Holiday Blues and Joys and Blues and Joys

I don't know if it's getting older, infertility, adoption, family issues or what, but every year the holidays seem to become more difficult to endure. S and I decided not to go to the one Christmas party we were invited to because the ex-friend who pretends like I no longer exist was going. I was able to endure her a couple months ago at another party, but for some reason, in this season of forgiveness (ha), celebration and togetherness, I couldn't face yet another night of our careful dance around each other.

Barreling down a different path to parenthood punctured by immense grief and tough decisions has changed us. It's a path that was a true test of our willingness to work together, grow together and fight through the sh*t that was thrown our way. There has been an immense amount of sh*t. One of my friends who is facing her own difficulties with parenting a child outside of the norm stated that she feels like she shouldn't be so upset because other people face worse issues. I maintain that the worst thing you've ever been through is the worst thing you've ever been through. We have to give ourselves permission to feel bad, angry and sad over the worst things we've been through. Comparing ourselves to others who have it worse doesn't make us feel better. It makes us feel like we shouldn't be feeling what we're feeling.

Don't get me wrong, I love that I now have two kids to celebrate the holidays with. I love that this family building journey is almost over for us, and that we can start planning for vacations again instead of squirrling away our money to pay for the services associated with adoption. I love that I can take my kids to see San.ta, play in the snow and see X's super excited face on Chri.stmas morning. All of that is joy. Finally, there's joy where there once was indifference.

The joy is tempered by our experiences in getting here. It's also tempered by the reality of parenting two kids. This is my third week on maternity leave and all I feel is that I'm still behind. I thought this would be my holiday season to finally bake just for fun, calories be damned, yet I've barely managed to make sure I have sugar cookie ingredients for San.ta's cookies.

Yet, Chris.tmas is almost here whether I'm ready or not. Whether I've done all the preparations and activities I wanted to do or not. Whether my relationship with my parents is good or not. 

The focus now shifts to letting go of my expectations and just enjoying my family. 

MY. FAMILY.

I can do that.