Wednesday, September 14, 2005

A reminder of why I keep going

Michael and I were talking the other day about how hard our infertility is on me. He asked me if I truly wanted an infant that badly, or if maybe it was that the feeling of being broken, of inadequacy was fueling the fire to conceive no matter what the cost - no matter what the emotional or physical toll. At first it stung that he said that. It's not about being broken. But the more I reflected on it... it is. It is about being broken. It is about feeling like less of a woman.

It's about being vulnerable. About being raw. About cringing when I see round pregnant bellies. About a part of my heart shriveling when I pass a toy store. About not going to baby showers at work and crying in the stall in the bathroom instead. About grieving that we may never have the chance to pass on our traditions, our whacked out sense of humor and wicked good looks (kidding on the last part!) to another being. It's about being hurt. About feeling damaged.

It's about letting go of dreams. Of the loss of being normal. About all of these things.

But it's also about the tiny sliver of hope that I keep hidden away when it feels like I am drowning in a sea of loneliness and despair.

It's about remembering why this is all going to be worth it in the end. No matter what journey we actually take to get to the final destination.

So today, I'm going to be lazy. I was looking back at some of my old posts and saw the one that basically summed up why I keep trying. I wrote it nearly a year ago, but it still resonates very strongly with me. It's about why I am still not ready to throw in the towel, why each time I think I've hit my wall - I stumble and get back up and walk some more. For those of you who have already read the remainder of this post before - forgive me. I just need a reminder of why I keep going. Why we all do really.

[While I do not yet have a child, or even one on the way, I wanted to start cataloging my hopes and promises. I want my child(ren) to always know that they were wanted and adored, but also to make sure that I do my very best to shape them, and support them.]

My pledge to you...

I will never forget what it took, and how long we waited, to have you in our lives, and I will always treasure each and every moment with you. Even when those moments are filled with 3 a.m. feedings and colic and dirty diapers. Even when we are staying up late when you break curfew. I will teach you to appreciate architechture, photography, art, and poetry. I will dream with you - about the possibilities that await you, and I will remember with you the lessons of our past. But I will never throw your past decisions back at you, to shame you. I cannot promise to always be there to catch you when you fall, but I will always be supportive and will pick you up and kiss away your tears, be it from learning to walk, falling off a bike, mending a broken heart, or dealing with death.

I will always be willing to color, and will never scold you for going outside of the lines.

Your creativity and happiness is more important than conforming to a set of norms that society, or I, have dictated to you. I will teach you to be tolerant, and to appreciate that our individuality and uniqueness is more important than gender, race, ethnic, or religious bounds. I will encourage you to be a steward, to protect the earth that sustains us. I will teach you to be strong, to stand up for what is right, and to help those that cannot help themselves, even if it means sacrificing something of your own. I will teach you to never give up fighting for what your heart desires. But sometimes, I will have to tell you no. I will teach you to listen to your own voice, and that your opinion counts, no matter the magnitude of the decision. I will help you confront your fears, and scare away the monsters in the closet. And when the boogie men are too frightening for you to take on alone, I will be there to help you. Your fears, no matter what they are, will always be real to me.

I will proudly display crayon scrawled handprint turkeys with the same pride that I would a Renoir or a Picasso.

I will teach you that sometimes, in life, puddles are simply made to jump in… even if you're in your Sunday best. I will be always be a sounding board for you to bounce off your aspirations, your dreams, your plans, your fears. I will teach you how to make informed, intelligent decisions, and I will not judge the solutions or actions you take. I cannot always say that I will agree with you, but I will respect your ability to chart your own path. I will keep your secrets and confidence always safe in my heart. I will tell you every day that you are special and loved.

I will wear macaroni necklaces with the same pride that I would diamonds.

I will always believe in you, even when you are struggling to believe in yourself. I will teach you that love from a parent is unconditional. I will understand when you're 13 and don't want me to drop you off at school, and I will drop you off down the block. I will hopefully impart to you my love of books, and will teach you not to accept something or someone as right or correct just because you're told to. Even if that someone is me.

I will make funny faces and giggle.

I will encourage you to make your own spiritual decisions about what religion and faith mean to you. I will teach you that there are ramifications, both desirable and not, to your actions, and that sometimes the most noble thing to do is simply to admit that you were wrong. And I will do so by example, but that choice to do so for you will always be yours, and yours alone, to make. I will teach you to live life fully, and to be confident enough in your own abilities to take appropriate risks.

I will teach you that sometimes it will be necessary to eat dessert first.

I will teach you to love the everyday things about life, and to find joy where you least expect it. We may never be rich, but you will be provided with every opportunity to grow and learn that I can manage. Your desires are important, but I cannot promise that I can fulfill them. But, I will always find a way to make sure your needs are taken care of. I will whisper lullabies to you, and sing with you loudly and off-key as the situation warrants.

I will never tire of you asking "why?".

And I do not want you to accept "Because I said so" as a valid explanation. I want you to be inquisitive. I will not be angry when I find frogs in your pocket, although I cannot promise that I won't scream. I will teach you that money is not the true indicator of achieving success. I will understand your need for privacy, but understand that I will weigh it against my need to keep you safe. I will encourage you to find your niche in life by doing something that you are passionate about, even if it's not something that I would have picked for you.

You will always have a home in my heart, and there will never be a time that you are too big for me to rock to sleep.

I will take you to museums. I will teach you that it is just as critical to your career to be nice to the cleaning staff as it is to the CEO. I will treat crayon marks on the wall, muddy footprints, and grey hairs as a reminder of how lucky I am to have you in my life. I will teach you that a formal education is vitally important, but equally so is "street smarts" and life experience. I will teach you to love to travel, and to learn from those that are different than you. When you dye your hair green and pierce strange body parts, I will not get angry and I will not laugh. Well, at least I won't laugh in your face. I might have to chuckle a little.

I will love you for who you are, and will expect you to not try to be anyone else.I will not compare you to others.

If, and when, you fall in love, I will love them regardless of the color of their skin, or how much money they make, or what sex they are, as long as they are good to you. I will teach you the importance of friendship and loyalty, but of the greater need to be true to and love yourself. I will love you past the confines of life and death, with all that I am.


At 1:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautiful post. Thanks for sharing.

At 3:37 PM, Blogger Nico said...

Wow! Fantastic post. I truly hope that I am a good enough person to someday raise my kids just like that.

At 3:46 PM, Blogger Chee Chee said...

That is a truly beautiful post. It really reminds us of the type of parents that we should all aspire to become.

At 4:23 PM, Anonymous Dooneybug said...

April, that was just beautiful. You will be the best mom!

But damn you for making me cry at work!

At 4:29 PM, Blogger Toni said...

I remember that one!!! Trust me on this one - it's totally worth all the pain. I promise. If not, I'll take him/her :)

At 5:32 PM, Anonymous Jenn said...

I'm crying a freaking river now. Yes. That is why we go on.

At 4:16 AM, Blogger Lola said...

Hi, just found your blog through Thalia's blog, and wanted to say how wonderful this post is. So moving.

Thank you.

At 7:07 AM, Blogger Larisa said...

That was stunningly beautiful. I can only aspire to be what you described.

At 4:35 PM, Blogger ThreeBees said...

That was wonderful! I thought so many of those things but for some reason haven't written them down. . . . I should because I never want to forget why we did all of this.

Very beautifully said!

At 5:02 PM, Blogger MC said...

Great post, it made me teary.

At 5:35 PM, Blogger Joy said...

I've only grazed the surface in articulating what I want for my child and what I want to give in parenthood. Somehow you have managed to put it into eloquent words, beautifully detailed and crafted.

The same driving force that inspired those words will never let your hope and dream of parenthood be extinguished.

Thank you for sharing such a beautiful piece.

At 10:35 AM, Blogger Emily said...

That's it exactly. Thank you for such a beautiful post.

At 5:39 PM, Anonymous Lori said...

So beautifully said. Thank you, it helps to remind me as well.

At 6:16 AM, Blogger The Lioness said...

This was lovely, absolutely lovely. I do hope you are given the chance to put it all into practice.

[Thanks for the good wishes]

At 9:24 AM, Anonymous thalia said...

Thank you for such a lovely post. I hope we are all able to live up to those high standards.

At 3:37 PM, Blogger Kristin said...

Thank you so much for sharing this with us...and thank you for still reading my blog.

{{{Hugs}}} and I hope your dreams come true.

At 5:51 PM, Blogger Kate said...

Absolutely beautiful!

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