On Saturday I met up with my friends Laura and Elizabeth for brunch and a few hours of hanging out in a town midway between where we all live.
We've started doing this every few months and it makes me SO happy. I am TERRIBLE at keeping up with friends and maintaining long-distance (if 75 miles can even qualify as that) relationships (unless they blog, of course!), so this is a happy rarity. It was cloudy and drizzly and quite warm, but we had fun shopping and laughing-- truly a high point in the Christmas season, although the visit had nothing to do with Christmas.
In spite of the cloudy drizzle, Matt and I decided to capitalize on the warmth and take a run sans ear warmers and sweatshirts. I'd forgotten what it was like to actually SWEAT while running! We got rained on a few times, but all in all it was highly preferable to running in the dark cold the way we do most days.
We did a lot of shopping on Saturday and Sunday (and we're still not done...high five for procrastination?). Most of it was for other people, but I'm certainly not above buying things for myself if the mood strikes. I mean, I spent my entire Sunday afternoon shopping in the pouring rain yesterday. I deserve to be rewarded for that, right? My jeans were SOAKED.
I found the cutest cutest cutest ponte knit blazer on the mega-clearance (70% off!) rack at Target!
So the weekend definitely had some good stuff. Buuuutttttt...yeah. Also, it was hard. It was pouring rain and gross outside and it just looked like the whole world was crying and then so was I. Crying because this is our fifth damn Christmas of infertility (technically sixth, but since we'd only been 'trying' for about 2 weeks on that first Christmas...pretty sure you can't count that as knowing the struggle). Crying because I miss my baby. I try not to think about her. But sometimes it really kills me. Every baby I saw in a store, every happy, stressed out family...that should be us. And yet here we are. Again. And again and again and again. I was re-reading old posts of mine from years ago over the weekend and when we'd been struggling with infertility for *only* three or so years, I was saying that I just couldn't imagine making it through another holiday season childless. And yet I did. Three more times. And counting. And I still can't imagine it and I can't imagine surviving it next year. But I probably will. It's weird to keep living a life that you can't imaging living...even while you're doing it. Does that make sense? Very meta of me. Blame it on the rain. AND FIVE YEARS OF STUPID DISAPPOINTMENT.
I just miss our baby. This stupid failed adoption has royally screwed me up. If we hadn't gone through that, this year would be no different than the previous 4 holiday seasons: sad, but bearable. But this was supposed to be different. This could have been different. We held our baby. I watched her being born. I was her mother. And then...I wasn't. And I'm not. And I don't know where she is, and I pray she is loved and cared for. I hope a dozen people fight over holding her at Christmas, that she has a pretty Christmas dress and that someone bought her a Baby's First Christmas ornament. Not that any of those things really matter, but I just want to believe that she's as loved and cherished in her family as she would have been in ours.
Today would have been Matt's first day back at work. If we still had our baby, Matt's seven-week paternity leave would be ending. It would have been a hard day, watching him go back to work. But I would have been home with my baby. That's the life I should be living.
But instead we both got up. We got dressed, we walked the dog, we got ready for work. We commuted through the pouring rain and it's just another day of being Matt and Erika, the perpetually childless couple with a freaking fabulous nursery and no baby to reside in it. We're like the opposite of the Christmas story. Plenty of room in the inn. No occupants. Miraculously un-pregnant and childless for the millionth year running.
It isn't that I've lost hope. I haven't. I have so much hope. But holding out hope can grow old. I've grown weary of it. It's still there, but it's not new and shiny and fun, the way it was years ago. When we were still relatively fresh on this journey...when we'd 'only' been trying for 2 or 3 years...when infertility was still sort of a gross novelty. You know what's funny about having been on the journey this long? People have run out of stories to try to encourage us with. When we'd been trying for 2 or 3 years, people would tell us stories of friends of theirs who got pregnant/adopted after some horribly long wait (like 4 or 5 years)...and to some extent it was encouraging. Like people have done this before, people have waited this long and longer and had a happy ending. But now those stories have pretty much dried up. It's a little harder to find stories of people who've been waiting as long as us that still end happy. Your brother's co-worker's cousin's story is years shorter and happier than ours is at this point, so there's no point in sharing. And that's kind of a relief. After awhile, other people's happy-ending stories hurt more than they help. Our infertility isn't caused by a lack of hope or trust or belief. We fully believe that God can do immeasurably more than we can imagine. We would die if we didn't believe that. But I guess I'm at a point of diminishing returns or something...encouragement isn't encouraging anymore. I just want people to say "I'm so sorry. It sucks. I would be sad, too." Oh and then to stop getting pregnant and having happy bump and baby and kid pictures on their Facebooks. Is that too much to ask??!
Sorry for being a downer. It's definitely the rain. But it should stop later today, and so too will my sadpants mood, hopefully. I have so many things to be thankful for-- it ticks me off when I let myself get bent out of shape because one aspect of my life hasn't gone according to MY (emphasis on MY) plan.
Hope you have a good Christmas Eve Eve. Wish me luck as we try to finish our shopping this evening, ha. And next year-- someone remind me in like November that maybe you should start shopping a little sooner. This is ridiculous!