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Our Journey

2002 Uterine Fibroid Surgery #1

2003 1st consult with an RE, you know, just in case

2003 Got Married (at 37 (me) & 34 (DH) years old)

2003/2004 Naturally conceived pregnancies BFPs #1, #2, & #3 and miscarriages #1, #2, #3

2005 Uterine Fibroid Surgery #2

2005 IVF #1, BFN #1

2005 IUIs #1 and #2, just because, BFN #2 & #3

2005 FET from IVF #1, BFN #4

2006 Exploratory surgery to remove scar tissue from fibroid sugery #2

2006 IVF #2 (w PGD), BFP #4

2006 Emergency cerclage for IC @ 16w6d (5 months + 1 week of complete bed rest at home ensues)

2007 Our son is born @ 38w by scheduled c-section

2007 IVF #3 for baby #2, BFN #5

2007 IVF #4, BFP #5, miscarriage #4

2008 IVF #5, BFP #6, miscarriage #5

2008 IVF #6, BFP #7, miscarriage #6

2008 DE IVF #7, BFN #6

2009 DEFET #8, cancelled, embryos don't thaw

2010 Decide to adopt domestically

12.17.10 Profile is live with our agency

November 2011 Consult with RE re: donated embryo cycle

Early January 2012 Cleared to proceed with deFET

January 2012 Freeze our profile

1.20.12 deFET begins
2.12.12 eSET of one compacted morula
2.22.12 BFN

3.23.12 deFET #2 begins
4.14.12 transfer 3 embryos (1-8 cell, 1-5 cell, 1-4 cell)
4.22.12 + HPT
4.24.12 Beta #1 = 48.4
4.26.12 Beta #2 = 125.7
4.30.12 Beta #3 = 777.8
5.11.12 1st U/S - Singleton!
7.12.12 It's a Boy!
12.26.12 C-section: Baby G is born, 9#5oz, 20.5"

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Creating Family

I grew up in a different time and my childhood memories always include my siblings, our extended family (aunts/uncles/cousins), and a few neighborhood or school friends.  It was a time when I could walk up the street to my friend’s house or ride my bike around the corner to another friend’s house and spend an afternoon at their house (or vice versa) or try to weasel my way into my brother’s room or the garage where he was playing with his friend(s) or count on spending a weekend with my cousin and sister and neighbor down the street.  My point is, I was hardly ever alone and my parents were rarely, if ever, my playmate.

Our son is a very social little boy.  He is always the first to ask another child at the park or the pool if they want to play.  He often goes up to unknown children, tells them his name, asks them theirs, and extends his hand to shake.  He is not shy in the least but can be overbearing in his earnestness to play with others.

My husband and I are our son’s constant playmates.  It often makes my heart heavy as I know he’d enjoy having other kids around to play with.  One of the hardest parts of raising a socially outgoing only child who has no interaction with my estranged extended family is trying to establish relationships with friends that will think to include us in their plans.  It makes holidays like Memorial Day, 4th of July, Easter, particularly difficult as friends usually have plans with their extended family.  I don’t ever want to hone in on others plans or invite ourselves over, but often times I find myself in the position of having to do so.

At our old house, we hosted play dates all summer long.  We have an inflatable water slide and we’d have as many as 20 kids over with their parents for a morning or afternoon in the sun.  The house had a back bathroom off the back porch which was particularly convenient.  Not only does our new house have these dark walnut hardwood floors, but the bathrooms are situated in our master bedroom OR off the hallway to the two other bedrooms.  That means that wet children would have to traipse through the house to get to the bathroom and it’s not something I’ve wanted to have happen.  So, even though we have lived here almost a year, we’ve not hosted one group play date.

It is really hard for me to feel like I am always encroaching on the plans of others. It takes a LOT of effort, something that friends who have more than one child or who have local family, take for granted. I find myself thinking ahead to the weekend (or to an upcoming holiday) and trying to figure out who to ask to spend time with. We do have one-on-one play dates here, but I have to admit, the mom friends I most like hanging out with have girls. This has been fine so far because my son has always gravitated toward girls, but as he enters kindergarten and then elementary school, I’m not sure how long co-ed play dates will be copacetic.

This is all to say how hard it has been creating a familial-like upbringing for my son without the benefit of having any family. When I set out to create my family, I didn’t predict the level of estrangement my relationship with my own family would degrade to. There is nothing to be done about it and I am not looking to repair anything but I underestimated (or didn’t even consider) how difficult it would be to create a chosen family in the absence of my extended family. It is already hard forging new friendships in one’s mid-forties, but add to that all the dynamics at play (do we have similar enough parenting styles, do we have enough in common, do we define reciprocity similarly, do our kids generally get along and enjoy being together, is there an ease in coordinating events, do our spouses like each other (in the event of a family get together, etc.) and it takes and act of Congress to pull anything off.  And the effort door has to swing both ways.  I guess that is my point…it is generally me creating a plan because it doesn’t occur to someone else to do so.

Maybe when this little one arrives and we move from family building to family being, things will feel different. But for now, it is taking a lot of effort to find, nurture, and build our chosen extended family. And it brings into sharp focus just how alone we are.

“The family you come from isn’t as important as the family you’re going to have.”
~Ring Lardner

7 comments to Creating Family

  • I can totally relate too – geographically we need to create family by cobbling together a network of friends and reaching out to people we otherwise wouldn’t (like parents of kids’ friends). In some ways it is freeing not to be limited to blood/legal relationships, but it is a WHOLE lot of effort. The way you wrote about it it sounds like you are doing this for the benefit of your son, but I feel like we do it for our own sanity too – I love my old girlfriends but I also need people in the same place as I’m in, kids the same age, etc.

    Hope you do find a way to achieve the level of socializing/community you want. And I agree with what another reader said: you’re entering a new era wherein your son will continue your work, he’ll be creating family and friendships of his own. What a great post.

  • Wow, I can very much relate to so much of this. On one hand, it is a nice perk of living in NYC — there are so many people who came here from different places and do not have family here, so you sometimes can find eager ‘surrogate family’ friends. Yet on the other hand, a lot of people give up their ‘New York dreams’ after having kids and soon leave NYC to go back to their real families, etc. So I’ve lost so many great friends soon after making them! That can be really lonely if you’re an “orphan’ with nowhere else to go back to.

    I feel like I am very, very slowly creating something for us — like my friend’s elderly mom, who is like a dear aunt to me/my son. I keep hoping to meet that one special neighbor who will welcome us to a BBQ. That one sassy gal in a sewing class who will invite me for a drink. I keep trying to create this patchwork of something. But it seems I keep losing more friends in my life than I am gaining.

    This especially makes me sad for my son — who may very well be an only child. Sorry for my depressing comment. But thanks for the interesting thoughts on this.

  • When I read this, I thought the same thing as Yvonne did. I have a lot of friends who hosts their own parties on holidays. I feel like the more you invite people into your family, the more they think of you. It’s so hard, with everyone being so busy. Maybe group play dates should happen, if you can figure a way to work around the bathroom issue.

    The other thing? When K starts grade school, he will forge his OWN family, too through his school friends. It’s not ALL on you to family build for him – he’ll make his own network as he grows. It’ll work out the way it’s supposed to.

    xoxo

  • yvonne

    Just my (likely totally off-base) thought, but those group play dates sound like lots of fun *and* they might create an atmosphere where friends feel closer and more like an extended family.

    I understand that your house isn’t really set up for it, but there must be some way to work around the wet kid issue.

    Set up an outdoor bathing suit changing area? (doesn’t solve the running into the house to pee problem, but helps keep them outside most of the time)

    Make a non-negotiable rule that no one can go in the house without fully drying off? (have lots of towels stacked by the door to make this easier)

    Put down mats/towels on the floor by the door to soak up water when people are visiting?

    Add a very small powder room in a more convenient area? (expensive, but it sounds like the bathroom situation may be a real barrier to entertaining. We converted a closet next to our kitchen and it was one of the most worthwhile home improvement projects ever)

  • Meg

    Families come in all sizes and configurations. I was raised in a family with both parents and a brother and lots of extended family. Time passed and due to family issues the extended part decreased a lot. I married and had 2 children then divorced, lived alone for a while, and now live with my daughter and teenage granddaughter. I considered myself part of a family in each of those iterations.
    You have a 3 person family now and will soon add another member. Whwn I first read your blog I envied the connections/communications you had with both you husband and son. You are working hard to be a great parent and wife. Your son will grow to appreciate how you work to meet his needs. I’ll bet that some of his peers envy him the attention he can command from his Mom and the time he has to be alone. My granddaughter has a large extended family on her dad’s side and after her summer visits she is grateful to be at home, quiet, with just us three.
    Ease up a bit on your self-expectations. You have a lot on your plate but you will get through it all bit by bit.

  • Anna

    I hope that all goes well too. It gladdens me to think of the idea of you moving on from family building, all together. I know that isolation too. My family is fragmented and all parts live far away. I also live a distance from my colleagues and friends. We aren’t usually automatically included in the plans of friends or family members, often this is hard. I could go on about it at great length but for now I’ll just say that I’m sure your son has flourished with 2 lovely parents to support him and will continue to do so in light of the future challenges of being a sibling, hard as it is, you are doing everything that you can to give him the best of life, which is all any of us can do,x

  • I so know what you mean. We are foreigners, family far away, not that this mattered, because they are crazy and useless and aloof anyway, friends are not easy to come by, friends with children have different priorities/schedules/interests and yeah… The main reason we sent G to crèche was socializing. He does not seem to like being in big groups, and children in groups are different from what they are when alone. Anyway, not. Easy. I wish it were.
    Hope you’re well. :-)

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