Wednesday, December 25, 2013


Kind of a strange day today.

Due to logistics and the annoying way in which Christmas fell on a Wednesday this year, my side of the family decided we would be celebrating OUR Christmas this coming Saturday, the 28th.

All of which is fine and good.  Except it meant that, as of nine o'clock this morning, I've been alone.  Once Anthony left with Amanda to celebrate with his side of the family, it has been me, my thoughts, and nothing but.

For starters, I am pretty sure this is the first Christmas that I haven't seen my parents or my sisters.  None of us ever moved or lived or traveled so far away that we were ever unable to be home at this time of year.  If it weren't for the Santa-frenzy in my living room early this morning and the constant stream of photos on my Facebook feed, I would really have no way of knowing that today wasn't just a random Wednesday.

After Amanda left, I managed to pack up the gifts still under the tree that I will need for this weekend's celebration.  I assembled her Barbie Dream House (which, incidentally, is so tall it comes up to my chin).  I realized, in horror, that one unopened gift appears to have been accidentally thrown away, and I'll be going throw garbage bags in the morning to find it, procrastinator that I am.  I got through most of Season 1 of "Sons of Anarchy" and I took a nap where I was so out of it that when I woke up, I panicked, thinking I was late for work.

Sure doesn't feel like Christmas.

Honestly, it has been a bit of a downer.  Again, those pesky thoughts I was left alone with all day presented themselves front and center.  Being alone on December 25 can put anyone in an "oh, woe is me" frame of mind.

But there's this thing...this thing called perspective.  Perspective changes everything.

Every time I hear the word perspective I hear my mother singing me a jingle to an old Sesame Street skit:

"That's about the size, where you put your eyes, that's about the size of it."

Gaining perspective might be one of the best tools a person can achieve.  I haven't had a banner year.  In hindsight, though there were definite highlights, I am not fondly reflecting back on 2013.  I have had to face some truths and some obstacles bigger than I ever could have imagined.  I had a couple of things happen to me this past year (which I will NOT speak of here) that I thought were insurmountable problems.  Interestingly, here is where perspective comes into play: I only confided these problems to a couple of people in my life, and their reactions were drastically different.  While one person told me that the problems were minor and manageable if I faced them head on and dealt with them, another person told me that they would never be able to deal with the same issue themselves and that they didn't know how I was possibly going to get through it.  The reason there were such variations in reactions is because everyone brings to the table their own ideas and thoughts about what constitutes a "problem."  One person's impossible is another's bump in the road.

All that said, while I may be a bit mopey at the moment, and I may be reflecting back on 2013 with an undertone of bitterness, I am able to take a second to put it in perspective.

I look around me and I have friends and family dealing with all sorts of stuff.  Some of it isn't enormous, some of it is just plain horrendous.  I know people who make mountains out of each and every molehill; I know others who wear a carefree smile everyday, hiding unimaginable pain behind that facade.  The tragedies - and I do NOT use the term lightly - tragedies that I have witnessed so many people I love and care about endure in the past six months alone breaks my heart.  I myself have gotten to the point that I no longer even know what to say to some people, because words don't help and are grossly inadequate.

I may be a little down today, but in a few short days I will be where I belong - with my parents and my sisters and their husbands and all the kids, celebrating.  THAT will be Christmas.  Today was about Santa.  Christmas, however, shouldn't really be about him.  Christmas, for me, means family, which is why my Christmas is still to come.

Perspective.  Having it is a gift - best gift I could have received this year.  If I have learned nothing else, I have learned this:

As good as you might think other people have it compared to yourself, you don't know what is really going on behind the curtain.  So stop comparing your own plight to them, and stop judging.

As bad as you might think you have it sometimes compared to others, take the time to step back and recognize what you DO have.  You will probably find that things aren't nearly as awful as they may seem in that moment.

Acknowledge those around you who are hurting.  They might be dealing with something enormous, or they might be not coping well with something trivial, but they are still in pain.  Remember that everyone has their own set of tools they use to cope, and they may not employ the same tools that you do.  Pain is pain, and if you love someone, support them, even if you cannot understand what they are dealing with.

In a word, kindness.  Practice it, not just today - on Christmas - but on any given random Wednesday too.

Merry Christmas to everyone.  Love to you all.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


Every year that goes by, my blog entries are less and less frequent.  I barely come over here anymore.  I have thought often of just officially shutting this down, for once and for all, and retiring it.  Cancel my domain name, pull the plug, and move on.

But I can’t.  I may ignore, avoid and all together shun my blog, but I cannot and will not delete it.

Anyone who knows me knows how nostalgic I can be.  I sort of get a kick out of knowing this site is here, anytime I want to visit.  My blog doesn’t judge or reprimand me if I go for months without posting an update.  It is always here for me when I need to browse back through the archives and re-read some of my past entries.  It is always present, when I need it, to give me a chuckle, or a cry or (too often) make me cringe.

The thing is, this blog has saved my life. 

I’ve been keeping this blog for ten years, as of this coming Saturday.

Writing this blog led to my discovery of the power of social media.  The moment I wrote my first post and hit the “publish” button, my world changed.  I have always – always – put pen to paper to get my feelings and emotions in check.  I was always journaling in high school, college, and throughout my twenties.  Writing is the one way I can sort things out.  It is often messy and seldom clear where I am trying to get to, until I get there.  Writing has never been detrimental – it always ALWAYS helps.

But everything changed with the “publish” feature.  Suddenly, I had an audience.  I was no longer the sole author and reader of my words.  People out there in the real world were reading what I wrote.  Furthermore, they were responding!  Feedback to my words!  It was exactly what I needed at a time I really needed it. 

I love that first group of social media connections I made.  Based on the subject matter, I was interacting with 99% females.  Ten years ago, we had our own little community in our own corner of the internet and it felt like family.  To this day I cherish these friendships intensely, even though many of these women I have never met in real life.

There was a grrl who ate floor cake. There was another gal who was “a little” pregnant.  There was a not-so-drab lady named Olivia.  There was a mama in Brooklyn.  There was a woman in South Africa who was always SO close, there was a chick who was a muse to her reproductive endocrinologist, and there was this brilliantly hilarious woman with naked ovaries.  (She even had an alter-ego in her blog, called “infertile myrtle.”)

These women saved me.  At a time in my life when I was feeling so damned alone and so hopeless, these women who didn’t even know my name helped me.  They turned their flashlights on and led the way for me down the pitch black and somber tunnels of infertility. 

One by one, each one of us wrote our own parenting stories.  Some adopted.  Some had children via surrogates.  Some had miscarriage after miscarriage after miscarriage and still found the courage to keep going.  Some….well, some stopped posting and I just don’t know if they ever became parents.  And some of us also found miracles.

(Those who know me well know that my daughter’s existence is miraculous, even by the standards of infertility-odds.  That story has been told many times, and I am happy to tell it again to anyone who asks, but not here and not now.)

I have managed to keep in touch with some of that group of women through the social media platforms that have come to supersede my blog: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Foursquare, LinkedIn, etc.  I often sit back and marvel at the photos of them with their children.  Many of these women have more than one child, and their oldest are around the same age as my Amanda.  I vividly remember when the whole LOT of us were childless, wondering when and if our time would ever come.  Wouldn’t it be something if we could get together, in person, and meet?  Furthermore, imagine having our children meet?  A whole generation of children, brought into this world not just by love but by numerous tears, injected hormones, prescription drugs and countless surgeries.  A whole generation of kids are on this earth not just because the process of In-Vitro Fertilization worked, but because of the support system that we created for one another. 

My child exists because of the love and support all of you “anonymous” bloggers gave to me.  When I was absolutely convinced that I couldn’t possibly endure one more cycle, one more progesterone injection, or one more phone call from the office saying “We’re so sorry Dawn, but it didn’t work,” you were there to get me through.  You talked me off the ledge.  You shared your own heartbreaking stories with me.  You gave me strength to put that day’s failure in the past, and take on tomorrow with new hope.  I wanted to quit so many times, and the main reason I didn’t was because of all of you.  You gave me the one thing I needed more than anything else: understanding.  Because of the support from you wonderful women, it yielded me the gift of my life: my precious child.


Delete this blog?  Not a chance.  I may only post a few times a year these days, rather than every couple of days.  But I can’t let it go, because it is too much a part of my journey now.

So much has happened in the past ten years.  This blog saw me settle into my first home with Anthony (in Dedham), it saw me through six intrusive IVF cycles, one chemical pregnancy, two IUI cycles, four surgeries, a pregnancy that actually resulted in a baby (imagine that!), two subsequent pregnancies, two heartbreaking miscarriages, and a final surgery to end my reproductive years.  While I wrote in this blog we built a brand new home in Attleboro, I became an aunt three times over, and the Red Sox won the World Series THREE TIMES.  During the years I kept this blog I gained a wonderful brother-in-law, my parents moved out of state, and my marriage deteriorated.  While I wrote in this blog I took up a new hobby, and with that hobby I went on to run two marathons, ten half marathons and hundreds of 5K road races.  I moved back to Dedham as a single parent, found myself on the brink of an emotional breakdown (more than once), and even managed to find myself in a relationship for a short while.

Ten years is a long time.  My view – literal and figurative – has changed many times as I sat at this keyboard and posted my updates.  So much can happen in the span of a decade.  This blog, if nothing else, is a record of just some of those changes.  We are always moving forward and we cannot change the things that have happened to us.  But we can learn from our past triumphs and mistakes.  Reflecting on where we have come from, and on just how far we HAVE come, only helps to shape the person that we are still becoming.

Ten years ago I could never have predicted I’d be where I am now: single mom to a beautiful and talented young lady, raising her as best as I can in the town where I grew up. 

Ten years from now, who knows?  I’m sure things will be different then in ways I cannot possibly imagine today.  But one thing I know?

This blog – my rock – will still be here, for me to use however I need to.

Here’s to ten more years.