You are currently browsing stephanie’s articles.

Did Cinderella pusha stroller in glass slippers?

Times are a changin, for us anyway. Leaving for an adventure now includes the additional challenge of coordinating with naptimes and remembering to bring cheerios and a sippy cup.

We set off for a morning of shopping in Alisa’s mini-van. I’m using to tooling around in a little red Mazda so I marveled at all the space. (Two strollers fit in the back—with ROOM to spare! Weeeee!)

Our first stop was Designer Shoe Warehouse. It was my first experience shopping with a freshly walking toddler, he had no interest in riding in the stroller and no interest in following me down the wedge heel aisle. He just wanted to giggle and poke his nose in every shoebox. So I played games and made silly noises to coax him my way. It felt like herding a leprechan.

Back in the clearance area Alisa says, “I think my style is changing. I just tried on a pair of shoes that were. . .practical flats.”

“I know what you mean.” I said. “I don’t really do flat shoes, then again, all my shoes now have to be run-ready to chase after the little imp.”

“Yeah, I mean these are so cute.” She holds up a pair of funky espadrilles with beautiful beadwork on the front. “But can I carry him around in these? Would I push a stroller to the park in these?”

After we finished shopping we went to lunch. The hostess made a slight grimace when we said we needed two high chairs. We fielded comments from the public that ranged from, “Your boys are so cute!” to “Are you sure he should be eating that package of crackers?” We inhaled our entrees in between picking things up off the floor and feeding our little ones. It’s a dance and we are both continually learning it, because the boys are always changing. 

On the way home we kept sneaking looks at the both of them as they slept peacefully in their carseats. I always get choked up in moments like that. I think about all the waiting and wishing and hoping and thinking about him two continents and a ocean away; then here he is, two feet away, sleeping in a carseat. We talked politics while they slept and marveled at how good they were for all the driving and shopping and sitting at a table. I felt content. I looked at my shoes, sturdy with a good tread on the bottom (although I must admit they are pink with a slight wedge heel).  I thought this is just the spot on the trail I’m at right now, the spot that requires practical shoes. Things will always be changing. Andre wil always be changing. I will always be changing. Lucky thing I learned to roll with it.

Advertisements

This kind of shot won’t help you get pregnant but…

We were on an official business trip to Orlando when we decided to take a sidetrip to a place called “Funtown”.  It’s the sort of place where teenagers hang out at night because there’s nothing else to do. At noon on a Monday, we were the first and only ones in line.

When the high school kid opened the gate we nonchalantly walked through, even though there’s nothing nonchalant about two thirty-somethings waiting in line for a thrill ride on a Monday afternoon. We walked straight back to the slingshot and found a tiny woman running it. “Ready to ride?” she asked.

The slingshot is a simple enough contraption. Two towers shoot high into the sky like giant antennae with a capsule swinging between them on long cables. There were two people already on the ride. We watched them get flung impossibly high into the air. “So,” the tiny woman asked again. “Ready to go?” I gulped and told AlisaI had to go to the bathroom first, just in case.

Ten minutes later we climbed onto the platform and strapped in. Every time I climb into some contraption to get an adrenaline fix, I have a moment of doubt. What the hell amI doing? Did I really just climb onto a plastic platform molded to look like hot lava? Even though I know in a few moments I will feel pure joy and exhiliration, my stomach goes gooey with fear. What if the cable breaks? What if I slide out of the harness? What if something goes wrong? (It IS a theme park run by and for teenagers afterall.)

They are familiar feelings. I’ve felt them many times over the past four years trying to have a baby. What if it never happens? What if something falls through? Am I really in MOSCOW!?

The only thing I could ever do, is take those “what ifs” put them in my pocket, and keep going. So there we were, harnessed into a little capsule side by side, about to be flung 360 feet into the sky. The absolute only thing to say when the tiny lady, with her finger on a button, asked again, “Ready?”

Yes. No. Yes. Ahhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!…………………………………………………….

“He who has not looked on Sorrow will never see Joy.”
Kahlil Gibran

I’m waiting to go back to Russia. You think I’d be very used to waiting by now. But it still takes practice to live in this moment, the only possible moment that holds happiness.

So I decided to plant some herbs and flowers, breathe some life back into my yard. After our colder than usual Florida winter it was looking a little desperate back there.

I planted phlox and lemon balm and moss rose and gerbera daisies and lavender and sweet basil; all plants that can supposedly survive anything. Danny and I even planted a Magnolia tree. I thought I was quenching a thirst to watch something grow. But when I thought about it, I’ve been watching something grow all this time. Me.

I no longer think of my situation as having pent up love to give. I give that love to myself, and my husband and my friends. I’m even giving it to my garden now.

This way, when I become a mom, I’ll be very practiced at giving love, not holding it back.

Peggy the fertility goddess in Moscow

Peggy, the fertility goddess who lives in my purse, was with me when I fell in love with a little boy in Moscow. He is completely amazing. It’s all amazing. I feel as though puzzle pieces are fitting together. Things are carefully planned, but also seem to fall out of the clear blue sky with no warning. I guess that’s how all this goes. How life goes. The first time I went to Moscow I had my heart ripped in two, when we were unable to adopt the little boy we’d come for. I was heartened to learn, on this trip, that joy runs just as deep as heartache.

Steph and V-dude Danny ride the Top Thrill Dragster while on official adoption business trip.

Steph and V-dude Danny ride the Top Thrill Dragster while on official adoption business trip.

garage-sale-signsEverything these days turns into a metaphor for infertility or adoption. Nothing is exempt, even our early morning garage sale-ing adventure (followed by bacon, and eggs of course). The thing about garage sales is you have no idea what’s going to be out there, what you’ll find or even what you’ll want.

V-dude Danny accompanied us on the adventure, after making sure he wouldn’t be interrupting girl time. Alisa valiantly drove and put up with Danny and I shouting and pointing every time we saw one of the coveted posterboard signs. She turned on a pin like a pro.

But then, aren’t we training ourselves to do just that every day we take on infertility and adoption? With my adoption process I feel like there’s always something coming around the corner. I’m learning new things all the time. It’s quite exciting actually. It’s fun to imagine the bedtime story I’ll tell my child about how they came to be with us. How we flew across the world to come and get them. There are so many factors I can’t possibly predict, so I kind of just have to keep following the signs and trust that I’ll know what to do when I get there.

Which brings me back to garage sales, really there’s a point hidden in here somewhere. There’s just no way to know when you follow a garage sale sign, if what lies ahead will be disaapointing, hold a hidden treasure or whether you’ll spend ten minutes trying to figure out if someone’s old duct taped mirror would look good in your bathroom. You can’t set off to garage sales looking for a specific outcome or item because you will only be disapointed. You just have to trust that you’ll know what you want when you see it, like the krimping iron set we found. Or conversely that you’ll know what to pass up, such as a set of Girls Gone Wild videos and Penthouse lighter/knife combo.

And even, if after all that time, and all those u-turns and confusing neighborhoods all I come away with is two rolls of wrapping paper, well that’s okay too, because I got to spend a few hours giggling with a couple of my favorite people.

Yeehaw! Last night we won the local trivia night! With a little help from our friends and a lot of help from Alisa’s dad who knew things like who wrote the Pink Panther theme song. We beat the other teams by ten points, so as Ed aptly put it, if we’d been missing just one member of our seven person team, we wouldn’t have won.

Slim margins aside, I have to say it felt good to win at something. I often felt like a huge loser at the game of fertility. I still do sometimes feel like a big fat evolutionary failure whose body can’t do the one thing it was biologically put on this earth to do (ie. be fruitful and multiply). Something I thought would be as easy as rolling over in bed.

Trivia night at times felt like a mini version of the struggle. Many of the questions are the sort that are right on the tip of your tongue. They seem so easy. I know this! I should know this! Urgh, why can’t I think of it?

It’s incredibly frustrating when you can’t get it but the answer fills in your brain as soon as you hear it (Damn, I knew that one!) But the release and joy when you find out your answer was right is complete. And the thrill of victory that swept through me as we received our $30 Kazbor’s Bar and Grill gift certificate made me wonder what it will feel like when we finally “win” a bigger prize.

Infertility and Adoption are not fast rides---but this is.

Infertility and Adoption are not fast rides---but this is.

In the past week or so I’ve had two huge rushes. The first came after my laproscopy when Danny and I decided adoption would be our best course of action. I never imagined that getting off the infertility highway and merging onto the adoption express would feel so thrilling, but it does.  I had this moment (drugged sure) after my surgery when Danny passed on the news from the doctor that the pregnancy outlook was not so good when my heart just clicked (corny but true). I thought, yes, we’ll adopt. It feels right and good. Since then I’ve read everything in print on adoption and now, our application is in. Our ball is rolling. And I’m soaring.

Speaking of soaring, Saturday, Alisa and I decided on a semi-whim to go skydiving to kick off National Infertility Awareness Week. Weeeeeeeee! It’s amazing, like flying, really, really fast (120 mph to be exact). I can’t imagine a bigger thrill (except of course meeting the baby that is supposedly waiting for me out there somewhere).

Probably my favorite part of the day was when the parachute opened and my skydive instrcutor, Art, handed me a beer to enjoy while soaring 10,000 feet above the St John’s River. I toasted Alisa as she sailed by in her own parachute–a surreal moment if there ever was one–and then held onto my Bud Lite for dear life lest I drop it and kill someone. (Seriously, I can’t believe he trusted me with that, the girl who tripped on her way to the prop plane.)

Until the next adventure, Cheers!

random-march-048Yesterday, after our lovely day of browsing and lunching on a porch, I dyed my hair purple (not all of it). I thought, what a lovely thing to be conceived of a mother with purple hair (unless you plan on growing up to be conservative and work in a bank).

So, I am issuing an open casting call. All souls of the universe who would like to be born to a woman with purple hair, who rides roller coasters, plans protests, jumps out of planes, and writes funny stories about women who steal…come on down.