Monday, October 31, 2011

Thinking of the next few months

The holiday season is always a bundle of mixed emotions for me.  When I was a kid, our family didn't have huge traditions, but the ones we had were special and sweet.  As a newlywed, holidays were wonderful opportunities to celebrate three Thanksgivings and Christmases traveling up and down the east coast to be with the ones we love.  As an infertile, it was a time to hide out and stay low key.  To skip the pitying faces and kids screaming with glee.  It was also a time to be in the stirrups.  Thanksgiving 2009, I'm talking to you.

And now, with an 8(!) month old, holidays feel a little overwhelming.  There is some guilt I feel about wanting to start our own traditions here at home.  We want our son's first Christmas to be all about him waking up early and finding his stocking full and cinnamon buns in the oven.  Fire burning in the fireplace and feetie pajamas keeping him warm.  That picture makes me so happy, since it is a picture I have been dreaming of for years.  The guilt comes in with relatives who aren't able (willing?) to come our way to celebrate with us.  Should we head up their way?  Should we sacrifice our vision and dream so everyone can be together?

As anonymous as my blog is, I still feel like I am being very vague and so this is not necessarily me asking for advice as much as it is me venting.

I would love to wake up with C and N and run down the stairs to see a beautiful tree and Christmas the way I always wanted it to be.  I want to have a beautiful dinner with an open door to whatever family is nearby.  I want those things, but I grew up in a house where really only immediate family were welcome. I want to be more open than the way my own mom was, but the bigger the group the more stressed I get.  I say that I want a big house full of people, but by the middle of it, I am tired and overwhelmed and stressed and guilty.  Maybe those relatives can sense it, maybe that is why they don't want to come this year.  Maybe it is my fault.  When everybody else is annoying, the annoying one is You, right?  

I know it is not really the case.  We are the ones who moved 7 (at best) hours away.  We are the ones asking people in their mid-60's to come down to us.  I have always tried my best to make a warm and cozy home, with plenty of food and pillows and activities for people who can be challenging to please.  I have tried to put my best face forward, even when infertility or pregnancy exhausted me to the point of wanting to run upstairs and hide under the covers.  I'm always the one who takes the stress and pain of everyone around me and holds it in my heart.  If there is a lull in conversation, I jump to try to fill it, if something doesn't go right, I take it pretty personally.  It gets exhausting.

This is not what I want for our son.  I want his holidays to be light and bright, warm and fuzzy.  I don't want him to be responsible for everyone's happiness.  It is not up to him to make sure everyone is happy.  If they don't want to come, they don't have to come.  Our door is open either way.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

About looking like a grown up and feeling like a kid...

Or, when your insides don't match your outsides.  Or something like that.

C, Baby N and I went to an acquaintances son's (4 years old) birthday party tonight.  Since I haven't been to very many of those, I think it was pretty typical.  Fun enough, but mostly watching the kids playing and attempting to make conversation with people we just met.

It was a nice night, but on our way home, as baby N slept in the car seat and C and I recapped the party we realized we had very similar experiences.  We knew the hosts of the party through C's job, but pretty much everyone else was a stranger, friendly enough, but still strangers.  We had each attempted conversations and jokes, some worked and some fell flat, but no matter the outcome we both found ourselves struggling with what does or should(?) come naturally to most people.  Just the art of small talk.  Maybe we need to take a class?  Or maybe we just need to get out and be more social?

We laughed when we realized maybe we spend too much time with family in that we were disappointed when people gave Baby N a quick smile and wave instead of the endless hugs and kisses and glowing compliments that he gets from our extended families.  There was a sense of "why aren't you gushing about how awesome my baby is??".  That seems kind of silly to type out right now, but it is what it is.   We got so used to our families gushing with little to no effort on our part that to us, this felt like a little letdown.  Don't get me wrong, everyone was nice.  It is just that so many times in public my insides feel 12 years old, even though my outward gray rooted appearance says 35 and this party was no different.

I sometimes carry baby N on my hip and when I see someone else doing that, I wonder if I look as grown up as they do.

I wonder if I will ever feel as grown up as I look.  Do those two things ever catch up with each other?