Tag Archives: coincidence

December Twenty-Sixth

When I was in fourth grade, my Grandma Mormor (which as an adult I recognize is like saying “Grandma Grandma” since Mormor is the Swedish word for grandmother… but I don’t care) passed away over Christmas break. We weren’t planning to go to Marquette for Christmas, but when an aneurysm in my grandma’s head burst, sending her straight to the hospital with a severe hemorrhagic stroke, we packed up our clothes and our Christmas into our blue van and drove straight up to the UP. Although she came through a surgical repair successfully, another stroke left my grandmother brain dead and life support was removed the day after Christmas. She was only 60 years old when she passed away on December 26th. I chose not to go to the funeral because I was scared (of the funeral? of death? of my grandmother’s body? I don’t know…), but I regret that now. I did write her a letter that was placed in the coffin. Regardless of whether I was there or not, she knew I loved her, and that’s all that really matters.

My Grandma Mormor’s birthday was February 24th and I always think of her then. She was happy and gorgeous and made amazing oatmeal on her kitchen stove. Her house always smelled good and she wore a floral apron in the kitchen. I know other people have other memories of her, but mine stop at the age of 8 and it’s all beautiful to me. I also always think of her on December 26th… the day she died. She would have died on Christmas, maybe Christmas Eve, without artificial prolonging of her life. But nobody wanted that, so she was allowed to pass on the 26th and the 26th always had something of a pall over it. It was not a good day.

Until 2011.

On December 26, 2011, my sister’s first child, her daughter Emma, was born. To me, it seemed like the universe had righted itself again. December 26th was no longer a day for mourning, but for celebrating this amazing little life that came into our family. Today, Emma is three and more amazing than ever and I am so grateful for the gift of timing the universe gave our family.

Perhaps it’s just a coincidence, but December 26th feels bigger than that.

This year, December 26th also marked 14 days after IUI— the day I could take a pregnancy test. Something else to make the 26th of December even more significant. My sister found out she was pregnant with Emma on my dad’s birthday. We were both excited about the possibility of me finding out the same on Emma’s birthday.

I’m not pregnant though. No need to test. (I did, just in case, but it was negative. No ambiguity here.) Remember, I said I’d tell you either way. I was hoping for the other. But a promise is a promise.


I guess the fact of the matter is that we all struggle, in our own unique way. Maybe we don’t want children and others see our familial choices as incomplete. Maybe getting pregnant is easy, but the timing is poor. Maybe the timing works out, but our child isn’t as “perfect” as we would have expected. Maybe everything seems just right, but postpartum depression settles in. Maybe things get tough with your toddler, your adolescent, your adult child. Maybe you can’t get pregnant at all.

The good news is that you don’t have to get pregnant to have a family. And families are beautiful and imperfect, no matter how they come to be. There’s no right way, no wrong way, when you fill a home with people (or animals!) who love each other, it really doesn’t matter.

I know all of that, intellectually. But to really know it… that’s tough stuff. So for now, I’m going to let myself just be a little sad. Really sad. Disappointed. Confused and upset and frustrated and guilt-ridden. Just for a little while.


I’m also going to drink enough wine and take enough cold medicine to make up for all that I passed up over the last couple of days on account of the potential for pregnancy– a little Christmas cheer to go with my Christmas cold.

All in good time.

Happy 205th, Abe and Chuck!!

On February 12, 1809, two women became mothers to two of the most interesting men who have ever lived. At least in my opinion. Because on February 12, 1809, Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln were born.

Is it common knowledge that Darwin and Lincoln share a birthday??? I’m kind of floored that I didn’t realize this until today! (Thank you IFLS on Facebook and the note about “Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday” on my Packers-themed office calendar.)

Abe and Chuck's Birthday

I’ve been kind of into Lincoln lately… or more than lately, really. I was a Lincoln Railsplitter from the day I started kindergarten to the day I graduated high school, after all. And not a whole lot of schools have a giant president’s head as their mascot. (Go Splitters!!)

{Source— you might have thought I was kidding, but this is oh so real. Wishing I could have found the mural of Lincoln in a speedo from the high school pool, but it eludes me…}

Then I got really into Civil War history (have you read the Jeff and Michael Shaara books?!) and was moved nearly to tears the first time I visited the Lincoln Memorial after visiting Gettysburg itself. I loved the movie Lincoln and really liked reading Mary: Mrs. A Lincoln as our recent book club book. He’s just such an interesting man! I’m sure many elements of his life are romanticized, but there’s no denying that he was a spectacular orator and a forward thinking, justice seeking man. I kind of dig all those things about him.

Charles Darwin was also an exceptionally forward thinking man. His Origin of Species is the foundation of evolutionary biology as we know it today and examples of his and other naturalists’ work truly inspired me as a little kid. I was always picking up specimens from nature and experimenting, observing, and tasting (yes, tasting… add enough sugar, and even acorns become pretty delicious– my parents are kind of cool).


It’s probably not the case at all (and I think Sheldon of TBBT would be a little bit annoyed with me right now for saying so), but for some reason, shared birthdays seem highly significant to me. The fact that my favorite cousin Spruce and my husband share the same birthday?! That’s got to mean something, right?! And while I was having my first awful ultrasound related to infertility stuffs, the ultrasound tech shared my exact same birthday and had just gone through something remarkably similar. Those things… they’re somethings, right?!

Regardless, Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin were men who dealt with significant adversity in their lives. Yet, they were both incredibly open minded and willing to explore new and radical ideas. They were also determined to do what was right, regardless of what it meant for their popularity, and that’s a rare and beautiful quality in a person, don’t you think?

So, happy 205th birthday to you, Abe and Chuck!!

(Pretty sure we’re on a nickname basis, I really dig these two!)



Update on my Curly girl: We got a call back from the surgeon in Madison this afternoon. He and his team have come up with a plan for surgical repair and we’re bringing her back to the vet school tomorrow afternoon. After a quick ultrasound and test for infection tomorrow, she’ll be set for surgery on Friday. Two faculty surgeons will perform the surgery, which will involve release of the quadriceps to lengthen the muscle, movement of the patella back into correct position, and repair and reattachment of the patellar tendon either with her own tissue or with a synthetic replacement, depending on the condition. While that’s complicate enough, the surgeon doesn’t seem to think that’s going to be the problem– the problem is going to be keeping the patella in place once it’s back. And to do that: external fixators for at least 2 months to immobilize the entire leg followed by either a custom orthotic or splint from toe to hip until no longer needed (more months). Whew! It’s a plan, anyway! Curls will stay in the hospital until Monday and then we’ll pick her up and bring her home to us!