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Almost a new year

In 2010, we got the second opinion that confirmed our infertility. My grandmother stopped recognizing people she’d known for years, and when we were visiting she was afraid of Xander, which made me very sad. Worst of all, of course, was that my younger brother died. There are days that I still want to just curl up and make the world go away when I think about that. Last night I said it was a very good thing that we were going out for Chinese food on Christmas because Daniel loved Christmas and if we just stayed home I might have a very hard evening. Chinese food is something to look forward to, though, and we’ll figure out a movie to see so I can relax and enjoy the evening. The final little piece from 2010 (and I’m just going on hope, here, that nothing else will blow up before January 1) was that the first adoption agency we applied to rejected us with no explanation other than a form letter and a general comment about “not enough babies, too many families.” That did not make me very happy, either.

2011 will be better. One way or another. I’m declaring it. I probably shouldn’t, but I feel the need to look forward to the new year rather than be terrified of how much more could go wrong.

At this point, we have been accepted by an adoption agency and we know who will be doing our home study. We can start tentatively moving forward. We have something new to think about and work towards. On some level it would be easier to just go forward as we have been doing, use the income we have to work more on the house, get another car to help with the periodic transportation issues, and let go of the idea of having a child. On the other hand, though, we both want a baby and we’re not willing to give up yet. We’ll keep reassessing, but for the moment we both want to try this avenue.

I’m not expecting the new year to be perfect. In my 35 years so far, no year has been without its challenges, at least not that I remember. No year has been without pieces of good, though, either. This year we became closer friends with several people, I got a teenager involved in belly dancing, I started learning Zumba, Xander graduated and got his teaching credential for what he wants to do, I got my hair cut and it looks good, and I get to spend a lot more time with Xander because I only have one job. It hasn’t been an unrelentingly bad year, just very hard on many levels.

I hope next year will have less hard things to deal with and more happy parts. I can’t expect that, exactly, but I can hope.

I’m cleaning house right now both literally and figuratively. I’m working on what I need and what I don’t, what I want to do and what is habit that doesn’t help. I cleaned my office last weekend and will do more work on it this weekend. The house is very clean right now and I will try to keep it that way. I need to extend that to the yards sometime soon. For the moment, though, walking in to see a clean house, knowing that everything at home, at least, is pretty stable, is a good thing. I can hold onto the work we’ve done, everything we’ve been through, that makes our marriage stable, makes our house a home.

I will move into the next year more confident, more relaxed, more rested, more sad, and more joyful. Life is not simple, but perhaps
next year will be a little easier.

Puppies, bread, and adoption

The past few weeks have been a little hectic.

We took care of a four month old puppy for two weeks. He’s a smart puppy and eager to learn, but his home life is very different than ours, so the adjustment was a little rough. Our dog rings a bell to go out. He rang the bell to go out when he was bored and sometimes when he actually needed to, but apparently when he was really desperate he’d forget about the bell. Not my favorite thing to deal with. He didn’t mean to, and if he’d been with us longer I think the accidents would have stopped, but it reminded me why we wait a while between puppies before the memory fades enough that “cute” overwhelms the memory of “no no please don’t pee there!”

He picked things up fast, though. We taught him to shake. It was pretty funny. Nyx knows how to shake and does it on command, no problem, so I put her to my right, angled, and the puppy to my left. I had already worked with the puppy for a little while the night before, so he had some idea what I was asking. They both settled into a sit, and since there were treats involved they were very attentive.

Nyx has always been trained on her own. I said, “Nyx, shake!” and she did, so she got a treat. I said, “Mikie, shake!” and Nyx, having never really heard me ask another dog to do anything, reached out her paw for my hand and it landed on Mikie’s head. Mikie shook, too, and got a treat, and I had to work to not crack up too much. I tried again. Same result – Nyx’s rather large paw on Mikie’s relatively small head.

I decided that if I were not directly looking at her, Nyx might do better. I put the dogs facing each other, 180 degrees from each other. I asked Nyx to shake, which she did perfectly. I turned around, bent over, and asked Mikie to shake, and I felt Nyx’s paw land solidly on my rear end. I couldn’t stop laughing for a long time. Her timing was perfect, very responsive, very good, except that I wasn’t talking to her.

She did figure it out eventually, and she responded only to commands with her name preceding them. Mikie got it, too. It was an interesting exercise for me, too, because in the past when I’ve had two dogs they have already known that their name associates with commands, and I don’t remember specifically having to teach it.

After those two weeks, I am quite supportive of Xander’s assertion that we do not get another dog until we have a bigger house. Nyx is pretty laid back, but she takes up a fair amount of room. A puppy, which is what Xander wants, takes up a lot of space, not as much just in bulk but in energy and attention. Right now, a laid back dog is just fine with me.

Another thing that has been going on is that we have decided to start pursuing adoption. We both want a child, and we can’t have one biologically without rather impressive medical intervention. We’re not willing to go that route. I thought I was okay with just being someone associated with other peoples’ kids, but we ended up deciding that we really do want a baby of our own. We’ve asked friends and family to keep an ear out and pass our names along if they know of anyone who is pregnant and healthy and does not want to keep the child. It feels rather odd asking that question, but it is worth asking. We are looking into adoption agencies, too, though. It will work out eventually.

I’ve been baking a lot of bread and reading a lot lately. I’m trying not to worry about all of the various pieces that I have no control over right now. We are visiting with family over the holidays, which is good, and it means that there are a lot of people who like eating my bread. Somehow that’s comforting. I can’t do much, but I can make food that people like to eat. It’s also really nice to have the time to read a book in a day, even if it is basically fluff, silly sci-fi/fantasy. I haven’t gotten to do that in a long time.

I hope you have a wonderful and peaceful holiday filled with good food and people you care about. Thanksgiving is by far our favorite holiday. Food, family, friends, and no pressure to get anyone anything – perfect!