60+ Days On the Mat — Day 65: Support

January 29, 2013:  Today my knee pain forced me to stay home and do sun salutations, abdominal work and restoratives on my home mat.  Luckily, I had just bought a bunch of yoga props, including a bolster, for my two week wait.  I know this is a mat I will get to know well in the coming weeks and I wanted to be prepared.

I was a little bummed about having to get on it just three short days before the embryo transfer.  But as Ellen says, Knee pain of any kind is bad.  

So, I listened and stayed home.

All day I felt like I was on the top of the world and blissfully happy.  It was a foreign feeling.  With everything I have going on around me, I should be anxious and completely out of my mind — but I’m not.  For the first time, I’m really not.

My mother-in-law is crying with joy.

My father-in-law says, This is just what this family needs. He also told my mother-in-law he thought this blog was an “amazing document.” Coming from someone as stoic as he is; it made my heart smile.

My Mom is thrilled.

My Dad is sending me updates on how many pages “my book” is so far.  He has no idea exactly what is going on with the embryos and the freezing, but he is excited.

Annie (my aunt) is sending me uplifting messages from Joel Osteen.

Friends I know — and those I haven’t met yet — have emailed me from all over the place with support and prayers across faiths.

And then there is even the Wiccan I do not know … after further thought, I simply hope she is a Gryffindor and not a Slytherin.

I’ve never had this sort of support going through this before; mainly because I’ve never asked for it.  I was fighting and pushing and struggling within a very tight circle to make the perfect family out of the imperfect me.  I kept the circle close and desperate.  For whatever reason, I decided I needed very few people beyond Jonathan.  And half the time I think I even made Jonathan feel unnecessary.  I felt so guilty that everything we were experiencing — emotionally, spiritually, financially — was all my fault; I would shut down even to him.

I think that’s why my sweet husband was so perplexed by all of this blogging.  I had never really wanted to talk about it — and now, suddenly, that was all I wanted to do.

I do feel sorry for men sometimes; we are quite a puzzle.

All of the guilt and the angst has been gone for awhile now, but what I felt today was how everyone around me has helped to lift me up.  The support from family, friends, people I don’t know very well, and some I don’t even know at all — was guiding my spirit down a brighter path; something I was unable to do on my own.

Community.  I finally found one for this journey.

Looking back, I think I kept the circle close and desperate because I was closed and desperate.  I was always living past the potential doom of the day of the pregnancy test.  I never allowed myself to just enjoy the ride and stay in the moment on my Road Full Of Promise.

Instead my head was full of doubt.

I am trying not to think past February 11th (the day of the pregnancy test).  I know I need to file away the prospect that this may not work the first time and what will we do then? — but today, and every day until after I get the results of the blood test I am going to BELIEVE that there is actually wind at my back and try to give those little embryos every shot possible by encouraging them to stick around; by not flooding my brain with all the “what if” scenarios.

I don’t want to go into my monkey mind full of doubt and fear.  It’s a kooky place to live and almost impossible to navigate without a mallet or a machete.

I can contemplate all the different options on the evening of February 11th as easily as I can today.  I don’t want to contemplate them today.

Before Friday,  I am going to go to a Jewish store and try to find a chai charm and wear it around my neck for the embryo transfer.

The report from my doctor today said all 18 were still growing.  CHAI!  Some perfectly, some better than others and some hanging on by a wing and prayer — but as of today — they are all still here.

Support.

It’s making this leg of the journey a lot lighter, so I thank you for letting me talk to you about it.  It’s really helped.

by month:

by Category:

60+ Days On the Mat — Day 64: Chai

Chai -- 18

Chai — 18

When I said on Day 61 that the last few days had been a “little” overwhelming emotionally — I had not yet met today.

Today was “a lotta” overwhelming emotionally.

After retrieving two dozen eggs, which freaked me out somewhat since I had had two dreams about a dozen eggs.  Two dozen eggs.  I could not have planned this, so again, I smile while breathing a huge sigh of relief and take it as a good sign.

Even more miraculous than the number of eggs was the fertilization report.  18.  18 eggs fertilized.  Chai.

I tell Jonathan, and sob while hugging him.  I think he had momentary fears of Octo-mom, and I assured him that was never going to be the case.  I could see the fear leave his eyes.

I immediately called Selma (she’s a rabbi’s daughter — I always call her first with Jewish stuff).  I emailed Susan (my mother-in-law) because I knew she was at work.  I called my sister-in-law, Debbie.

Chai (18) is a Hebrew word and symbol that means “life” —

Because it means “life,” the Chai is consequently a symbol that captures an important aspect of Judaism. According to the gematria, which is a mystical tradition that assigns a numerological value to Hebrew letters, the letters Het (ח) and Yud (י) add up to the number 18. The Het has a value of 8 and the yud has a value of 10. As a result, 18 is a popular number that represents good luck. At weddings, bar mitzvahs and other events Jews often give gifts of money in multiples of 18, symbolically giving the recipient the gift of “life” or luck.

I knew it was significant when I heard the number.  The hair on my arms stood up.  It didn’t matter to me that the likelihood of all 18 making it to day 5 is statistically impossible — what mattered was that it was the first number.  It was a spiritual number.  I am not looking to give birth to a basketball team — I just want a healthy baby.  The odds today appeared to point to us having some strong, healthy embryos to put into me on Friday, and hopefully some to freeze.

I cried.  I felt like God was talking to me again after what seemed like an interminable long spell.

I call Debbie and we talk for an hour.  When I tell her about chai — she gets goose bumps, too.  We talked about Jonathan’s brother, Mark.  I thought how significant he would think 18 embryos were.  He and Debbie were the most religious among us.

After we hung up the phone, I stood there thinking about him.  In that moment, I missed him deeply.  I wished he was here for me to tell him.  I know he would light up like a little boy at how lucky this was for us.  I had to explain it to Jonathan.  I cried again.

Just for the record, this was not the last time I cried today.

I go to acupuncture and fall asleep from all of the emotion running though my body.  I think I exhausted myself with all the tears of joy for our 18 embryos and the tears of pain wishing Mark was here to share it.

Mark, Justin, Emily 2009

Mark, Justin, Emily
2009

Mark loved two children like his own that were not genetically connected to him. Debbie’s children, our niece and nephew — Emily and Justin.  Even though their biological father is still alive, they both consider Mark their father.  My in-laws their grandparents.  Jonathan and I their aunt and uncle.  Mark was their father in their heart.  Their soul connection father.

When he passed away last May, a huge piece of their little hearts went with him.

I am always looking for connection to the people I love that are no longer here.  Whenever I see a pink cowboy hat, I think Mawmaw is waving at me.  Whenever I hear Glenn Miller spontaneously, I think Gran Gran is saying hello.  I hear Memom say, “Hi, Miss. T!” every time I open a drawer I rarely open and see the Lord’s Prayer staring back at me written in her handwriting in Polish.  I think about Bob whenever I hear Anne Murray singing Snowbird because one summer that eight track tape was in his car every time we took the ferry to Branson.  I know every word by heart.

Today, while I was in the twilight sleep at the end of acupuncture, I hear a familiar voice that sounds like Mark in my head say, “That’s amazing.  It’s really good luck, you know. Chai.” — and then it was gone.  I wanted it to keep talking, but it wouldn’t.  It was gone.

Whenever you hear someone talking in your head, you have most likely put that in your head.  You have manifested something you wanted hear.  The mind is really cool like that, I think.

Or I am just trying to find a way to justify this event and not appear insane.

I had spent the entire afternoon wishing I could talk to Mark.  I wanted to tell Mark about Chai.  I knew he would get it without explanation.  Mark’s voice came at the end of acupuncture and said he had heard me.  I cried all the way to yoga.  I don’t know what really happened in all of that, but my heart felt like I had told him and he had heard me. I was grateful for that feeling whether I did it myself, or it actually happened, I’ll never know.

My mind flashes to the The Life of Pi and think, the story I WANT to tell is I just talked to Mark and he answered. 

I get to yoga and I see Chaz.  “18 embryos!” I beamed.

Chai, she replied.  Wow. Chai.  That’s amazing.  

My 64th day on the mat was like an out of body experience.  I felt so light, like I could do literally anything.  Except jump back.  My right knee is feeling a little off, so I stuck with stepping up and back today.

Yesterday I had nailed crow pose in Ellen’s class and then jumped back into chaturanga. It was messy, but I did it.

No one saw me.  I looked up hoping someone had seen it.  Everyone was in their own zone on their own mat.  I was alone basking in the glow of my success.  I was fine with that.

Throughout class I felt strong and light.  Every once in awhile I would catch myself crying — with joy.  I felt like someone needed to pinch me or something.  Was this all really happening?  I’ll be honest, even I was having trouble with all the dreams and the eggs and the chai and the Mark talking — when was that weight going to drop?

As I folded over in pigeon pose, I let it all go.  Literally.  I cried for the entire pose on the right side.  I don’t know if it was for joy, for Mark, for fear it was all a dream I was going to wake up from tomorrow.  As I wiped my eyes with the towel and moved to the other side, I realized it was for all of it.

Mostly joy.  Unmitigated joy.

For the first time in my life I felt like the wind was at my back on something.  I felt like maybe — just maybe — I wasn’t going to have to push so hard anymore to make it happen.

And that feeling was so freeing, I cried.

After class we went to Charlene’s house to watch the video teaser for a show Chaz is pitching called Retreat.  Eight of us went on a mini retreat with Chaz the first weekend in January where it was all filmed.  As I watched it and saw myself, I thought, Who is that? Oh! That’s ME!

Honestly, I have transformed even more since this was shot, so it was like I was watching some old me of three weekends ago.

We toasted with red wine — what I hope will be my final glass for a very long time.

It feels good to talk about everything openly.  It feels even better having all of these people praying for us — we even have a Wiccan working on our behalf — apparently she is very sweet.  I am still slightly nervous, not knowing much about Wiccan myself, but as long as it is positive and she’s not putting some strange rejection spell on my uterus, I’ll take it.

I posted the teaser of Retreat below if you want to take a look.

As I was driving home I heard Just Fishin’, The House That Built Me and Every Storm Runs Out of Rain.  They were back to back, like a trifecta.  I don’t have any idea what it meant, if anything — but like everything else that happened today, I wasn’t asking any questions.

I was alone in my car — radio blaring — basking in the glow of our success.

I was still fine with that.

by month:

by Category:

60+ Days On the Mat — Day 63: Dear, Chicken n’ Dumplings Girl

Dear Chicken n’ Dumplings Girl ~

I don’t exactly know where to start so I will begin with thank you.  Thank you for being an egg donor.  Thank you for being our egg donor.

I didn’t pick you, exactly.  I gave my doctor a list with four options; you were on it and he picked you as the best match for me.  I trust him completely, and at that point I was not ready to deal with you head on.  At the time, I was simultaneously grateful and irritated you existed at all, but the minute I received your profile sheet; I was certain he had made the right choice for me.

Sometimes you have to let go of the controls, and letting him pick you was my first way of doing that.

There were several things I was drawn to, but the fact that you like chicken n’ dumplings was all I needed to know that day.  That one tidbit of information was, in many ways, the catalyst for this entire journey.  It’s amazing to me that I went on an adventure into the deepest parts of myself because of our mutual love of a particular food.  What’s even more amazing, is I had no idea that was what I was doing on Day 1.  

I hope you don’t mind, I’ve been calling you The Girl Who Likes Chicken n’ Dumplings since Thanksgiving Day.  The day I began to let you into my heart.

Things come to us in a language we can understand.  Food, and specifically chicken n’ dumplings, has always been a language I understood.  So has my waistline.

Sitting here now, I know this is not about chicken n’ dumplings at all.  I know your first name and your picture sits on my desktop, but I still like calling you that.  It’s like an inside joke we share, yet only I am aware of it, I guess.  

Today 24 eggs were retrieved from you for us.  Two dozen eggs.  My heart grew two sizes when I heard this news.

Tomorrow we will find out how many fertilized Wilcox embryos are growing. I can hardly sleep and yet I am incredibly calm. Calmer than I have ever been going into that building; I hope this is a good sign.

I was ambivalent about needing you at first.  I knew it was the right decision, but being an only child, it was hard for me to reconcile the fact that my body had failed me; that genetically I was ending.  I felt as through I had let a lot of people down by failing at one of life’s most natural tasks.

As I type this letter, those feelings seem foreign; like they never existed.  Whatever that was, it left with the storm.  Now I kneel at my road of promise.

I am not genetically ending, I am maternally beginning.  

I’ve spent the past 60+ days shedding everything I feared about bringing you into our lives.  Though you do not know it, and will probably never know it — you have been patiently sitting on my shoulder through every downward facing dog and rolling through every chaturanga.  When I found out you did yoga last week,  I cried tears of joy, it was an additional sign that you were the one for me.  For us.

As I type this, I’m still livin’ on that prayer; hoping somehow God has seen fit to forgive me for all the yelling, the crying, the anger, the resentment.  The absolute lack of faith that He had any regard for me at all.  And on some days that He even existed.

One of my biggest obstacles was how to tell our children.  Was I strong enough to make them feel whole, complete, perfect as they are?  They may have a few different genes than Mommy, but they are 100% Mommy’s?  

Today I can answer that with a resounding yes.

I know some parents make the decision to never speak of it to anyone; some even their children.  This is a choice I could never make given everything I know about where we are headed with genetics and medicine.  And I think secrets of any kind are a cancer on the soul.  

Cancer of the soul is the worst kind of cancer; there is no treatment protocol for that.

I don’t know what donors think about as they go through this process exactly.  I’ve never met one.  Do you wonder what kind of parents you are giving full custody of your eggs? I suppose I would if I were in your shoes.

I think parents who make their family using fertility treatments or adoption make amazing parents.  There can be no doubt that child is wanted more than anything in the world, given everything these special parents have to endure — emotionally, spiritually, financially. It’s an extra level of commitment on a road most of us do not have to travel to become parents.

If it takes as long as it has for us, there is no way you can be the same person on the other other side.

For some it takes longer.  And for them my heart aches.

Should anyone ever read this who is considering egg donation, I hope you know what you’re doing.  You are helping build families.  You are helping to bring forth little miracles.  You are performing a great mitzvah.  It’s something you should take an enormous amount pride in doing.

There is very little that is “natural” about invitro fertilization, but this merging of science and the divine is nothing short of miraculous.  You’re part of something miraculous. Remember that.

Tonight, I am thankful from the bottom of my heart for this journey you unknowingly sent me on for the past 60+ days.  Having to face you head on has made me a better person and hopefully — one day soon — an even better mother.

I promise from the bottom of my heart — if we are able to start our family with eggs donated to us from a chicken n’ dumpling loving yogi — they will be the most loved and the most wanted little eggs you can possibly imagine.  I can’t wait to meet them.  I already love them beyond measure.

They will also know you, and know how grateful we are for all you have given us — as I feed them big, fluffy dumplings and teach them their first down dog.  

Namaste,

Terry

by month:

by Category:

60+ Days On the Mat — Day 62: Every Storm Runs Out Of Rain

Susan August 12, 2007

Susan
August 12, 2007
Absolutely one of my favorite pictures of her.

I want your mother-in-law to be my new mom!

Our friend, Jill, wrote this to me in an email as we were making plans to … go to yoga.  She had recently gone out with my mother-in-law (Susan) and Jonathan while I was … at yoga.

The day was gorgeous, after two days of dreary skies, the rain had lifted.  I got my hair done, which is always a bright day for any woman.  There is nothing better than having someone else blow dry your hair.

There are angels that come into your life carrying a blow dryer and really good color skills, too.  Tracy is mine.

I thought a lot about MY new mom and my new family as I went to the mat with Ellen for Yin Yoga.  I needed a more passive class and after 24 days of vinyasa flow in a row; I had more than earned it.  I loved the class. Holding poses for long periods of time using lots of props allows your muscles to marinate and begin to really let go from a much deeper place.

I knew Susan over the phone long before I met Jonathan.  When I worked at Celebrity Connection she was John Ritter’s right hand and we were always booking him for TV Land and Nick @ Nite.  For more than 20 years, everything concerning John went through Susan.  Barry and I always loved it when we had to call her.  Before you ever work with a celebrity, the attitudes of the people they surround themselves with and how those people treat you  is often a precursor to the actor themselves.  John Ritter was as wonderful to work with and as nice as you would expect him to be from talking to Susan and seeing him on television.  When he left the world on September 11, 2003 it suddenly gave an already horrible day a new coat of sadness to wear.  A much more personal one for my future family.

Did I ever think for one second Susan would become my mother-in-law?  Not until 2005, as we rang in the new year in Vienna, did I actually begin to believe this was inevitable.  Of course, Jonathan being a Libra, I had no idea when it would actually happen.

In looking at the calendar, it appears our little embryos will be Libras if they decide to stick.  I will be surrounded for the rest of my life by people who cannot make decisions –always weighing all the options. Some of the people I love most in the world are Libras, so I consider this a good sign, actually.

Libras are a nice balance to me — the most impulsive decision maker ever.

Leos want it and we want it yesterday.

I met my future mother-in-law face to face for the first time at The Pantry in downtown Los Angeles before attending a Kings game.  We had box tickets courtesy of Viacom.  At the time, I was already very much in love with Jonathan, but still had no idea — as I sit typing this exactly ten years later in January 2013 — where this would all end up.

I have to admit now, I was certain in 2007 after my bridal shower I might be in for a rocky road.  I was already convinced that all moms secretly despised the women who married their sons.  I got this idea from Memom, who seemed to have a strong dislike for the marriage partners of all of her children — until AFTER they were divorced from them.

Then she had them over for dinner, or let them cook dinner for her.

There’s a saying in the south, “When Mama ain’t happy; ain’t nobody happy.”  

On my step-mom’s (Sandy) last visit with Memom, she looked Sandy right in the eye and said, “You were nice this time.”  

Sandy had been married to my father for more than 25 years at that point.  It took more than 25 years to get that breadcrumb.

So you can see how mother-in-laws in general might scare the living daylights out of me?  I was always grateful she was my Memom and not my mother-in-law because that mama was rarely satisfied, much less happy.  And yet, I still miss her every day.

30408TJ

Jim and me

As in-laws go, I am incredibly blessed.  Susan and my father-in-law, Jim, have always treated me like a daughter and made me feel like their home was mine.  Jim and I have always had our own sort of bond.  He’s an only child.  Whenever I find out someone is an only child, I have their number on many levels before they even open their mouth.  He was born in Lamar, Oklahoma — he has lived in California for almost all of his life, but deep down The Okie abides.

My bridal shower was held in California at my friend Shannon’s house.  My Mom, Sandy and Sherry all flew in, Connie came from Huntington Beach and did all of the cooking.  I had all of these women who had been huge influences in my life since I was 10 years old, plus my mother.

I was surrounded by mothers on all sides.  Heck, you could even throw Shannon’s mother, Peg, into the middle of that as well!

As I am opening gifts, I open the card from Susan and she signed it — Love, your Third Mom.  I knew who my first mom was, I knew who my second mom was … but my Third Mom?!?  I felt like I was on Jeopardy.  I guessed it was Sherry and Connie before I thought about Susan. I guess OUT LOUD in front of everyone. Talk about wanting to crawl under a rock.  I had my entire village standing in the room.  I forgot about my newest member.

Luckily, she never held it over my head.

With each passing day of 60 Days On the Mat, I wrote many memories about my family. My roots.  My genes.  In analyzing it now, I think my psyche was trying to collect all of the pieces of me in one place.  It was my way of gathering them.  I don’t ever want our child(ren) to feel like there is a piece of them missing because they are not genetically linked to me.  The person who had to believe this first was me.  Egg and sperm donors are exactly what the word says — DONORS — they are not mothers; fathers; parents.  We are.  I am.  I grow them.  I mother them.  We love them.

The pieces of me are the pieces of them.  There is no difference.  I BELIEVE.

Today I stand firmly on the ground with that belief rooted in my soul.  In November when this all started, I was still wavering at the edge of the cliff.  Yoga and this blog held my ankles and helped me find the ground.  I am grateful for the journey.  I had no idea where it was going, but it went exactly where my heart needed it to.

After ten years together and five and 1/2 years of marriage — I have more pieces to me now than I ever have.  And with each passing day my love for all of them grows stronger.

Susan is a wonderful mother-in-law.  Like any situation, it took me awhile to find my familiars.  To really feel like their home was my home, too.  I could not ask for a better “Third Mom” — and she is so much more than that.  I love her like a mom.  She is responsible for raising the greatest gift in my life.  She has always gone out of her way to make me feel like her daughter and not just some crazy Texan her son married.  I love the time we get to spend alone going to the theater, it’s one thing we share that we often do without the boys.

She gives me insight into Jonathan I could never get anywhere else.  She has made me a better wife and for that I am grateful on a daily basis.

Plus anyone who makes you a five bowl red velvet cake from scratch has to love you.  To date that is one of the most memorable things she has ever done for me — on my 40th Birthday.  No one had ever made me a red velvet cake from scratch, and she had never made one at all until she found out it was my favorite cake.  She out did herself.

I ate it for three meals a day until it was gone.

All of Jonathan’s family — his Aunt Sharie and Uncle Steve and all of his cousins — they have all welcomed me with open arms from the day I met them.  I love them all as if they were my own, and they are.

I hit the jackpot all the way around where family is concerned.

Have you ever found yourself singing a song, but never realized what exactly you were singing about?

As I was driving home from yoga looking at the beautiful, clear skies on the 101 freeway I found myself singing …

Every storm runs, runs out of rain
Just like every dark night turns into day
Every heartache will fade away
Just like every storm runs, runs out of rain

I love this song by Gary Allan, but I had never really paid attention to the lyrics until that moment.  I was just blindly singing them.

After realizing what it was saying, I came home and played it on a loop (that and Darius Rucker’s new song, Wagon Wheel) until I knew all of the lyrics by heart.  At Jonathan’s request (he is a simple eater), I found myself once again making broccolini quinoa pasta (see I really never eat Taco Bell … I actually prefer Freebirds) and dancing around the kitchen.

As I was singing along with Gary, I truly felt for the first time like my storm clouds had lifted.

Perhaps there will be a new storm coming from the east — but this one, this never-ending storm — had finally, completely run out of rain.

Tomorrow is the big day for the little eggs!  I can barely sleep.

by month:

by Category:

60+ Days On the Mat — Day 61: A Dozen Eggs?

The last couple of days have been a little overwhelming emotionally (in a good way) and completely peaceful all at the same time.  It’s as if I am in a movie about my own life.  A cliffhanger, of sorts.

Today was my final check-up with my doctor before the big day.  The Girl Who Likes Chicken n’ Dumplings will have our eggs removed on Sunday morning.  Three days later than expected, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s all perfectly on time.  My doctor expects to get 13-19 eggs, with a dozen growing in the right range.  When I saw the number 12 added up at the bottom of the paper, I did a double-take in my head, but said nothing.

I had a dream the previous night about a dozen eggs.  I thought nothing of it.  It was a silly dream.  A little girl was gathering eggs from chickens and she brought in one dozen eggs.

While on the acupuncture table — right before the appointment with my doctor — these farm fresh eggs came floating into my psyche again.  An angel was holding them (yes, I know, my dreams have gotten pretty vivid on the acupuncture table … ) — but again, they were just regular eggs.

I thought my brain was trying to remind me we were out of eggs; in a colorful way.

We aren’t out of eggs …

Sometimes things are actually lost on me, and even as I type this, I am not exactly sure what it’s all supposed to mean, if anything.

As I went through the rest of the day, I found myself a little melancholoy.  Not in an overly sad way; more of a big-sigh-of-relief- could-we-almost-be-there kind of way.  It feels as if a weight had been lifted, and I’m hoping it does not come back down.  And still, I’m not exactly sure how to be in the world without the weight, but I know I could get used to this feeling.

I went to the mat late in the day.  It was my new Friday night class with Hayleigh.  I was present trying to do everything with all the precision I could muster because …

Next Friday, February 1st my doctor will transfer our little embryos into me.  Where they will hopefully grow into little Wilcox’s who love chicken n’ dumplings and yoga.

So I won’t be in Hayleigh’s class for a few weeks.

It will officially be 67 Days On the Mat.

I’m going keep my focus on our road full of promise.

659_1065132185287_5059_n

I received an outpouring of love from so many people.  People I had no idea were even reading the blog.  People I barely knew.  People I knew intimately — like Jonathan.  I was never exactly sure if he was reading it.  Some days he would say things and I would think, he read it today.  But then I would say things and know he didn’t.  I was never upset either way.  I think he was just giving me my space.  He was always cognizant of the fact that this road was mine, and he gave me the freedom to drive it as I needed to.

I liked the fact that I never knew.  It was easier for me to write.

Oh, I will give you my eggs if it doesn’t work!  Can I just give them to you?  I will.  I’m not using them.

I nearly cried when our waitress said this to me.  Every Friday night — and I mean every Friday night — Jonathan and I walk to our neighborhood restaurant, Nicola’s Kitchen, for dinner.   We are friends with the owner.  We have our bus boy (Roberto) and our waitress (Kelly).

Kelly read the blog for the first time this week and was so thrilled when I told her why I wouldn’t be there next Friday night.  She offered me her eggs if these didn’t work.  I love that kid.  I see so much of myself in her.  She’s much too sweet for this town, but talented enough to take it on if she really wants it, and today she does.

She’s an actress; waits tables as her side job and the book she was reading …

The Way of the Happy Woman: Living the Best Year of Your Life.  It was perfect.  When I read the quote on the front of the book was written by Christiane Northrup … I felt like I was meeting myself at her age.  Perhaps someone is out there whispering to younger women?

The unfortunate part was I read about the book and now I want to read it.  It was by a yogi … have a reopened my self-help book curiosity?

We’ll see.  Right now I am reading about decorating baby nurseries.

We actually considered going with an egg donor we knew.  Cousins. Young Friends.  But at the end of the day, I played out many different scenarios in my head.  I went a decade into the future, read a bunch of stories (not good ones) and we decided anonymous was the best road for us.  You pay a little more money, but the potential for headaches because of all the legal binding contracts goes way down.  You just never know how someone is going to react when they see their little egg running around — and more importantly, they don’t either.

As we were getting ready to leave the restaurant, we found out Kelly was taking a bus home from work.  I, of course, was not letting her take a bus from Woodland Hills to Hollywood at 10:30 at night.  We drove her home.

As she was getting out of the car, she beamed, You guys are going to make the BEST parents!  I’m so excited!

When the car door shut, Jonathan looked at me and said, People know everything about me now, don’t they?

Not nearly everything. But I made you look good.  People think you’re amazing.  

He is amazing.

He responded with a face that looked something like this:

Jonathan and MeAugust 12, 2007

Jonathan and Me
August 12, 2007

 

 

 

by month:

by Category:

60 Days On the Mat — Day 60: Head Full Of Doubt / Road Full Of Promise

There was a dream and one day I could see it
Like a bird in a cage I broke in and demanded that somebody free it
And there was a kid with a head full of doubt
So I’ll scream til I die and the last of those bad thoughts are finally out

– The Avett Brothers

decide171488698280452115_0mq3cuez_cI think we are always sitting at a crossroads with our head full of doubt at the intersection of the road before us full of promise.  I found myself sitting here while trying to decide 60 Days, now what?

Does the story end here? Does it? Does it?

I have been asking myself this question for more than a week and I finally have an answer.

No. It does not end here.  It can’t.  I have had many people I know (and few I do not!) email me and call me and write to me — please not here, not now.  How will we know what happens?!?!

After blogging my heart inside out for 60 days, do you really think I would keep it a secret?  There is very little you don’t know about me at this point.

Before making this decision the manic thought swirl (head full of doubt) went something like this  — I said 60 days, so 60 days it is.  I don’t want to lead people on.  It might seem like I am trying to sell more books, you know, like the 5th Agreement?   But this is not a book, you’re not selling anything and if people get bored with you they can just click away.  Right? Right. But what if it fails!?! What will I do and how will it go from there? I love green nail polish.  Huh? You will simply get in your car and drive across the country blogging 60 Taco Bells in 60 days with a carton of cigarettes and several cases of Dr. Pepper.  Please God, I know we’ve had a rough go at this the past several years, but please, please do not let me start a white trash blog about Taco Bell and Dr. Pepper with a Marlboro hanging out of my mouth.  So smelly.  Plus I really love the definition in my arms from all the yoga.  Amen.

A brief glimpse into my mind.

I can’t end it today and then keep you informed by updating my status on Facebook with things like:

Terry is feeling pregnant.

Terry is pregnant.

Terry is not pregnant and has decided to drink a bottle of vodka for dinner.

Honestly, this has become about more than 60 days on a mat, or yoga, or UN-organizing, or list making, or even infertility.  I gave birth to this story, my story, our story; I am unsatisfied with the ending were I to end it here on Day 60.

On Day 60 I finally got a pedicure with green nail polish and flowers on my toes.  I went to yoga with Ellen.  Goodnight. 

It can’t end like that!  I have a chicken n’ dumpling eating yogi egg donor with plumped up ovaries ready to give me some fresh, young, patient eggs within the next FOUR days and if all goes well they will put embryos back in me FIVE days after that!  How exciting is that?

The truth is, I can barely sleep.  I can barely work.  I can barely focus.  I am bursting with a joy beyond anything I can possibly explain to you in words.  This is part of their story. However this ends, however long it takes — this blog is part of their history and I want it to mean something to them.  I love them and I haven’t even met them yet.  They’re not even technically formed yet, but I can feel their souls (sorry if that was too woo-woo for you, but I can).  I am not sure why I keep saying them.  Him, her, them — whatever our baby is. I’m ready to grow them/him/her inside of me.

I want to remember every moment of this because it probably won’t happen again.

The one thing I have learned above all else on this adventure thus far (and it really has been some kind of ride!) every woman’s idea of motherhood and becoming a mother is different. Every woman’s idea of HOW she wants to give birth is different.  It’s deeply personal and sometimes it takes many stages of letting go to achieve the desired outcome every woman on a journey towards motherhood wants — to be a Mom. For most women it is easy, but for some of us it isn’t and those women need to find a voice. Their Mom-voice.  It’s one of the reasons I became more open with each passing day.

Well-meaning people will say things like — just have the C-section and go on, you’re pregnant.  Why are you worried about a birth plan? Just have the baby.  Just get an egg donor. Just adopt. Just live your life without kids, it’s not meant to be, you’re too old.

Just. Just. Just.

Just stop!

I always wanted to scream that at someone, but never did.

It’s not that easy for our hearts when we have them set on something going one way. Especially for the calling to be a Mom — that comes from deep within us.  Motherhood is not a career, it is a lifetime commitment of everything you are.  Everything you have been. Everything you want to become.  It defines you like nothing else ever will.  Not all women feel it or need it or want it — and some women feel it all, but never find the situation to bring it forth for them.

We all have a vision of what it does and does not look like for us, not all of us reach our goal.

Life is a process of continually letting go.

Right now my path looks perfect.  I wouldn’t change a thing.

Personally, I know I would fall madly in love with any child we adopted, but I’m not ready to let go of carrying a baby.  After letting go of my genetics and my eggs — I embraced the path that would give me the experience I wanted today.  To give birth to our baby.  I pray it works.  If it doesn’t I am hoping I can let go again without the 60 Taco Bells in 60 Days bender.

Head full of doubt.  Road full of promise.

I did go to the mat today.  It was sort of anti-climactic since I knew I was doing 60+ Days On the Mat.  I had a great class.  I was jumping back and rolling through.  After 60 days, my body is different.  My mind is different.  My spirit is different.  My toes are emerald green with white flowers on them.  They make me smile.

My official decision is to keep writing and going to yoga for the 60+ Days On the Mat story until the day before the embryos are transferred  into me.  After that, I will take a rest from yoga until my doctor says I can start again.

During the wait for the pregnancy test, I will do some blogging … I am unclear about how I will go about this.  My big thing with blogging during the wait is I do not want to get into analyzing symptoms or trying to figure out if I am or am not pregnant.  Having been down that road and all over the internet searching until the middle of the night so many times — I am exhausted thinking about it.  The answer is not in a Google search.

I have a different waiting plan this time.  I want those little embryos made with chicken n’ dumpling loving-patient-yogi eggs to Surprise me!

As I was heading home from yoga, I had a long overdue conversation with my sister-in-law, Debbie.  It was nice to catch up  and I vow to do it more often.  While making broccolini quinoa pasta, I put on one of my playlists.  The Avett Brothers song, Head Full of Doubt / Road Full of Promise comes blaring out of my iPad.  The minute I heard the opening notes, I had the title of the blog for Day 60.

Head full of doubt? Road full of promise?

Tonight I am kneeling on the Road Full Of Promise.

I’ve decided what to be and I’m going to go be it.  Just call me Mom.

by month:

by Category:

60 Days On the Mat — Day 59: Patient Eggs

Patience has never been my strongest virtue.

Today I received an update on the Girl Who Likes Chicken n’ Dumplings eggs.

To quote my doctor, “I saw your eggs today and they continue to grow steady and smooth; I will see her again on Friday to determine if the retrieval will be Sunday or Monday.  All the eggs are growing in a synchronous manner, which is a good thing. Think of them as very patient eggs : )”

So we have patient little eggs.  I consider this characteristic a good thing.

My next request is eggs with good grammar.  This is as important as patience.  (Kidding! — but not really …)

I woke up and started editing and uploading extra early because I had afternoon appointments and yoga.  I sometimes laugh at everything I have been doing to try to try to get pregnant.  I am fascinated daily that this is such an easy, natural process for so many people and for me it has been nothing short of climbing Mount Everest.  I just keep telling myself we all have our own unique journey.  This is apparently mine.

I briefly consider other journey options and decide this one is perfect for me.

I head to the mat at 5:30 with Chaz.  I had basically come from an afternoon of bodywork starting with a massage, then acupuncture and ending with a flow class.  The fact that I just wrote that sentence could possibly automatically disqualify me from ever being let back into Texas, though Austin will probably welcome me with open arms.  Ft. Worth will definitely look at me funny.  Arlington will put up a barricade.

After 58 days on the mat, I had screaming deltoid muscles and a sore left hip.  Gayle is a bodywork therapist that comes to my house.  I could call her a massage therapist, but she is so much more than that.  I had not seen her since before my last failed IVF cycle in October.  She is intuitive and mature well beyond her 23 years and has a gift for bodywork.  I do not say this lightly, she truly does.  I am grateful she was the one who gave me the free chair massage at Equinox 3 1/2 years ago (when she was only 19!).

Angels come into your life wearing all sorts of hats.  She came carrying a massage table and is definitely one of mine.

My doctor walks into the class as it is starting.  My yogi fertility doctor … only in Los Angeles.  Of course, I love it.

As class begins, Chaz quotes Oscar Wilde, “Be yourself.  Everyone else is already taken.” One of my all time favorite quotes, which I used at the end of my Shiner Bock-Margarita bender on Day 8.

This has been my mantra for the past 59 days.  I have always loved the simplicity of it. Until I got older, I never fully understood how much easier it is to just be yourself and save the energy it takes to look over your shoulder at everyone else for a comparative analysis. Getting older definitely has its perks.

Me, Machu PicchuMay, 2004

Me, Machu Picchu
May, 2004

As the flow begins to heat up I vow to continue to take it easy.  My arms and shoulders feel better after Gayle’s visit, but they are still calling out for some mercy.  I oblige them.  I had literally just come from acupuncture with Sophie, another member of my fertility village.  I briefly think about all the things I am doing now that I would probably not be doing if I had been able to get pregnant on my own, the old-fashioned way.  As I hold plank pose with my leg out to the side I can feel all of the strength in my body.

The journey thus far has been long and often extremely painful, but worth it.  I am excited to get to the end of it, but in reality the end is only the beginning.  Even when we think we have crossed the finish line, we often find START painted on the road just past the ribbon.  We are always beginning again — sometimes on a Wednesday in a cafe. (I know, I am admitting I listen to Taylor Swift here, but I think it is a beautiful song and I have that many James Taylor records.)

I remember climbing Machu Picchu with Gennifre and a group of women in 2004.  Every single time we got to stop was a finish line, but the trail was beginning again when we got up the following morning.

Sweat is pouring off of me.  I am not jumping back, but I am doing one-legged chaturanga flow with ease.  I’m using my whole body for the flow and not just my shoulders.  When I get the placement just right, there is no shoulder pain at all.  Just strength.  It feels great. The woman in the row behind me is pregnant and she looks absolutely beautiful on the mat.  I am not jealous, but excited.  Excited about how absolutely present I am for all of this.

As we lie back in final resting pose my mind flashes through the day.  When I was resting in acupuncture, I had the most vivid, colorful dreams I had ever experienced.  I don’t dream in that sort of color, even when I am daydreaming.  My dreams are generally through a haze of gray.  This was a bright green lawn with children running everywhere. The sounds and the color and the children running around filled me with joy.

I hope I don’t have that many children, though.

Happy.  I’m happy.  I have not been able to say that with any conviction for so long it almost feels awkward to say it.

I make no assumptions, my whole world could come crumbling down around me in a few short days, but in that moment of relaxation on my mat, I was happy.  Then I think, who wouldn’t be happy after the pampered day I have had?  Still no pedicure, I might add.  I am saving that for Day 60.

Driving home I hear a collection of great songs.  Lyle Lovett, Nobody Knows Me.  Brad Paisley, Letter to Me.  Willie.  Darius.  George.  As I am listening to Letter to Me, I think about the letter I would write to me at various stages in my life.  Those would be some interesting letters …  especially the ones to me at 22 and 26.

I came home to an empty house.  Jonathan was at a book signing for the next Robert Crais book.  I prepared my desk for work tomorrow and then got into bed and started looking at vintage baby nursery pictures.  I can’t help it.  I am inspired by this one.

Vintage Inspired Nursery

Vintage Inspired Nursery

And now for the rest of my doctor’s letter:

“By the way, I didn’t know this until today, but as we were drawing blood on the donor, she asked if it is okay if she keeps doing yoga.  Apparently she practices several time a week.  How cool is that!”

Yes, how cool is that?  Perhaps that is my Kismet and B’Sheret after all …

by month:

by Category:

60 Days On the Mat — Day 58: Make No Assumptions

What are you doing?

I am getting organized for work.  

I thought you weren’t supposed to get organized.

I can get organized organically.  I just can’t make a list about getting organized.  

No, we don’t want you making any lists, my Mom replied.

Only my mother and my husband truly understand my list-making disease.  You have to live with me long enough to really see it unfold.  It’s miraculous.

I had this conversation with my Mom in the afternoon before yoga.  Most days, I forget my desire to get UN-organized and stop making lists was the catalyst for 60 Days On the Mat. It’s been easy not to break that rule since I barely have time to do anything.  Deep down, I know it was much more than that now, but that is what I thought it was when I got home from yoga on November 26, 2012 — 58 days ago.

The mat was tough today because I had a huge lunch, which I rarely do.  I have no desire to do it again any time soon because it makes the mat somewhat unpleasant.  My left deltoid is still giving me some trouble.  I’m admittedly not in the best form, but I show up.

Ellen starts us in child’s pose, which given my condition, pleases me if only for a moment. My mind is empty because of the pain and agony I am experiencing in my body.  I simply focus my energy on the breath and start to move through the poses.  I focus on precision.  I focus on placement.  I push nothing.

While moving through cat cows I think about what a whirlwind this has all been.  All this writing.  All this yoga.  I do love writing; I always have — but I never for a moment considered it to be something I could actually do.  Something anyone would actually read.  A blog of me rambling?  I thought I needed a really cool design with recipes and craft projects — neither of which I am all that great at doing.

And yet, all I have done is write and write and write.

Methinks perhaps I should pay more attention to where my mind is wandering.

Hello, Heart.

Me, 1971

Me, 1971

When I was a kid (older than in the picture above) — and I would get really mad at my Mom — I would always express myself to her by writing these long letters and sticking them under her door.  It was as if writing her a letter was the only way I could get it out of me.  I didn’t know how to say it out loud, or didn’t want to — I’m  not sure which one.  That is sort of how this whole process feels.  Like there is no other way to say it all.  The only way it was all coming out was through the ends of my fingers on a keyboard.

I’m still not sure how to take it all in when someone tells me they have been inspired or moved or helped in some way.  I feel silly saying, thank you, but honestly I had no choice but to do this.  It was more of a calling; a calling from my own heart to help it mend from the ravages of infertility.  My first reaction at a compliment is to retreat from it in embarrassment — but I am working on learning to receive with gratitude — even if it feels slightly uncomfortable in the moment.

Somehow just being myself does not seem as though it deserves any praise, but I am grateful and thankful.  And yet, instinctively I know that being ourselves — leading with our truth —  is what deserves praise above all else.

I continue to give my shoulder a rest as I flow through the poses.  We work on more inner thigh and foot connections.  It is amazing to me how much everything is connected in the body.  The more I notice and feel those connections, the more I want them to get stronger. Today I felt my upper back muscles lengthen while pulling in my abdominals.  Perhaps all of this physical awareness will help with pregnancy?  I hope so.

Ellen brings us down to the mat and says, Don’t assume anything.  

She is referencing our bodies in yoga poses, but my mind immediately points towards the future to the upcoming egg retrieval from the Girl Who Likes Chicken n’ Dumplings.  I briefly flash back to our final ivf cycle with my eggs last October.  I woke up from anesthesia and the doctor told me we only got one egg.  I had been hoping for 3 or 4.  I burst into tears through my drug-induced haze; I was inconsolable for the rest of the day.  I fear that feeling.  I fear that pain.  I want to assume it’s not going to happen like that again.

But she’s right.  Don’t make assumptions.

Tears fall from my eyes in child’s pose.  Fear tears.

fouragreementsfcvrThat is one of the four agreements from the book — The Four Agreements.  If you haven’t read that book, it is great.  An easy read.

Upon hearing Ellen say this a lightbulb goes off in my head.  Yes, The Four Agreements.  They rattle off in my brain:  1.) Be impeccable with your word.  2.) Don’t take anything personally.  3.) Don’t make assumptions.  4.) Always do our best.  I worked on these for awhile.  I think I still do, but not consciously.

Unfortunately, that book is in a Goodwill bookstore somewhere now — or hopefully living with someone else — but I did learn something.  It’s all in that thick skull of mine.  There was a 5th Agreement added on, but I never bought that book.  I always thought it was a gimmick to sell more books.  But who knows?  I never gave it a chance.

While moving through the final stretches I think about the Four Agreements and how they pertain to my life now.

I am impeccable with my word — in that I do not lie — but I still feel as though I let people down because I agree to more than I can actually do.  This will always be a struggle with a people-pleaser like me.

I don’t take as much personally as I once did.  I do realize how we each react to situations has more to do with what is going on on the inside of us than the outside catalyst.  I try not to get caught up in other people’s stuff, but being sensitive, I will always be fighting this on some level.

Don’t make assumptions.  I’m trying not to, and that is the best I can do today.

Always do your best.  I can say that this is one I have almost mastered.  But sometimes doing my best means getting bogged down in perfection, and there are days, when simply my best needs to be good enough.  It does not have to be perfect.  Life is not perfect.

The Four Agreements are harder than they sound to do, but easy to remember once you know them.

timothy_ka_04_041_sky_008_f2-e8efbabbc3cdf123a3b5816135c281de3bd0ff51-s6-c10

I made vegetables, lentils and rice for dinner; we watched Justified.  Jonathan asks me if I needed him to buy a cowboy hat like Raylan’s to increase his sexy quotient?  Somehow, I just don’t see my sweet Frank Sinatra-loving husband in a white Stetson, but I confess openly — I love Timothy Olyphant in one.  You need the accent to pull off a hat.  You can’t just wear a cowboy hat.  It’s easy to come off looking like a clown even with the accent. Raylan in his Stetson is not the only reason I watch the show — which I think has some of the best written dialogue on television — but it does help.

Tomorrow we get another update on the eggs.  As I drift off to sleep, I pray they’re still growing slow and steady; but try to make no assumptions.

by month:

by Category:

60 Days On the Mat — Day 57: I Have a Dream

August 28, 1963  … when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

martin-luther-kingI went to the mat at 5:30.  Chaz opens class with an excerpt from the I Have a Dream speech — appropriate for the day we honor the man.

My first thought while listening to the speech was, How amazing is it that this white girl from Texas, born in 1969, considers a black woman born in relative poverty in rural Mississippi in 1954 one of her major role models?   In fact, how cool it is that many women — from all walks of life — across this country and around the world consider her a role model?  Whether you agree with everything she says or not; Oprah has great content in her character. We followed it.  People are drawn to great content and great character.  We need to raise children with both of these qualities, yes? There are lots of role models for children, we just need to introduce them.  It’s our responsibility, not society.  It takes engaged parents and a good village.  I credit my parents and my village.  

Thoughts are swarming.  I ponder one of the greatest speeches ever written or given while thinking about the words freedom and character.  I also decide our kid(s) are going to watch this speech every year on his birthday.  Being a speechwriter, Jonathan will like this tradition.  He almost made me watch it last night as we ate chili — but I had already watched it, even before hearing it on the mat.

The first role models for children are parents.  I want to get it right as much as possible, considering we’re getting such a late start.  Hopefully, this will keep them from thinking people like the Kardashian’s are cool.

Am I being too hard on the Kardashian’s?  Honestly, I can’t even tell them apart and don’t care to.

While pondering the content and character of my future child(ren), I briefly think about a quote I once read from Jackie Kennedy and double-down on my commitment to doing it right.

If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do well matters very much. ~ Jacqueline Kennedy-Onassis

My doctors appointment was in the morning.  Things are still on track, but the eggs will not, I repeat not, be coming out on Day 60.  I haven’t given up on Kismet yet, but that part of the Kismet will not happen. I am fine with this; I just want strong, mature eggs — as many as we can get — to give us the best possible chance at a baby.  It’s going to be more like Day 62, 63 or 64.  I’ll know more on Wednesday.  The follicles are growing, the estrogen is rising — things look good.  Younger women’s eggs are not as fragile as older women’s, so this extra stimulation is not worrisome to my doctor, and therefore not worrisome to me.

My doctor says he prefers slow and steady to fast and uncontrolled.  So do I.

I do briefly wonder — Is she eating enough chicken n’ dumplings?  Or too much?  Does she drink wheat grass juice?  Should she?  — and I quickly push the worry swirl away and move through the poses on the mat.

As for me, my doctor says I look lean and trim from all of the yoga — my lining is growing great; I have a textbook uterus.  This was never something I aspired to, but I’m glad I have one.  It’s one less thing to worry about.

The first song in Chaz’s playlist is the theme from House.  I had no idea this was an actual song.  I like it.  The room is hot.  We start slow.  My shoulder is still giving me problems.  I think I have a pinched nerve in there somewhere that is causing some numbness and spasms in my fingers.  I’ve never had real arm muscles like this before, so I think my arm is in shock.  My deltoid feels locked.  I work some pressure points in the arm and create relief.  I decide not to jump back in chaturanga or balance on my arms in an effort to give my arms and shoulders a rest.

Freedom.  We all have things to overcome in this life in order to be completely free. Most of these battles reside within us — the commitments we make to ourselves about what we want and where we are headed.  I am grateful I live in America where even the barricades have holes in them.  You just have to look — sometimes longer, sometimes harder, sometimes while screaming how unfair it all seems — but just keep looking.  If you want something badly enough in this life — if you’re blessed enough to live in this country — you will figure out a way to get it.

It’s called perseverance.

Freedom has very different meanings, depending on where you live.  We can fight over the petty while people are stoned to death halfway around the world for doing nothing — or what we consider nothing.  Freedoms we take for granted while standing in line at Starbucks for a $4 latte are sins punishable by death in some countries.  I always think about that when someone throws around the word fascist or Nazi or communist for any past or current president of the United States in daily conversation.  I believe only those who immigrated here from Nazi, fascist or communist regimes have any idea what those words truly mean.

We’re just using powerful words to give impact to pitiful arguments, while drinking a caramel macchiato.

I am grateful our still relatively young nation has overcome so much that we can now argue amongst ourselves about what color to paint the walls.

I am even more grateful when we get to the mat.  While everyone else is balancing on their arms, I opt to put my legs up the wall and give my poor arms a rest.  They thank me.

While lying there I think about my dream.

I have dreams for the world like many of us do, but the dreams I can affect — the ones where I can truly make a difference — reside in my own backyard.  Once our own house is in order, our eyes begin to open wider to the world around us.  We release the capacity and the desire to help others inside of us.  At least that is how it feels for me.

Everything starts within.  This is why I do yoga.

What is my personal dream?

To be a good wife and mother.  To be a good daughter and daughter-in-law.  To be a good cousin and niece.  To be a good friend.  To never stop wanting to have a “stack of books” on my Kindle.  To continue to be curious.  To put good food in my body and good thoughts in my mind.

To do lots of yoga.

And most importantly this week?  To get a freaking pedicure.  (I know, it’s pathetic)

And my dream in the next two weeks?  To be pregnant.

Oh, how I hope it is not just a dream.

by month:

by Category:

60 Days On the Mat — Day 56: Role Models and Road Trips

Perhaps all of those self-help books I gave to Goodwill did teach me something?

This question enters my psyche like a flashing neon sign at 5:00am.  I ignore it until a more reasonable hour and go back to sleep.

While drinking green tea, I glance through everything I have written over the past 55 days.  I think about self-help books.  I think about Oprah.  Yes, Oprah.  She is the Mary Tyler Moore for my generation.  We grew into women with her as our guide.  The Oprah Winfrey Show started nationally my senior year in high school.  Looking back, I think Oprah had as much to do with my book addiction as my own inner drive to figure myself out.

I laugh now because honestly, I will never figure myself out exactly.  I like the mystery.  The complicated algorithm.  The minute you figure yourself out you stop growing through life.  You’re stuck.

I hate being stuck.

I went to the mat at noon with Ellen.  My energy was good, but I was still a little sore in the shoulder and upper arm area.  The pain is dominant in the left bicep.  I do not understand my body.  I think this has to do with the fact that since January 1st I have taken a flow class every single day.  20 days in a row.  No restorative.  No Yin.  Perhaps my shoulders are fighting back from lack of rest?  I push up into downward facing dog and decide I will have plenty of time for restorative yoga after the embryo transfer.

While moving through the flow; working precisely on my transitions —  I start to think about my friend Elaine.  It’s not surprising to me that Elaine is at the forefront of my mind as I think about self-help books and Oprah.  When describing my book addiction she always says something like — you kill me, you have a stack of books on this side of the bed, you read one and move it to the other side of the bed.  It’s not one kind of book — Marianne Williamson, Leo Tolstoy, travel books, Dean Koontz, Tennessee Williams, Oprah’s Book Club selection — it’s everything.  You will read anything and you read the WHOLE book! 

I think to myself, if she could only see my iPad Kindle app … I have not changed, except now I carry around twice as many books in my purse and I have less time to read.

Elaine - me - Amy - Chase - Kristin Georgy Porgy, 1988

Elaine – me – Amy – Chase – Kristin
Georgy Porgy, 1988

Elaine and I met in 1982 when I started attending CATS.  In our late 20s and early 30s we were always taking road trips together on the eastern seaboard in honor of one of our birthdays.  Vermont.  Maine.  We would rent canoes, bicycles, bring our journals and talk about our lives for several days while staring at some body of water and eating really great food.  I always felt completely re-energized after each trip.  I wish we still did it.  I miss that kind of time with her.

While balancing on one leg my mind goes blank.  I think only about foot placement.  I am using my feet to help secure the pose; pressing into the ground through my big toe side.  I connect the abdominal muscles simultaneously and feel stable; I mentally tell myself to remember this feeling.  As we move into the release of a forward fold, Elaine is still on my mind. There are so many memories popping in, making me laugh to myself — specifically the phrase, Maine is a BIG state!  I refocus as we rise up from the forward fold.

Me and ElaineAugust 12, 2007Pine, CO

Me and Elaine
August 12, 2007
Pine, CO

I start thinking about female friendships in general.  How important they are.  Yes, my husband is my best friend, but if I want to talk about anything Oprah has ever said or recommended, and I mean EVER — I need to bend another ear.  He will humor me for a few minutes if I start to go into chick lingo, but his eyes are generally glazing over before I finish.

I completely understand this.  It’s the same way I feel when he wants to replay something in baseball or hockey and explain it to me.  I try to get it, but something is always lost in translation.

The Oprah Winfrey Show was the world’s longest running chick flick.  I think about young women today and wonder who they are listening to?  Who are their role models?  Who is teaching them how to live their best life?

As the possible celebrity options enter my mind I get scared.   The Kardashians?  Lindsay Lohan?  Honey Boo Boo?  I just put Honey Boo Boo in this list because the fact that we have a show based on these people and this topic — that is highly rated —  says a lot about our culture and the intellectual curiosity among the masses.

Young women can’t possibly be paying attention to Honey Boo Boo can they?

That poor exploited little hillbilly child.

Oprah needs to groom someone for these kids and quick — Super Soul Sunday and Oprah’s Master Class — for Young Women?

We need more people encouraging curiosity — telling young women they need stacks of books on the side their bed on many different topics from varied points of view.  If I were to look at budgets from my 20s and early 30s (or lack there of) — hands down my number one expense after the essentials was books.  I would walk into Barnes and Noble — I never left without spending at least $50.  Ever.  When things were really tight for me, I would implement self-enforced bans on book stores or shop at used book stores.

I have always been a sucker for the smell of a new book.

I walk in clothing stores and my eyes glaze over — unless it’s Whole Foods clothes, apparently.

I’m lying in shavasana,  Ellen tells us to think for the first part of the resting pose and then empty the mind.  As I do this, I think about all the great friendships I have developed across my lifetime thus far — Elaine. Amy. Kelly. Heidi. Lori. Spring. Gennifre. Shannon.  Gwyn.  Stacy.  There are more, but these sit at the forefront of my mind.  I am so grateful for all of them.

When I get home, I stare at my bookshelf.  The Oprah’s Book Club selections line the top shelf along with every Barbara Kingsolver book.  Below that sit the few self-help books I was unable to let go of because they were anniversary editions — Louise Hay, Shatki Gawain, Julia Cameron.  I’m nothing, if not sentimental.  Perhaps I’ll glance at them again someday …

As Oprah would say, I know one thing for sure — they did teach me something.  I just never realized it until I started writing.

While getting ready for bed I begin to get slightly anxious about the doctor’s check-up for me and the Girl Who Likes Chicken n’ Dumplings tomorrow.  I push the anxiety away and say a little prayer.

As I close my current book for the night (Dropped Names by Frank Langella … I fluctuate between that and reading about decorating a vintage nursery) — I hope one day I can bring the ladies road trip back.  Not a la Thelma and Louise but a la Terry and Elaine.

by month:

by Category:

60 Days On the Mat — Day 55: Reach Your Heart Forward

Me, 1972

Me, 1972

Reach your heart forward.  Pull it through.

As I am holding plank with bent arms, I can feel my heart stretching through the center; opening.  My mind immediately focuses on this phrase — it’s meaning in yoga as well as life.

Do I lead with my heart first?  Should I lead with my heart first?  I think so.  Am I too gullible for leading with my heart first?  Possibly.  When people come to the door selling magazines? Always.  Jonathan hates for me to answer the door without supervision.  I feel sorry for door to door salesmen — remember Willy Loman?  But I want to reach my heart forward.  I want to put it first into the world, no?  Maybe not at the front door.  

My mind is momentarily flooded with questions and comments about my reaching heart as I move through chaturanga and into upward facing dog.

I woke up and started writing Day 54, once again, missing my 10:00am yoga class with Ellen and opting for Joe at noon.  I thought a lot about this whole journey on the mat and on the blog as I drove to class.  Five days from now will be the last official day of 60 Days. It is presently the day of the egg retrieval from The Girl Who Likes Chicken n’ Dumplings.

Kismet?  I say a little prayer every day.

I wonder if I should extend it for a few days until the embryos are transferred into me?  I will not be able to go to yoga for several days after the transfer per doctor’s orders.  60+ Days On the Mat?  Epilogue On the Mat?  I ponder these things and more as I drive — like why The Band Perry is obsessed with death?

Joe is focused on shoulders throughout class.  Mine have come so far, but still have miles to go.  We’re holding a wrap and I can feel the stretching across my collar bone on my difficult left side.  I have a momentary memory glom to all the major times my heart was broken.  Not by men, particularly, but by life.  Life was prone to breaking my heart more than men.  Men generally bored me before they had time to break my heart — though, I’ll admit, there were a couple.  I smile to myself, knowingly.  I’m thankful they broke it.  The heart is a resilient organ.

Jonathan is my life’s greatest gift.

The heart stretching continues and I feel the letting go.  The release.  I imagine the joy entering.

I know leading with my heart has made me gullible, on occasion.  There are times when we are getting way more magazines than I can read in one month — or we’re giving to more charities than we can keep up with. But, looking back across time, I am grateful for this quality.  Though my Mom likes to play tough, she has one of the biggest hearts in the world.  So does Annie, her sister.  My Dad.  Aunt Paula.  Uncle David.  Sandy.  Larry.  Cherry.  My grandparents.  Everyone has a different way of showing it.  Sometimes you even need a decoder ring or a chisel to crack the armor and find it — but it is always there.

Shavasana is legs up the wall today.  I relax deeply into the moment on the mat.  I see myself at around 3, wearing a green plaid dress my Mom made.  It’s easy for me to visualize because I have this picture on my desk.  It’s the way I see myself inside.  The way I want to greet the world — reaching my heart forward with a big smile — even at 43.

After class I go into Whole Foods to get a fresh juice.  The line was longer than I was willing to wait given all I had to do that afternoon.  As I am walking out I stop in the clothing section.  Whole Foods charges an arm and a leg for an avocado, but clothes are cheap!  I fall in love with these cowl-neck, long-sleeved t-shirt dresses that look great with leggings. I find a dusty blue one with earrings to match.

I leave with an outfit, but no juice.

When I get home, I try it on for Jonathan.  He loves it.  I then show him the $450 cowboy boots I think would look great with my $35 outfit.  He rolls his eyes.  Maybe not today.  I buy some new stationery instead.  I find a website that sells sealing wax.

Jonathan was on NBC news talking about Manti Te’o scandal.  It was exciting to see him on the national news!

We ate dinner at my in-laws.  Delicious beef stew.  I try a small cranberry infused gin (a Christmas present from Erik and Becky) and tonic with a twist of lime.  Delicious ice cream for dessert. I even watch the end of the Butler vs. Gonzaga basketball game which was amazing to see live.  When I see things like that, I know why people get addicted to live sports.  There really is nothing like it.  I think of the hours of live sports I would have to watch to see more moments like that one.  I yawn.

For some reason, I do not fall asleep on the couch.

As I drift off to sleep for the night my only thought is — Life. Is. Good.  Really good.

by month:

by Category:

60 Days On the Mat — Day 54: Some Kind Of Ride

Some Kind Of RideStoryPeople.com

Some Kind Of Ride
StoryPeople.com

Speaking of letters, I got the most beautiful handwritten note card yesterday with a book from one of my childhood friends, Kelly.  I cried happy tears it was so touching.  I am now more determined than ever to bring the letter back — at least in my life.

After yoga this weekend, I am going stationery and note card shopping.

I came home from acupuncture for fertility and there it was in the mailbox.  The package contained a beautiful note and Some Kind Of Ride, the 8th book of writer/artist, Brian Andreas (founder of StoryPeople).  I don’t know how exactly I missed this in all my years of roaming around, but I did.  I am grateful to Kelly for her friendship and the introduction.

They say things come into your life when you’re ready to receive them.  This becomes clearer to me with each passing day of this journey.  After opening the package and reading the note I sat down at my desk before yoga and read the book from cover to cover.  The art and the stories spoke to me.  I decided — while putting on my yoga pants — I had something new to collect.  My Mom and Annie (my aunt) will be so happy!

I went to the mat at 6:15pm with Hayleigh.  It was a really good class, and I have officially decided, whenever possible, this is my Friday class. She breaks things down in different ways than Ellen.  Sometimes having the same things explained in a new way can awaken the mind and ultimately the body.

On the mat my mind was very attuned to what Hayleigh was saying, but in the moments when I allowed myself to wander I went to the book I had engulfed before I left the house.  The stories were simple, but poetic.  The drawings were childlike, but perfect.  I memorized one of them before I left, it was called Perfect Time.  It made me think of my life thus far and right now and in the future simultaneously.

When I grow up,

I want to remember

that I always wanted

to be a thousand

different things

& one lifetime

didn’t seem

nearly enough.

When I grow up,

I hope it’s at

the very end

when it doesn’t

matter anymore anyway

It was so fitting; so perfect for my life.  Maybe all of those things I did and all of those places I went were just me being all the things I wanted to be when I grew up?  Or maybe they were just me discovering what I didn’t want to be when I grew up?  Or perhaps, it was all just part of growing up?

But, I’m not done growing up just yet, am I?  I decide I’m growing through, as opposed to growing up.  We grow through things in our life.  We are always learning and morphing and wondering.  We carry one growth spurt into another whether we are 7 or 77.  Isn’t that what life is all about?

Whatever it is, I know I’m not done doing it.  This makes me smile.

On the mat in final resting pose, my mind drifts into the future.  The future of me as Mom.  Without much deep concentration, I simply hope I can teach our children the practical and the impractical.  Life lessons and street smarts with a side of sense-of-wonder. These are just a few of the many things I hope they take into the world as they grow through life.

Jonathan and I walk to Nicola’s and he says,

Do you wonder if all of this blogging is the right thing?

Every day, I replied, but I feel more present and happy than I did two months ago when I left for that yoga retreat.  I have to trust my gut on this.

He agreed he had no idea what the answer was and held my hand tighter.

I spent three years in relative isolation and life-limbo between who I was and who I wanted to become.  I was unable to move in either direction.  I was burying one part of myself in an effort to give birth to a new me.  Terry as Mom.  Terry as Homemaker.  That Terry never came and never came and never came.  I was somehow lost between worlds; unable to move forward or back.  My creative self was slipping away, while the infertility nightmare consumed me.

I think this journey has simply given me the chance to look back and merge the old me with older me, the mature me; the Mom me.  Bringing them together, making peace — sharing the stories not only with others, but most importantly remembering them for myself.

“There is something magical and beautiful about this invisible string that keeps us all connected.  When people have the courage to tell their story — speak their truth — it makes us all feel a little less lonely and a little less crazy in this life.”  ~ Kelly

I read this last sentence of my note card from Kelly again when I got home and I thought to myself — Yes. Yes.  This is why I tell my stories and read others.  Stories do connect us; ALL of our lives are some kind of ride.  

by month:

by Category:

60 Days On the Mat — Day 53: What Happened to Letters?

One week to go after today.  Seems like yesterday and a lifetime ago when I came home from yoga and started 60 Days On the Mat.  Life is a lot like that … things always seem like yesterday and forever ago.  The older I get, the more everything seems like yesterday and feels like forever.

The Girl Who Likes Chicken n’ Dumplings has 14 follicles growing; all relatively the same size.  This is good news, I am told.  My doctor seems pleased and I trust him.  He’s a yogi, how could I not?  I have heard of younger women growing 25+ follicles, but from what I understand a lot of those eggs end up immature and never become viable embryos — so to have 14 good follicles growing at basically the same rate; I’m happy.  There should be some strong eggs in there given her age.

I went to the mat at 4:00 with Ellen.  The day had been one non-stop appointment after another.  No time to really breathe.  When I finally got to the mat, I spent the opening in child’s pose — breathing deeply.  It’s amazing to me how much we forget to breathe as we go through the day.  Obviously, we’re breathing — but to breathe in such a way that you can feel the oxygen flowing through the body; we do not do this enough.  At least I don’t.

My shoulder pain starts class on the right side and ends class on the left side.  Now I know it’s psychosomatic.  It has to be.  Ellen starts with an inner thigh series that about kills me.  I have hyper-extended knees and this genetic defect has always made my upper thighs weak.  It is difficult for me to make the connection between the legs and the abdomen — but when I do it, my yoga practice is always stronger.  I distribute my weight so it is not all riding in my shoulders.  Maybe that is why my pain moves from shoulder to shoulder?  I contemplate this thought while trying to hold warrior three; balancing on one leg.

Gwyn and meNew York City

Gwyn and me
New York City

Before class I went for sushi with my friend, Gwyn.  She is the mother of Scarlett — if you have been reading, Scarlett is the one who said she wanted Santa to “surprise me” — I now wake-up every day asking to be surprised all thanks to Scarlett.  Generally I am; lately in a good way.  Scarlett has no idea what she has done for this 43-year old woman with her completely innocent — out of the mouths of babes — comment.

By the way, if you have not been reading regularly, I do not take this personally.  Quite frankly, even I am starting to feel like this is the world’s longest chick-flick — being doled out in 1000+ word increments over 60 days.

Gwyn and ElaineMilwaukee -- 1991

Gwyn and Elaine
Milwaukee — 1991

Gwyn and I met in 1991, almost 22 years ago.  It seems surreal to write that, considering she is someone I met AFTER college.  The mantra “age is just a number” begins to play in my head.  We met as interns at Milwaukee Repertory Theater.  My childhood friend, Elaine, was already living there.  Gwyn, Elaine and I were all roommates — along with my very talkative cat from college, Guido.

In many ways, Milwaukee is where I really started to grow-up.  I learned a lot of life lessons — both good and bad — all necessary.  Even through it is where I got my Actors Equity card and started my road towards a professional acting career — it is also where the little voice inside of me began to whisper — maybe a life in acting is not for you?  

I remember sitting in the Stackner Cabaret at the bar very late one night — actually many nights.  There were always several company and guest actors there; some chain smoking.  Many seemed miserable and tired from a life on the road; full of regrets.  I was full of life and love and thought the world was just there waiting for me to make my entrance.  I was still living in the ignorant bliss of youth (a place we should all reside as long as humanly possible) — feeling ready to take on the world at 22.

I wanted to hear how great it was to be a working actor in a company like Milwaukee Repertory Theater.  At the time, my dream was to work full-time in a regional theater company.  I thought that would be a great life — getting to play lots of different roles while receiving a steady paycheck.  I never actually heard that sitting in the foggy haze of smoke night after night. It often depressed me as I sat there listening to story after story —  many funny; but just as many filled with bitterness and regret.

I was cast in my first professional show at the Milwaukee Repertory Theater — as an understudy that definitely had to go on at least once — and I got my Equity Card.  It was a Kander & Ebb cabaret show called 2X2X4. Once the show closed, I left shortly thereafter for New York.

My regional theater ambitions died in Milwaukee and I set my sights on New York City.  I did not want to be a chain-smoking bitter actor telling stories of past glory and regret at a bar when I was 43.  Instead I wanted to be a chain-smoking — heading-towards-bitter actor — trying to make rent in New York City?

Ahhh youth.  Don’t ever send me back there.  My asthma never let me become a full on chain smoker, but I occasionally did try.

I chuckle as I type this (at the age of 43) and realize we’re always telling some sort of story … bitter or otherwise.  Perhaps smoke-filled bars with the liquor flowing is where misery and bitterness creep out into the night?  Maybe over brunch the stories would have been more upbeat and full of gratitude?  We never ate brunch; we were generally still asleep.  Just gin and tonics.  I drank lots of gin and tonics.  It felt like an adult drink; unlike the White Russians I started drinking in Boston.

I remember imagining my life as a Tennessee Williams play — looking back on this, perhaps my desire to live in one of his plays was more my problem than the actors sitting at the bar telling stories with liquor flowing?  Something to contemplate.

The flow was full of holds.  Ellen’s class is where I find my placement, where I learn how to move from one position to the next utilizing the right set of muscles.  The long holding of poses is sometimes frustrating — but it’s where my practice gets stronger.  I think a lot about Gwyn, Elaine and Milwaukee throughout class.  I think your day is always floating around you on the mat.  Try as we may to clear the mind — there are always thoughts fighting to get in the crevices.

They generally find the cracks in the armor, until you reach the level of being able to levitate, perhaps?  I will most likely never know the answer to this.

Gwyn is one of those friends that lives roughly ten miles away and I rarely see her, but when I do it is always like no time has passed and lots of time has passed.  I can’t connect with her without simultaneously being 22 and 43 at the same time.  We know just as many things about each other that we want to forget as we want to remember.  I suppose all lifetime friendships do.  I remember when we met and got the apartment in Milwaukee it was through a series of letters and phone calls.

Yes, in 1991 people still wrote letters.  I still have most of them in my letter box.  I cherish them.  I love letters.  Emails are quick and easy, I know — but there is something about letters.  Gwyn was always the best letter writer.

Lying in the final twisting pose on the mat, I see myself with sealing wax.  When I was a kid my Mom would buy me stationery and whenever I would write a letter, I would seal it with sealing wax.  When I was in Venice, Italy I bought a glass calligraphy pen.  It sits in the box waiting to be used.  I can’t remember the last time I wrote a letter or bought stationery.  Do they still make sealing wax?

While I am driving home, I feel grateful all is going well thus far with the fertility cycle.  I also decide if I get good news in a few weeks, I want to write actual letters — with sealing wax.  I may need some time to use the calligraphy pen, though.  But it is something to strive towards — it’s not doing me any good sitting in a box.

As I drift off to sleep, I simply think to myself — I want to bring the letter back.  What happened to letters?

by month:

by Category:

60 Days On the Mat — Day 52: When You Say Nothing At All

BoomerAge 17

Boomer
Age 17

Look at the cat.  Do you know a better cat?

No.  He’s been with me for 17 1/2 years, he’s awesome, I replied.

He’s the Number One.  Every day with Boomer is a gift.

When people ask me if my husband is going to be a good father, I simply recall this conversation (which we have almost daily at our house) and say, Yes.  He is going to be an amazing father. 

I went to the mat at 5:30 with Chaz.  I had been in a pretty upbeat mood all day after writing about Patsy on Day 51.  Somehow all the minor troubles in my life had drifted away for the moment.

As we started class hanging upside down, I began feeling anxious about my next check-up tomorrow and wondering how The Girl Who Likes Chicken n’ Dumplings was doing?  The question swirl started swarming.  Were lots of her follicles growing?  Were the eggs strong?  Was she eating enough protein?  Was she eating too much junk?  Does that even matter? Probably not. Was my lining thick enough?  Was my uterus really a good uterus?  Will embryos made with her eggs want to grow in my uterus?  STOP!!!

I actually did scream stop in my head.  The anxiety around infertility treatments is intense, even while doing yoga every single day.  Until you get the outcome you are looking for, it feels as though you are living in a money-sucking nightmare.  I know once I am pregnant and in my second trimester, I will say, Money-sucking nightmare?  What money-sucking nightmare?  Oh, that, it was NOTHING!

But until such time as that actually happens, you are constantly questioning your own sanity. I try to allow for the heightened anxiety around appointments and give myself some space to wallow in the unknown and uncontrollable — all the while trying to remember that every day is a good day!

When I started dating Jonathan, I never had a check list.  I was not one of those women looking for anything in particular, I was simply looking for someone that was my equal, made me laugh, was smarter than me about different things (meaning I had no interest in an actor at all) — I wanted a partner for life that respected the fact that I was still an independent person.  I never once asked myself, Hey, would he make a great father?  I always figured that someone I thought was a great partner would certainly be a great father.  After watching him bond with and care for Boomer — our geriatric cat — I have been given all the reassurance I will ever need.

We started with a simple flow.  It was similar to Monday.  My left shoulder pain has now mysteriously moved to the right shoulder.  I am not sure why this is, exactly.  By next week it most certainly will be somewhere else.  I continued to take it easy and listen to the messages coming from my body.  Chaz was the guide and my body was the master.  It’s a different way to think about things, but I have found I am much more forgiving of what I cannot do and much more precise with all that I can.  As I am flowing and moving, I am not thinking much, but a lot of images around Jonathan come in and out as I transition through the poses.

To see Jonathan with Boomer is to see a side of a man rarely seen in the world — how many men do you know who would bond with his wife’s 17 1/2 year old geriatric cat who can barely walk?  Well, he did.  They have a routine every night.  Jonathan says, Boomer, is it time to make the coffee?  Let’s make the coffee.  Boomer perks up and begins to purr.  Jonathan picks him up from wherever he is and carries him to the kitchen where they do “make the coffee”.  After they make the coffee, Jonathan says, It’s time for a snack, Boomer?  Snack?  Boomer spins to the right (Boomer has to spin to the right before he does anything these days) and starts heading towards his room; purring.

When some of my friends were starting their families in 1995, I was beginning my journey with Boomer.  We have lived in three states and driven across the country more than once.  When the whole world seemed to be falling apart, I would come home and there he would be looking up at me, purring.  Most men who inherit the animal companions from when their wives were single simply tolerate them until they are no longer.  Jonathan not only tolerates Boomer, they have their own — completely independent from me — relationship.  Man to man, so to speak.

From the day I met Jonathan he has been able to out talk me, out debate me and out run me.  I love this about him, because it forces me to be better in areas where I am not as strong.  I am now more outgoing in groups, I can debate almost anything and I am more athletic than I have ever been in my life.  I like having a partner that pushes my deficiencies.  I think I do the same for him.  In fact, I know I do.

Again, I skipped crow.  My shoulder was saying no.  Instead I worked on deeper stretching in my hips and upper back which are calling for release every time I get on the mat.  My shoulder said no to crow but a very loud yes to bird of paradise on both sides.  I cannot wait until the day the shoulders and the chest open more so I am not struggling with standing completely straight in this pose.  One day at at time.

As I am folding over my legs and releasing all the work from the flow, Jonathan pops back into my mind.  He really never left, but I was sweating.  In many ways I feel like we have already been through a lifetime together and in just as many ways I feel like it has barely started.  He is a rock when I am a puddle.  He knows what to say when I am speechless.  He knows when to say nothing at all; when to leave me alone; when to let me have my process for whatever internal struggles I may be having.  I can only hope I do the same for him.

While lying in shavasana I remember our wedding day.  I sang to him.  I sang a song I probably should not have been singing, as Alison Krauss is not my voice type — but the song was so perfect and I love it.  To know my husband is to know that generally speaking, it is hard for me to get a word in edgewise — and honestly, I like it that way.  He’s the talker.  I’m the observer.  But he does know when to say nothing at all, and for that, I am grateful.

When I woke up to type this morning, I was not sure if I would include the video of me singing from the wedding.  But after 52 Days — what’s a little nervous off-key wedding singing among friends?  It’s not my best voice work and it’s the most nervous I have ever been — it was the first time he was ever hearing me sing.  Looking back, I wish it had been a little better, but I did leave him speechless — always a tough thing to do.

While driving home last night I felt a profound sense that everything is as it should be.  Everything has happened as it is supposed to, even when it seemed completely wrong, or late or not in the book I had written.  The truth is, I don’t write the book.  To quote Rascal Flatts, life is like a novel with end ripped out and the more you give into this unwavering fact the better life gets.

 

by month:

by Category:

60 Days On the Mat — Day 51: Every Day’s a Good Day!

Paul - Kathleen - me - PatsyAugust 12, 2007 Pine, Colorado

Paul – Kathleen – me – Patsy
August 12, 2007
Pine, Colorado

Patsy, isn’t today a great day?

She laughs, Every day’s a good day!

Given some of the days I’ve had in life, I am not sure I subscribe completely to this philosophy — but when I am down about the mishegoss or irritated at things beyond my control or complaining about nothing — Patsy always pops into my head.

I went to the mat at 4:00 with Ellen.

Today I allowed myself to get bogged down in the mishegoss of the day.  I did the bookkeeping and got worried about money.  I did the layout for the next newsletter and got frustrated with the changes to the programming platform.  I was irritated with not being able to make edits where I wanted to make them in certain videos.

Nothing seemed to be flowing smoothly.  The good in my day was eluding me.

At the beginning of class, Ellen’s iPod was not working.  She borrowed Chaz’s with a playlist she didn’t know.  As we’re opening the class in child’s pose she says, Life is not always what we had planned.  Sometimes we have to go with a different plan.  Of course, I know this — but sometimes it takes a statement of the obvious to pull you out of your crap.

As I am sitting there gently stretching my shoulders and starting to open my body, Patsy pops into my head.  Patsy is my Dad’s cousin Paul’s, wife.  They live in the small town in Pennsylvania where my Memom grew up; Kulpmont.  The first time I went to Kulpmont I was ten years old.  It was the same trip where I met Aunt Viola, who I wrote about on Day 16.

Terri, me, MicheleBeth, Kathleen Kenny, Ed Kulpmont, 1980

Terri, me, Michele
Beth, Kathleen
Kenny, Ed
Kulpmont, 1980

Going to Kulpmont was like meeting a whole new family.  I had all of these cousins, some even close to my age.   I had two aunts (Memom’s sisters) that looked and even talked like Memom just enough to freak me out at the time.

After visiting when I was 10, I did not return until I moved to New York.  While I lived in New York I would come back, stay with Paul and Patsy and load up on Polish food to take back to New York with me.  Pierogis.  Pigeons.  Kielbasa.  I loved it.  Kulpmont was where I discovered I was, in fact, a Polish-Texan.

I still love her cooking. Last year she taught me how to make pigeons in my crock pot.  If Kulpmont was located in California, I would be there every weekend eating.

We push back into the first downward facing dog and I notice a slight soreness in my right rotator cuff.  Doing yoga this many days in a row, it’s interesting to observe how the aches and pains manifest in the body.  Where they show up and how mysteriously they disappear.  It leads me to believe a lot of pain is psychosomatic.  The more I practice yoga, the more the teacher becomes a guide and my body becomes the teacher.  My body tells me when to push and when to hold back.  My body is teaching me how to care for it, and I’m actually starting to listen.

In 2007, Patsy’s daughter, my cousin Kathleen, got married about two weeks before I did in Kulpmont.  I was at the wedding, of course, and they all came to mine.  As we were enjoying the reception of Kathleen’s wedding, I said, Isn’t this a great day? and that’s when she said it,

Every day’s a good day!  

And the thing is, I believed her.  I flashback to all my memories with Patsy, and I know she is not kidding.  She is always having good day, even amidst mild frustrations, she’s laughing.  Of course, when something horrible happens, she’s not having a good day, but in the grand landscape of days across a lifetime  — she is always trying to have good one. Whenever I hear George Strait’s, Here For a Good Time, I always think of Patsy.

Ellen is taking us through a lot of crescent poses.  Crescent pose is always a struggle for me because of my high arches.  We spend a lot of time with our arms over our heads, another thing I do not love.  I fight through it.  I laugh as I surrender and bring my arms down between poses.  My body is the director.  It took me a long time to wind those shoulders up, it’s going to take me a long time to unwind them — they open a little more every day.

As we go down to the mat into thread-the-needle pose, I float through the frustrations of my day.  Money always comes; the spring will be busy.  I need this slow time to get caught up and get pregnant.  I will figure out the new newsletter platform changes; I always do. Editing is constantly frustrating because I always want it to be better.

Let. It. Go.

Every day’s a good day!

Kathleen and meAugust 12, 2007Pine, Colorado

Kathleen and me
August 12, 2007
Pine, Colorado

I think about my cousin Kathleen.  We’ve had a great deal of fun over the years.  We were at this local pub in Kulpmont and I was in town and she was in town from college.  Draft beers were like 25 cents!  Of course, they were served in juice glasses, but have you ever heard of a 25 cent beer in any glass anywhere?  Me either.  Every single person at the bar knew Kathleen and she knew every person at the bar.  The owner decides he’s tired and wants to go home.  He just gives her the keys and walks out.  This would never happen in any place I’ve ever lived.  She didn’t even work there.

I get the bolster out for shavasana and lie back giving the floor the entire weight of my body.  I let it all go.  The worries.  The frustrations.  The day.  I gave it to the mat.  I gave it to God.  I prayed quietly for The Girl Who Likes Chicken n’ Dumplings and then I relaxed deeply, my mind was empty.

As I’m driving to pick up Chinese food for dinner I admit it was a pretty good day.  I think about Kulpmont and my need for the city life I have come to know and the smaller town, simpler life I long for.

Perhaps I have a case of wanting what I do not have?  We all do that, I guess.  The grass is not always greener, but I still find myself occasionally looking for a different shade.

I realize I’m getting bogged down again as Here For a Good Time comes blaring through the radio and I think about Patsy.  I laugh.

Yes, generally speaking, every day is a good day and today was no exception.

Sometimes I need Patsy, the mat and George Strait to remind me.

by month:

by Category:

60 Days On the Mat — Day 50: Just Fishin’

Cherry and Me2011, Mawmaw's Funeral

Cherry and Me
2011, Mawmaw’s Funeral

Terry, there is a message for you to go to the front office.

It was my senior year at Arlington High School.  I was not in trouble.  When I get to the office the woman smiles at me with this strange sort of smile.

Your step-father came by and took your car, he said he sold it. He left you his wrecker to drive to the car lot after school to pick-up a different car.  Here are the keys.  You’ll find it where you parked your car this morning.

I. was. mortified.  Yes, it was red wrecker; a tow truck.  It had cherries painted on the side of it.

I went to the mat at 5:30 after editing all afternoon.  At different moments throughout the day my first step-father had been on my mind.  In the playback of my life, I had never quite figured out how to incorporate him into it.  He and my mother got divorced, but he never divorced me.  There was no neat way to say, hey, and I have this extra step-dad who had no children and still to this day calls me his little girl on my birthday and every time we talk.  

I finally came to the conclusion that life isn’t neat.  Bows are only for packages, not life.

Chaz starts us standing up at the front of the mat.  I was feeling tired from staring at a screen all day —  first writing, then video editing.  I needed to move and get the blood flowing. My left shoulder is still slightly sore, but my chest is opening.  I am broader and it feels more spacious across the front of my body.  We start in a standing forward fold with our legs in a V position.  My mind always roams when I start hanging upside-down.  As I hang there, memories start rattling loose.

I remember getting in that bright red wrecker.  I was so mad I was crying.  I had no idea how to drive a wrecker.  I knew he somehow thought this was funny.  It was not funny. Being the resourceful sort of kid that I was, I managed to get some cute guy to help me get it out of the parking lot.  All I had to do was get it to Division Street.  I did.  However, the guy that sat next to me in English called me ‘Tow Truck Terry’ for the rest of the year.  He was not cute, he was just irritating.

As the flow began to heat up I brought myself back into the room.  I was focused on the flow; the heat building; the sweat.  As I am leaning into an backbend with my upper-back I feel a strength and opening as I raise my arms into the air for warrior one.  It was not just the strength or the flexibility I have gained after 50 days on the mat, but a strength and flexibility coming from within me.  A strength and flexibility within my soul.

My first step-dad’s name is Cherry Berry (don’t ask).  That’s why the wrecker was red and there were cherries painted on the side.  He ran a used car lot on Division Street in Arlington called Berry Motor Company.  If I were to hand-pick someone to be my step-dad for that period of my life, I could not have asked for a better one.  My Dad always made it really easy for me to love him by saying the same thing.

He was always there whenever I needed him.  He taught me how to water ski and to drive. Actually, Mawmaw taught me to drive a Volkswagen Bug with a clutch in a cow pasture (the same one I came home from the hospital in when I was born in Hawaii) — but he taught me how to drive on actual roads.  He never questioned me when I asked him for $20 to buy a yearbook about 5-6 times each year.  I don’t think he actually thought we had bi-monthly yearbooks.  He always brought me dinner to CATS whenever I had late rehearsals. I could go on and on … I never heard him once complain.

My shoulder hurt too much to try crow pose, so I just stretched.  As we’re slowing down the flow, the song My Head Is a Jungle comes on by Emma-Louise.  All I remember thinking is, Yes, it is.  I think all of our heads are jungles we’re trying to figure out how to navigate from the minute we get up in the morning.  I am glad I have found yoga to help with my jungle head.

At the beginning of class Chaz had asked us to pick our one word ‘prayer’ for class.  The simpler the prayer, the better.  I chose HELP and THANK YOU.  I think they work well together simultaneously.  I used them throughout class as my mind would start to saunter away while flowing on the mat.

By the time we get to shavasana, I was ready to rest. My mind wanders briefly to the ovaries of The Girl Who Likes Chicken n’ Dumplings.  She started her ovarian stimulation on Sunday night.  I say simply HELP and THANK YOU one more time before I drift off to sleep.

As I am driving home, the song Just Fishin’ comes on the radio and I think about Bob. Bob was the man who lived with Mawmaw who was like a grandfather, but not.  I never thought of him as my grandfather because my grandfather was in pictures all over the wall — but he did jokingly nickname me Terrible and he taught me how to fish with real bait and grasshoppers.  Those poor grasshoppers.  I don’t think I could do it now.  I couldn’t really see the eyes on the worms, so sticking them on a hook never bothered me much.

I realize as I type this, I did think we were Just Fishin’ and Just Water Skiin’ and Just Drivin’— but we weren’t — the memories were big uns’ — as so many seemingly insignificant moments are when you look back at the landscape of your life.

Kathie - Me - Mawmaw - Bob - Dingo

Kathie – Me – Mawmaw – Bob – Dingo
My 9th Birthday

One day I was fishin’ alone at the cow pond located at the bottom of the hill from Mawmaw’s house.  I caught a huge catfish.  It was really big. I was 9, but still it was big.  I carried it up the hill with bare hands and presented it to Mawmaw to cook for dinner.  Bob laughed.  Kathie laughed.  Mamaw Wines laughed and said, Lord have mercy, child.

Mawmaw screamed.  She put that poor catfish in the kitchen sink to give it a moment to breathe and then she stuck him in a paper sack and said, Tige, we do not eat catfish from a cow pond, we eat meat from the deepfreeze.

I ran down the hill, sack in hand, and put the catfish back in his home.  Needless to say I never fished for dinner again.

As I am lying in bed, I think again about Cherry and Bob.  Had my life been perfect package tied with a bow, they never would have been in it.  I look back at the glom of memories I have with each of them and realize in an instant I would not have had it any other way.  They too, were part of this family I have culled together across a lifetime and I love them.

Before drifting off to sleep at 11:00pm, I say one more prayer for the ovaries of The Girl Who Likes Chicken n’ Dumplings.  I hope that she too, is getting her rest.

by month:

by Category:

60 Days On the Mat — Day 49: What’s Your Story?

“The world isn’t just the way it is. It is how we understand it, no? And in understanding something, we bring something to it, no?
Doesn’t that make life a story?” ~ Pi, The Life of Pi

The Life of Pi

The Life of Pi

I saw The Life of Pi today with my friend Lori after yoga.  The movie could not have been more perfect for me right now.  I was reluctant to see it when it first came out.  Bengal tiger in a life boat with a boy — seemed a little too fantastical for me, but the more I read about it, the more I wanted to go.  I’m glad I did.

I went to the mat at noon after, once again, writing in the morning.  I have decided to permanently make this change.  It does allow me to get proper sleep, which I need.  I also get up earlier and can write in complete silence.

Ellen was working on our alignment a lot today, specifically in the holding of the neck.  Pushing too far forward puts our minds in the future and pushing too far back puts us in the past.  I am always striving for the present, a moment so elusive sometimes — it’s like trying to catch a firefly.  As I was holding crescent pose, attempting to balance in the now, I start to see how my evolution on the mat over the past 49 days has taken me full circle.  I have spent a great deal of time remembering the past and dreaming about the future, but as I move into the final 11 days, I find myself much more in the moment.  Trying not to linger too far back or wander too far ahead.  It’s a contentment that I have not felt, perhaps ever.  This sense of wonder at what is and the open-ended possibility of what will be.

On the mat today, I found myself very much in the present, but as I watched The Life of Pi, I spent a great deal of time thinking about my own story.  He would say a line and it would roll me back or move me forward.  I think movies like this one are supposed to do that on some level.  Your wheels are constantly turning as you’re trying to take it all in.

“All of life is an act of letting go but what hurts the most is not taking a moment to say goodbye.” — Pi, The Life of Pi

The moment he says this quote my tears begin to flow.  I think about Mawmaw.  I can’t help it.  When someone is slowly losing their mind, you often don’t realize when the last moment they remembered you took place.  You want to find your way back to it somehow and make it more meaningful.  You want to make sure she knows not only how much you love her, but how much all the great memories she gave you matter.  How they shaped you.  How you would not even understand your life without her in it.

To let her know that no matter how old I get, there is always a piece of her right there with me.  I carry her and all that she gave me in my heart every day.

We are leaning in side-angle pose and I let the weight of my head drop.  My neck cracks and it feels great.  I was letting go.  My shoulders cracked as I moved my hand over my head.  More letting go.  My only thoughts were to be in the room, and that’s what I did.  I was completely in the room, smiling through any struggles on the mat.

“To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation.”  ~ Pi, The Life of Pi

This quote took me to my struggle with religion.  Without giving anything away, Pi is a Hindu Catholic Muslim who teaches Kabbalah and other religious studies as an adult.  I would say he is very much like my friend Shannon — fascinated with religion — drawn to the beauty of religion.  Believing there are many paths to God; all religions have a purpose and something to teach us, regardless of which one we choose to follow.  If we choose to follow.

“If you believe in everything, you will end up believing in nothing at all.”  ~ Pi’s father, The Life of Pi

His father says this to him as he is trying all of these different religions as a boy — finding a new connection to God in each one.  I think about my conversion to Judaism and my longing for the Christmas tree.  The Christmas tree that is still a big, undecorated plant in our front room to be removed on Thursday.  I think about my love of yoga (which is not a religion, but there is a very spiritual aspect to it).  I too have a fascination with religion, the beauty of it, the ritual of it — the thought that perhaps one God is giving each of us a different road to the light?  Or perhaps many Gods have something to teach us?  As I think about our children, I agree with Pi’s father on one level — but I also see the wonder in Pi as not a terrible thing.

I take myself out of this and back into the movie.  We’ve got several hurdles to jump over before we cross this bridge.  Don’t over think it.

When I get home, I cook lentil soup for dinner.  I get out the food processor and chop the onion, carrots and celery.  After five and half years of marriage, I am no longer afraid of my food processor.  It took me five years to put it together right so I could get it to turn on and chop.  Literally.

I take two recipes for lentil soup and make up my own.  I bake some frozen whole wheat rolls.  There was a whole new level of creative when I was making dinner and the end result was great.  Jonathan loved it.

As I am sitting on the couch with Jonathan and Boomer, I think about our story. What’s the story we want to tell?  I feel in many ways it is only just beginning.  After weeks of writing and thinking and downward-facing-dogging — I see how significant these slice-of-life moments are that make up the bulk of the story.  All the fantastic trips and life boat adventures with tigers — those are great, and of course you will remember them, but it’s these seemingly insignificant moments that truly make life beautiful.

by month:

by Category:

60 Days On the Mat — Day 48: Get Some Sleep

You look beautiful when you sleep.

I kissed him.

Jonathan said this to me today after I slept for two hours on the couch at his aunt and uncle’s house.  It was sweet.  I also couldn’t help noticing how much better I felt after having allowed myself to get some spontaneously in the middle of the day.

I love couches that are not mine.  Ever since I started working full-time at home it is almost impossible for me to completely relax here.  My office is so close to where I am supposed to relax.  I am generally up until all hours editing and emailing and bookkeeping and what I like to call ‘general puttering’.  I find working from home a blessing and a curse.  I can  always find just one more thing to do.

When I  am at another house or location where I feel very at ‘home’ and have no personal distractions, I tend to fall asleep.  That’s what happened today.  I do the same thing at my in-laws.  If any of my family lived here, I would do the same thing on their couch.  After the devastating Broncos loss, I let it all go for the entire Packers and 49ers game.  Being a Packers fan, I did not miss much.  I woke up with no teams left in the playoffs; my NFL season had officially come to an end.

On Day 47 I actually surrendered and allowed myself to finish writing in the morning.  I did the same last night.  I slept for 9 hours both times.  I needed it.

I went to the mat at noon.  I missed Ellen’s 10:00am class and went to Joe’s class instead.  Sometimes it is good to go to different teachers to shake things up and he is a great teacher.  We worked on twists.  Apparently January is the month for wringing out the old year.  Every teacher I have is twisting me into a pretzel.  Joe was twisting us beyond the pretzel.

In the beginning, we hold plank for what seems like an eternity and I think about my step-father and my step-siblngs.  My Mom and my step-dad (Larry) had their 17th anniversary on January 11th.  They got married in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.  We were all wearing sweaters and jeans, including my Mom and Larry.  This Indian Sha-woman came into our condo and married them.  It was the third marriage for my Mom and I think the fourth for Larry.  They can both be a little hard-headed, so this seems to be a match made in heaven.  Actually, I think they are perfect for each other.

Scott - Kim - MeSeattle, 1997?

Scott – Kim – Me
Seattle, 1997?

We’re doing lots of twists from crescent pose.  I am always shaky when twisting in crescent.  My feet don’t seem to want to stay planted.  Today was no different.  As I am trying to anchor my feet, I think about that day.  I don’t think Kim and Scott (my step-sister and step-brother) and I had ever met until they picked me up at my Dad’s house in a mini-van.  It was sort of like, “Hey, nice to meet you, let’s make a wedding dinner!”

Y’all are going to cook dinner.

Yes!

What are y’all going to cook?

Spaghetti!

We did.  We went to the grocery store and bought cans of Hunt’s spaghetti sauce and ground beef.  We made a salad and garlic bread.  I remember at the time how Brady Bunch it all felt to me.  After all, we were making spaghetti with canned sauce and ground beef for a wedding dinner.  I had never had step-siblings before that day.  I remember wishing we were not 26 (me), 24 (Kim) and 22 (Scott).  I thought it would be impossible to bond as adults, especially with me living in New York.  The one thing I had always longed for but never had was a brother or sister, and this was as close as it was ever going to get.

We are in this bizarre twist on the floor.  My head is on a block, one leg is splayed one way, my arms splayed another.  It am literally a pretzel.  I can feel the release as I begin to let go.  I breathe.  I cry, but not sad tears, just release tears.  They say our body has cellular memory that can be released through physical activity.  I had never put too much stock in that until after spending 48 days on a mat and occasionally crying spontaneously for no reason.

Mom - Me - Jonathan - Larry

Mom – Me – Jonathan – Larry

I start to think about all of the amazing things I’ve been able to see and do because of Larry.  Even though we were all older, he made a point of bringing us together for family vacations every year.  I was never made to feel like a step-daughter, but one of the bunch.  We have been to Europe three times visiting – Zurich, French countryside, Paris, London, Rome, Venice, Amsterdam, Vienna and Prague.  He also took us all to Seattle and Vancouver.  Not to mention all the countless family gatherings and outings he planned for us over the years.

By the time we get to bridge pose, my body is spent.  I can barely lift myself.  My chest muscles feel like they have been worked and stretched to the brink.  I know I am going to be sore.  It feels great.  As I am lying in shavasana I drift into a twilight sleep.  I can feel the letting go.  The surrender to the exhaustion.

As I am driving home I think a lot about the word family.  The word conjures up something different for everyone, and comes in all sorts of packaging.  Mine certainly does.  I feel like my family is about as colorful as it gets, but I love what it has given me in all its imperfect glory.  It’s made me incredibly flexible, open and forgiving.  I’ve always had an appreciation for how we’re all connected, why we’re all connected — there’s a sixth sense in me that knows it is much more than an accident of circumstance.

I am grateful.  Grateful for all of these experiences that have made me who I am.

This whole process has been fascinating in that I never set out to write specifically about my life.  I was going to write about my ‘process’ on the mat, but with each passing day my process on the mat is unraveling my life; in a good way.  I’ve always said, yoga is not even about yoga.  I never anticipated the donor cycle would happen until February because last year the lab at my clinic was closed in January.  I never anticipated these 1000+ word essays would pour out of me at the end of each day.  It’s all so organic, so out of my body.

One day just flows into the next.

As I was climbing into bed last night I got a Facebook message from my friend Katherine telling me I needed to get more sleep to help my body through implantation and pregnancy.  I laughed so hard because I had just written the opening to this blog and had already decided to get some sleep and finish in the morning.

Yes, Katherine, I got great sleep — and I think unrequested advice can sometimes be some of the best advice.  I feel more rested today than I have in a long time.  Eight hours … as I begin to sleep for more than just me.  I hope.

by month:

by Category:

60 Days On the Mat — Day 47: Soul Connections

When I told my adoptive Mom I wanted to find my birth mother she said, GREAT, I want to meet her, too!  I want to THANK her for bringing me YOU.

Last weekend when I was at the retreat I met a woman about my age who was adopted.  When I wrote about her briefly on Day 41, I did not use this quote — I don’t think it had really sunk in until today.  I love how selfless her adoptive mother was, how grateful she was and how sensitive she was to her daughter’s need to find that piece of herself.

Ellen gave us a ‘gratitude’ journal at the beginning of the week during our first early yoga class to use during the Zen Cleanse.  I have been jotting little things (and big things) down in it all week.  Whoever our egg donor turns out to be–and I am really hoping and praying The Girl Who Likes Chicken n’ Dumplings is the one–I have found a whole new level of gratitude for her after this week.

I did not give into the mattress this morning, though I wanted to.  I went to the mat at 6:30am.  It was the last early morning yoga class and the last day of all the juice drinking.  The juice drinking was easy after the first two days.  I actually feel like I could go another three — but my sweet husband misses his dinner partner.  So, I am happy to be resuming my regular schedule.  The one that has me still in my pajamas at 6:30am.

My left shoulder was hurting a bit.  This is definitely a trouble spot for me.  All of this yoga has my shoulders cracking, releasing and opening all over the place.  There is always a retreat of the muscles after an expansion, at least for me.  I think my left shoulder was in retreat today.

As I was holding myself with one arm in downward facing dog, I starting thinking about her eggs; Does she have good eggs?  How many eggs?  I only need one good one, but hopefully we’ll get several given her youth?  Is she curious about us?  Why does she like chicken n’ dumplings?  Who made her chicken n’ dumplings?  Were they fluffy or dense dumplings?

The places my mind wanders on that mat sometimes.  I am constantly fighting to bring myself back to the present moment.  I have absolutely no control of her eggs, nor does my doctor — so at some point I have to just surrender.  I go into child’s pose and try to let it go.

Throughout the week I thought more and more about the soul connections in our lives.  Those connections that either come into our lives because of circumstance or because we choose them.  Usually it’s a little bit of both.  It takes the circumstance of finding them before we can choose them.

Me, Sandy, Gennifre, SherryCarmel - September 2011

Me, Sandy, Gennifre, Sherry
Carmel – September 2011

My step-mother (Sandy) wrote to me and said, “… I was never able to fulfill that dream myself (having her own children) but as my mother (Grandma Roberts) would always say — there is no ill wind that does not blow some good – and that would be you and Genne in my life.  I feel like we are all blood relatives and always have.”

So have I.  My parents divorce is one of those things I always take back to the moment of devastation.  I would not know my life today without that event.  So many people and experiences would not be in the landscape of my past or present.  Looking back, it’s hard for me to wish for a different outcome because I have had a pretty blessed life so far.

One of my greatest blessings has been my step-mom.  She has always treated me like her daughter.  I have always thought of her as my bonus mom.  At certain points in my life, she was the easier mom to talk to.  Everyone should have a bonus mom.  I have two now — my mother-in-law definitely qualifies as a bonus mom.

After lots of shoulder opening we went into headstand at the wall.  Headstand is fairly easy for me.  I actually think I could do it without the wall, but there is this little thing called F-E-A-R.  While I’m upside-down I start thinking about all of my soul connections.  My friends, my family, my extended family — even Boomer.  All the people we choose to let in our orbit.  All of the people that help us through this journey called life.

The people you feel are speaking to your soul without any words being said.

After all of this yoga, and writing and letting go — I finally am beginning to emotionally understand what adoptive parents and egg donor parents mean when they say, there is no difference.  

There really isn’t.

It’s all about the soul connection.

I went back into wheel and felt this huge stretch across my entire chest in a way I had never felt before.  It generated heat.  All I could feel was immense gratitude, a kind of love for life and being here that I had never really felt before.

Throughout the rest of the day, this openness expanded.  Every day I look at Jonathan and I love him more.  I didn’t really think that was possible, but it is.  Throughout the entire 47 Days thus far, he has done nothing but completely support me without complaint.  In fact, I think there is more joy in our home than there has been in a long time.

The infertility clouds have lifted.

We went to dinner at Nicola’s, our neighborhood hang out where we go literally every Friday night.  I broke my juice cleanse with lentil soup and steamed vegetables.  As we’re laughing and talking, I think about The Girl Who Likes Chicken n’ Dumplings.  Even though we will never meet,  if I have children with her eggs our souls will always be connected.  Sometimes we can even have anonymous soul connections.

As I’m lying in bed, I start to tear up as I think about our child.  I just hope he or she will know how much they were wanted and how many different miracles had to take place for them to get here.

by month:

by Category:

60 Days On the Mat — Day 46: I Love You, I Hate You

Today I surrendered to the mattress.

I woke up at exactly 5:48am … and fell back to sleep until 6:22am.  It was too late to make it to class, so I slept and went to the mat at 4:00 in the afternoon.  I was mad at myself for the precisely 10 seconds it took me to fall back to sleep.  Sleep my body was literally begging me to take.

What day does the 60 days end? – my doctor asked.

January 24th, I smiled.

Yes, today I went for my second check-up.  If all goes according to plan The Girl Who Likes Chicken n’ Dumplings eggs will be retrieved on January 24th — the final day of 60 Days on the Mat.  And if all goes well after that; they will put the embryos back in me on the 29th.  This has been the tentative schedule since they made the schedule in December, and today we are still on that track.  Of course, it’s still very early in the process.

I am trying to stay even, but I can’t help but think about how kismet-esque it all is.   Or as my friend Selma would say, It’s beshert (preordained in yiddish).  I can’t help but hope it is.

I was feeling really open and light.  Drinking cold pressed juice for four days will do that for you.  We started on the floor.  I tried to push it all out of my mind.  The present moment can often be so elusive, even on your yoga mat.  We started with some alternate nose breathing.  My stomach was gurgling, but I was not hungry.  I start thinking about the future.  I focus on the breath to bring me back, but the question swarm is too powerful.

What if I have twins?  My great-grandmother had two sets of twins almost back to back.  Mawmaw was a twin.  Her Daddy, Grandpa Wines, was a twin.  Of course, genetically I have nothing to do with this.  But if I have a uterus some women would kill for, maybe Mamaw Wines had a uterus some women would have killed for in the 1920s?  Maybe I have a made-for-twins uterus?  Twin uteruses run in my family and I am the uterus in this scenario.  Is there a Jewish prayer for your uterus?  

At this point, I stop myself.  Yes, I did actually wonder if there was a Jewish prayer for your uterus.  There seems to be one for everything, so it was worth asking.  The question swarm was getting ridiculous.

I also feel like I should now apologize to my father for having to read more than any father should have to about his daughters uterus.  Sorry, Dad.

We sit back on our feet.  The pain is so intense I can think of nothing else. My arches are screaming at me.  We push back into our first downward facing dog.  I feel strong.  I stop thinking about my uterus.

Sean. Ryan. Tricia. Paige. Me.

Sean (purple shirt). Ryan. Tricia. Paige. Me.
September 2009

You are the worst babysitter in the WORLD!!  I mean it, Terry.  The WORST!!

I took Sean and Tricia to the movies.  I will never forget it because I was mortified.  The movie was Oscar in Grouchland.  Tricia was an angel, but Sean wanted to play the video games in the lobby more than he wanted to sit in the movie.  Like any good babysitter, I told him if he was good in the movie he could play one afterwards.

I have never seen the end of Oscar in Grouchland.  Yes, we left.  And no, he did not get to play a video game on the way out.  So, what happened next, you ask?  He collapsed in the parking lot and screamed at the top of his lungs — You are the WORST babysitter in the WORLD!!  I mean it, Terry.  The WORST!!  The entire parking lot is staring at me.

As we’re twisting I am thinking about that day.  It makes me laugh more than anything else.  I was pretty strict for a babysitter.  I would melt the ice cream bars when Sean wouldn’t stop trying to eat them.  I put their toys in Toy Jail, which was a cardboard box we made with actual bars on it.  Sometimes they would start fighting, I would look at them and they would just put the toy in the jail on their own.

We go into bridge pose and I can feel the opening across my chest.  I think about motherhood.  What does that feel like?  I think about all of the kids I’ve mothered in the past.  Ryan. Paige. Tricia. Sean.  I was a great babysitter, despite Sean’s tantrum.  I think he would tell you that now, too — despite the fact that he unfriended me on Facebook.  I don’t take this personally, it’s not cool to be friends with your ex-babysitter —   or he is still mad at me about the ice cream bars.

I want, Terry!  Teh-er-y, don’t go!  — Paige says, through hysterical 2-year old sobs.

Her Dad had come home from work.  She was in her high chair and I was feeding her.  Ryan was always thrilled for his parents to be home and Paige usually was, too — but for whatever reason on this day she was having none of me leaving.  All the way to my car, Please, don’t go.  Terry!  Terry!  Big tears.  Hysterical sobs.  Broke my heart.

I’m in headstand and I start feeling like a mother.  Like it could actually happen.  All the Shakespeare I studied.  All the Tennessee Williams monologues I memorized.  This is the only role I’ve always longed for.  Trying to attain it has taken me to the edge and back again more times than I like to admit.  

As I’m in the final twists, I think — Is this really possible?  Could Jonathan and I be parents by the end of the year?  

Yes, it is.  It’s really possible.

If Sean and Paige are any indication, I must be ready.  I can be hated and loved with great intensity by children.

 

by month:

by Category:

60 Days On the Mat — Day 45: Reflections

How tall was he?   

Oh, Tige he was taller than your Mawmaw, and she would raise her hand far above her head.  I think he was about my height as an adult, but when I was six or so it looked really tall.

Was he excited I was coming?

We were all excited you were coming, Tige.  

Did he have a name for me?

I think he would have called you Tige like your Mawmaw.  

I never thought he would have called me Tige.  It didn’t seem to be the sort of name he would use, at least I didn’t think so when I looked at the pictures hanging on the wall in the room where I slept.  He was like a reflection of this unknown part of myself staring at me as I fell asleep each night.

I don’t know what the name would have been exactly, but he seemed like a Grandpa who would have his own special name for me.

I woke up today at 5:50am without much fanfare — 2 minutes before the hot pink alarm clock started blaring.  I have a knack for that.  It’s still ridiculously hard for me to get out of bed at that hour and be somewhere by 6:30am, but I did it.  I’m still exhausted, but I am showing up.

We started on our backs.  My first thoughts hone in on the doctor’s appointment I have tomorrow morning.  I’ll get some sort of update if this cycle is on schedule.  Am I ok?  Is The Girl Who Likes Chicken n’ Dumplings ok?  The question swirl is in full force and as I attempt to push it away, more questions and worry swarm at me.  I simply breathe.

Today I was stronger; I was jumping up and even jumped back.  I had not had the energy to do that all week.  I was finally hitting my stride.  No more headache.  Energy was flowing, even with only four hours of sleep. As I am flowing I start to think about pictures.  I’ve been combing through pictures; my Mom is sending me pictures.  Pictures are everywhere.  Pictures of my Grandpa RW start to float through my mind.  He’s been on my mind a lot more this week since my Mom sent me a picture of her when she was little with him.  I see him in his work coveralls.

Grandpa RW, Mawmaw, Kathie, Annie

Grandpa RW, Mawmaw, Kathie, Annie

RW was the nicest man.  He would always talk to me and make a joke about how the line could wait because he knew the owner.

Aunt Paula still tells me how my grandfather (RW) would behave when she would come get her car filled up at his gas station.  She always says he was the nicest man; very friendly to everyone.

He worked 364 days a year.  Every day except Christmas.  I can’t even imagine such a life.  Here I am doing yoga, juice cleansing and blogging my soul on the internet all the while trying to get pregnant with an egg donor.  He would not even know what to make of his granddaughter.  Sometimes I don’t know what to make of his granddaughter.

I try to explain it to him.  Now I try to explain it to all of them, actually.  My posse in heaven has grown larger over the past several years.

I’ve been talking to him since I was a little girl.  At that time, he was the only person I knew who was in heaven, so he seemed like the next best thing to talking to God.  I didn’t know what God looked like and I knew what he looked like.  He was all over the room where I slept.  Mawmaw had a way of freezing time on the walls at her house. It’s one of the reasons I always loved being there.  Nothing ever really changed much.  Everything was always familiar.  It’s probably why I always felt like I was 9 when I was there, even when I was 19 or 29.

I spent a lot of time alone as a kid, I was always talking to people who weren’t there.  I still talk to people who are not there.  When I got married and started to overhear my husband talking out loud to no one sometimes it was actually a huge relief that I was not, in fact, crazy.

We’re doing a lot of forward bending and twisting.  For the most part I am pushing deep contemplation away and trying to breathe through everything.  But my mind does start to think about our child’s stories.  I wonder about what questions they will run around asking about the pictures on our walls.  Which ones will they be drawn to?  What will have an impact? What will they ask over and over?

Did Butch go crazy in the war?

Oh, no, Butch was crazy before the war. ~ Great-Grandpa Wines

I still love for my Mom to tell this story about Grandpa Wines talking about Uncle Butch.  I think it is so funny because I knew Butch, however, I called him Busch.  When I was a kid I would go to Henrietta and he would take me out for lunch or ice cream.  I literally could not understand a word he said, but we had the best time.  He was crazy, but not in a creepy way.  But rather in a — how does that fella tie his shoes? sort of way.

Don’t we all have those family legends?  Those stories we keep telling over and over and over again.  They are not that funny or even meaningful to anyone else, but they are a part of the family lore.  Lore comes in all colors, of course.  There is always good family lore and bad family lore.  I like to remember the good family lore.  The funny family lore.  Those are the stories I want in our book.

Shavasana was on a bolster today with our knees on blocks.  As I was lying there I felt myself let go.  I could literally feel them all around me.  All four of them.  Grandpa RW.  Mawmaw.  Gran Gran.  Memom.  They were all right there.  Smiling.  I could feel the love.  They’re ready for a great-grandbaby, too.  At least I like to think so.

I surrendered to the mat and the moment.

Grandparents help us to really see our parents.  We learn our parents stories thorough them.  We learn to understand our parents through them, and ultimately, I think reflections of ourselves.  I look at all four of them and I can find me, but it’s not just genetic, it’s not just physical — it’s so much deeper than that.

My Mom and her Daddy

My Mom and her Daddy

When I look at this picture of my Mom and her Daddy, I don’t see my Mom as just my Mom.  I see her as a little girl with her Daddy.  And I think how sad it must have been to lose him less than three short months before I came into the world.  She was only 21.  He was only 49.  I put myself in the same shoes and I cry.

My Dad has a picture of himself as a baby with both of his parents on his Wells Fargo check card.  I love this.  It shows he remembers.  He remembers every day.

These are our reflections.  They live inside of us whether we hang them on the wall or hang them in our heart.  They are always there.

by month:

by Category:

60 Days On the Mat — Day 44: Yeah, My Jeans Fit

When I turned 40 I suddenly felt like my pants fit. Like I had finally come into myself.  ~ Meryl Streep

I read an interview with Meryl Streep when I first moved to New York City in 1993 where she said something along those lines.  It’s not exact, but that was the gist of it.  The quote has stuck with me.  Throughout my 20’s and even my 30’s I was always wondering, What is this mecca–the age of 40–all about?  

The hot pink alarm clock went off at 5:50am.  Someone should invent an alarm clock that gently pets you on the head and whispers, wake-up … wake-up, and brings a cup of hot tea or coffee. How amazing would that be?  This morning I felt like I was in the middle of a code red.  There was nothing gentle about it.  But I do love that hot pink alarm clock.  I love it even more when I don’t have to set it.

I went to the mat at 6:30am.  Today was slightly easier than yesterday because I went to bed earlier, but I had a splitting headache from the Zen Cleanse.  I really thought my head was going to explode.  This happened the last time I did this.  I tried to remember how great I felt on days three thru five — and pushed through it.  

I feel like I am in a really good place.  Everything is coming together and I’ve kinda come into my own. ~ Spring 

Spring Groove

Spring Groove
Photo By: Wari Om Yoga Photography

I met my friend Spring tonight for the first time in what we both determined was too long. I’ve known her for more than 25 years. We met in Boston.  We were born on the same day in 1969, but we have always been connected by much more than a birthday.  Our meet-ups generally start with these really long recaps.  She is a certified yoga instructor, singer-songwriter chant artist and performs all over Europe as Spring Groove.

As we’re talking, there is a new kind of relaxation with life, a sort of surrender to what is. She basically says her pants finally fit; using different words.

We start in child’s pose and I again long for the option to just stay in it for 75-minutes. The funny thing is, I could have stayed in it.  Good yoga teachers always stress the fact that your yoga practice is yours.  However, I knew I needed to move.  I wanted to move this headache.

As I am holding the first plank pose I notice this inner calm.  A surrender to what is.  I flash back to 1993 and the Meryl Streep quote.  So, maybe it took me until I was 43 for my pants to fit, I thought — Or maybe I was too busy over-thinking everything to realize they fit?  Or maybe I just never found the right pants?  I think I would rather say jeans.  My jeans fit.  

As we’re sitting in Aroma Cafe sipping tea and juice and talking, I can feel the shift in energy from our last meeting.  As old friends, we always pick-up right where we left off, but this time it was as if we had moved into a new realm.  We talk about my journey.  We talk about her journey.  As we’re talking I sense it again.  The surrender.  The acceptance. The calm.

I could tell Ellen was being gentle with us today.  I was not the only one struggling with the mat and the cleanse and the moment.  I go into child’s pose and sit there for several breaths.  The headache is starting to move, but not really.  The pain is still prickling around the front of my head.

I wonder, why I am doing all of this?  

As I get up from child’s pose and join the class in warrior two I think, sometimes the most important commitments we make and the ones easiest to break are those we make to ourselves.  After all, what’s wrong with letting me down?  If I’m the only one let down, who cares?  

I’m holding triangle pose; I can see clearly how that sort of tape might affect, well, just about everything.

I continue to move through the poses finding strength again in the vinyasas.  I roll through to upward facing dog and reach with my entire body.  The headache is lingering, but no longer throbbing.

Spring and Me -- 1991

Spring and Me
Boston, 1990ish

As I drove home from my evening with Spring I thought about frat parties, TJ’s Bar, Billy’s Pizza, Dad’s Diner and all sorts of other crazy memories from college in Boston. Like the guy I briefly dated who gave me an ALF doll for Christmas?  Why?  Perhaps it had something to do with the life size poster of ALF I had on the wall in my dorm room …

For some reason I always think about the frat house we went to one night at MIT where they served milk and cookies.  After all the trash can punch from Figi — I always thought it was a refreshing change, albeit a boring one.  We did not stay long. But being a person always ready for dessert, I did have a cookie or possibly two.

It’s funny how the memories glom together as these flashes in time.  And it’s always interesting to me the ones that impact you.  The ones that somehow reveal you to you.

As I am surrendering in a final forward fold on the mat,  I feel as though for the first time in a very long time I am fully honoring a commitment I made to myself.

I momentarily flash to several things started but never finished.

I feel it.  The surrender.  The acceptance.  The calm.

Oh, my jeans most definitely fit.

Today on the mat, I fully understood what Meryl Streep was saying in 1993.  As I sat talking to Spring I sensed this same sort of inner calm.  Her jeans fit, too.  Life was good.

Perhaps my journey to motherhood is about more than becoming a mother?  Maybe it’s about becoming Terry, who will be a better mother — having surrendered and accepted what is; she is calm.

Well, we can’t go too far on the calm part … being a Merrill, I will never be totally calm. But it is something to strive for.  Perhaps just calmer.  I’ll be calmER.

by month:

by Category:

60 Days On the Mat — Day 43: It’s Around the Corner

Uncle DavidMaking me laugh since 1970.

Uncle David
Making me laugh since 1970.

Is that the New York City Marathon coming towards us?

Yes.  I think so, I replied.

As I am driving to yoga this morning I recall an unforgettable 24 hours in New York City with my Uncle David.  I know this is coming up because I was feeling exactly like I felt the morning we were staring down the New York City marathon in 1993.  It was for different reasons, but the physical exhaustion that comes from extreme sleep deprivation was exactly the same.

I went to bed last night at 2:00am.  I woke up at 6:00am to go to yoga.

I am doing early morning yoga this week with Ellen and drinking 20 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the day.  It’s a reset for my digestive system after abusing it throughout the holidays.  I did this Zen Cleanse last June and I felt really great afterwards.  The juices are amazingly good.  I am hoping it will help put my body and my mind in an even better place for this cycle.

The healthier I feel, the more energy I have — the more likely I will be open and ready to receive whatever is around the corner.

After coming home from the retreat, writing Day 42 had taken a lot out of me because it was so unexpected, such a surprise.  I said I want to be surprised; someone must be listening.

I hit the mat at 6:30am.  This is not the time I usually do yoga.  This is not the time I usually do anything.  I felt almost sick from lack of sleep, but I unrolled the mat and got on it.

If these pictures are any indication, my uncle has been making me laugh practically since the day I was born. I even laugh exactly like him when I laugh really hard.  He was in Hawaii with Gran Gran and Memom–and a few months shy of 12-years old–when I was born.  He is 11 years younger than my father.  Our relationship has always been a close one.

I still remember when he and my Aunt Peggy brought me a white Snoopy watch for my 6th birthday.  I wish I could go back to my 6-year old self and say, Hey kid, don’t lose that watch.  You’re going to remember it for the rest of your life.

Always Laughing

Always Laughing

I adored my aunts (Annie and Aunt Paula), but I think we all have that one aunt or uncle we connect with at an early age for various reasons.

The one that is not our parents, but like our parents.  The one we can open up to just a little bit earlier.  The one that let’s you have just a little more fun.  The one that makes you laugh at everything.

Uncle David was that one for me.

When we pushed back into the first downward facing dog I was stiff.  Did I tell you I do not do anything at this hour? I momentarily think, Can I just sit in child’s pose for an hour and sleep?

My mind was not wandering too much as I moved through the poses, but rather, trying to focus on the moment.  Trying not to get lost in all the memories that are flooding my brain from all the pictures and the breathing and the poses.

It feels as if my entire life is swirling around me as I hold warrior one.  I push through it and move into standing forward fold with my legs in a V-position.  My mind starts to calm as Ellen leads us through intense hip stretches; the swirling stops.  I stare at my feet and think, Good grief, when are you going to get a pedicure? 

We go down to the mat in pigeon pose and I am grateful.  Grateful to have the support of the earth to hold me up.  Grateful to be resting my head and letting go more in my hips after the standing work.

Let’s go down to the South Street Seaport, I said.

Uncle David and meAugust 12, 2007

Uncle David and me
August 12, 2007

I had not lived in New York City long enough to know anything about where to take my uncle.  I thought it would be a good place to see the water and eat dinner.  It was November.  It was cold and raining.  We could see no water and ate no dinner.

Nothing was open except this club playing all Latin music. We were both in sweatshirts and jeans.  To say we looked like we were lost tourists is an understatement.

Where are you guys from? She asks as she puts down two Coors Light.

Texas! 

I’m sure this was already obvious to her before she asked the question, but we were oblivious.  We arrived around eight o’clock and we closed the place.  We drank a case of Coors Light–at least–our bill came to $40.

I think she had a crush on my uncle.  He always had that affect on women.

We move to the other side for pigeon pose. I start laughing.  I laugh every time I think about The Bear Bar.

When you finish your beer you just throw it?

Yeah! — a random bar patron says as he tosses his beer bottle against the wall and it breaks apart.  The floor of the restaurant is covered in broken glass.

Since the bill was so cheap, we left our bartender at the Latin club a really good tip.  She took us under her wing and we tagged along to an after hours bar on the upper west side called The Bear Bar.  We ended the evening at the diner next door.  I remember it as the best omelet I ever ate.

The Bear Bar was one of the most memorable moments.  Could you possibly get away with drinking a bottle of beer, throwing the bottle at the wall and watching it shatter while an entire bar of drunks cheer you on at 3:30am?  Well, yes.  It was ridiculous.  We loved it.

I am lying in shavasana filled with joy that the practice was over today.  I was tired beyond measure, but glad I had showed up.  Sometimes showing up is the best you can do that day.  Just show up.  I showed up.

As we left the diner we were walking back to my apartment and coming towards us was the New York City marathon.  Runners were everywhere.  It was lightly raining and the sun was beginning to peek through the clouds; shining on the buildings over Central Park.  I was green.  My uncle could have gone another five hours, or possibly another day.  I was glad I had stuck it through until dawn.

I went all in for a crazy evening; I showed up and had great time and a great memory with the guy who has been making me laugh since 1970.

After sleeping not nearly long enough, Uncle David had to get to Penn Station.  Before he left, we wanted to see the church where Memom and Gran Gran got married in 1944 — ‘The Little Church Around the Corner’.  Despite the fact that I was still green from all the alcohol and shaking from lack of sleep, I got up and continued our adventure.

All I knew at the time was it was at the intersection of 5th Avenue and 29th Street.  We get to the intersection and see a church.  We walk in, we take pictures, we smile, we wave — we are excited to be in the church where Memom and Gran Gran got married! Yay!

As we are walking out my uncle starts talking to someone who works there.  He tells him how his parents were married in the church when it was called The Little Church Around the Corner during WWII.  The guy looks at him and laughs.

This isn’t ‘The Little Church Around the Corner’.

Well, where is it?

It’s around the corner!

We had literally no time at that point, but we did run around the corner and take a quick peek.

As for me, I spent many a rainy afternoons during my time living in New York City in ‘The Little Church Around the Corner’ reading, and praying.  Yes, often I was praying.

Sometimes things are just around the corner.

by month:

by Category:

60 Days On the Mat — Day 42: See Me! See Me!

See me!  See Me!

See me! See Me!

See Me!  See Me!  

See Me! See Me!

When I was little this is how I am told I called out to the world every morning from my crib.  I would wake up and start saying, See me! See me! — until someone came in and saw me.  When they arrived, I greeted them with a big smile on my face.

Today was the second day of the retreat.  I went to the mat and did some sun salutations in the morning, but the real work that happened this afternoon was not in yoga poses.  It was breath work.   Continually breathing deeply for a period of time can be a gift, but you have to be ready for where it takes you.

As someone who majored in musical theater and has taken countless acting classes, this sort of opening work is not new to me.  However, it is new to me in a room with a research scientist, a type-A personality hockey player and other ‘regular people’.

I wanna run!  I wanna run!

I wanna run!  I wanna run!

As I got older, Mawmaw’s favorite story to tell me was about how I would always say, I wanna run!

Do you remember, Tige, how you would ride in the back of the pick-up truck until we got to the first fence we had to open and then say, I wanna run!  I wanna run!  I wanna run!  I wanna run!

I was lying on the mat breathing —

In-In-Out

In-In-Out

I’m cautiously excited because this week officially begins the egg donor cycle.  On Friday we both stopped the birth control pills.  Later this week, she will start the drugs to stimulate her ovaries.  I have my next appointment on Thursday and will get an update.

As I am lying there breathing–feeling completely different and more open than when I did this in November–I start wandering into my fears, What if this fails?  What if I go through all of this and my uterus is not one some women would kill for?  What if I fail?  What if I am never a Mom?  

In-In-Out

In-In-Out

I keep breathing; I see myself as a toddler saying, See me!  See me!  My Mom comes in and lifts me up; she is as thrilled to see me as I am to see her.

I have no real memories of that time beyond what I see in pictures and what I am told. But I can see in my face, I was full of joy.  I was up and ready to have an adventure.  I truly was always ready for dessert.

I wanna run!  I wanna run!

I wanna run! I wanna run!

As I continue to breathe I can see myself running next to the pick-up truck.  I am smiling and running with Dingo through the pasture.

Mawmaw drives back to me and says, Do you want a ride, Tige?

No, Mawmaw — I wanna run! I wanna run! — and off I ran.

My breathing starts to slow and the tears begin to flow.  I sense these images are really a longing for that brief time in all of our lives  before you meet your fear.  The time where your Mommy or your Mawmaw could always make it all better for you.

The time when nothing was so terrible that it couldn’t be solved with macaroni and cheese, ice cream or chicken n’ dumplings.

See me! See me!

See me! See me!

I hear the calling out again, but the little voice is different.  The toddler is different.  I am confused until I realize that the Mom entering the room was not my Mommy, but me.  I was the Mommy and the toddler looked just like a little Jonathan.  He looks at me with a giant smile and says, See me!  See me!

I am a sobbing mess.  Please do not let this be a mirage.

As I got up from the breath work I said goodbye to the fear and ‘what if’ paranoia. I was no longer going to be a woman paralyzed on the cusp of possibility.  I was going to run — run towards the image of me as Mommy.

For the things we want the most in life, sometimes I think we have to see the possibility within ourselves before it can actually happen.

I am literally in awe of the people in the room with me.  As we are talking during the closing moments of the retreat, I realize–in almost an instant–why this kind of connection is so important.  I realize why I threw out all of those self-help books so long ago.

Whether your community is your yoga class, old friends, your church, your book club — or any other group gathering in support of each other — you cannot truly open and heal without other people.  Healing of any kind cannot take place in a vacuum.

Tonight we enjoyed a lovely dinner at my in-laws with friends.  One of the guests complimented me and said I was glowing.  I told her it was because I was doing yoga every day.  I thought saying I did deep breathing work and dreamed I had a baby that looked like Jonathan who called out–See me!  See me!–might not be considered appropriate cocktail conversation.

by month:

by Category:

60 Days On the Mat — Day 41: Let. It. Go.

At some point I am going to collapse from the exhaustion of it all, but not until Day 61.

Today begins the final 20 days.  I honestly cannot believe I just wrote that.  I am incredibly grateful for my supportive friends and family–because without you–I would have started, but I never would have been able to sustain it without the motivation that someone out there was reading it.

I have never been good at journaling.  I would only write during difficult times.  By the time I would find myself on the other side of the difficulty, I would throw out the journal thinking, Why on earth would I ever want to read that again?  I hated every minute of living through it, I’m never going to want to read about it.  

That has been the nice thing about this blog.  I’m remembering the things I want to remember and really letting go of that which I don’t.  I want to remember the moments that mattered.  The moments that built me.  The moments that took my breath away.

All that other mishegoss — Let. It. Go.

It’s incredibly grounding.  I feel ready for whatever is around the corner; like I’ve passed a test.

Today I went to the mat for eight hours, figuratively speaking.  Chaz is hosting a mini-retreat this weekend for a small group.  So all day today and all day tomorrow we are ‘retreating’ for eight hours each day in one of the glorious canyons of Los Angeles, away from all civilization (meaning, no cell service).

We arrived at 9:00am.  When I walked into the room, I felt like an entirely new person from when I wrote this almost two months go. The weekend before Thanksgiving in El Capitan I had just finished my last failed ivf cycle with my own eggs and I was in pretty empty place.

Even though I have not experienced it yet, I know there is something about the physical longing to give birth that the poor men in our lives simply cannot understand.  Jonathan wanted to fix it — but I knew when we got the call telling us the final cycle was negative, I was going to have to find the sunlight peaking through the clouds again for myself.

I was going to have to come to terms with the fact that I had a really great shot at having a baby with a younger woman’s eggs — but I was never going to have this picture:

Mom and Me1978, I think?

Mom and Me
1978, I think?

The truth is, I may not have had this picture even with my own eggs.  My parents look like brother and sister, practically.  I was bound to be this prefect mixture of two people that looked a lot alike.

Jonathan and I look nothing alike.  And honestly, it’s not up to me.  It’s not up to Jonathan.  Despite all of my struggles with faith, I do know there is something much more divine involved in the creation of life.

There are certain things in life where the only answer is: Have faith.

And I do.  For the first time, I really do.

Today we sat in a circle–a much smaller circle than the one in November–and I just spoke openly. It felt good.  I teared up for a bit, but I know it  had more to do with my collective journey for the past 41 days than it had to do with my eggs.

What’s left of my eggs and I are on speaking terms again.  The conversations are not deep, but I don’t hate them and I am no longer trying to fix them.  They have thanked me.

Our time here in this body, on this earth is so short — and it gets faster the closer we get to the end.  I don’t want to rush to the end filled with bitterness, regret, resentments, anger, anxiety, fear, shame or any other number of useless emotions.

Why would you want to spend the limited moments we have feeling any of that?

Personally, I don’t want to rush at all.  I want to slow down and take it all in.

Maybe that’s why I opened when I stopped racing biology?  I’m no longer trying to outrun anything.  Instead, I have faith in The Girl Who Likes Chicken n’ Dumplings and feel immense gratitude for her willingness to be an egg donor.

I’ll have a picture like that one above in some form or another.  Maybe losing the fake tree background.  Or not.

At the end of the day — after the circle, the lunch, the yoga, the hike — one of the attendees came up to me with tears in her eyes and basically told me she was adopted and she was incredibly grateful to her adoptive mother.  Her adoptive mother and her birth mother are actually friends now.

Life has a funny way of working out however it’s supposed to if we’re open enough to allow it to happen.

She said little spirits come for us to raise in all sorts of ways.  She knew my time was coming.

My dear friend Shannon says the same thing.  Actually, lots of people say the same thing.  Even me.

She finished by saying she was incredibly moved by my story and grateful I shared it.  She gave me a big hug.  But what she gave me more than all of that, was a piece of truth.  A piece of who she really is.

We all spend a lot of time posturing in our alleged perfection, which is an illusion.  I prefer basking in the imperfection, it’s absolutely authentic and way more fun.

Anyone remember Glamour Shots?

C’mon, give yourself permission to be a fool.

I dare any one of you to take your Glamour Shot and make it a profile pic.

I dare any one of you to take your Glamour Shot and make it a profile pic.

 

 

 

 

by month:

by Category: