The Holidays and the Best Laid Plans…

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Oh, I have been looking forward to the holidays this year.  I don’t know why.  The year has kinda sucked, but I’ve decided that this year I am going to celebrate the holidays with the rest of the world. To heck with the fact that as a childless couple we have no holiday traditions other than traveling to see family, eating too much, and trying to ignore the gaping hole in our lives that seems to always foil any attempt we make for holiday joy.

You know, mind over matter…or mind over brutal reality in this case.

Well, I’m barely a week into the “official Christmas season” and last night I found myself bawling at my computer.

Let me preface the story by rewinding  about a week.  During Thanksgiving we were having a discussion about Christmas decorating with some family.  I made the statement that in several years I hadn’t put up a Christmas tree.  Now, I’ve always decorated some around the house…wreath on the door, Christmas knick-knacks on tables, wall hangings, but no Christmas tree.  To be honest it’s been more of a practical omission than an emotional one.  #1  We are never home at Christmas since travel the week of Christmas.  #2 We have five cats.  For the past several years we’ve had a kitten at Christmas.  Kittens and Christmas trees do mix.  Older cats seem not to be as attracted to Christmas trees (other than for sleeping under them) but there’s still a big chance you’ll come home one day to the tree lying on the floor surrounded by multitudes of broken ornaments.  For that reason I’ve been sticking to a very lack-luster ceramic tree that I place on a table, but this year I really want a tree.  Other than when we were first married and found a live Christmas tree lying in the road that had fallen off a truck we’ve always had an artificial tree.  Several years ago I bought an artificial “pencil tree” which were all the rage then, and it worked great in our living room and fit perfectly in the available corner we had for a tree.

Back to the discussion…when I said that I thought I would put up a tree this year my husband rolled his eyes and said that he could care less if we ever had another Christmas tree, but if I wanted to put one up, fine, but I’d be doing it alone.

This seemingly innocent statement threw me into tailspin.  Because this is the man who has always been optimistic, always ready for a good party, and was disappointed in me the years I was so depressed about our childless plight I didn’t want to celebrate the holidays.

Now it seems my former traits have rubbed off on him, and it just makes me sad.  I Tweeted/Facebooked the other night that, “I wish I would’ve tried harder when it might have made a difference.”  An ambiguous statement, I know, but I was referring to the many years and holidays that I just did not try at all; just went through the motions, and cried in the bathroom at family get-togethers because cousin so-and-so just walked in with their third baby all dressed up in cute Christmas attire, and there I was again as fat and infertile as a boulder.

It seems that how I have dealt with my infertility has seriously affected how my husband and family react towards me now…even though I feel like I’m finally gaining ground again.  They see me as that poor, depressed, pessimistic person I was for so many years.

As I’ve said before, infertility is a pain that just keeps on giving.  Just when you think you’ve got it all together it just smacks you upside the head again and reminds you of everything it’s stolen from you.

Now, the reason I was crying at my computer the other night…While everyone is making grand and glorious holiday plans, and posting their Christmas card family portraits on Facebook, hubby and I just sit and watch episodes of “The Big Bang Theory” and distract ourselves with our computers in an attempt to “survive” another holiday season.  The season taunts us by saying, “The holiday season is off limits to you, O infertile ones. You don’t get to be happy…only sadness for you.”

However, I plan to dry my eyes, drag the Christmas tree down from the attic, and kick the old Grinch in the teeth (not my husband…but the figurative “Grinch *smile*), because I plan to beat the holiday blues this year if kills me…and it might very well kill me, but I will I will die with a fully decorated tree in my living room.

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3 responses »

  1. Hi. I’ve not commented before, but found a reference to your post on Life Without Baby, and I had two thoughts.

    One is that your husband might be like mine. When I finally showed that I was recovering from the news that we would never have children, when I was moving on, and healing (and it took a couple of years to be honest – and it’s still an ongoing process), my husband seemed to feel more able to express his feelings. And so he’d say things like yours did! It was like a slap in the face in some ways. But then I realised he had had to put up with all my hurt, and hadn’t really shown his own. So when I was ready to be happy, he felt free to say what he thought and felt. It was hard to deal with at first. But in retrospect, we couldn’t have both dealt with our hurt at the same time – I don’t know what it would have done to us.

    The second is, I imagine that, at the times you’re referring to, you were trying as hard as you possibly could to get through and cope with Christmas parties etc. Don’t be hard on yourself – in hindsight it’s easy to say we should’ve tried harder. And I doubt that your family see you as a “poor, depressed, pessimistic person” but rather as a survivor who has been through a terribly difficult time. That’s how I see you anyway.

    Perhaps you and your husband can develop new Christmas traditions. We try to do that. I love my tree (I had two very well behaved cats for 17 years who never did any damage to it beyond the occasional fallen ornament), and I’m trying to decide if I put it up this year, as we’re going away on Christmas Eve. I think I will do it tomorrow. We do adult things, that are special to us.

    Wow – sorry. I think this has turned into a post on its own … so I may go and do that now!

    Best wishes.

    • Hi Mali,

      Thanks for stopping by. Going to check out your blog as soon as I’m done typing this reply. Yes, my husband has definitely been through his own grieving process in the past couple of years. He was strong for many years and thought kids would eventually happen for us, but as we hit the big 4-0 he realized it wasn’t, and wow, has it been tough on him. Pepper in a bit of a mid-life crisis, homesickness for our hometown, and boy has it been a ride!

      The good news is we’re planning on getting down the ole artificial tree this evening and decorating. It snowed/sleeted here this afternoon, and I think that helped to put us in the mood for Christmas decorating. I am on Christmas spirit overload today. I’m so glad I’ve got my Christmas groove back. Looking forward to when hubby does too.

      Blessings!

  2. OMG This post had me laughing uproariously. You are such a gifted writer. I can see how people might settle upon a particular view of you, too, after seeing you in that light for so long. But people can change their outlooks over time and heal to the point where they surprise others, so keep surprising people! I for one will admit to some selfishness and express my gratitude that your plights have dragged you kicking and screaming to this blog, because I ended up getting to read some marvelous posts. Sometimes suffering is the only way to force people to express themselves so well.

    That being said, I am glad to read so much joy as of late, too, and hope that given enough time you can feel like the wonderful person you are inside. We may not understand His plan, but God does not fail.

    Holiday Greetings,

    Whitney

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