The Bifurcation of Life

My favorite holiday – no question.  It’s Thanksgiving.  It’s the holiday where you’re supposed to give thanks.  Give.  Not to your Instagram account, and not to your Facebook feed.  From your throat to someone else’s ears.  So maybe let’s try that this year…let’s all pick someone close to us.  Or maybe not close to us, and let’s tell them we’re grateful for them.  You’ll be amazed what happens.  They might say it back, and that feels amazing…it’s a personal connection.  The kind we had before we connected with person or a heart through a browser or an app.

I sit here this evening, music playing, watching Laura grumble at her pumpkin pies (it’s a  Thanksgiving tradition), and I’m supremely grateful.  For so many things…

I’m thankful for my wife.  She is a giving, creative soul who cares for me in ways I don’t always know I need, and she brings meaning to my life. That’s what love is really. Finding meaning.  I’m thankful for my family – they also bring depth to my life that would otherwise be absent.  They are coming tomorrow to help us consume.  We’ll eat food, but we’ll consume traditions.  The traditions show up every holiday season, and feed a hunger pang I don’t recognize until I satiate it with something from my childhood. My mom will have to do the gravy, because Aunt Do and Gram aren’t here to do it, and she’ll smile when I slide the sweet potatoes toward her – because I have no fucking clue how those are made.  She’ll smile, and she’ll hug me, and she’ll make the things I don’t know how to make.  My dad will carve the turkey because I’m a recovering vegetarian, and I still can’t stand to deal with the bones.  Tomorrow my parents will help me deliver a meal to the table without resentment or mocking.  (Okay, there may be some mocking…that’s also a family tradition.)  And my Mom?  She’ll hug me at random times throughout the day…I love that.

I’m thankful also, for friends who feed my soul.  I learned a long time ago to fill my days with people who feed my soul, rather than friends who are convenient.  My friends…I have some amazing friends.  Some of them know me better than I know myself…they challenge me, they listen to me, and they bring wisdom into my life that I would so desperately miss without them.

I am thankful for my work. It’s the most meaningful work I’ve ever found, and it allows me to continuously surround myself with like-minded people who have amazing energy, open hearts, and want to make the world a better place.  I’m so lucky to get to do what I do.

Last night Laura and I went to see the Indigo Girls at Music Hall with the Cincinnati Pops. We sat down about ten minutes before the show began, and talked about the composition of the crowd.  It was noteworthy to see the perceived collision of people there.  Half of the crowd was comprised of hard-core Indigo Girls fans – some gay, some straight, and all ready for a sing-along hootenanny.  The other half seemed to be consistent Pops-goers, subscribers maybe, who were there to see one of the best symphonies in the country who happened to be featuring the Indigo Girls.  Here’s the interesting part – aside from some obvious folks, you couldn’t always tell who was whom…and the requisite bifurcation of life was challenged by some folks who may have fit either bill.  We sat shoulder-to-shoulder with folks who may have been in either perceived camp, and we all enjoyed the show together.  We should do that more in life.  Stop demonizing folks who don’t agree with us, and maybe sit down next to them and do life together.  I’ll bet, if we do that, we’ll find we have more in common than we have apart.

Finally, I’m thankful for this wait we’re in the midst of, for the baby we hope every single day comes home on the very next tomorrow.  We are blessed to move through life with advantages that the birthmother who makes a difficult, life-changing, gut-wrenching decision not to parent, may never have known.  I’m grateful that we have a life that enables the physical, social, financial, and emotional commitment that is required to choose this path.  It’s hard, this wait.  It renders me to my knees some days, and especially at night…I spend evenings here and there wondering why…why is it taking so long?  Why couldn’t I get pregnant?  Why did another couple welcome home a little one last week and we didn’t? Why can’t we speed this up?

And here’s the thing about all the wondering.  We’re damn lucky to be doing it.  We’re so lucky to be at this point – past the choice, the home study, the profile, the nursery design…all of it.  We’re living a life that honors and enables our choices.  We’re actively pursuing a dream.  We’re fucking lucky.

Enjoy your families ya’ll.  Enjoy the love…it’s what we’ve got.  Color me thankful.

-Jenn

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