Friday, January 04, 2008

This year is almost over-- thank goodness.

Some years, not much happens. The cycle of time starts and ends more or less in the same place: same location, same relationships, same job, same outlook. It's not a bad thing at all, because those things shouldn't change every year; it would be dizzying, chaotic. Looking back, the years 2004-2006 were nothing-happening years; we moved back to Texas in the beginning of 2004, got an apartment, got jobs, and stayed in one place (in every sense) for two and a half years. We got engaged, yes, made new friends, got a fish tank, but it was a steady, calm period.

Some years, it feels like everything changes. For me, this past year was one of those. I don't measure a year from January first, but from two other times: September, for Rosh Hashanah and the new school year (intrinsically linked in my worldview), and by my birthday in mid-January. For me, that period of days between New Year's and my birthday really belong to the previous year because I'm still that previous age; i.e. right now I'm still 26 and so the new year really hasn't started yet.

I've lived such a safe, blessed life, so far. If grief and loss are an ocean, I've only dabbled my toes in the surf-- the end of a relationship, the death of a much-beloved but very aged relative. Getting pregnant only to miscarry, twice, pushed me a little further into that sea than I'd ever had to venture before. Obviously it's not the worst thing that can happen-- it's not even close. But it's the worst thing that's happened to me, to my life. It is an eye-opening, heart-opening experience. A loss of innocence; it changes me incrementally. Add to that the sad, untimely illness and death of my dear aunt. And, (as it doesn't belong in the same sentence) the final passing, at 17 years, of my childhood dog; Max's death combined with the ugly disintegration of a long, long friendship (a little over one year ago, but whatever) ends the two tenuous links I still had to my childhood years. It's as though I've been quietly pushed into a different, new stage of life, as though someone is whispering in my ear, "Hey Mara, your childhood is over; your extended adolescence, your college years, your early twenties, your naive-and-innocent state of grace, it's time to leave those behind now and grow up a little more."

Then there are the actual, physical events. Sure, our cross-country move from Texas to Virginia happened over a year ago, last October; but the adjustment period, that settling-in to a new place, lasted well into this year-- indeed, if they're even over yet. Getting married: even after six years of cohabitation, it is an adjustment. Don's mother having major, scary, heart surgery. Getting promoted at work to a supervisory position (or, why I don't update this site as I used to.) It's amazing how all of these things happen amidst the tedium of routine: doing laundry, making dinner, watching movies, going out with friends. Day to day, things feels normal but stuff piles up here and there until I look back at the past year and just shake my head in disbelief. Wow, linking back to my previous entries, I just noticed how generally awful my post titles tend to be. Why do I try to be clever? Clearly it's not one of my gifts.

Don and I were discussing all of this past year, and his take is, good riddance. Bring on the next year, it can only get better. But I don't think it was all bad. Even the bad things weren't all bad, and I reminded him that at least we finally got married-- both in the wasn't that wonderful sense and the thank God it's done, crossed off the to do list, don't have to do it next year sense. Honestly, it would take a couple of calm, uneventful years to recover from the past fifteen months or so, and that's not going to happen. For one thing, we are trying to make the quantum leap from renting to owning; this year, I hope, I'll be writing from my own little slice of the world. For another, we will be embroiled in at least one of the following:

Getting pregnant, staying pregnant, and having a baby. (please, please, oh please...)
Getting pregnant, miscarrying again, seeing fertility specialists, etc.
Not getting pregnant. Seeing fertility people. Looking into adoption.

[Speaking of which, I'm about 90% sure that I didn't ovulate this month. Don't know why or even for sure, as I don't chart or anything. I was just missing that ovulatin' feeling. So I guess this month's a bust as far as that goes. ]

Besides becoming homeowners (which would be yes, another move) and (please, please, please) getting pregnant, it looks as though my sister is going to come stay with us for awhile, and then become established here in Virginia. However it comes out, 2008 (or the Year of Being 27, as I prefer to think of it) does not promise serenity but even more change and growth, which is just fine with me. I suppose the difference is this: these are changes that we are seeking out. We are making these things happen. That is why even the bad things were OK in a way. Yes, losing my pregnancies sucked, but it would have been worse to have not even tried to get pregnant. To have not moved to Virginia. To have let the calm oasis of the Texas interval (as I think of the time between the university years in Vermont and the present-tense of Virginia) become stagnant and dull as it stretched out endlessly; to fear change and growth so much that we just let life pass us by.


robina said...

your sense of perspective is really wonderful.

2006 was a horrible, horrible year for me -- one of the hardest of my life. 2007 was incredible and i've never felt healthier. hopefully 2008 will be like that for you!

ayla said...

This was a fabulous entry: well written, thoughtful, and pleasant to read. I'm sorry that 2007 was a hard year for you, and I hope that 2008 brings the changes you hope it to bring.

Oh, in response to your comment, yes, the breastfeeding has gone (mostly) well since the hospital. The first two weeks at home were tough. All the books that say you won't get cracked nipples if you're doing it right--lie. I got cracked nipples AND mastitis, and my latch was perfect. My untried nipples had a hard time because of the level of stimulation and suction, and after the mastitis cleared up, everything's been as smooth as can be expected. I'm a human canteen.

We can talk more about it if you want, let me know.