So the holiday season is upon us. The holidays are always a mixed bag for me. On the one hand, I am hugely aware of how lucky I am and all the amazing people that surround my family during the holiday season. On the other hand, well...the holidays are always stressful. Lots of time with family members and lots of time to think about how my family isn't how I would want to define it.
Growing up my parents divorced when I was 8 years old. And they switched with another couple. Yes, you read that right. My step dad and my step mom used to be married. There was my mom and Dad, and their best friends down the street J and C. Now my mom's married to J, and my Dad's married to C. It sounds like it would be a nice little happy switch, but that isn't how it went down at all. It was nasty and ugly and horrific in every sense of the word. I tell you this not to take a trip down memory lane, but to possibly give you a glimpse into why I am the way that I am. Once I "grew up" I just knew that I would NEVER get divorced. No way in hell. Especially if there were kids involved. I would do everything in my power to make sure that my children NEVER went through what I went through as a kid. And believe me, I did. I worked my ASS off to try and save my relationship. I hung in there far longer than I probably should have and spent countless hours in therapy trying to do something...anything! to make it work. And you know what? Sometimes things are out of our control. It takes two people to make a relationship work. And no matter how hard one person wants it, he/she can't do it alone. And sometimes the best case scenario becomes to walk away and try and keep things civil and friendly for your children's sake. So I did. We did. But it still haunts me. I SWORE I would not end up like my parents, yet here I am. Absolutely kills me. Part of what I had to learn how to do in therapy was not only to mourn my loss of a relationship, but also to learn that it was okay to move on after "failing" in my relationship. And I had to learn that even though I had to give up on my dream of a perfect, long-lasting relationship, that didn't mean I had to give up on ALL of my dreams.
When my parents got divorced my brother went to live with my Dad (along with 3 other kids that are my step brothers and sisters), and I went to live with my mom. By myself. So I not only lost my parents being together, I also sort of lost a sibling. This has had a profound affect on my life as well. I grew up with a big brother until I was 8. From then on, I grew up as an only child. And you know what? Being an only child was lonely for me. I know it isn't that way for everyone, but for me, it was. I missed my brother. I missed having someone to wreak havoc with on family vacations. I missed running down the stairs to see what Santa brought with him on Christmas. I missed talking back and forth between the walls of our bedroom after our parents had put us to sleep at night. I was a lonely kid. And after my relationship broke up, it was almost more than I could bear to think that my son would grow up feeling lonely as well. Not only had I failed on the relationship front, but I felt like I was failing my son as well by not being able to provide him a sibling. After much thought and talking with my therapist, I decided I wasn't going to let that dream go. And you all know how that brings me to where I am today.
But again, for the holiday season, I have been somewhat sad. My life isn't how I wanted it. Yes, I have SO MANY amazing things in my life, but I still feel somewhat stigmatized to be the single, pregnant lesbian at all the family functions. My family is hugely supportive and wonderful, I should note, so this feeling comes purely from inside me. But it is still there. So as an exercise for myself, I am going to list what I am thankful for this Thanksgiving.
First and foremost, I am thankful for this:And I am also very thankful to be almost halfway through what appears to be a normal and healthy pregnancy. And I am SO thankful to be bringing a new little being into my family sometime around the end of April 2009. And with that, here is your first belly shot, taken about a week ago at 16 weeks along:
Yes, I am huge. Thank you for noticing. I am short and so with both of my babies, I got VERY big, somewhat early on and just kept getting bigger. It should be noted that I have gained less than 5 pounds so far in this pregnancy, so I swear, the majority of that is all baby.
I am thankful for my family. So thankful. Specifically my mom, my stepdad, my brother and his wife and all of my step siblings. My dad and stepmom are also a great part of my life. I have had issues with the step mother in the past, but we have mostly worked through them and I am thankful to be at a place of peace with her and able to enjoy my Dad as much as I do.
I am thankful for The Ex. While we have gone through some rough times I still love her and always will. We grew up together. We fell in love and bought a house and started a family. You can't do those things twice. So I am glad that she and I did them together. And I am thankful that although our relationship didn't ultimately work out, we fought hard to make sure that our son will never experience what we did growing up. And I am thankful that we both make a commitment to put our son first and focus on him.
I am thankful for the extended family as well. I am lucky enough to have both of my grandmothers still alive (ages 92 and 86) and healthy and a large part of our lives. I have great aunts and uncles and amazing cousins. And we are all thankful that we live in close proximity and are able to enjoy each other over the holidays.
My friends are the greatest. I have several very close girl friends that I can call on for anything who will go through the tough times, as well as the great times with me. On that note, I would like to congratulate the one of them who, after a long haul, is pregnant with twins and I could not be happier for her and her husband. But seriously, my friends rock. I love them with all that I am.
I am grateful to be healthy and to have all the above mentioned people healthy as well. We sometimes take this for granted, but given what happened almost a year ago, I feel it is worth mentioning.
And as referenced above, I would like to end this post saying that I am thinking of my step brother C. Last year, three days after Christmas he was driving home and got a flat tire. He pulled over to the side of the road to change the tire and was hit by a truck driving by. He was killed instantly. He would have been 39 this year. It was a major shock to all of our family and this has been a tough year for all of us. Going through our first set of holidays without him has been hard, but it just makes me more thankful for all that we DO have. Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving.