When we embarked on this journey of deciding to live that fateful day of my worst clots, I had no idea the love and pain, the loss and pressure that were to come. I kept talking to the emergency room doctors about when I'd be able to schedule my next competitive running challenge & get back to the work/fun of starting our family. No one in the room had the heart to tell me that neither of those things would be possible. No one even really knew whether I would survive the recovery.
I know that my belief that I would do those things again is what kept me from letting go. Giving up is so enticing, especially when you're in the darkest of times. But at some point, I did have to level with myself and understand that street running & competitive running weren't worth the excruciating pain, swelling, and tearing open of new internal wounds, that even a casual walk was something to be savored only on my strongest days. That carrying a child would not be worth the risk to both of our lives, that even donating my own eggs must be approached with caution.
Sometimes I wonder what decision I would have made if I could have seen this future. And then I laugh. I would've chosen to fight, to live, to love, to make the best of things. That's who I am. If I had to make the same choice today, tomorrow, ten years from now, I would still choose to bear the pain in order to be here for the ones I love. I think that was my fate at birth and if you had asked me as a tiny twinkle in my parents' eyes whether I wanted to suffer pain & misery in order to try & be there for the ones I love, for my students, for the families I worked with as a caseworker, for my own family, I wouldn't have blinked. Because Love is always the answer to pain. Love is always the answer to anxiety. Love is always the answer to the questions we don't know in life. Indeed, it is the very meaning of life and the only shortcut out of what troubles us.
Today we are struggling with some of the contract issues that surround surrogacy and the outcome is unknown. I remind myself that the outcomes in life are always unknown. We choose to step forward anyway. We choose to live and to love anyway. We choose life anyway.
After we heard some of the news from our GC (Gestational Carrier, aka Surrogate) and her spouse, I hung up the phone, walked out of the room and put on a playlist called Kitchen Slowdance. Even when I'm not dancing with Nick, it makes me feel better. I heard his footsteps walking towards the kitchen and felt his hand in mine, his voice, "Dance with me?"
I answered the way I always answer, the way I've answered since we were kids at dances in the school gym, since we were college students sneaking into bars, since we were newlyweds dancing a hole in the floor of our first little rented house. Yes. Always.
I nodded and we danced and Britta & Coleman our dogs played in the yard and the wind blew and the sun shone and the earth turned and everything that was meant to happened did. Just as it will with our family plans and just as it will with our move and just as it will with my recovery and just as it will with everything to come.
Love is always the answer. Love and writing for me. Maybe love and running for you. Maybe love and gardening, maybe love and dancing. Maybe love and love and love.
That's what I'm sending out to you this day. And if you have any My Little Pony coloring books send them my way, because this is only going to get tougher before it ends.
Lots of Love,
We'll call him Thomas*. I had the pleasure of teaching Thomas for two years in a row in my 4th/5th grade split class and during that time he wrote & read aloud an entire Fifty-Four Chapter SciFi novel inspired by one of the greats - none other than Bradbury himself.
Another of my "trouble" students illustrated the novel and as a class we had the extreme pleasure of sending Thomas' work to Mr. Bradbury himself through his website designed to connect with kids & schools and promote writing in his genre.
I like to believe that Bradbury read Thomas' novel before his death that Spring. I like to think he laughed & cried & held his breath in suspense just as we all did every day when Thomas read his latest chapter aloud to us at the beginning of class. I would not trade that time. I loved it. I fully expect to see Thomas' name on the cover of the next generation of beautiful, strange, wonderful, and inventive Science Fiction stories. I will be his biggest fan.
Love creates everything, it conquers everything, it is everything. Keep writing, keep loving, keep doing what you love. You never know where it might lead.
**Student's name has been changed for confidentiality.
Now for a little comic relief. Here are some of the funny things I kept from my time teaching.
I've loved every job that's allowed me the chance to help others and I have worked with some of the most dedicated, caring, beautiful people on this planet (I'm completely serious). Even as a front office worker during my summers, I helped our office raise over 150 pounds of food for the Oregon Food Bank. No matter where you're working or what you're doing, I hope you find a way to serve others and your community and add a little love into the world. It all comes back around, I promise.
Lots of Love,