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Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Ten Days Before Valentine's Day

Dear Heart:

About nine years ago, at this time of year, you brought me together with Josh. I always get very sentimental in February--I love my husband. I wanted to write you, my heart, a love letter. After all, if you didn't beat so intensely in my chest, goading me to keep trying for the things you promise me that I want, I wouldn't have achieved everything I've achieved in the last ten years. So how can I not be thankful to you? It feels very ungrateful to write this--I worry that I will sound depressed when I'm not--but hopefully you and Josh will both see the love letter below the surface.

There have been very few moments in my life where I haven't known what I've wanted. It seems that once I reach one goal, you turn around and set up another thing to want. And this is only problematic because it feels like there is never a pause. And without that pause, it sometimes feels like you are rushing me through the enjoyment of the moment. But at the same time, you have always clearly shown me what I wanted and I have gone through life always comfortably knowing the next step. You know that I don't like unknowns.

Of course, there have been too many times that you have convinced me that I want something that isn't attainable--at least not initially or easily. You set yourself on a college that I wasn't granted entrance, you set yourself on people who didn't love me back, you picked a career that was slow-going with so many more doors closed tightly than even slightly ajar. And, of course, you told me that I wanted to be a mother. And this was the cruelest and kindest thing you ever did to me.

It is hard to reread the diary I kept beginning a few months before we started actually trying to build our family. You made me so hopeful. You made me giddy and excited. You made me purchase way too many books, more than I could possibly need and those were the books that haunted me for two years. I never ended up reading them. After all, what could Dr. Sears tell me with his big happy family on the back cover?

You made me want parenthood so badly. I was really on the fence about how far I was willing to take things; just how badly I wanted to experience pregnancy. But you kept brushing aside all of the rational conversations I had with Josh back when we were first dating. For whatever reason, you kept pushing me to try the next thing and the next thing and am I thankful for the end result? Of course. But could it have been otherwise? Where was the stopping point? It is terrifying to go through treatments without knowing how you'll stop; at what point does the head get to wrest back control from the heart?

The twins have recently become obsessed with watching a video Josh and I made in Disney World about six years ago. It was a few months into fertility treatments. There is a scene where we are at the California Grill, celebrating my birthday with a dinner and I am blowing out a candle on top of a cake. You can see my lips moving, and I am wishing for what you told me to wish for. After the candle is extinguished, I look directly at the camera and blow an apologetic kiss to Josh. I am obviously crying and then the scene switches to the fireworks happening outside the window over the Magic Kingdom.

It is hard to see myself over and over again every night as they watch the tape and remember the anguish I felt in that moment. The deep deep sadness that felt like it was insurmountable. I know that was actually one of my better moments, that there were much darker times where I considered removing you. Where I didn't want to feel, I didn't want to love, I didn't want to want anymore.

I love them so intensely. I love listening to them through the baby monitor and hearing their conversations. They pretend they are parents to their stuffed animals and it makes me wonder what their own hearts are telling them. I can't imagine a world without them and it terrifies me to think about all the times I wanted to stop. Entirely stop. And it terrifies me to think about that space and know all I would have missed without them.

You have brought the best times--the double shnuzzles in the rocking chair and the hand stroking my cheek and the small inquisitive faces inches from my own--but you have also brought the worst of times.

And that is why this can't just be a love letter.

Even though you have never made me want something that I didn't turn out to love once I held it in my hands.

--Melissa

21 comments:

Liv said...

Truely a beautiful and touching letter.

Brenna said...

I love your double shnuzzles and I've never even met them. Having an insistent & persistent heart definitely isn't a bad thing. I love the thought behind this letter, what a great idea! Maybe I'll write my heart a thank you letter for healing, something I wasn't sure five months ago would ever happen.

projectkjetil said...

Crying into the keyboard. (That can't be good for it, right? Will lean back.)

When you wrote, "And, of course, you told me that I wanted to be a mother. And this was the cruelest and kindest thing you ever did to me," you got it so so right. How do you do that? It's uncanny.

You reminded me why I'm still trying. Because my heart insists, even though it hurts.

Eve said...

I hear you, girl! I'm been having my own heart struggle lately as well, swimming in the joy of my son's Eskimo kisses and feeling the ache for yet another child despite my body's inability to cooperate. Thanks for showing me I'm not the only one with a bittersweet heart these days.

Eve infertilityrocks.wordpress.com

battynurse said...

As I sit here crying (don't worry, I've been doing that a lot lately) I want to say what a beautiful letter. And I want to say thanks. I've been wondering some if maybe it's time to quit but you remind me of why it's not.

Lori said...

Bless the heart. Curse the heart.

Cara said...

"There have been very few moments in my life where I haven't known what I've wanted. It seems that once I reach one goal, you turn around and set up another thing to want. And this is only problematic because it feels like there is never a pause. And without that pause, it sometimes feels like you are rushing me through the enjoyment of the moment. But at the same time, you have always clearly shown me what I wanted and I have gone through life always comfortably knowing the next step. You know that I don't like unknowns."

Mel - I think, live, and write these words all the time. Reading them in your love letter was a purely deja-vu moment.

Our hearts work hard - we work harder.

LJ said...

You're just a gorgeous person, and a gorgeous writer, with a tremendous heart.

(and OMG! I got a real word on the captcha today! string)

Cassandra said...

Someday you will tell the twins what you were wishing for at Disney World, and it will change the whole meaning of the video for them.

You have one of the most beautiful hearts I know, Mel, even though it doesn't always treat you as well as it should.

luna said...

just lovely.

Dora said...

Spot on and SOOOOOO beautiful. I'm weepy reading it, too.

Silya said...

I am crying at my desk. What a beautiful letter. This post, and the video, will be so precious and meaningful to the twins when they are old enough to understand how desperately you longed for them.

Kristin said...

But Mel, this is the truest love letter of all. Love is not all smiles and roses and chocolates. Love is the yearning, the wanting , even the pain and then the joy when we finally achieve what we wanted so badly.

Beautiful letter.

Vee said...

Beautiful and so touching.

itsazooaroundhere said...

This is beautiful, thank you for sharing it. Happy February to you.

Tara said...

beautiful

Fertilized said...

breathtaking. So honest. The feelings behind this letter is the reason I up quit my job today. It was a job That I thought I wanted out of college, but today my world is alittle different. Thank for sharing this love letter

wereyoulookingforme said...

What a beautiful letter. The sentence I most related to right now: "It is terrifying to go through treatments without knowing how you'll stop; at what point does the head get to wrest back control from the heart?" I want my story to end like yours, with a baby/ babies. I only fear that if it doesn't my heart will break and I'll be lost.

eden said...

That's a really nice letter!

Smiling said...

I think this is exactly what I needed to read to night. Thanks.

Bea said...

When I read this I just kind of... sighed. No, not *that* kind of sigh, sort of a... well, it was a very satisfying sigh. I may have to copy your letter - sure, I'll edit it here and there to bring it closer to home - and send it to my own heart.

Bea