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Thursday, 23 September 2010

Last September 25th



It was almost exactly a year ago that we learned of William's existence. Imagine that this tiny boy had already been in the world three months without our having had the faintest idea. Imagine that each day of those three months that we struggled and grew weary of the lethargy waiting created in our lives; when our patience began to wear extremely thin with ourselves and others and everything around us; when getting up in the morning felt like a dreary chore and the day that lay ahead seemed long, contentious, grey and boring; when we though that our prayers would never be answered: he was already alive!

A couple of days after we got "the call" we received the above picture. The first picture of William ever taken. He was exactly three months old. I remember looking at it and not being able to comprehend it all. I remember showing it proudly to everyone, carrying it in my pocket until it was crumpled and smudged with finger prints and kisses, until it was covered in wonder and excitement and anticipation. I could feel his soft skin, smell its freshness. I memorized the curve of his cheek and the sweet expression on his face, the color of his skin. I hid the picture away and then couldn't resist it and pulled it back out again to look at and giggle in giddy excitement. A hundred times a day.

It was like the most delicious secret to have this blurry rather unexceptional photograph, except it wasn't a secret at all, everyone knew. It was the highest of emotional highs.

Beaming...radiant...joyful...grateful...

What did we ever do to deserve such happiness?

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Blown Wide Open

"The defects and faults of the mind are like wounds in the body. After all imaginable care has been taken to heal them up, still there will be a scar left behind."
- Francois de la Rochefoucauld

I wrote a post last year, What Happened In Italy, in which I described a process of pain experienced so deeply that I lost a great deal of my confidence and my sense of security in pretty much everything. I felt like I changed overnight. This post describes how finding out we would never have a child affected me then.

I've grown past this and even though I have been blessed with so much goodness and joy, the memory of the pain hasn't entirely gone away. If it makes sense, it isn't not being able to have biological children that I mourn now because I have truly moved past that sorrow, rather it's the memory of the feelings, the hopelessness, the huge betrayal I felt, the memory of the overwhelming anger that hurts me. That I felt the way I did. That I said the words I did. That the anger filled me with a cold, cold fury I didn't know I was capable of. I have scars inside that I now barely think of but they pulse with distant pain sometimes when something sparks a memory of that period in my life.

I'm reading a beautiful book about a woman who finds out she can't have children and so adopts from India. I read it and I relate because it takes me back to when my own pain was strong in me. My heart beats out my understanding. I almost hold my breath thinking "How can anyone know this? How can they know what it felt like?" I understand what it's like to grieve in this way, to be set off at the most unexpected thing, (in the book the woman is tying her shoes before a run for example), so that the pain rushes up and takes over before it can be stopped. I've been there.

For me, it was a mild stomach ache. I sat at the table and said completely calmly "it hurts" and the next thing I knew I was screaming and pounding the table and sobbing "it hurts, it hurts, it hurts, it hurts..." in a frenzy of incomprehension. Why God? Why, why, why are you letting me hurt like this?

Yeah, for me, it was a million things...

I understand what it feels like to be powerless and incapable and stand helplessly on the sidelines watching my plans and hopes shatter. But God is so faithful and so I also have seen those hopes built up again over time, old dreams replaced with new, the pieces picked up off the ground and put back together more unexpectedly perfect than before. I've had my laughter and peace handed back to me.

I don't wish for anything different than what I have. I have come a long way in healing. Every so often though, I think about that bleak, sad time we struggled though and how it knocked me off balance. I'm content and I'm thankful but sometimes I don't think I'm fully recovered.

Maybe I'll never be the same again. Maybe I'm not meant to be.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

A Bungalow Near The Beach

We are downsizing: selling our charming, spacious home that is surrounded by green rolling hills on the outskirts of town and moving to a city approximately three hours away into a much smaller bungalow within walking distance of the ocean. (All to fulfill my dream of being a beach bum you see, I stop at nothing...;)

For four years, this house has been a home to us. It's been exactly what we needed and for the most part we have loved it here. It's a good house, a home in which I've felt secure and safe and at ease. It was a wreck when we bought it and we've made it lovely and inviting, colorful and peaceful. I've lovingly planted every single flower in the garden.

At first it offered us a haven from pain and the privacy we needed to work through our hurt and disbelief at how different God's plans were for us than our own. It became a home we poured our energy, excitement, sadness, and love into. A place of privacy and of healing. I admit to an overactive imagination, but I always have felt that houses have their own life, apart from us. And this one seemed to be like a gentle grandmother, wrapping soft loving arms around me. A place to curl up and hide when I needed to. There have been several times when I've caught myself saying "Don't worry, we'll take care of you..." to this house. :) It's been a good home and we have had many very happy times here with friends and family but I suppose when all is said and done, it is just a home and it's time for us to move on now and live and laugh within other walls.

We are happy and excited to move as well! There is a wonderful sense of newness and fresh beginnings in a move and we are excited to see what this one has in store for us. Perhaps less privacy than we have out here in the boonies, that's ok, we're ready for that and welcome it. A smaller space but that's also ok, there's something in me that finds it a bit funny and fantastic to be downsizing before we turn 30!:) The excitement of renovating the new house to suit us and the pleasure in meeting new friends to add to the old.

We have a perfect mix of convenience and privacy where we are going...it's right in town, near the town center and in a peaceful and child friendly neighborhood and yet directly across from our home is a forest filled with beautiful walking paths that almost all lead right to the ocean. It will be good.

I know though too that it is always slightly bittersweet. I've lived in Rogaland since I came to Norway six years ago and there are many people I love and care for here. I've been blessed with a job for the past five years that has suited me perfectly in an English kindergarten with staff from all over the world and I have had fun there. We have also been able to attend an English mass in Stavanger each Sunday which is also a very international environment which I love. I can't help it, I'm Canadian...it's just in me to love multiculturalism. ;)

But it's all good. I think the blessing is to be able to recognize and appreciate how good we actually have always had it here but also to anticipate and realize that life is full of goodness, good things and good people are everywhere.

We are very adaptable. And since life and circumstance are constantly changing, I thank God for that.

So please, wish us well and if you're ever in Mandal, do come by and we can drink tea from my huge stash and look for shells on the beach. :)