Friday, August 21, 2015


Summertime is always a very full time of year for the McGills. Birthdays galore, a couple of wedding anniversaries, a couple of death anniversaries. This year, for me, it's a time of contemplation.

T's and my birthdays both are during the summer months. Born in the same year, we're the same age except for those days between our birthdays in July and September. Both T's parents and a handful of friends all have birthdays during this hottest time of year. And lest we forget, our E and many of her friends have birthdays in the summer as well. It's a solid four months of splash pads and zoo trips, of sunscreen and melting frosting. The slap of little feet in flip flops across the wet concrete and echoing shouts of laughter. There's much singing of Happy Birthday to be had, and plenty of treats to go with all these lovely birthday wishes.

Then there's the wedding anniversaries. Ours is tomorrow; August 22nd. This year marks seven years married for us. The Copper Anniversary - which we love, as we are southwestern women at heart. My parents' anniversary is only a few days behind ours.

Admittedly, T and I haven't been very good at the whole anniversary thing since our first anniversary. Since then, life has gotten in the way and we haven't felt called to have parties or even do much by way of celebrating. I like to think that we celebrate each other daily, even if that's not always true. Seven years hitched and ten years together feels like a good long time. My wife is a foregone conclusion - in the very best way possible. She's my rock, my sounding board, my tether to logic and reason. Ever the sensible and responsible one, my darling lady. This year was a pretty special one though, in that our state recognized our marriage early in the year and then the Supreme Court ruled that gay marriage is legal nationally - this is our first anniversary that our home state "counts" us as a married couple. Able to file jointly on both state and federal taxes for the first time. Able to both have legal rights to our children. Able to own our home together, instead of her half and my half. We considered doing a vow renewal for our anniversary this year, to celebrate with those who we missed celebrating with seven years ago. Unfortunately we weren't able to make that happen this summer. It simply was too costly. Then I ended up pregnant and now I'm selfishly thankful that I'm not about to be photographed in my current "chubbily pregnant" state. Regardless of gifts and cards though, I've never been more grateful for my wife than this year. The pregnancy hasn't been easy on me, and I've relied upon her moreso than I would have wished. I know it's been difficult for her, and she has truly impressed me beyond measure with her ability to stay cool under the pressure of running our lives. Just to embarrass her for a moment, I want to tell you all that she's done 100% of the toddler wake-ups and drop-offs and probably 99% of her bedtimes. She's singlehandedly balanced our budget, gotten all our bills paid on time, undertaken all the meal-planning, shopping, and cooking. Oh, and did I mention, she also got a promotion at work during all this? And she's taken time away from work to attend our prenatal appointments. I know she knows I'm thankful, but it can't hurt to reiterate.

Thank you my love, for being a supportive and endlessly understanding partner during our whole relationship - but particularly the last two months.

In September, we also take time to remember the family matriarchs whom we've lost. T and I both mourn the deaths of our maternal grandmothers in September. Both strong women, forces to be reckoned with in each of their respective clans. Both grandmothers struggled with our relationship, and I think I can speak for both of us when I say that I regret they departed this life without knowing the depth of joy and love we've found, and without having known their great-grandchildren. In many ways, this feels like a too-abrupt ending; a cliffhanger without a sequel; a novel whose writer never finished. I cannot believe that either one would have wished to miss out on our babies. I hope that in their own ways, perhaps these absent grandmothers get to witness our family growing and to know our children, even if from a great distance. You are both missed.

All these things cause me to reflect. I'm 14 weeks pregnant now, with likely the only pregnancy I'll carry. I know that come March, I'll be alone in this body once more and forever. I know and have said often to myself that I need to try and relish this time, to celebrate the life growing within me. But I frequently find myself firmly mired in each moment, thinking only of my discomfort and wishing I felt better. Then I feel guilty for not cherishing every second, even the ones spent vomiting or with a cramping stomach.

I've spent the better portion of these last two months either being sick, uncomfortable, or asleep. I've thought only of what I must force myself to do that minute, or the next. There's been little time to daydream about this baby. As you might imagine, this isn't exactly how I envisioned pregnancy going for me. Thinking about the last two months makes me feel very sad and full of regret, and yet I cannot see how to have done it differently. I've had this conversation (if you will) with a few people, and some seem to find it distressing that I'm not the happy, glowing pregnant woman they want me to be. I think this is probably just the first of many times that I'll disappoint my adoring fans with what they feel must be inappropriate feelings or reactions, but I've come to a conclusion. It's just too much pressure to try and feel joyful all the time. Sometimes, the fact is, it sucks to feel sick and that must be acceptable.

Now, all that being said - I seem to be feeling better and less volatile this week. I'm glad. So very glad. Bring on some new kind of pregnancy torture - this "morning" sickness is for the birds. I'm looking forward to our Centering classes starting in September, and I'm also excited for E's and my birthdays. We're extra fortunate this year to be able to take E to visit my great aunt and uncle for the first time in Iowa, and I am so happy. I'm waiting patiently (NOT) to feel the babe begin to move, and I am so excited for T and E to feel it, too. Our anatomy scan is scheduled in October, just after a good friend is getting married. Truly, I feel like we're on the brink of some grand adventures and I'm glad to put the first trimester behind us. I hope to find a little bit more of myself in the second.

To sum up: Happy Birthday! Happy Anniversary! Happy memories! Happy life!

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