My Child-full Christmas: Making My Own Christmas Magic

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Many childless couples choose to travel around the holiday season. They get out of town and enjoy the sunshine and beach or go hit the slopes somewhere far away from the holiday crowds and all the traditions that center around children. Perhaps there will be a day when Chad and I are drawn to this way of spending the holiday season, but for now I’m still not quite ready to miss out on being a part of the childlike wonder of the magic of Christmas.

This afternoon we attended Christmas Eve service (my first ever) at a new church. I hope to make this a tradition for us as a family, just Chad and I.  For the first time, in forever, I finally felt at peace in the church setting, the music was beautiful and the message powerful, and I finally didn't feel so alone.

This season has been filled with reminders of this sense of feeling alone. A few weeks ago, after a particularly difficult weekend of feeling like I had nowhere to fit in and feeling left behind as a woman who isn’t a mother, Chad came up with a brilliant idea for a new Christmas tradition with our friends’ children. This will be our first year of having our own Christmas celebration with our friend’s kids. We bought gifts for the boys (our closest friends all seem to have boys, 3 of them to be exact) to open with us at our house. Every year we will give them something to take home and something to leave with us at our house. This way they will always have something of their very own to play with in our toy room when they come to our place. We will eat a yummy (kid approved meal), make fireplace s’mores and watch the boys open their gifts. I can feel my own childlike wonder of the magic and joy of Christmas just writing about it.

We will also begin the tradition of making the rounds on Christmas afternoon and evening to see what Santa brought for the kids in our lives.  I can't wait to see their eyes light up as they show us their gifts.

Making my own Christmas magic within my childfree life also means we get to have some adult fun during the holidays. This is our first Christmas in Mason House and starting our family traditions in our forever family home. I am looking forward to yummy meals (with great conversation and laughs, and limited food thrown on the floor), delicious bottles of wine and the hilarity of playing charades with our family this year.  I won’t have to watch my sailor potty mouth or be nervous about the dogs and children.  There can be ever upward magic within this adult Christmas too.

Ending IVF and living a childfree life means lifelong losses. The Christmas season seems to highlight these losses so much at times that it can feel like I am a gaping, oozing wound.

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I will never get to be Santa for my own children.

I will never get to see their eyes and face light up with pure, joyful magic as they talk about Santa Claus or leave cookies out for him on Christmas Eve.

I will never watch them in the Christmas play or sing in the holiday concert.

But I can still make my own magic to find my ever upward. And I ask that tonight, you stop and take a moment to really feel the magical love that Christmas gives us all.  Stop, take a breath and be so grateful for your version of holiday magic.

Because my magic, of our childfree lives, will include the childfull Christmas traditions, and otherwise, we are choosing to begin this year. Because, after all, choosing joy, and magic, is a choice.

Our Home. Our Traditions. Our Family.

Ending IVF and accepting our lives without children, also meant realizing we didn’t have to live in our current neighbor in the great school district.  We began redefining our dreams, and realized we wanted to live in a home where our friends and family and their children could spend time with us and grow with us, which in my wildest dreams meant a home with a pool.  I wanted it because I wanted to create a lifetime of memories with my friends and their children.  But if I’m honest, I also wanted it to make sure I wasn’t left out and forgotten about.  And what better way than having a home with a pool, a place for play and adventure, and where kids would always want to come have fun which meant we could be part of their family and growing up. And so Mason House was conceived.  We bought a home previously owned by a hoarder.  After the epic adventure of cleaning out the property ourselves, with the help of our amazing friends and family, the gut rehab construction project began.  Less than 90 days later we moved into our beautiful new home and we quickly began making amazing memories with friends and family.  This week our “new” home has officially passed all inspections and will have no more contractors traipsing through with their dusty boots.  We have built our definition of a family home.  Complete with enough room for company all the time.  Complete with the toy room for kids to play.  Complete with a pool to spend hours jumping off the board and hearing the endless joyful laughter of our friends and family.  Complete with our furry family.  Complete, our ever upward home.

This will be our first holiday season in our new home.  It will also be our first holiday season almost completely off the IVF roller coaster.  The first holiday without the 2 week wait of hoping for a positive pregnancy test and the first holiday without the sadness of the never to be birth date.  It is our first holiday season, after spending the last year rebuilding ourselves, grieving our losses, accepting our story and redefining us.  Therefore, we plan to do what I’ve learned to do best, redefine.  And we’re starting with our very first real Christmas tree.  And the beginning of our traditions have been born, which if this year is accurate Thanksgiving eve includes picking out our tree, getting Mexican for dinner and having a margarita, decorating the deliciously smelling tree which I tried to actually hug and of course taking a hundred pictures of the dogs to get one good one (see below).  Tonight (Thanksgiving night) we continued making our family traditions by going to see a movie, just Chad and I.  Sure, it may seem like a small thing to some, but to us, to me, it is again our ever upward traditions.

Our home and our traditions are not complete without our family.  One of the strongest lessons of the journey of IVF is that love and support and true family and friends will always be here, trying to get it, trying to support but ultimately just being here.   The support our parents have provided us throughout this journey is more than any parent should have to give.  And we are beyond thankful for them, there simply are not enough words of thanks.  Family doesn’t necessarily, and many times, doesn’t mean we share blood.  The friends who have stuck by us, laughed with us, cried with us and just tried to get it are ones who have become true family.  Ultimately, we built Mason House for years to share with them.  Then there is our destined family.  We may have only chosen 2 rounds of IVF, but as I’ve been told they could be considered some of the most difficult, as we used a gestational surrogate.  Michelle, our surrogate,  is a woman with a heart full of endless love to give who I met online.  She quickly became my soul sister throughout our journey.  Ben, Michelle, Nathan, Lyla and Tipton are literally our destined family, our chosen family.  Blood or no relation, family is family.  Children or pets, kids are kids.  My family may not be complete with kids but complete nonetheless with family, friends, chosen family and pets.  For this, I am beyond thankful.  And make no doubt it is our ever upward family, our ever upward complete.