Friday, June 16, 2006

Nan Plans...

“Man plans and God laughs.”

That was what a mentor of mine once said to me. I remember being a little surprised by his statement because he was an atheist, but I agreed that in some ways he did have a point. We plan and plan and plan our lives but we forget that nothing is guaranteed, not even tomorrow.

This week, I’ve learned all too well what my mentor meant - though I doubt that God is as sadistic as the adage implies. If anything, I think it’s more of a chuckle than thunderous amusement.

When I was very young, an endocrinologist told me that I would have to have a baby very young if I ever wanted to be a mother. I couldn’t have been much more than 10 years old and my parents had taken me to see him only because I was very short for my age – something I never really grew out of, no pun intended. It was an irresponsible statement to make to someone so young and impressionable and not one I fully understand even to this day. Needless to say, I grew up with the irrational fear that I’d never be able to have children. It was almost as though my fears spoke it into being true.

After much speculation and several years of treatment for endometriosis - something the vast array of doctors I saw were not even positive I had, I decided I’d had enough. There was no real evidence then that suggested that what that callous physician had said would come true. Yet, that (combined with large doses of hormones I received and several unrelated surgeries on my spine I underwent) did not stop me from tumbling into a pit of depression so deep that I’d only recently managed to climb out of. It wasn’t that I didn’t trust God. It was that I didn’t understand why His reasoning would be so contrary to what I deemed, “common sense.” I’ve always believed that I would make a great mother…

“My daddy is going to marry N and they’re going to have a baby and I’m going to have a sister,” V announced to a perfect stranger at the bus stop a week or so ago. I looked down at her and pressed my lips together and nodded. “Or a brotherrrr,” she sighed.

She couldn’t have known why my face had changed the way it did. She couldn’t have suspected that I had just found out days earlier that evidence had finally surfaced to support the case the vast array of doctors had made. For three weeks after the tests (which the technician clued me in to without the doctor present), I was filled with fear that everything I thought I’d overcome was coming back to haunt me. But the doctor never called to give me the results. No news is always good news, I reasoned. Finally, I called and scheduled an appointment, determined to hear an explanation of the results from someone authorized to tell me. That appointment was this morning.

The whole train ride, I felt really proud of myself for brushing off my fears. The doctor would have called if something was wrong. The technician must have misinterpreted what she saw. I was going to have a beautiful family with M and V would be thrilled. God wasn’t really going to allow this to happen to me after everything that’s happened and I had been foolish to worry. That was the lesson I was going to learn.

Nan planned…

I guess that’s why I was surprised when the doctor confirmed my wildest fears and left me in an even more certain limbo than I’d ever been before. Although she officially diagnosed me, she explained that it would be years before I’d be able to have the necessary surgeries to determine whether or not I’d be able to have children. I’d have to be married and trying to get pregnant for at least a year before the insurance would pay for it, she explained - noting that I was just starting law school in a month and a half and explaining that given that, it would be at least 4 years before I’d be eligible for the necessary tests. That would leave me a year away from 30 before I’d even have certainty – and who’s to say I ever will? I am grateful my faith is strong.

With all the recent planning for my future: my career, my wedding, my life, I had forgotten that no matter how much control I think I have, some things are out of reach and nothing is guaranteed. Some things have to be left up to God. And while there is comfort in that, there is still fear. I don’t want to become bitter or resentful. I don't want to be angry at God. In this case, it seems that what I want is beside the point.

“My times are in Your hands…”

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Rules of Engagement

Yesterday, my fiancé and I had a meeting with my soon-to-be step-daughter's lawyer. "When are you planning to marry?" she asked innocently enough. So I told her. "Next May after finals." After chewing the end of her pen for a beat, she offered, "Well why don't you just elope now? Honestly, the best thing to do would be to get married immediately and save yourselves all the hassle." I must have been a little stunned because she seemed to watch me for an eternity as I stared blankly back at her before she spoke again.
"Why are you waiting anyway? Oh, let me guess, it's your first marriage and you want the big church wedding, right?" she said cynically. "Trust me, in the end you'll end up spending so much money for a little piece of paper you'll wish you hadn't. Better to just go ahead and get it over with now – involve [step-daughter to-be] - and then have a big wedding next year when you want it."

Had she just referred to my impending vows as little more than a technicality? Was she equating my starting my life with M to nothing more than a signed document? In an instant she had whisked away all romantic notions and left me with little more than a legal strategy designed to best resolve the conflict regarding M's ex. She had also given M a better excuse to support his joking about us running off to some island and getting hitched. Now when M text messages me during the day asking me if I want to get married after work, I'll have to take his suggestions a little more seriously. (P.S. M: you don't really stand a chance!)

With all the media attention swirling on the value of the institution of marriage, the lawyer's comments did not come as that much of a surprise. For so many, marriage has lost it's appeal or relevance or value. Though her suggestions were well-intentioned, it was still a bit unsettling. But what struck me more than anything was a fear that my views on the world would too be forever reduced to that of legal technicalities and reasoning. Can law school really strip me of my values and romantic notions about life? Can the challenges of the curriculum and pressure of the Socratic method really challenge my faith and lead me to doubt?

Have you followed this blog long?! :) I wouldn't count on it! Even if I should become more argumentative, I'll still be me. And for the first time in my life I'm really OK with that.

As for the lawyer's advice, in the end I'll have to do what's right for me, M and my precious V. Needless to say, theres more than a piece of paper involved. Regardless of what others see.

I see... possibilities.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

I Am...

I AM: passionate and persistent, small but strong, someone who puts my foot in my mouth a little more than I should, not afraid to be who I am

I SAID: “You want me to write it down? What do I look like?!” (while getting lost in VA), “"I’m still in the sink” (while texting at the hair salon), "Right now my pinky toe and my big toe feel like they are being held for questioning... 'I swear I don't know anything'" (after walking around in a pair of too small stiletto heels).

Peace in my life and for those I love, and not much else.

I could fix everything that’s broken and take away others’ pain. (big dreams, I know… but they’re supposed to be…)

I MISS: Midnight rides on 3rd avenue with my girls eating food in cars parked outside of peoples’ houses like we’re concealing a crime. Holding my sweet little step-daughter to-be in the pool (the only time I can actually lift her up). Not having to pay bills – but who doesn’t?
I HEAR: The sound of 5 economists working in close quarters: nothing but pages turning and keys clacking (mostly mine).

What my crazy black lab and fat boston terrier are doing right now.

Getting so worked up sometimes. In the end, it’s rarely ever worth it.

I AM NOT: One to hold my tongue when I know the answer.

I DANCE: Not as much as I used to but whenever I can.

While my fiance’ strums his guitar and I scribble out lyrics that don’t quite work yet.

When I can’t take it anymore.

I AM NOT ALWAYS: As strong as I’d like to think I am.

I MAKE WITH MY HANDS: the best meatballs besides my grandma, “Ma.”

I WRITE: Whenever I need to get something out of my system, good or bad.

I CONFUSE: others? I dunno… myself sometimes. When I look at a map definitely.

A driver’s license and it’s about time.

I SHOULD: Start waking up earlier in the morning. I’m such a bum sometimes.

I START: At least 10 projects a day.

I FINISH: Every book in about a week, except “Just Exchange: A Theory of Contract (The Economics of Legal Relationships)” blahhh

I LOVE: with all my heart and no hesitations...

KC and Corry, Kristin, Audrey, Pia and PinkLetterLaw