Christmas and a new year still childless

Another year is ending. Time to look at where we have been and where we are going. I’m going to repeat some of my words from last year because they still apply. I’ll just change the date. If we didn’t do it in 2016, 2017 offers another chance.

Let’s make 2017 the year we don’t waste a minute with what ifs, the year we live each precious moment consciously and with gratitude for the gifts we have right now, whether it be a person, a pet, a job, a home, or coffee and donuts.

I’m excited about a new year. I hope you are, too. I ask two things of you all in 2017. First, if you have been dithering for years about the whole baby-partner thing, resolve it this coming year. Talk about it, pray about, think about it, make a decision and move on. Might you change your mind later? Of course. But for now, stop torturing yourself. Either accept your situation or make the leap to a new one.

Second, tell us what happened. We get so many comments here from people who are in crisis, who don’t know what to do, who are considering leaving their partners, who feel like they can’t bear their grief, but we rarely hear the rest of the story. Please, if you have commented before, send us a follow-up. We want to know how things turned out. If you would like, I can offer you the whole blog space to tell your story.

That’s what I said last year. Of course saying and doing are two different things. I also promised myself that this Christmas I would not get depressed, I would not get myself worked up over not getting presents, I would not weep over the family I don’t have. Well, I’ll try again in 2017. I spent most of Christmas feeling ridiculously sorry for myself. There were some good reasons: the pellet stove that heats my house died on Dec. 22 and is still sitting there like a cold lump of metal, awaiting parts; my financial situation is not great; my aunt sent fruitcake when I was hoping for a real present, and my brother’s present got lost in the mail; as choir director, I had to sing the Christmas Day Mass alone because my singers were off with their kids and grandkids; and I got a flat tire on Christmas Day. Dead husband, disowned by the stepkids, far from my birth family celebrating together in California. I stared at my pitiful little fake tree and sobbed. Poor me.

But with a little perspective, I can see that I spent most of the weekend with friends at church or at their home, I got some nice gifts from my church buddies (and a boatload of chocolate), my Christmas tree is cute, and I’m better off than a lot of people I know. I do not have cancer. I have a good house, plenty of food, steady income, work I love, and a fabulous dog who adores me. I also have all of you.

I can see that I need to work a little harder on bringing people into my life and including them in mine. I tend to be a workaholic hermit, but that’s not healthy. When people have spouses, children and grandchildren, they have a built-in family and community with which to share their lives. But when we’re on our own, we need to build our own communities or get used to the solitude.

Having children is no guarantee of Christmas cheer anyway. My closest friend’s kids were not available for the holidays and one didn’t send a card or gift and was not answering his phone. My physical therapist who just moved here from Utah was on her own because she’s divorced and her kids were with their dad. She said she valued having time to herself, which doesn’t happen very often. Another friend was snowed in with his dog, couldn’t get to his family.

You make the best of what you’ve got. And if you have to cry a little bit, that’s okay.

So how did you make out this Christmas? And what are your plans for the new year? Let’s talk.

 

 

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Does ‘Happy New Year’ make you cringe?

It’s New Year’s Eve. Do the words “Happy New Year” make you happy or make you want to weep and throw things? Was 2014 the year nothing good happened and now you don’t have much hope for 2015? I know, holidays are hard. You see everybody else enjoying their families and can’t help comparing your situation to theirs. No kids or grandkids, fighting with the husband/wife or boyfriend/girlfriend, or alone and thinking, “To hell with it. I’ll just jump off a bridge.”

Apparently that’s what was going through the mind of a man who tried to jump off the Yaquina Bridge here in Newport the day after Christmas. The police wrestled him off the outer rail, and he’s in the hospital now, but one would suspect he did not have a merry Christmas or look forward to a happy new year. I don’t know whether or not he has kids. Apparently, it didn’t matter.

I hope none of you are that desperate. If so, do something. Get help or get busy doing something to take your mind off your problems until you can bear them a little better. Go to a movie; don’t wait for the DVD. I saw “Wild” the day it came out. It’s a fabulous story of a strong woman overcoming her demons, and there’s not a baby in it. It’s probably playing in your area, too.

A new year is a time to make new plans. Have an honest talk with your partner and decide what to do about babies once and for all. Remember, he or she is not the enemy. Try to see their side. Agree on a plan and then move on.

Hint: Don’t start the conversation while a football game is on.

I hope and pray this is the beginning of a wonderful new year for you. Remember, you are not alone. We’re here for you.

I’m considering some new features for this blog in the coming year. I welcome your ideas and comments.