Sunday, October 31, 2021

Halloween Weekend Wonders

It's Halloween night. Trick or treating is over by now. My thoughts go out to every teacher and paraprofessional tomorrow. The day after Halloween is never the easiest when you work in a school. Sugar can be quite the drug.

Halloween was fun as a kid and it was fun as a young adult. During my dark years of infertility, Halloween was excruciating. I wrote about it here, calling it the hardest day of the year

And now... It's... Fine. Plain old fine. Not a big deal either way. I enjoy seeing costumes and I love eating candy. And... That's about it.

But that in itself is a miracle.


And it doesn't end there.

Here's another Halloween miracle: I talked to my mom yesterday morning for over an hour. I talked to her for an hour last week too. And the week before that. In fact, we've gotten in the routine of talking on Saturday mornings for a couple of months now. 

We are both very thankful for this change in our historically challenging relationship.


It's moments like these (Halloween doesn't hurt anymore? And my mother and I are talking frequently?) that remind me that I don't know the future and that's okay. 

Hmmm... Maybe everything that I am feeling doomsday-ish about won't actually happen... 

But even if the worst does happen, I will survive. 

And do my best to thrive.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Too Much & Not Enough

That's how I'm feeling these days, like everything is either too much or not enough.

Work? Too much. Definitely too much. Very demanding, low pay, long hours.
Weekends? Not enough. Please. I need more. I need every moment I can take to try and relax.

Pandemic? Too much. It's month 19 and we're all breaking in our own ways. Short-fused. Foggy.
Pandemic precautions? Not enough. Not where I live anyway. :( When does this end? And how?

My feelings? Too much. I'm sad one day. I'm anxious the next. Ok, I'm anxious every day... But I also take time to be thankful every day. It's exhausting. But it could be worse. It could be much, much worse. I don't ever want to take my health, home, or groceries for granted.

My energy? Not enough. Except it is. I'm not expecting myself to go full pace, nonstop. Not now. It's impossible. I do expect myself to follow through with my commitments, but I'm also making less commitments. Working part-time. Volunteering a little. Sleeping a lot. My job and the pandemic require it.

It's hard right now. It's really hard. I'm tired. We're all tired. Nobody is having a good time.

But I do believe in enjoying the little things. I believe in cultivating gratitude. I just ate some cinnamon cookies. They were delicious. There's still a pandemic, inflation, a shipping crisis, and climate change, but I also enjoyed my cookies. 

I don't know how I endured infertility. I couldn't enjoy the little things back then. I don't know how I got through those years. I can barely believe I survived. 

Even now it's hard to believe I created a completely new life for myself. And I'm the one living it.

One thing at a time. 

I couldn't think about all of the changes I needed to make all at once. Too much.
I just couldn't stay stuck in the life that I had. Not enough.

I guess that's how we're all getting through these challenging times. One moment at a time.
Anything more is too heavy and way too much, but anything less is superficial and not enough.

Go easy, my friends.

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Five Years Here

It's my 5th Blogoversary! Thank you for being here!!

I did a pretty good job describing why I blog in last year's blogoversary post.


Today I had some time (and the emotional bandwidth) to continue rereading my old posts and labeling them. I began where I left off. In June 2018. The summer I moved out of state and the summer my marriage ended. Oh.

It began innocently enough. I moved to an apartment in a new state to finish up my clinical rotations to complete my degree. My husband stayed at his job in our old city where I used to live. I unpacked and decorated and started cooking again for the first time in years. I believe I was really starting to come alive again...

It happened quickly. All of the big and little things that I'd chalked up to the stress of moving never got better after we moved. Everything got worse. I told my husband I didn't want to be married anymore and he didn't try to convince me otherwise. We were getting divorced. I knew I would be taking a break from blogging so I wrote this post on 8/20/18 about life turning out beautifully.

I returned to blogging on 1/4/19 with a renewed enthusiasm for life. I didn't mention my divorce.

I kept blogging like usual for several more months. Then I wrote my annual post for what I call my Survivor Anniversary and that seemed to be the best time to share my change in marital status. Interestingly, it's also the same post where I mention taking my first sewing class.

I shared a little bit more about my marriage and divorce here.
And I shared when the divorce was final here.

Most importantly, I wrote a post when I started taking quilting classes. This was right after the time that my divorce was finalized. After decades of searching, I had finally found my medium as an artist. I find the timing of this discovery to be very interesting!


And that's where I am with my reflective thoughts... 

My divorce has been final for over two years. My last IVF was over six years ago. So many lives, so many lifetimes ago... I would have predicted NONE of it. Instead, I wrote about all of it. 

It was just too much to carry by myself.

Thank you for reading.

Love, Phoenix

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Parenting, the verb

God I wanted to parent so bad. It's an ache in my heart, a vibration and a yearning throughout my whole body. I don't romanticize the idea of parenting. I know it's a 24/7 gig that lasts for 25 years to life. I know it's hard work. I know it's expensive. I once joked to my dad that I was "the worst economic investment he ever made." He laughed and said, "Trust me, the investment wasn't economic." And then we both laughed together. 

I don't think parenting is all cute moments and baby showers. 

Parenting is hard work.


I've always felt like I was born to parent. The verb, not the noun. And now I get to kinda do that with my pediatric patients. With appropriate boundaries of course. I am most definitely not the parent. But I do get to play, teach, set boundaries, maintain high expectations, and positively reinforce every kid's progress, effort, attitude, and just the individual self that each kid is. 

I get to parent the parents too. Respectfully and professionally of course. I get to hear about their problems, concerns, and excitement, pride, and happiness about their child. I get to positively reinforce all the good that they are doing and what all they are providing for their children. I get to validate their stress and exhaustion and I get to encourage and celebrate with them too. 

A mother arrived late with her child to an appointment the other day. She was apologizing, saying how it had been a hectic morning. And I got to smile and say, "It's okay. You're here. And you got here safely. All of us did. I'm so proud of all of us for this moment right here." 

Later she was sharing some of her current stresses with parenting and I simply said, "You're doing a great job." And do you know what she said? She said, "Thank you. I don't remember the last time someone said that to me." Ohmygosh, YES, I am here to support the parents. 

That reminds me of another fun moment for me at work. I evaluated a child and walked him out to the car. His parents looked at me and asked, "How did he do?" And I immediately and genuinely belted out, "You all are lucky! Your kid is amazing!!" And they both smiled so big and said, "We think so too!" And everyone felt good in the moment. 

How many times do parents only hear about the bad stuff? I thought about this often when I was teaching. Once I called a mom to tell her how much I enjoyed working with her son and she told me it was the first positive phone call she had ever received from the school.

So I just realized... Even before infertility, I enjoyed supporting parents.

Parents. The noun. The people with a very specific role and a multitude of responsibilities.

Parenting. The verb. The hard work that parents actually do.

I think a lot of people think they want to be a parent, but they don't think about the actual 24/7 parenting. I think people underestimate or just don't realize HOW MUCH and what all different kinds of work parenting demands. Not everyone of course. But a lot of people.

I really wanted TO parent. Yes, I wanted to BE a parent, but I also wanted to do the parenting.  

Like I already wrote above, I kinda get to parent at my job. And then I get to come home to a quiet house that's only messy from me and my boyfriend. I get to do what I like/need to restore for the next day without taking care of someone else. The fact that I do have this daily respite in my life did not use to bring me any comfort at all. But now it does. I'm glad that changed! Lol. I really do appreciate my life and love my home a lot now.

But I will still share the fact that I shed some tears this morning. Not a full on cry, but several tears escaped. I told my boyfriend, "I just really wanted to parent." Verb form.