Back on the first of January, I wrote this post about the year ahead. Looking back at it now is slightly difficult, because this year did indeed become exactly what I had so fervently hoped it would not. It became the year of infertility treatments and all that comes with them physically and emotionally. It’s certainly influenced my blogging too, and whilst I never intended for this to become an “infertility blog” it’s inevitable that it’s been the focus of much of my emotional outpouring for the last twelve months. As such, it’s almost become quite difficult not to chart the year in terms of the milestones on our infertility journey – which is exactly what I did yesterday. But there has been so much more to the year too, and to not make reference to that as this current, albeit somewhat arbitrary, chapter closes and a new one begins would be to do myself and my family a disservice.
We may have been mired in the heartbreak that infertility can bring, but at the same time I think we’ve been reasonably successful in seizing the happiness where we find it. In fact, it’s become perhaps more important than ever to me to do that whilst it’s been in such short supply. After all. even when life is handing you lemons, there are positives to be found and whilst they cannot completely negate the sadness, they can help tip the balance a long way. And, perhaps most importantly of all, no matter how difficult a period of time is, you cannot get that time back. Thomas will not be a two year old again. We won’t get back the time that has passed in his childhood. I’m pleased, and grateful, that he managed to bring so much light in to a dark time.
Not all that we’ve got up to this year has made it on to this blog. Some of that is due to laziness, some due to prioritising other things I’ve wanted to publish. Much of it however, I’m not sorry to say, is because there have times where we’ve been simply too busy enjoying ourselves to document it. After all, I don’t want to live our lives solely through a camera lens. But this is my round up of some of the highlights, whether they’ve been blogged before or not.
We’ve fitted in three trips away this year – to Center Parcs in the spring, Berlin in the summer and a short break to Brussels earlier this month. Thomas has also enjoyed five theatre trips – Not Now Bernard and Sensacional at the Unicorn, The Tiger Who Came to Tea and Room on the Broom at the Lyric and Peppa Pig’s Big Splash. Thomas also experienced his first big screen film at the cinema – Thomas and Friends Tale of the Brave. In fact, film has been a big part of the year as we’ve started to introduce Thomas to many of the Disney and Dreamworks classics, which kicked off a minor obsession with Toy Story. I’ve been pleased at how much he has also enjoyed the ‘classic’ classics though, such as Snow White and Pinnochio and things are shaping up well for a trip to DisneyWorld!
There have been plenty of days out this year. To the zoo, to farms and to local National Trust properties and the historic dockyard at Chatham, where we met a Gruffalo. We went up the Shard for a milestone family birthday. There have been trips to the big museums in London, and quieter trips to local fetes and to Carter’s Steam Fair. The train obsession goes on, and in addition to many hours spent train spotting at our local stations, we enjoyed another Day Out with Thomas and a ride on the Santa Special. There have also been many trips to London with the main intention being to ride on different forms of public transport and we took a train trip to the seaside.
There have been lots more ordinary activities as well. Our music classes and swimming lessons. Days spent in the garden, splashing in the paddling pool or digging in the dirt, plus a very first egg hunt. Walks in the woods and to feed the ducks and oh so many trips to the park and sandpit and riding bikes. There have been lazy days at home watching Toy Story over and over again, or creating ever more elaborate layouts with the wooden train track, not to mention the quarantine at the height of summer when Thomas finally succumbed to Chicken Pox. We’ve cooked together. Eaten together from picnics on the floor to “dates” in Starbucks, to ice cream cones. We’ve read our favourite books more times than I care to remember, but Thomas has begun to sound out the words of his favourites as he moves towards reading for himself. There has been messy play, and crafts and painting. There have been painstaking hours spent practicing writing the letters of Thomas’s name. There has been singing, dancing, den building and dinosaur chases. I’ve been a patient in Thomas’s doctor’s surgery more times that a healthy person should, and I’ve enjoyed watching what his imagination can create as he plays and telling stories through actions. We’ve also begun a love affair with Lego that I hope will last for years to come. In case you missed them I shared some videos that demonstrate what a happy, outgoing and cheeky kid I’m proud to call my own.
And that’s the truth. I’m so proud to call him my son. So proud to be his mum and get to share my time with him. He’s grown up before our very eyes this year, turning from toddler in to fully fledged pre-schooler, with such firm beliefs and strong opinions – that he’s not afraid to voice and which show him to be well on the road to becoming his own person. If my life hasn’t quite panned out the way I would have chosen if choice were an option any of us had, then at least I have my husband and my son in the life that I do have.
And as for me? Well I had my five minutes of fame in Mother and Baby magazine. My job continues to be a source of both great satisfaction and also, at times great stress. But I’ve hit some career development goals this year, even in the midst of the IVF turmoil, and of that I’m proud. We also bought a new car in the summer, and finally, after 15 years, I got my driving licence back this month, which will open up so many more opportunities for us in the New Year. I’ve also remained mostly heathy, and achieved another year – 31 in total – of living well with type 1 diabetes remaining, at least for now, complication free. And, well, I underwent a lot of fertility procedures!
It may have been a year of failed fertility endeavours, but it’s also been a year of growing our family in completely different ways. Of cementing our bonds and enriching our lives despite the trials.There has been incredible sadness and heartbreak. But there has been incredible happiness too.
Yes, it’s not been all bad at all.
And things can only get better.