Sunday, January 17, 2016
When you don't have an opportunity to get married until you are peri-menapausal, everything about your new life as a married couple revolves around your period. (All the men that read my blog just signed out.) When was it? When is coming? How many days between it and the last one? How long did it last? Then after many unfortunate miscarriages and failed attempts at fertility treatments, your brain is fried and your bank account is as empty as your heart, you decide that you might be okay living as a "couple without children." After that, when you have a menstrual period it just pissed you off. There should be a tap. An OFF button. There should be a merciful way to stop the egg from dropping. The shriveled, ancient, useless, defective, eggs.
A lot of people have asked me if we would take Andy's sperm and someone else's egg, like one of my younger sisters, and have them married in a dish and then implanted back into one of said sisters. I personally would not. I don't have that kind of constitution to look at "my" child and know that I was actually looking at the face of Paula, Penny or JoEllen (no matter how beautiful they all are). No matter how immature it sounds, I don't need to raise my own niece or nephew. I am not that enlightened.
We asked about a new treatment we had heard of for older women, where they take your eggs out of you, diagnose the good from the ones that look like shrunken apple heads, create a baby in a dish with the eggs, and then implant it into a surrogate (say one of my sisters) and voila! Borrowed oven, 100% Hunsaker baby. I could do this. I would actually love to do this. So we checked into it.
Egg removal: $12,000
Separation of the good the bad and the ugly: $15,000
Build viable petri dish baby: $20,000
Invitro in surrogate: $25,000
Insurance in case you lose your income in the middle of it: $5000
Pray that it all catches on the first time (replace the knees in all my pants)
Hunsaker baby: Priceless
Priceless if you can pay the price.
Some do: movie stars and the 1% of our population that holds 95% of our wealth. I read about it all the time.
School teachers do not.
So...I turned 50 last year and we (I mean me...I don't know that Andy has ever processed what it will mean not raise kids in this life) officially went through the grieving and mourning process of children I will never carry. We told God that he could use us in other ways if He so chose. We thanked him for the opportunity, then said "we're going to be okay" as a kind of new commitment that we would re-focus our marriage in a more NON-traditional way if He would tell us what to do. We immediately got new jobs and three new church callings each.
We love the non-traditional! Bring it on. We are open-minded Mormons that have a strong relationship together and with God. We went into this next "we're-going-to-be-okay-without-children" phase in our marriage with faith and laughter. I threw away all the old prescriptions of Clomid and Progersterone, I donated all the hopeful baby quilt fabric I had amassed and I shook out my demons with a nice new prescription of something that helps me forget and move forward. I was emotionally stalled for so many years. It felt good to get a kick start even if it was a prescribed one. I recognized within a couple of weeks the thick density of the fog I had been living in when it lifted. It was really amazing. Thank you little pills.
I feel better.
I made a conscious choice to get back in the classroom, where I belong (that was always part of the problem), and I'm in a dream school and an even dreamier department. I'm a better teacher than I have ever been. I'm a better nurturer of other people's kids. I have regained my passion for work and family even though I still dream of retiring sooner than later so that I can start quilting, stay home with my little puppies and do some ironing. Because I married a man so much younger than me, I will wait a long time to do things with him. I hope I'm not too feeble to serve a mission with him or cross the country in a motor home when he retires. I will be 71 when Andy retires. I hope I can still walk then. Oh well. That was the price I have paid to marry someone that was perfectly right for me in ever way...every other way. I have exquisite blessings.
I want certain things and I can't have them in a traditional way. So I'm in a fierce combat with life all the time. I need to stop fighting against the traditional and start accepting that everything Andy and I do as a married couple from this point on will not revolve around raising our own kids....just someone else's kids. I need to stop waiting for the next big thing. I'm done with the big stuff. Now it seems like an endless stream of little, mundane, everyday stuff.
And I started working in the Payson Temple on the weekends.
(Notice how I started that sentence with "and?" Well, I've been taught all my life to never start a sentence with 'and' but John Steinbeck always started sentences that way so whoever writes the rules...what the heck? J.O.H.N. S.T.E.I.N.B.E.C.K.)
We are the youngest married couple, on our temple shift. Our prayer meetings are filled with the a sea of white hair and wisdom. Don't get me wrong, this has been an incredible experience - but I can't help think, as we look around the entire shift, that we may have missed the stuff a couple does between getting married and then working in the temple. It's almost as if we skipped from the honeymoon to the temple shift without having a life in between.
This simple calling has made me feel much older than I am. It has thrown me into a funk. The drive to the temple reminds me that my kids are not home watching Saturday morning cartoons. The dogs are sitting in the window waiting for us to return. No babysitter needed. And as the youth of the church come into the baptistry where I work, I am reminded that I still work for other people's kids. Even on Saturday. It is another selfish pity party that I go through - I didn't expect to be bitter about working in the temple of all things, but it's there none the less. I do however, love, love, love what I do there and wouldn't stop doing it for the world.
Unless someone gave me a child.
If there was a child (and maybe two or three) I could have someone to help me roll out the Christmas cookies. I might even have a reason to make cookies more than once a year. If there were children, I would teach them stuff. SO much stuff. They would not escape me telling them every second of the day WHY stuff is stuff and HOW stuff got to be stuff and WHAT stuff is good or bad or WHERE to go to do fun stuff..with me.
There would be a reason to come home from work, a reason to shut the computer off, a reason to buy children's books, a reason to Christmas shop, a reason to watch Disney movies, a reason to have birthday parties, a reason to make a vegetable for dinner, a reason to set the table, a reason to decorate for Halloween, a reason to hide Easter eggs, a reason to have a tree swing, a reason to go to a soccer game, a reason to read to someone, a reason to have "family" prayer, a reason to buy Spiderman bandaids, a reason to get a new family picture taken every year.
A reason to buy baby shoes. Is there anything cuter?
And there would be an endless stream of "ah ha" moments and what teacher doesn't crave that? There would be that feeling you get when your baby falls asleep in your arms. There would be someone to leave my wedding ring to when I died. There would be someone to call me "mom." And there would be hugs. There would be kisses.
There would be this!
I love otters. Ever seen Jim Henson's "Emmett Otter's Jug Band Christmas?" If you have kids, you should own this video. (What am I saying? I own this Muppet movie in three formats...)
It's a strange phase I'm going through. Sort of baby hungry, but more like toddler to 7 year-old hungry and I desperately crave the touch of a child's hug. I crave sitting on the couch watching Frozen for the 27th time running my hands through my child's hair. Sounds so goofy. But I saw a little boy leaning up against his mom on the church pew and I could not look at anything else. I have been stalking some friends (several couples) with new babies and it literally hurts right now...it's a keen and terrible heartache when I look at that tiny peaceful face being swaddled in warm blankets and rocked in the arms of it's DNA contributors. I get fixated on it until my heart aches, I want to throw up and I feel like I'm literally locked out of a store that sells air.
But I can't not look.
I imagine how that baby smells and what it would be like to kiss that silky little head. I've become overly sensitive to people talking about how great it is to have children, like: "No matter how hard it is, it is a joy like nothing else you've ever known." It's like someone is holding a giant bag of candy right in front of your face and they won't share. Lots of people get to buy this candy, except you. You are not even allowed to go into the candy store.
So I work. I have always worked outside my home because I have no reason not to. I don't even have a reason to leave work unless there is laundry to be done at home...work for work. So I find reasons to stay at work. More work. I've tried filling my life with reading, or writing and a person can only sit at a computer so long before you have to wander on over to Facebook and see everyone's new babies...er...bags of candy.
I try to think of things that are better than candy, things that I can put in my bag that are as awesome as that candy. We thought raising dogs would do it. I've tried to make Lily put her little 3 inch-long front legs around my neck but she hates being that close to my face without being able to lick my skin off and then I just end up getting bugged and saying "you dumb dog, get down and go find your baby." Even Lily has a baby. It only has one eye now and she nearly ate the squeaker the day she got it, but she knows what "baby" means.
Andy and I have been asked (to no apparent end) when we will adopt. I'm writing another blog about why people should never ask that question. Blog to appear ASAP.
We have also been encouraged (by the masses) to get into the foster-care system. It seems to me that we do a form of "foster-care" all day long, however, this idea doesn't bug me as much because I know there are kids out there that could use a couple of goof balls like me and Andy to call home. But for some reason, we haven't felt compelled (by the Spirit) to do this...yet. Everyone that I have talked to about the foster system says "do it for the money and for no other reason. It will break your heart." Well, we don't need the money and I surely don't need to repair my heart another time. No thanks.
Still...the heartbreak I have in Disneyland when I fixate on parents in line waiting to take a picture of their kids with Mickey Mouse does not go away. Have I said how much I hate mice?
Finally, don't tell me that I'll get the opportunity to raise kids in the next life. Duh. I know this already. But my natural man needs the hug of nine year-old so badly. MY nine-year old.
So my maternal instincts are for sale. They have only been used for 12 hours. Very dusty - needs a good scrub. Would gladly trade for condo time in the Bahamas...or anyplace where there are no happy families enjoying their time together before so and so goes off to college or a mission.
Offers can be sent to Spanish Fork High School or you can find us at the Payson LDS Temple on Saturday mornings just biding our time and trying to show God how much we are invested in the promise that we will get to raise our kids in the next life. I know it with all my broken, prescription- altered heart.