In yesterday’s post I incorrectly stated that Mi.Vida does not give gifts or care about Hallmark holidays such as Valentine’s Day. I also eluded to the fact that I would not be receiving anything that night in honor of heart day. These were inaccurate statements, as was proven by Mi.Vida’s fabulous efforts yesterday, February 14, 2012.

When I got home from parking the car, I found my daughter in her crib waiting for me with this.

After I wrestled her for my Valentine (and almost initiated a total meltdown) I found that my cat, who was hiding in her tube, also had a little something for me.

Finally, Mi.Vida gave me his own Valentine. All three had very heartfelt notes from their givers, although the cat didn’t have many nice things to say.

Of course I bawled the whole way through the final card, totally overwhelmed by Mi.Vida’s thoughtfulness. He also got me my favorite burritos (which required quite a commute in the wrong direction) and informed me we’d be watching the first episode of a dorky sci-fi show I used to love and have always wanted to share with him. All while he gave me a massage.

So yeah, Mi.Vida went all out and gave me the best Valentine’s Day I could have ever hoped for. It wasn’t so much the actual cards, but what he wrote in each one, that really touched my heart. And while I still don’t know why exactly these demonstrations of affection mean so much to me, I can assure you that last night I felt loved, adored and appreciated.

I also felt like the luckiest girl alive.

Thank you my love. You’re the best! XOXO

Valentine’s Day – Forever My Nemesis

It’s Valentines. For the great majority of my life I never had a Valentine. In fact, I was never in a relationship before meeting Mi.Vida at the ripe old age of 25. I know it might not seem like a big deal to spend all of your high school, college and early-twenties years single, but when all your friends are in relationships, and experiencing the things that people in relationships experience, that many years alone feels like a long time.

Spending all those years waiting for someone to love you, wondering why no one loves you–one can start to feel unlovable.

I hated Valentine’s Day during those years. Loathed it. It was an annual reminder of my loveless state. Every year it was like a slap in my face and I spent it alone, the sole Valentine I received most years was from my mother.

I still don’t like Valentine’s Day much, but my reasons have changed.

Valentine’s Day reminds me of that loneliness, of the paralyzing fear that there was something inherently wrong with me, that I would never find someone to love, or to love me.

I’m the kind of person that enjoys tokens of affection. I like getting little presents and cards on days like these. I know it’s silly, but I like knowing that someone thought of me ahead of time, that they wanted to show me how much they loved me. That they cared enough to go out and get me a little something. I always showed my own love that way and so I kind of expect that if someone loves me, they will do the same.

Mi.Vida is not into present giving. His family just doesn’t do it, not for big things like birthdays and Christmas and definitely not for Hallmark holidays like Valentine’s Day. It’s been a hard transition for me but I’ve gotten there. Almost. Most of the time I’m fine to let go of my old present buying/receiving obsession. Most of the time I’m totally fine ignoring this pink and red heart-themed holiday.

And then a colleague at work get’s two dozen roses delivered to the staff room and I can’t help but think how nice it would be to receive a similar token of my partner’s love. How amazing it would feel for everyone else to see how much he cares for me. For me to see it, up on display.

It’s silly, because I know he does care, I have no doubt that he does love me. And just because I was accustomed to showing love in that way doesn’t mean Mi.Vida doesn’t do love me if he fails to do the same. My mind is completely aware of this – and so is my heart – so why does it still hurt sometimes?

And why do I want to have something to show people? Why do I need that little token to hang on to? I’ve spent the last year ruthlessly disposing of all manner of silly tokens just like the ones people give on this holiday – what would I even want Mi.Vida to give me?

It’s strange, to not understand the motives of one’s feelings. I hope that someday I’ll be able to figure it all out, and that Valentine’s Day will stop causing me the angst it does now.

I guess for now I’ll just cling to the Valentines that I do have, and for whom I’m so, so thankful.

Time Warp Tuesdays: The Holidays

I know I’m late for the Time Warp but that’s okay. I still want to participate and the linky’s open all week so I will. I urge you to do the same.

Today’s topic is the holidays. I have to admit I was unsure if I even had a post about the holidays. I kind of don’t. I do have two post written on Christmas but neither of them really tackle the meaning of the holidays. They are both just quick posts that summarize where I found myself on those particular days.

In 2009 I was pregnant for the second time, waiting for my NTU debacle to be over. Because they had waited until the last possible day to schedule me for the NTU, and because Isa always measured four days ahead, she was too big to do the scan. That meant I could only get the blood work and receive a significantly less accurate estimation of my chances of certain birth defects – weeks after I would have been given an estimation by the actual NTU. Christmas of that year found me feeling sick from the I had just started in an attempt to control my overwhelming anxiety and sure that we’d get bad news from the second blood test. Even though I had every reason to be joyful, my anxiety made it nearly impossible.

2010 was a very different Christmas than the year before. That year my family was visiting my aunts, uncles, cousins and grandmother in St. Louis. I was elated to be there, sharing my daughter with her adoring extended family. I spent most of the visit capturing wonderful moments shared with family on my new iPhone’s new Hipstamatic app. I didn’t have much time to write on that trip so instead I posted photos every day for six days (if you’re so inclined you can see them all here: Part I, Deux, Three, 3.5, IV and 5. Christmas day was the fifth day of those installments.

At the bottom of the Christmas day post I also mention something else:

I know that holidays can be a very hard time for those who are in the IF trenches or have experienced a loss. I’ve read man posts about those struggles in the past few days. I’ve spent much of my happy Christmas wondering why I get to have so much while other’s have lost so much. I wish it weren’t that way. I’ve been trying to show my support through comments but have not always been able to do so. Please know that I am reading everyone’s posts and keeping all my blogging friends in my heart and in my thoughts, now even more than always.

On of the reasons I’m late posting this is because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to say. I must admit, I’m looking forward to the holidays. I can’t wait for Isa to run to the tree (even though she has no idea what’s underneath it). I look forward to a simple celebration with Mi.Vida’s family and then mine. We have no room for a tree or decorations in our tiny apartment and I’m eager to spend time in warm houses with twinkling trees, roaring fires and Christmas carols blasting in the background.

Of course, not all is merry and bright; we’ve gotten some less than stellar news this year, right in time for the holidays. MiVida’s crappy raise has been far out shadowed by my father losing his job. This will be the second job he’s lost in nine months, after three long years of unemployment. His age, position and amount of time unemployed make it very hard for him to find something. If he doesn’t again soon they will be forced to sell the house they’ve been working towards for almost 20 years. Despite these set backs we’re trying to focus on what we have – our health and our families – which I know many people are missing this holiday season.

The truth is most people in this community suffer more than celebrate during this time of the year. I’m never sure quite what I should say about the holidays as I don’t want to rub salt in anyone’s wounds. Last year I posted all those pictures because I knew I had very few readers and I figured the ones who had stuck around that long probably wouldn’t begrudge me some shots of my daughter on her first Christmas. This year I feel differently. I have more readers and I know they find themselves on all different places of the family building and loss path. So I choose my words carefully, or omit them completely.

So what should I say about the holidays this year? Above all else I am thankful, so utterly and overwhelmingly thankful for all that I have. I will never forget the void I feared would be present in my life and every day I’m grateful for what I have, for what I know other people want so desperately. I hope that every one of my friends who still find themselves in the trenches, who will never completely heal from their losses, know that I’m thinking of them, holding them in my heart and hoping that next year things will be different somehow.