Tuesday, January 10, 2012

a word

Layla at The Lettered Cottage (which I first encountered by saving pictures of her outrageously awesome house to my ideabooks on houzz, before I ever found her awesome blog) is running a little thing on an inspiration word for 2012. She chose "Up," inspired in significant part by the movie of that name, which I understand is already something of an icon (whether you love it or hate it) for infertiles (and which I still need to watch). Given that their adoption plans are one of the occasional features on their blog, I assume that Kevin and Layla count in our oh-so-exclusive ranks. (And in fact, though Mormon mommy bloggers may be a significant minority among decor bloggers, I am beginning to suspect that infertiles are also over-represented in that category.)

Anyway, I was initially a little skeptical, but I have been pondering whether I would like to have a word for 2012. I already made resolutions, with which I am happy. But, for some reason, when I think about a word, the idea appears in a whole different light. Why this should be, I don't know. I don't think there's anything wrong with my resolutions...but when I think about what words I might like to use, they have just about nothing to do with the list I made.

Maybe it's that the words I'd like to use have something to do with what I'd like to be, but I suspect that even the best efforts in all the world will not even get me closer to there. I think my resolutions represent my sound, sensible analysis of what I ought to do, need to do, and am theoretically capable of doing. (A good basis on which to craft resolutions, if I do say so myself.) When I think about words, I find myself spinning off into what I hope will happen, and it's not things I could bring about by my own action - or, even if I could take actions that would in theory lead to those things, there's not even a remote guarantee of success.

The first thing I thought of was "home." I immediately dismissed that as shockingly uncreative (given a participating audience of almost 100% homekeeping/decor bloggers). Its attraction is that it reflects not only my concrete projects (fixing up our house) but also my more ethereal ones - I have a terrific longing for a home, someplace warm and welcoming and full of people I love. I love my husband, of course, but as the years pass, one of the saddest things about living childless is that there will only be two of us. It's going to be quiet. I am just as happy (actually, might be happier) in the company of other adults as I am around small children (even accounting for the fact that these days other people's children are usually a cross), but try as I might, I cannot get any of the adults I know to let me adopt them. Rarely can I even get them to let me feed them, which would be something.

The next idea I thought of was "joy." That's something I'd like to embrace in 2012. I know someday it will be there. I even know that there are things I could and should do to make it possible in my life. I also know that between me and the "unbearable lightness of being" that one lovely lady just posted about is a very long period of healing still. Sure, God can zap you and decide you're all better in an instant, but He rarely does, and with healing, one good reason is because the process is important in itself. I understand that, and while I do not enjoy it and am impatient for a happier chapter, I accept that I'm here and I'm not getting there for a while. For me, given where I am, "joy" would be farcical as an inspiration word for 2012.

The next idea that popped into my head was far scarier: "family." As far as I'm concerned it doesn't have to be a biological family (and, no, tiresome people, that does not mean I'm called to adopt). I would love nothing more than to have my home open, all the time, to whatever person I know just wandered by. It's the principal reason we bought a house: to have more room to share with people we love - guest bedrooms for visitors to the area, space to entertain. Of course, we also moved out of the heart of the close-in suburb and into the boonies (it's nice out here!), so in some ways we also undermined that goal. And nobody has to hang out at my house to fulfill my unfulfilled dreams. What I have to do is find something that people need me to do for them that will bring me closer to them - not figure out how I can force them into my idealized fantasy of the life I really lead.

Of course, there's also my actual family, and I should see more of them. That would be one way of living out the word, and something I should certainly do in the coming year, but it's not the part of the idea that brings joy. It means travel logistics and dealing with crazy people and needs to happen, yes, but...it's got its significant hardships. It's more an item for my to-do list than an aspiration.

But I do need to do something in 2012 to bring myself closer to the people I love. One big element of that needs to be forging new friendships. I have predicted with relentless accuracy the toll that others' newly-welcomed children will have on my friendship with them. Sometimes it's because of the massive and unavoidable change in time and social priorities that having a baby causes in their lives. Sometimes it's because they're self-absorbed and immature, and can't figure out a way to spend time with me that doesn't revolve around their parenthood and children. And sometimes it's because I just can't deal with their parenthood and children and can't bear to spend much, if any, time around them. And, what the heck, all three of those things often play a role. The bad news is, that has been especially and unexpectedly true of late.

The good news is that this bad news looks like it will finally be enough to shove me into doing something about it. I need to make new friends, already. Preferrably at least some who are (and will for some significant period remain) childless. (My husband points out that we cannot insist only on hanging out with people who will never have children, because that demographic is tiny and how do we know we would get along with them? I think he is totally wrong; the demographic is less tiny than he thinks and we should actively seek it out. Plus, I already know at least one permanently-childless couple in the area whom I really like, but he is unwilling to make efforts to hang out with them because he is a ninny. And he is ignoring that there's at least one marked demographic which presumptively will never have children, which tends to be well-educated, interested in culture, and a lot of fun at parties, and which we've made no special efforts yet to seek out. A good goal in itself...) At least if I make good friends who have no kids now, not because they want to hang out with my husband, if they have children in a few years, we will have a basis to continue our friendship, in that I'll know they actually care about me (and, of course, vice versa). That would be something.

I'm not sure anything will convince my husband that we need to move on from our friends with new babies, and relegate them to people we see sometimes but not all the time. Maybe spending a lot of weekend evenings alone will get the message through. In the meantime, I am going to work on broadening my horizons.

So I am still working on my word for 2012, and will update this when I feel I've achieved some sort of clarity. But I do need to contribute something to Layla's link-up (this coming Monday - gives you a little time to think), so until or unless different inspiration strikes, my 2012 inspiration word will be "gay."


  1. I think "love" is a good word...it seems to encompass all the other things you mentioned...friends, family, home.

  2. Picking a word to sum up your year is so hard! I'm bad at that myself, but good luck finding inspiration. :-)

  3. For me the word that came to mind for you was 'nurture' ... caring for, feeding, warming, welcoming ... making your house into a little sanctuary of beauty and calm. Perhaps even nurturing yourself through your home, food, and new friendships??

    My 'family' where I live are the good friends I have been so lucky to find in my town here, as my bio family is 1 - 4 hours away. Good friends are really treasures.


    (May the force be with you! hee hee hee)

  4. In both the old and the new senses (then you can have your joy and the kid-free angle, too).

    I think my word for the year is "paint." Or at least "primer."

  5. Hmmm, when I think of words for myself the first ones that come to mind are hope, perservere, patience and trust. I guess I'm having a particularly good morning.

    I love Andie's idea of nuture for you. I also think that hope fits as well.

    Good luck finding your word!

  6. i laughed out loud like a teenage boy when i finished this post. i hope that was your intention...because i came back after reading this at work to tell you so...i sincerely hope your year is extremely gay.

  7. i thought i had a problem with my computer, but i forgot you have comment moderation. clearly i need to comment more. please feel free to not actually publish all these comments. or do. its your blog :)