Spring Break, Spring Cleaning and Springing Forward

Spring is almost here! What does that mean for you?

Me? I’m counting the days until we leave for Ireland where the hills are always gloriously green. (Yes, there will be rain so I’ve picked up a new water-repellent, hooded jacket to keep me from getting soaked to the skin). Most of all I’m looking forward to some spring break time with my 10-year-old niece and 13-year-old nephew. They’re simply delightful and share many of my husband’s family characteristics. Among the fun is listening to their rich vocabulary. The Irish truly have a natural, entertaining story-telling ability.

I’m also in the mood to purge and tidy. As I sat down to write this post, I was reminded of an earlier musing on spring cleaning and checked back on my previous blog to see if I recognized the person who wrote it. Have you ever done that? Gone back to some old letters, journals or, if you’re a blogger, old posts to see what the writing reveals? It’s been two years and lots of serious baggage chucking since I wrote this post. It’s more than a little strange to feel, again, the anger contained in it.

As a measure of just how far I’ve come since then, I gauged my response to a New York Times piece this morning on mommy bloggers, “Honey, Don’t Bother Me, I’m Too Busy Building My Brand.” The old Pamela Jeanne would have been launched into lunar orbit and written a tirade about self-absorbed women who didn’t fully appreciate what it meant to have the opportunity to look across the breakfast table and see their child smiling back over their cereal bowl. That would be because they were too busy locked in a love affair with their laptop — trying to one-up other mommy bloggers with their ‘momminess.’ That, or I would have written a biting post about women who appear to be more fixated on documenting monetizing motherhood than experiencing it. That was then, this is now.

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I’m not the only one who is getting a new lease on life. I’ve heard from several women recently who are either in the process of or are looking to take big strides — spring forward you might say. Vicki shared a link to a recent blog post she wrote about how a mountain hike became a metaphor:

“We both felt more alive than we had in a while.  We had accomplished something difficult.  For the last half of the journey up our lungs burned, our muscles protested, and our hearts felt like they were going to beat out of our chests, but we persevered and we made it.  What seemed like a small accomplishment in most people’s eyes…it’s not like we climbed Everest or anything…was a huge step forward for us.  There was something liberating about it, and we felt instantly closer again. Because we grew up in a rural area in the mountains many of our dates before we were married had been hikes and exploring adventures to places we had never been to before.  Sunday took us back to our dating days before the heaviness of infertility and the responsibilities of life had taken their toll.

It also felt like a new beginning in some ways.  We proved to ourselves that we could accomplish something again even it was just completing a 3-mile round-trip hike…and that’s a good start. Hopefully, there will be more adventures to come…maybe even bigger ones.”

There are few things more satisfying than accomplishing something that wasn’t easy, something that tested us.

Among other signs of finding a new equanimity, I’m now able to see signs of fertility without immediately feeling a sense of loss.  I’m viewing it more as a sociologist or anthropologist might. For instance, I wrote a piece for Open Salon earlier this week on the fertility subtext of the HBO Series Big Love. Do you see a similar change in the way you view fertility? Spring is certainly the time to see it in abundance…

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4 thoughts on “Spring Break, Spring Cleaning and Springing Forward

  1. Diane

    I think it’s contagious, Pamela! I just read that NYT article. My reaction: Eh.

    Corollary to that, during the Olympics there was abundant advertising on NBC for a forthcoming TV series entitled “Parenthood.” My reaction to that: Eh. Just one more show to not bother watching.

    I might have said this before on a post either here or at coming2terms, but my turning point for taking the “eh” attitude toward fertility in the media, and perhaps fertility in general, seemed to be when I turned 50. (I’m 54 now). Perhaps it’s fair to say that at 50+, women in general aren’t defining themselves by their fertility but by their other accomplishments. And we infertiles get a head start on that process!

  2. Pamela

    A very astute observation, Diane!

  3. claire

    Have a lovely time in Ireland try some Guinness if you haven’t already; the weather is also really good at the moment so hopefully it won’t rain to much.

  4. Pamela

    Thanks, Claire! Just a few days before we had across the continent and an ocean. Cheers!

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