Tag Archives: date

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.

The Importance of Being Earnest… or whoever you are.

Have you seen the movie The Importance of Being Earnest?  Colin Firth and Rupert Everett are in it.

That’s really all you need to know.

Colin Firth: Mr. Darcy, Mark Darcy, Jamie, King George, Harry… worth the watch all on his own.

Anyway, in the movie, two men (two British men) pretend to be named Ernest because, as the lovely little Cecily says:

“… it has always been a girlish dream of mine to love a man named Ernest.”

Can I ever relate!  Except it was the name Seth that really did it for me. Happily ever after. The end.

(Kidding of course, it was his singing! Car singing… that’s what really won me over!)

Anyway, both Jack and Algy pretend to be named Ernest– Ernest Worthing. Until their fiances get together, find out they’re both engaged to Mr. Ernest Worthing, the men have to come clean, and hilarity (musical hilarity, I might add!) ensues!  Admittedly, I am not done watching the movie (I couldn’t stay on the elliptical that long), but I plan to finish it tonight and I’m pretty sure I get the message:


And I can get behind that!

You see, my good friend Lee Chim went on a first date with a gentleman suitor this weekend and as she regaled us with the tales of the somewhat dorky awkwardness that the date entailed this morning, I couldn’t help but smile and smile and smile. (Oh, look! I’m smiling again!!) Because that’s who she is– to a T. Lee is a little bit dorky, a little bit awkward, but kind to the absolute center of her core. And she had FUN being herself: dorky, awkward, and kind.  A lot of fun. Enough fun to want to do it again. And so did he! Even though she opened the door for him (chivalry goes both ways, people! especially in the great white north!) and ended the evening with an awkward handshake-hug-pat-on-the-back combo– she was still the vibrant and lovely Lee, just being herself, the “pretty lady” that she is (he totally called her that– swoon!) and that was what I’m certain won him over.

Lee went on her date as Lee, not as Ernest. (See the connection I’m making here?) Pretending to be someone you’re not can be pretty funny in the movies, but seems like an awful lot of work without the possibility of much reward in real life.

I can’t be the only one who finds faking it exhausting, can I? And even more so, frustrating when it’s someone else putting on a front for me!

I love Lee for Lee (she’s seriously amazing you guys, and yes, I’m putting some extra compliments here at the end because I am banking on forgiveness in the morning! but I really do mean it… I cannot tell you how glad I am to have met her!! and to see her have fun on her date!!) and tonight I’ll find out if Cecily and Gwendolyn are willing to love their Ernest Worthings even if they go by Algy and Jack instead (don’t worry– it’s a romantic comedy, all signs point to yes). In my life, I’ve spent a lot of time pretending to be something I’m not. (I’d like to say trying rather than pretending, but I’m also trying to be honest with you here… so I’ll keep it real. Pretending it is.) And not once has it ever paid off.*

I have a sneaky feeling that (if you look for it love actually is all around… couldn’t help it after I started the sentence that way!) Lee would prefer to be loved for being her authentic self, dorkiness and all. That’s why I love her, to be sure! (Dorky is my love language, y’all.) And all the most important people in my life love me in the same way. Warts and all, as they say! (But seriously, I had a lot of warts on my left knee when I was growing up, it was unfortunate.)


*Ok, actually, there was that one time… when I pretended to molt at the dinner table for a while and begged for reptilian company to molt with, I did actually get an iguana for Christmas. That paid off pretty handsomely. But that was the only time, I swear.

I guess what I’m trying to say is: unless you’re trying to get your parents to buy you a lizard for Christmas, it’s probably best to just be yourself.


PS: Lee Chim is just a super clever nickname– got to protect the innocent and all that! Any resemblance to anyone living or dead is, well, because that’s the point… 😉  I love you, Lee Chim!! <3