Bob and I decided to have a low-key Christmas this year. However, my emotions have been going up and down.
Our first week of vacation was spent doing a lot of nothing, which was glorious. We binge-watched many episodes of Parentho.od, had a movie date at Moa.na, and admired artwork at the newly renovated SFMOMA. We even had a sleepover at our friends’ house and hung out with our favorite kids. This was the good, peaceful, and fun part.
We deliberately did not decorate for Christmas. There is no Christmas tree, wreath, stockings, or ornaments. If you walk into our house, you will not see a hint of the Christmas season except for the Christmas cards of kids and babies on our fridge.
I just feel that if I do not want to hang any Christmas ornaments, I am entitled to do that. I got Bob his Christmas gift, but I haven’t picked out the purse that he is going to give me. There is no pressure to decide on one and have it mailed to us before Christmas day because, let’s admit it, it is an arbitrary day to receive a gift. It makes no difference to me if I get the gift before or after December 25th. It does not mean that I don’t celebrate Jesus, my Lord and my savior who was born on this earth being fully human and fully God. But I don’t have to do anything to show that I have the so-called Christmas spirit in the cultural sense.
A couple of things has made this season difficult. The first is all of the baby announcements and pregnancy announcements I saw in the last week or so. Quite a few babies have been born this past week. Many of their mothers were on the journey with me when they struggled to conceive their first babies. They were successful at their IUI or IVF and I was not. Fast forward to the current time. They gave birth to their second babies while I am still waiting for my first. Same with the pregnancy announcements that I have seen this past week. Many struggled with their first and now they are onto their second. It’s hard not to look at myself and feel the hurt of having empty arms that long for the warmth of holding our own baby. My husband was so protective. On Christmas eve, I opened the mailbox and found two envelopes that looked like Christmas cards inside. When I was wondering aloud who one of the cards was from as I didn’t immediately recognize the address, Bob snatched it away from my hand. He said, “You don’t want to open this one”. I immediately understood that it probably contained a pregnancy announcement of some sort. He admitted, “It’s the worst kind of pregnancy announcement on a Christmas card.” He had seen the announcement on Fac.ebook earlier that day and had hidden it from me. I said, “You mean an ultrasound photo.” Yup that was it. The worst kind of Christmas card for an infertile person to receive. He took away the card and hid it. I am grateful that he saved me from that moment of the surprise, hurt, and pain seeing the grainy black and white image.
And then one of my best friends wrote me a text Christmas Eve morning asking me to pray for her dad. She was originally going to fly home for Christmas that morning anyways, but earlier that morning her dad was sent to the hospital in a critical condition. She was waiting for her flight when she wrote. Her dad suffered from cancer a couple of years ago and was doing better, but took a turn for the worse recently. My friend spent Thanksgiving with her parents and was planning on spending Christmas at home as well. I asked her how her dad was in the afternoon. She wrote back sharing the news of her dad’s passing earlier that afternoon. My beautiful friend longs for a life partner and children in her future. It’s so hard for me to imagine losing her dad in her 30s and for her to miss out having her dad walk her down the aisle when she finally gets married or for her to not ever have a chance to introduce her future children to him. My heart is so heavy for her. The loss of her father and the future with him just feels so unbearable in this moment.
Tomorrow we will be driving up north to stay at a bed and breakfast for four nights. I look forward to a simple few days of being away, reading, eating, hanging out, and enjoying nature. I hope that it is enough for us to recuperate from the roller coaster of a year in 2016 for us to prepare for the life that is ahead of us in 2017.