A Literal Pity Party

Pity. We have all at one time or another thrown ourselves a pity party. You know, hiding in a closet screaming into a half empty ice cream carton, “why me?” About six months after my husband’s hypopanpituitarism diagnosis (summer 2015), my husband was in the midst of a major pity party for one. He was a joy to live with. The treatments were not working fast enough or actually working at all or causing horrible side effects, we were always battling insurance companies, and we were both utterly frustrated. There was a lot of “Why me??” going on. He was feeling pretty alone in all of this – kind of how depression (pity) works.

I decided to host a surprise pity party for him. He needed to feel some love. My mom and I got crafty. It turns out a pituitary looks like testicles. I kid you not.

JDawgParty
Old Juneau Dog really got into the party spirit with her homemade pituitary pity party hat!
His mother was late to the party which made my blood boil. She was not into the idea of the pity party, thinking Shane wouldn’t like it. Boy, was she fucking wrong. Shane loved it. Perhaps this is not how she wanted her pity party to look like for she was also dealing with the fact that her son was diagnosed with a disorder that none of us knew that much about. It was good for everyone to have this elephant in the room dragged out for the world to see. This is life, and we can’t pretend that it always goes as planned. In fact, I’ve noticed it really never goes to plan.

 

Pinata
Nothing as therapeutic as smashing something that represents what you are so mad at.

The party was a hit – literally as we all smashed the pituitary pinata. Shane even had a friend drive 7 hours to come to the party. Sometimes, a pity party is best with friends. And cake.

 

PitCake
Flowers (leftover from our wedding) had little pity sayings like this one that reads “You can’t have your cake and eat it too. Really? Watch me!”

 

Hiking in the Rain, Almost as Good as Dancing

img_5392

A few weeks ago we mapped out fun things we were going to do this summer. This weekend we had scheduled a backpacking trip. As the date approached, the overwhelming sense of home and farm chores took hold, and the idea of prepping for an overnight backpacking trip seemed too daunting. I wanted to scrap the whole thing, but Shane pushed for it. I’m glad he did. On Sunday, we headed east of Fairbanks to do a short hike. The dogs enjoyed some quality time and getting to explore a new trail.

By the time we reached the top, a thunderstorm was rolling in. As the lightning started, we thought it best we vacate the iron mountain. Though not before a quick selfie.

img_5403

I especially enjoyed the last bit of the trail where we walked through an old forest fire site. In 2014, over 700,000 acres burned in this area. It was somewhat eerie walking through the blackened trees.

img_5406-1

We head to Seattle the first week in July. We are planning on doing several hikes in our downtime. A good way to escape reality for a bit.

 

 

Acceptance

I was brought up in the generation right before the “Everyone is a Winner!” generation. I grew up in the “You can do anything you set your mind to” generation. Why do we raise children on such false promises? I know reality is a tough pill swallow but what is harder is realizing as an adult, that no matter how hard you work, some things you simply do not have control of.

It has been hard to accept that I truly have minimal control if I will be a biological parent or not. I have minimal control of becoming a mother. Period. It is out of my hands, and I know life would be easier if I could accept it. Not roll over and take it, but accept that which I cannot control.

I have a good friend that has been looking for a job post-graduation and the pickings have been slim. In an email, she wrote that she is “working on adjusting my goals so that they reflect things that I have control over.” Yes!

I’ve been standing in the crowd, watching my life unfold on the big screen and yelling, “This wasn’t part of the script!” How do you accept that you may not have your dream job after you spent years going to school? How do you accept that you may never be a mother no matter what supplement you take, what fertility procedure you do, or which adoption agency you choose? How do you accept this when you have been told growing up that you could have it all if you simply set your mind to it? Have I not worked hard enough? Have I not sacrificed enough of myself to achieve this goal? I’ve done everything I should have done and more, yet I’m coming to realize that you cannot truly have it all, no matter how hard you work for it. Life simply doesn’t work that way. I need to accept this and get back to living my life, even the parts I don’t quite accept yet. Time to set goals I do have control of.

Accept

Finding my Quiet

Last week, I went on my first solo run in months. It happened to be my first trail run of the summer. My mind naturally works fast. I have a hard time focusing on one project and even in conversations; my mind quickly leaves it and finds something new to ponder. Running is the one time I can quiet my brain down. I simply have to out run it. About a mile in, I’m breathing heavy, smiling deeply, and have found that zen yogis talk about. For me, I simply have to run hard to get there.

I need to work toward making more moments like this, outside of running. It is so easy to get caught up in life that you forget to simply be.

Embrace this moment
There is nowhere else to be
Find your Middle Ground

A hiaku from blog Find Your Middle Ground

 

 

A Childless Father

The first sign that I knew that my husband was going to make a great father was his fear of being a bad father. As we enter our fourth year of being childless not by choice and enter our 3rd round of IVF, I still see a pretty amazing father. He has already given his children more than many fathers will. While we cannot parent our children, he is not shy about being fatherly to others. As a paramedic, he calms and treats scared, hurt children too often. As an uncle, he plays the serious yet fun one. Who else would give a toddler a huge stick to beat a pinata with? That was his idea.

ToddlerWithAStick

He loves to introduce them to his favorite pastimes such as skiing. He will patiently untangle them. When they are tired of skiing, he is willing to play sled dog, pulling the child behind him as they hold onto his ski poles.

Ski

He sacrifices his own comfort for kids he doesn’t even know. When teaching high school, I needed Elodea (an invasive aquatic weed) for my students. My husband put on his waders and went into a creek in October to gather it for them. In Alaska. He said it was cold but I wouldn’t know since I didn’t go in.

Eloda

He is okay with being the bad influence to his friend’s kids. In fact, someone needs to be it so it might as well be us.

Screen Shot 2017-06-17 at 2.35.17 PM.png

We are there also to help out our friends with kids. Even though we were experiencing our first IVF failure, we agreed to watching a friend’s infant while he got his work schedule figured out. He looks so good with a baby.

IMG_3140

Since we have yet to our own human child, our IVF puppy has won the lottery. All of our critters are simply spoiled.

 

So today, I celebrate fathers with children but also the childless fathers that do not get the recognition that they deserve. They help shape and nurture your children while they wait for theirs.

Saying Good-Bye to My Best Friend

As a sophomore in college, I was in the midst of thinking what was I going to do post-graduation. I had two ideas: Peace Corps or a dog. On a whim, I stopped by the local animal shelter and fell in love with an out of control black lab named Juneau. I had wanted a dog and chickens for as long as I could remember. However, my mom is neither a dog or a chicken person. After having both dogs and ducks, I very much understand why my mother was not going to get the 10-year-old me either.

Juneau was a little over a year old when I took her home and both of us required lots of training. She was there next to me throughout my 20s and early 30s, a fixture in my daily life while I was her entire life.

Together we’ve hiked mountains and hills across Alaska.

 

Screen Shot 2017-05-22 at 2.43.35 PMScreen Shot 2017-05-22 at 2.43.52 PMScreen Shot 2017-05-22 at 2.43.10 PMScreen Shot 2017-05-22 at 2.45.45 PM

 

She eagerly endured the car trip to DC and then back to Alaska. Always up for a car ride and an adventure.

We learned about ticks together as we explored the East Coast.

She was there when I received my undergraduate degree, my masters, and my first job. I sobbed into her fur after many break-ups. She accepted my husband as one of the pack when she realized he was here to stay. She was with us when we got married and thoroughly enjoyed her mishap with nacho cheese that night.

She has had her toes in both the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean.

She wanted to be everyone’s friend, and most everyone wanted to her friend.

 

She tolerated dress-up and endless photo-ops.

 

She was always up for an adventure even at the end when her body was no longer on board. She still gave life everything she had. She did everything with overwhelming enthusiasm. Two traits I want to emulate.

Friday we had to say good-bye to my best friend. As much as I would have wanted her to live forever, I couldn’t allow her to live in pain for me. After 14 years of non-stop adventure, she was ready to go even if I wasn’t ready. She was everything I imagined my first dog would be, I simply wish she could of lived forever.

 

 

Turns out I am a mother!

Mother fucking awesome! Damn, my friends are the best and are on a roll! I had this card waiting for me when I got home today.


This got me to thinking of all the support I’ve received from both people I have met physically and those online. I got all kinds of emotional up in here.

EcoFeminist sent me this print this winter representing the support of this online network of amazing women. These friendships and understanding have made this journal bearable. How did women do this before the Internet?!? I owe a lot of my current level of sanity to her.

One of my best friends took the time to fold and mail me 1,000 cranes for good luck. I also have a pillow from her that says “My career plans were more exciting when I was five.” which cracks me up daily and a wooden duck that she hand carried all the way up from California that joined us on a hiking trip through Cordova before winding up in Fairbanks.

Then when my 2nd round of IVF failed back in August 2016 and I was at the lowest I’ve ever been (I was flat on the bottom of rock bottom), another best friend (I have a lot of bests) sent me a feeling journal to record how I feel. She filled in a few pages and allowed room for me to expand. I cried reading it then and cried again today re-reading it.

My husband also restocked the wine fridge today and is currently digging out my hammock! My hero!

I’m feeling very emotional, sentimental, well taken care of, and loved today. Man, my friends are mother fucking awesome! Getting all weepy.