Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Sincerely Happy for You

I have had many years to try and learn the art of being genuinely happy for others when inside I am collapsing from the weight of my own burdens and struggles. It is not easy and more often than not I probably fail...epically, but I try so that has to be worth something...right? I'm sure at some point in time you have all been there. Heck, awards season is probably the best example of being happy for someone else. You sit in your seat, smile (make sure it reaches the eyes because that's a dead giveaway), clap your hands (not too fast, but not too slow), offer a hug or handshake, and maybe (if you're like me) go home and collapse on the floor of your shower while hot water washes over you taking your tears down the drain.

Just a few minutes old.
If you're the woman who desperately wants a baby, watching while every woman around you has a baby bump, waiting, crying inside, having tests performed, and not understanding what you did wrong. I've been there with you. I've cried those same tears and yelled at God (literally...I could so not be Job) for what I felt was some cruel joke. I plastered a smile on my face and, with a heavy heart, played shower games, listened to baby names, and mustered up as much happiness as I could manage. All the while, hoping that it would be my turn soon...it took us nearly two years and many emotional meltdowns (all mine).

If you're the mother sitting on the park bench watching children toddling around a playground, climbing steps, sliding down slides, and running to their parent(s) when they fall  (as they inevitably do), arms stretched out, demanding the comfort only they can offer. The whole time you're sitting with your own child in a stroller or on you lap...waiting, wondering, and anxious. I am currently there with you. Feeling those tiny pin pricks in my heart. Dreaming of the "someday" yet to come and dreading the question I always seem to ask the universe, "When will it be her turn?" Deafening silence is the universes reply because there is no answer.

At the park.
I am the mother clinging to any sliver of hope within my grasp. My heart longs to chase Rae around the house because she doesn't want to put on her pajamas. I want to see her run barefooted in the hot sand, the wind blowing her champagne hair, wildly laughing while chasing seagulls into the sky. When I was pregnant, I had so many dreams of what my daughter's life would be like...and now those seem more like fairy tales.

I have yet to master the art of hiding this particular sadness from those around me. I try to smile, but I know it never fully reaches my eyes. There is no twinkle. An air of sadness lingers over me. It is during those moments of uncertainty that I hug Rae just a little too tightly. I seek comfort in looking at the curls of her hair and brushing them from her eyes because then I don't have the strength to look at the person/friend sitting beside me. If I feel really uncomfortable, I attempt to dodge any potential discussion by commenting on how well their child is _______ (insert random milestone) or I start talking about something completely unrelated. I'm sure they all see through these defense mechanisms I have developed. Just call me Mrs. Cellophane.

Slow & Steady...
All that being said... I am also the mother that wants you to know that I am truly happy for you if you are one of those mothers playing on the field. I'm happy that your child has met and continues to meet their milestones. That those precious moments of their first steps are intact. Their first words spoken with loud exuberance. That you now have to chase after them when they catch you with your guard down and run like an escaped prisoner seeking freedom (usually the street or parking lot). Please keep that in mind when you see me. Don't censure your own joy because of my heartache. I may want to celebrate with you. It's what friends do. It's what people should do.  And please don't take it for granted...

As for me...one day I will be one of you. I will no longer be sitting on the bench waiting my turn. I just hope I always remember to be sensitive to those that find themselves in a similar situation that I now find myself...living in Amsterdam and trying to find my way out of the airport.

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