Is 2016 over yet?

While we continue crunching numbers and looking at spreadsheets with line items that say things like "Carrier Contract: Legal Representation for IP's", "Transfer Fee", "GC compensation", and "Egg Donor Cycle Fee", the world moves madly on. Political meltdowns, terror after terror, record global temperatures, and unarmed black people being murdered all while the world watches on Facebook and TV. I think about how I'd rather be blogging about good news like a healthy pregnancy or a baby birth. I want to share my thoughts on optimism and happiness. But I must write about the chaos and sadness of current events because this too is part of the story.

Dear Future Grown Child,

It's 2016 and you aren't born yet. But you occupy space inside my dreams multiple times a day. I don't know who you're going to be or what you're going to do when you get here. The anticipation stirs in me a longing to meet you and learn from you. The world is a pretty crazy place in 2016. I can't possibly prepare you for the tragedies and atrocities that you will witness and encounter in your life on this planet. I'm both terrified and filled with hope about the future. I already want to protect you and take away your pain. I will strive instead to sit with you and teach you how to feel all of it. I hope that we have created a space in our family to share both our stories of joy and our stories of sorrow.

2016 has been a difficult year for Papa and me. We've had to navigate some pretty challenging stuff in our marriage. Relationships aren't easy but I'm convinced that connection is why we are here. We've definitely learned to cry together this year. We've learned how to be honest about our fears. Perhaps most importantly we have learned how to honor vulnerability by making mistakes and making amends. Papa and I have held one another through this tough time. Together with him, I experience love in ways that I've never known love. I can only imagine the kind of love that I will know as your father.

In my work as a therapist I am no stranger to the stories of struggle that are an inevitable and crucial part of being alive. 2016 is perhaps the early adolescence of the Information Age. Boundaries are being pushed and the stories of pain and grief are just as accessible and pervasive as silly cat videos. There seems to be a collective fear and a general sense of uncertainty driving people to act out their hurt instead of feeling it. 2016 just out right feels like a tipping point. I wonder about the world we want to bring you into. Papa so thoughtfully reminds me that "statistically, this is not the worst year ever."  You might not be surprised that I have a hard time taking that in.

Sometimes when I unplug and leave the city I can hear the breath of forests. They too are connected and gasping through a collective grief. There is a kind of war in the oceans with over half of their population disappearing at alarming rates. The ocean is such a special place for Papa and me.  I wonder how you will experience the oceans. I wonder if you will have a chance to experience the majesty and mystery of whales or the brilliant colors of a coral reef.

Sometimes I take hot baths and listen to lullabies of soft voices and pianos. I re-read quotes and sayings that have been passed down from generations before mine. I suppose I use them as a mantra of sorts.

"All that we love deeply becomes a part of us" -Helen Keller
"Happiness is beneficial for the body, but it is grief that develops the powers of the mind"             -Marcel Proust
"The opposite of war isn't peace. It's creation."- Jonathan Larson

That last quote by Jonathan Larson really resonates with me now more than ever. Perhaps my deepest gesture of creativity is participating in the making of life itself. I don't know you yet but I'm already proud of the person you are.

This year has definitely been a challenge. I try to remember to drink water as often as I can. I hold tightly to the memories of my people and my special places. I kiss your Papa's face as he snores next to me. And I think of your laughter. These things bring me hope in the year 2016.