no matter what winter holiday you celebrate, this is the time of year that the entire world goes into Retrospective Mode. everyone comes out with the year's best and worst lists, year-in-review specials, etc. it's an interesting paradox -- December is an insanely busy time for most people and yet because it comes at year's end, and is often spent with loved ones, it definitely lends itself to introspection and reminiscing.
for those of you who have experienced any struggles or challenges on your journey to build a family, the holidays can be especially difficult. all that thinking about the year(s) gone by and what they did or didn't hold can be overwhelming. when the demands of the holidays spread you thin, it is easier to feel the full brunt of unmet expectations, unexpressed grief and disappointment, unsaid words of fear or anger. it's also easier to feel shame about these "negative" emotions when all the world seems decked out in lights and merriment and parties and fa-la-la-la-la-ing. when the most positive feeling you can muster is "i hope the coming New Year will at least be better than this year was," you don't feel so inclined to have what is popularly referred to as "the holiday spirit." and yet...the New Year does inevitably come, and with it a new set of hopes and dreams.
it seems almost impossible that this year contained both the loss of another child, and the beginning of another one. it seems more impossible that the coming year holds for us the promise of actually meeting that child, with all its attendant complex, marvelous, life-upending consequences. and it is honestly astounding that i do honestly say this : that i would not trade all those previous tear-stained holidays for this hope-filled, happier one -- mainly because the latter would not exist without the former. it is good to sit beside my glowing Christmas tree and reflect with gratefulness on both all that i still mourn for, and all that i am rejoicing in.