainly did.

My point here is...I'm running out of local friends who don't have children, and I'm getting tired.  I brought it up in a private online board with several friends that I have known for years.  I was admittedly whining about running out of friends because everyone are either pregnant or raising babies.


"Then why don't you get pregnant? You'd not feel left out- you'd be in the mommy club."    Someone (let's call her Marti) said that after I commented about the friend's pregnancy announcement.

.........................................................Oh, you did not so go there. 



I was visualizing myself fetching my baseball bat to go violent on Marti, when someone (let's call her Lisa) else pointed out, "If you had been an attentive good friend, you'd know that she can't have children."

"She can. She has to do it harder. She has to relax, either way it is do-able!"

I was gritting my teeth harder, and was going to lash out on my keyboard when Lisa said, "Where have you been when she had her surgery?"

"I know she had surgery, I sent her some flowers"  (liar, liar pants on fire, never got any flowers from you.)  Was cracking my knuckles, preparing to vomit fire on Marti.  (and yes I know I'm very visual- blame it on my reading comic books for decades.)

Lisa has to have the fastest fingers- she should try for the Guinness World Records.

"H-Ello!!!  She had a hysterectomy- which is not related to women's hysteria, (of course, we shouldn't forget that means you can get hysteria- you on Xanax yet?)  We're back in elementary school, let me educate YOU, hysterectomy means  removal of uterus- you know what uterus is, something to grow a baby inside-not the stork, not that you had paid attention to, but she had hysterectomy to save her life.  So how, you tell me, how would she have children if she doesn't have an uterus anymore? In her kidney?  Oh right, maybe she could get raped- all Akin said she could get pregnant if she gets raped.  Oh wait!  She ought get a non-lesbian to get pregnant for her, after all they say equal marriage would increase rate of abortion, so it's safer that way.   What? You didn't like what I said?"  Lisa tossed out on the board.

"You're cruel, that was absolutely unnecessary, you don't know me, so how dare you judge me? That really hurts"  Marti typed.


'NOW how do you think Jules felt when you said that 'you should get pregnant' and/or 'she has to do it harder?'  Think what you feel,  that's what Jules feels ten times worse right now, capisce?"

Can I say I love Lisa? :)



Nevertheless....  I AM running out of friends here in town that don't have children, and I'm not getting any younger.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Just a note

Still away from the blog for a while, especially with getting news of a friend being pregnant (not planned), and of a baby's birth recently- so emotions are shaky.

Just wanted to let y'all know that I got my counseling license approved!


Funny how two parts of news, one unhappy and one happy.  Can't decide which to celebrate or cry.



Well, guess I'll make a toast to myself with one or two berry martinis

The recipe is inside this website with the photo-  Very yummy!


Sunday, August 19, 2012

No matter what, they're putting a stranger into your arms.



The title of this post, came from the quote that appeared in my mind, referring to Katherine Heigl's quote about her mom, who had biological and adoptive children.  You might know Katherine by some of her movies- "Knocked up" or "27 dresses."  

Among farmland, a state big on families and being fruitful, I found myself attending a soccer tournament for my cousin's kids today- with kids everywhere, if not playing in the games, then watching or chasing after each other.    A woman holding a 6-month old baby was chatting with my cousin's wife, passing the baby to the cousin's wife as she did 'baby babble' over the baby, and I kept staring at the baby.  I hadn't been very close to a baby for a long and long time.

Before I could react, the cousin's wife gave me the baby. Impulsively, I held the baby to my chest. I felt suddenly "at peace" if that made sense.  Staring at the baby, her closing eyes, relaxing in my arms, the world disappeared around us.   No kids shouting or kicking at the ball  No adults chattering or laughing.  No wind or smell of popcorn.   The only existence in the world was me holding the baby.



Someone poked me, which startled me to look up- to see the aunt saying that we needed to move closer to a spot, to watch the cousin's daughter play.  The mother came to me, with arms/hands open, ready to take the baby back.

I found myself hesitant to let the baby go.  I was not finished.  I wanted to hold her more.

With a big sigh, I gave her to the mother.  We relocated to a spot closer to the field. I could see the cousin's daughter very involved in her soccer.


I managed to regain the baby and I played with the baby, cuddling the baby-  looking into her grey-blue eyes the fine honey-brown colored hair on top of her head and the fair skin in shade of her summer hat.

By sooner, the game was over, to my dismay.


I reluctantly handed the baby back to her mother.  


I don't know what to say.    A part of me is crying.   A part of me feels more human.  A part of me is yearning for something.  A other part feels tranquil.   All through this, I feel all together.  


A complete stranger in my arms, yet I felt I knew her.  All babies I knew, in my heart, trusting and giving grace to one.



That quote came to my mind "A single event can awaken within us a stranger totally unknown to us. To live is to be slowly born."
         -Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Yellow Brick Road


I'm taking a time out to spend time with family for the coming week(s) in the state where Dorothy Gale lived with her dog Toto.   

I love my family, thro sometimes it is a toss-up on when I'd find myself in favor by family here and there.   There is an ailing grandmother; she is in a nursing home, and is not doing great. In the past, Grandma and I could write forth and back, we had interesting conversations that way!  No longer, could that continue due to Grandma's becoming blind. I asked for an interpreter so we'd have a long good talk, me and Grandma, when I'm in town.   Well, one church interpreter said she'll do it.  I'm not too keen on church interpreters- it's not because of the church itself.  Church interpreters usually know signs according to the church preaching-  you'd not find them use general signs (such as airport, restaurant, politics, London, tea, etc). If the word is not in the Bible, then the interpreter wouldn't know the sign.  See the dilemma here?     When I stated that I'd prefer a certified interpreter, I was told that I should be grateful for what I got.   

........................    

I want to talk with my grandma, before she passes away, and if I could not really TALK with her because the interpreter is "rusty reading signs (American Sign Language)", I should be grateful?  

It is just like being grateful that I'm alive, that the fibroid along with the uterus removal was not cancerous. 
I should be grateful that I have friends that could "share" their children with me, so I could "vicariously" live through pregnancy or raising children.
I ought be grateful that I don't have to "worry" about hair-pulling drama of children, I'd not go red-eyed through the night like the friends who are biting their teeth over their kids learning to drive; seeing a school-aged kid riding a bike for the first time; or the pre-teen testing their independence. 

You know what?     I don't care anymore.  I'm tired of people presuming that I "should" be happy with this, or that, or the thing-  all because folks who saying all this, are attempting to make themselves feeling better.  Never mind, it only makes me feel worse.  




So I'll go.  I'll see grandma, and see the failure of communication between me and Grandma, due to the "church interpreter" that I should be grateful for.  I will come home with a bitter taste on my tongue, and with my heart breaking, knowing that I may not have another opportunity to converse  with Grandma.  

I know I am angry right now.    I had been passive, swallowing my pride, being grateful for whenever they'd find neighbor's cousin's boyfriend's sister who knows "a bit of sign language" for a relatives funeral, in the past.  I had groaned, rolling my eyes, and suggested two different interpreting services available in town, to be told "they are too expensive," NEVER MIND that I had offered to pay out of my pocket, at a family wedding.  

Reading the "Hearing privilege" article, I found one fitting for this: Hearing privilege is representing yourself.  Knowing your exact choice of words are used.  You do not have to wait for an interpreter.  You do not have to wonder if the interpreter will be skilled or qualified. (Exploring Hearing Privilege).   

And to add one other: Hearing privilege means that you can expect that all members of your family can and will communicate fluently in your first language. 

Not many folks understand- I have to fight for this almost everyday.  If not at work, then at the hospital.  If not at the hospital, then at the workshops at a convention.   

Sometimes I wonder if being childless also contributes, to the point when I'd try to find a connection, if not by deafness, then by children.    The Deaf community in town highly value children to the point, every Deaf women I had encountered, had children. Unspoken rule, but it's there- "No children, you're unseen."   Young Deaf women who hadn't yet have children, are poked at, "When will you get married? You're not getting any younger" and they are subtly regarded of  "as a freak" if not pregnant or not having children.  Once it is found that I don't have children, I'm not welcome in the deaf groups.  Very nice.   

I don't even WANT to know about what my family was thinking when they found that I had to have my hysterectomy, knowing there were many families out there that dread having their deaf adults becoming parents, in fear that their grandchildren could be deaf (never mind that deaf children born to deaf parents are at 5% compared to deaf children born to hearing parents (more than 90%.)  I truly don't want to know.  

You know, I'm tired.    

At least, somewhere on the yellow brick road, I hope not to find my heart broken.  The scarecrow can keep his brain- this is more a situation for emotional than intellectual.  The lion can retain his courage- I'm tired of being strong.  

And yes, I'm aware of the black cloud above my head lately, and that's why I'm going on a vacation- I hope to find labyrinths in town, to use my new camera to photograph vintage towns, and get together with friends that I hadn't seen since high school.  

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Silence

I saw something on Facebook, which threw me off-balance.     I saw photos of my dead cousin.

You see, my cousin died a few days after his 27th birthday while I was in graduate school some years ago.   Due to a delicate timing (comprehensive examinations), I couldn't fly out there to attend the funeral, with family also encouraging me to stay in school.   Was easier for the family and easier for me as well for me not to go.

Since then, I had been wondering.   I know that my aunt had been aching badly after her son's death- to have a child die before the parent's time, that has to be the worst moment ever.  I know she have increased in keeping in touch with me since then....   

I admit, I wept but shortly when I was told the news. 

 It was only later on when there was a dance performance on campus, when they announced the performers would honor the soldiers afar, their mission, their willingness to fight, and to remember the ones who died-   watching the dance, I broke down.  I dashed to the bathroom, crying.  I wept talking with the professor who followed me.    I realized I hadn't processed the death.  

To this day,I hadn't yet visited his grave.  It has been four years since....   

I remember when he was a bald baby.  I remember when I held his hand when we walked through the family peach orchard when he was four.  I remember encouraging him as we tried to capture tadpoles in the flooded ditches on the family farm when he was eight.  


Very chattering, he chased after other cousins, as I read my romances, me being in my twenties, annoyed at their attempts to distract me.  He and other cousins in their adolescences laughed as we lit the fireworks.  

We did not talk to each other once he hit his late adolescence- but for hugging or nodding at each other which had continued for a bit less than fifteen years.  It was not that we didn't like each other-  just that he didn't know what to say to me, and neither did I.  I knew sign language and he didn't, and I regret, that was an obstacle between us. 

I remember when he came back from his first tour from Afghanistan-  his laughing eyes no longer, but eyes black full of dark memories.    

I remember the last time I saw him,  he was very quiet.     He had been out of Marines for a long while, and I was relieved that he came out okay-   but he wasn't okay, after all.  

I remember when he came up to me during the holiday before, and asked if we could hang out-  I was surprised, yet not surprised.  I knew he was hurting.  My guts told me, he needed to be with someone who would not expect him to be strong.  What was surprising, was that he asked me.  What could I do to help him if we couldn't communicate?

So we went on a car ride.  On that road trip, a long drive-  he smoked-  now he knew I didn't like smoking, but I kept quiet- I knew he just needed company.     Just someone who'd be there yet not talking.

Silence deep, heartfelt.    The silence; it was fulfilling what he was searching within.   We returned back home, and he held me long. I could feel him sobbing in his chest, as I held him.   

He needed what was given, to be vulnerable, and to be loved for himself.  

When I found out how he died, I was not surprised.     I loved him and I forgave him.  


So, seeing photos on Facebook, that had not been shared at all until now, by a friend who hung out with the cousin, and now his brother, the older brother;  I found myself back on a remembrance flashback.  

I found myself smiling seeing the photo of him smiling and flipping the bird in one photo, yet my heart ached when seeing one other photo of him wearing an Marine service uniform, and one other photo, the face recognizable yet unrecognizable to me, of a stranger in his body.   

And I realize something.    I envy him.  He had no children, yet he will be always remembered.  He was just like James Dean or River Phoenix; their young lives cut short and abruptly.   Sudden, a child that died before the parent, which should not have happened.   Parents are supposed to go before the children, yet he died before his parents. His mom is still grieving;  so does his family.  I find myself hurting too.  Looking back to seeing him as a child, then teenager, and then an adult-  I cannot imagine losing a child after getting to know him.

We did not talk.  I did not get to know what he liked to do (except for fishing- that we had in common).  But I learned something on that day on the long road trip going nowhere-  He was tired of being strong.  

And so was I.     

And so am I now.   

I'm tired of being strong. I'm tired of "looking fine."  Not everything is fine, ladies.   By tomorrow, it would have been six months since the surgery, the execution of fertility; curtains down on my dreams for carrying a baby of mine.  

Unlike many of you readers,  I don't have a partner, spouse or someone to be my cheerleader, my booster, someone to keep my sanity, someone to help keep me going.  I don't have someone who'd poke his head in while I was showering, to ask, "you seen my keys?"  I don't have someone to remind me that there is other definitions of family, which does not have to include children.  I don't have someone to hold me in bed and whisper, "it's okay, I'm here."  I'm single, and being alone going through the thunderstorm-

you know what? 

It sucks.  And.  I'm.  Drained physically. Tired emotionally. Exhausted spiritually.  


This coming weekend and next week, I'm going down a thousand miles to see my family that I had not seen for more than a year.  

I will get to visit my cousin; his grave that I had never seen, way overdue for four years.  

I loved him.  Yet we didn't talk last time, and I don't expect us to talk during this visit. Mark will be there in spirit.
You know, in an odd way, I suspect he would have understood me, of all the family. And that's what I needed to know.  


Silence- where I could not be strong, to be one with my vulnerability.    


And to be there in the moment, to be mindful; body, mind and spirit.   

 To be me. 


Monday, August 6, 2012

Small step, big step?

As y'all know I had a nephew who was born a few weeks ago, and that I have intentions to see him at Xmas. Before that, I realized I'd need to see a baby in real life;  don't get me wrong, I have seen babies here and there, but I hadn't held one since oh...  *thinking*  last August.  

I basically experienced a "mood swing" for many days, considering when to ask my friend on whether I could hold her baby (by now, three months)-- "I should ask her" on some days,  "forget it, I can't do it." on other days.

Last week, on an impulse, I went to her office, and said-asked, "you know I have a nephew...you know my situation.... I want to see how it'd be like for me to hold  a baby.... can I hold your baby sometimes later?"
My heart raced insanely, as if I was running in a marathon.

She reassured me that she'd be happy to help out, and that I am to take my time-  either do it at her home, or she'd bring the baby by at my place.  Just to let her know when I'd like to do that.  

I thanked her, and returned to my office.



What have I gotten myself into?