Friday, August 20, 2010

Living with the absolutely idiotic

Or rather, living in the absolutely idiotic. :)

Backing up a little bit... We're allowed to "try" this cycle. All that means is that we're allowed to do what we've already been doing all summer, which is absolutely nothing to prevent pregnancy. Really, we've not been holding our breath. We were instructed that for two cycles we were to be absolutely vigilant about preventing pregnancy. Abstinence at certain times, and protection at all other times. Friends, with our combined fertility, having sex at all is having sex with protection. If 33 months of concentrated effort has yielded us nothing, I'm pretty sure we're good. Haha.

But we're "eligible" for the next IUI now.

But anyhow, we're on cycle 3 since ye olde miscarriage, but because J might (read: he thinks he will, but his wifey is pretty certain it's not going to happen) take a group to Italy next May, and if it worked right away, I'd be due in May, we're waiting one more cycle.

This cycle, if last cycle is any indication, will end in approximately 3 weeks and a day or so.

I'm on CD 18 right now.

Enter the idiotic.

I do not want 41 day cycles and I am irritated at this body of mine.

That's all. :)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Permission to Fail


Bits and pieces of this post have been popcorning around in my brain for the past several days. Maybe weeks. I'm wondering if I can make this make as much sense here as it does in my head.

So for a long time, back in the day, in my earlier life, I thought I had to be perfect. I thought it was expected of me, and that was partially true. There were sources of that expection. I was one of them. The pressure from that intense self-scrutiny had me turned so far inward that I imploded on a fairly frequent basis. It also made me fairly self-absorbed. Funny how self-loathing is self-obsession in an ugly dress.

Thankfully, I had a lot of the shell that I had built around myself shattered for me. There's no such thing as a pleasant shattering, but as my good friend Gandalf says, "not all tears are an evil."

But, you know. Old habits die hard. That sort of thing. I still have a very hard time taking criticism. If the bathwater isn't sparkly, perfectly temped and fragrant, I'm strongly tempted to just toss the whole dang tub, baby included. (I'm the bathwater and the baby, you see...?)

There came a point, perhaps as recent as last fall, when I realized that I had to give myself permission to fail. I'd been moving towards that point for quite some time, mind you. There was the day some 5 years ago when I traded in my GPA for an apron and went to work waiting tables. I still occasionally feel from some sources that my only redeeming move was to have married a professor. At least I still have some "status." Whatever to that, I say.

But I think it was last fall that I actually articulated to myself the principle that had already blown the lid off my life: "You are allowed to fail." In keeping a house, raising children, learning how to be a wife, etc, I had to literally give myself permission to fail at one thing per day. Perfection is not a goal I can reach, and insisting on it in myself was going to set me farther back from real virtue than an honest, trip-and-fall, approach to the daily grind of loving ever could.

That doesn't mean that I don't strive to be the very best me I can be. On one hand, I strive. On the other hand, I say, "Relax." Life is a thing that must be carried with both hands.

So what got this whole train of thought out of the station was an invitation that bounced and bounced and bounced around inside my head. "Hey, why don't you run a half marathon with us in November?" November. The month that sends gong-like reverberations of "ow" vibrating through my chest. Not to mention the 13.1 miles that constitutes a half marathon. Surely not. Surely not. I run 3-4 miles three times a week. I do not cover vast distances.

But it's to benefit Connor's House. I believe in this project, and I love and admire the people who started it. And I realized that I can certainly walk 13.1 miles. And I can certainly run 4 miles. So between now and November 21, I can probably work up to, say 10 miles. The fundraising isn't contingent on running the whole way. I can walk any or all of it and they still get whatever funding I raise. I can fail and still achieve my real goal.

*nibbling lip*

And then a funny thing happened. Giving myself permission to fail took the pressure off. I signed up. I have a training plan in place, thanks to my fantastic brother in law (BIL).

And I think I can do it.

And I'm pretty sure I'm going to run across that finish line.

And I'm pretty excited about it.

BIL and I talked a lot about running in the past 2 weeks. Enough that other members of the family learned to roll their eyes and wander off the moment we got started. But we view running in much the same way. It's almost sacramental. The more you use your body, learn it, get to know it, and use it in an amazing way, the more it gives back. It shouldn't be a surprise. We kneel to pray. We fast to prepare. Our bodies teach our minds and souls things all the time. This is yet another activity has become a grace-bearer in my life. Perhaps I'll write another entry about it sometime.

But I guess what I'm trying to say is that by granting myself permission to fail, I've given myself the freedom to not lose sight of my actual goals.

This is carrying over into my parenting too. We spent the last 2 weeks on vacation in NJ, and my stepson was a major challenge. He was negative, mouthy, mean, contrary, hyperactive. Ugh. This child is a good child. He's a sweet boy. He's always had traces of what we saw while away, but never so much. The actual details of how he was/is is subject for another post. It's too much for here. But both of my sisters in law, who were enormously helpful in their observations and suggestions, were also so encouraging. At the same time that I felt like I was falling on my face, over and over, when it came to dealing with him, they kept telling me how good a job I do with him. "What?" "But you don't know," I kept wanting to say, "You must not have seen when I failed here and here and here." But they saw something else. I'm still not sure what, but I do know one thing.

I know that before he left our home last night to go back to his mother, he came over to give me a hug. He usually bounces over, gives my knees the obligatory squeeze, and trots excitedly out the door to go see her. It's fine - he's supposed to be happy to see his mother. I don't mind that. But it always stings a little too. But yesterday, he wrapped his arms around my neck and didn't let go. Even he seemed surprised at his own reaction. He just held on. And we chatted a little bit about what he was feeling. "Are you excited to see mommy?" Shrug. Nod. "And you seem a little sad. Are you sad to leave too?" Nod. "You know what? I think that's OK. It's exciting to see Mommy after so long. But it's OK to be a little sad to leave too. You'll have a great time with Mommy and we'll see you in a couple days. I love you always." Nod, "I wuv you too." And then he went happily trotting out the door.

What if life turns out to be like that? What if it's just fail, fail, fail, fail, fail, fail, until you find that, somehow, unbelievably, all the grace-bearers that seemed to hint at another interpretation of all those failures were right? What if all the fairy-tales and folk lore are right? What if there really are pots of gold at the end of the rainbow? What if they're in the puddles along the way?

(This can't be completely right. But I think there's something worth hanging on to here.)