I’ve been thinking a lot lately about love, how it is different depending on the person and the situation. I’ve been thinking about this because of everything else that has been going on and because I’ve had to re-center myself, I guess. It’s an interesting proposition, starting over without something that I didn’t expect to have to work at much in the first place. That isn’t nearly as cryptic as it sounds. Let’s try this – the future we thought we had just underwent a metamorphosis, and I’m running like crazy trying to catch up.
Somehow I always kind of thought love was being swept off your feet and carried off into the sunset. I said I hated most princess fairy tales, not that they didn’t have an effect on me. The problem I always had, though, was that I wondered what happened after happily ever after. I wondered that more after seeing Sondheim’s Into the Woods, which is hilarious and hits rather close to home on the fairy tales. A prince says, “I was raised to be charming, not sincere” after he is caught screwing around on his wife. The princes always seemed to say the right thing, but they were never really people I’d like to spend any time with. If the most interesting thing a guy does is wander around the countryside looking for maidens who look dead so he can kiss the maiden, my first thought is not that he’s looking for a wife. He could be looking for something much more disturbing.
Happily ever after is a damn sight more interesting to live than to dream about, and it’s pretty great when I’m getting to do it with a guy who described himself, after seeing Into the Woods, as having been raised to be “sincere, not charming,” although he can certainly manage charming when he feels so inclined. To quote the musical yet again, this time from Red Riding Hood’s perspective, “Nice is different than good”.
So. Life is different. Love is stronger than I thought it could be, and is fed not with romantic gestures (although there are certainly some of those) but with laughter, puns, long bike rides to nowhere in particular, almost constant bantering, a noticeable dollop of silliness, and the willingness to bestir ourselves to do something for the other person when we’d rather be curled up with a book.
Love may be as small as making chocolate chip cookies when we’d rather be sleeping. They were good cookies.
It’s okay, surprisingly. I like looking at a future with the two of us moving forward. I was afraid there would be a giant hole where all of the hopes about a child would be, but apparently the first initial grief worked through more than I thought. I spent part of an evening talking to friends (and bawling on them, to be completely honest) and I’ve been in a funk, which I’m sure will come and go, but it isn’t as bad as the many long, dark days after the first IUI.
We will go on trips, and we’ll only take along kids if we want their company, not because we have to. We can move whenever we want to and not worry about whether or not the schools or the playgroups are good enough. Not that we probably would have anyway, but that’s another discussion. There are freedoms now that we would have had to work harder to get to had we gotten what we wanted.
I’m not happy that we can’t have a child. There is still grief worming its way through thoughts and ideas and a lot of other pieces of life. There are things I need to get rid of or give away (“What to Expect when You’re Expecting”, for instance) because they make me sad when I see them. I am finding myself moving forward again, though. I want to do some decorating in the house, replace blinds with curtains, hang pictures we never quite got around to hanging, finally paint the kitchen.
Infertility takes up a huge amount of energy. I didn’t know how much until we walked away. I’ve been sleeping better and feeling more…open? I’m not sure how to describe it. Relaxed, certainly, less held in, wound tightly, held together, afraid of failing at something once again, especially something I can’t control. This was something I couldn’t fix, couldn’t even mitigate.
We’re figuring out what we want, now that the earlier version didn’t work out. OS crash? Heh. Grief isn’t gone, but we’ve done this before, and the rhythms are familiar. We will get through, and we are finding other things to move towards, and we are all right.
Love is…well, love is weird and unexpected and sometimes it hurts like you wouldn’t believe, but sometimes it’s as simple as chocolate chip cookies cooling on the rack, filling the house with good smells and better feelings.