On September 11, 2001, I was teaching at Garden Montessori School when I heard from a teacher that a plane hit the World Trade Center. So many people were unsure how to react not knowing if another attack was going to hit, that a few parents came to the school to pick up their children early and there were many calls to see if they should. I think we all just wanted to hug our loved ones more closely and try to protect them.
That day was certainly a day of immeasurable grief for many Americans. When I hear the vast number of people’s personal stories of that day I realize that I just cannot imagine what it would have been like to have been in New York City on that day. I know where I was when I first heard about it and how frightened I was for my country, but I just cannot fathom enduring that tragedy day after day in my everyday life, which so many Americas have done.
I am still amazed at my stress level when my brother was called to active duty to guard the border in Mississippi. He was not sent to the Middle East, but just down south and yet it was a stress I just cannot describe and I am just his sister, not his mother or wife! That time in America for me was not something I ever expected to experience or even thought could happen.
When tragedy occurs an automatic bond can form for many of the survivors or those who lost loved ones on that horrific day. It is a situation that no one else can possibly relate to unless you have been through it. Infertility is not on the same level of magnitude as a terrorist attack by any means, but it does create a bond with those who have dealt with the same issues, because no one else can relate unless they have been through it themselves.
That is why I feel so blessed to have been involved with the Sheltering Tree Support Group now for almost ten years as well. These are a group of women who have dealt with or are dealing with infertility and are a support for each other. From the infertility support group a Bible study emerged which I now attend weekly. These women are just an amazing bunch to learn from, laugh and cry with. If I had not been thrown into this whirlwind of infertility, then I would have not developed deep relationships with such a diverse group of women. If it would not have been for my infertility I would also be without the most beautiful adopted embryo twins ever!
The infertility link that exists between the donor and recipient is what I think makes embryo adoption so unique from traditional adoption. In some form or fashion both parties have endured the hardships of infertility. Everyone’s story is unique and some people’s journey of infertility ends much more quickly than others, but the feelings are still the same: anger, loss, rejection, sadness, guilt and failure, but hopefully in the end VICTORY for both parties. May the bond of hope and love unite people in whatever tragedy they may face. I am so thankful for the unique bond I have with the infertility group that gave me the courage to keep fighting for my dream, so that one day I could also have a unique bond with another woman named Patty.
The end of summer makes me quite sad, since that marks the end of our water adventures for the year. My family and I have enjoyed our subdivision pool and DollyWood Splash Country so much and will miss the warm weather and endless hours splashing around in the water. This past Labor Day weekend we went to Splash Country twice and the weekend before we went as well. The weekend before Brian’s twin brother joined us and we got to spend time playing with all the kids. His brother has a daughter and a son who is just learning to talk. It was so fun when I took his picture; Gavin, said “Cheese” for the first time! Being part of a child’s life is one of the best gifts God gives us even if they are not our own.
Saturday, when we went with the Thomas family, Natalie got stung by a bee on her leg, then I got stung on my foot and then on my back! I have to say that was not the best time we have had at Splash Country. We left soon after that and I was not sure I wanted to come back, but sure enough we went back the next day with the Rose family. That day we discovered the twins could ride more water slides than we had thought they could. So we had fun riding with them and seeing their expressions of pure delight and excitement. Unfortunately, the weather ended our day too soon as we were forced to our car for shelter.
Being an at-home Mom has given me the opportunity to enjoy not just the summer with the twins, but their whole lives up to this point. I have heard people say that being a stay-at-home Mom is the hardest job in the world, but most rewarding and I have to agree. When I was gone to Haiti my husband became the stay-at-home parent (except he had a few baby sitters) and he learned how challenging it can be at times. For him the challenge seemed to be the clothes, which he said he never wanted to fold another piece of clothing again. Brian had a great time with the twins other than that with lots of help from sitters and his parents. In two more years the twins will be starting school and our lives will change so much! So I am going to enjoy this time with them since it will never be the same again.
It was a laborious, yet fun Labor Day in the Wilson household. What started out as simple trimming of the shrubs in our front yard turned into an all out project that included the removal of seven large shrubs/trees. Before we had kids, I used to walk past houses and wonder why people would let things, like dead shrubs, go for so long. “Why not just take care of it?” was my regular thought. Well, I’ve been eating those thoughts for the last year and a half. Why not take care of it? Time, money, other priorities, to name a few. Upon Grant and Maria’s arrival, our landscaping has been horribly neglected.
Last summer, something happened to the two Christmas tree-shaped evergreens in the front mulch bed and they slowly turned brown and smelled like they had been burned. As I neglected the yard, the brown death took over one completely and attacked the back of another. I hated the way it looked, and the what I’ve dubbed “meatball bushes” were overgrown and dated. Not to mention my knockout roses had not been pruned since early this season and were on the verge of world domination. With the help of Mother Nature’s 70-degree temperatures on Monday, I attacked the shrubs and soon all that was left was the trunks to the evergreens and a very pruned knockout rose bush. Jeremy put his muscles to use and ended up pulling the trunks out by the roots. I have to admit, it was impressive.
In between ripping out shrubs and planting new, we took Maria and Grant to FamilyPalooza at our church. This is a free family event with a petting zoo, inflatable bouncers, and games. I knew Maria would be pumped about the animals. I was right. We briefly had three children as she was beside herself when we came to the alpacas and goats. Grant was excited to walk around everywhere. He was in awe of all the different things at which to look and couldn’t decide which way to go. He weaved and bobbed through the crowd while I tried to keep up. They were both babbling up a storm and had plenty to talk about with each other on the way home.
It wasn’t exactly a restful day, but it was an enjoyable farewell to summer.
It took me ten minutes to find my watch before I left for work this morning. I searched high and low, dug in the trash and started to fret as I heard the trash on the street getting picked up. Finally, on my last pass through the living room I peaked in the swing, and saw a small glimmer of silver. Relief! Under Grant’s stuffed bear was my watch…no doubt deposited there by Grant or Maria. I need to be more careful with stuff like that, especially my jewelry. I wear limited and simple items – my wedding rings, a cross, and my watch, which is a silver Movado with a pink face that Jeremy surprised me with one Christmas. It was a splurge, even for an Overstock.com purchase. If I don’t want the few nice items I have to disappear, I need to be aware that the busy little hands in our house have an ever increasing reach. This is just one thing that that I find difficult about toddlers. A few others include:
• Diaper changes on rolling, grabbing, and otherwise mobile babies with the added challenge of another interloper running off with the wipes or grabbing for the dirty diaper with super fast hands.
• Tantrums with backbends when attempting to get in the stroller or car seats. They are getting stronger and more vocal when they don’t get what they want when they want it.
• Monkey see, Monkey want. They want whatever the other has, even if we have two of said item.
• Throwing things.
• Time out. (see above) I put Grant in time out the other day for one minute. I was surprised when I heard him laughing. Maria was bringing toys to him. The next time he went in time out (about five minutes later) I shut the door. He cried and Maria was running back and forth between me and the nursery, pointing with great concern.
• Molars. Need I say more?
Even though there are some difficulties to having toddlers, I’ll take it over the newborn demands. A few things I think are better about toddlers.
• They can communicate more and understand more, so there is less guessing. Ask if they are hungry, and if yes, they walk to the kitchen. Ask if they want to nurse, they walk to me. They can point to what they want, and most the time I can figure out what the need is.
• They can help themselves more and aren’t quite so dependent upon us for every need.
• They play well and entertain each other.
• They give hugs which makes up for many items on the difficult list. Yesterday, before I left for work, Grant hugged me; leaned back looked at me and smiled, and then dove in for another hug. It gets no better than that.
This has been a week of special events. On Sunday we celebrated my Mom’s Memory birthday, then last night Brian and I celebrated our 13 year wedding anniversary. Then last but not least Julian got his white belt with a yellow stripe in Karate yesterday as well. My how life has changed in just four years, Brian and I remember many wedding anniversaries saying this is the year we are going to have children. Finally, after embryo adoption in 2007, our 10 year anniversary was spent celebrating many years of prayers, tears and now rejoicing. It is a sweet victory that Julian also got his next Karate belt on our Anniversary. Julian was so proud of himself it just made me burst with happiness. So many years of wanting a baby, now we rejoice when we have a moment to ourselves as well.
The other night Brian said he just did not understand how couples can go without children, who desperately want them, when they can now adopt an embryo like we did. I reminded him how at first he did not want to adopt and only wanted his biological child. Now it is hard for him to imagine he ever felt like this, in fact we cannot imagine any other children in our lives besides Julian and Natalie. We are very fortunate that the embryo adoption took and that they are healthy despite being born at thirty weeks. My first attempt did not result with a baby in arms, but thanks to God I did not give up and tried again. Embryo adoption may not be for everyone, but we are so thankful it has worked out so beautifully for us!