The first alarm goes off at 5am. This is the reminder to take my temperature, the most recent chore in 2.5 years of trying to get pregnant with our second child. I have turned off the alarm every day for the last week, since I went on a trip, left my thermometer in my travel bag, and woke up the next morning to realize that I didn't care enough to continue the exercise in futility to go retrieve it. This morning, guilt lies heavy on me, for giving up on my body, for giving up on the child we wanted so badly we already have a name chosen. I am awake when my wife's alarm goes off, and she rolls over to hug me. Two rounds of IVF, 6 of IUI, surgeries and so many shots and pills. Boxes of maternity and infant clothes in our closet. “I think I’m ready to give up”, I tell her.
We rise, and I am in the shower when our nearly four-year-old son comes in crying, “You were supposed to still be in bed when I woke up!” My wife comforts him, then heads out to do morning chores in the barn: feed our flock of 40 chickens and 5 turkeys, open the barn doors for our 8 dairy goats, and walk our two sheep and their 3 bouncing lambs to a pasture. Inside, I start a fire in the wood stove, cook breakfast, and wrangle our son into clothes and a slightly less crazy hairdo.
By 9:30 I have dropped the child at school, caught up on email, and completed a conference call with Italy from my rented office, a little room in a little building on the main street of the small town that is the biggest near our farm. I work remotely for a massive international company, and I am grateful every day for the flexibility and support my job provides. Today, I take advantage of it by pivoting to work on a project for the local group I have been helping to lead since my world was shaken by the election. I am determined to make my female, queer, mixed-race family more visible in my community to let those who voted for Trump see who their vote harmed. I’ll finish sending emails later tonight, before Italy wakes up.
At 11:30, I meet a friend for a celebratory lunch: after a year of hard work by our board, the tiny, private, nonprofit school that we are creating has received $10k in donations AND official approval of non-profit status from the IRS this week. I am so proud of her, and of this project, and I am so excited to welcome our first students to this innovative education model this fall.
After lunch, I take a little time to prepare for an upcoming board meeting of our rural water cooperative. I am President of the board, a title that means I must lead the often contentious Annual Member Meeting at the end of this month. I’m dreading this, and I contemplate again the possibility that I was elected to this position as punishment for all my inconvenient questions.
At bedtime, we are brushing teeth and our son asks me if I am old. I say well, today I feel kind of old, and he turns his enormous brown eyes to me and says, 'Mama, are you going to die?'.
Not anytime soon, I say, and he says, "oh, so I will be old enough to cook for myself when you die."
Be well, and do good,
Yamhill, Oregon, USA