Holidays were hard for me for a long time. It's just so hard not having kids, and especially at the holidays, when that is what you want more than anything in the world. To be surrounded by people who have what you want so deeply was really hard to bear at times. While I thought that I was thankful for all that I had, I still wished for more. I always knew that holidays would be even better once we had kids. And now, it's even better than I ever imagined.
While waiting, time seemed to pass so slowly, and the pain only deepened with the passing of each holiday. It was a pain that felt like it would never lessen. And a pain that felt like I had to hide it, lest I make others uncomfortable. To top it off, I only felt understood by those who had already traveled our path, and felt our pain. Even worse was being misunderstood by those who hadn't traveled our path. It was just another layer of the pain.
But now, on the other side of the pain, I can honestly say that I am thankful for the wait. I think that the waiting, while nearly unbearable at the time, really helped to build a deep appreciation for all that we have now. For Andrew. The kind of appreciation that is built when you have to work really hard for something important, rather than the more superficial appreciation that comes from having things come along easily.
And the pain, while it is indeed gone, it is not forgotten. The scars remain, but don't hurt anymore. And really, I don't want to forget. Forgetting might lessen my appreciation, if that's even possible. I want to remember.
Remembering strengthens my love and support for my friends who are still waiting. Friends who are wondering if their pain will ever end. And to those friends I say, "I understand your pain. I can't tell you how long you will wait, but I can tell you that one day the pain will vanish, and your hearts will be filled with so much love and appreciation for your child that you will also appreciate your wait. Your scars, too, will fade, but you will remember. You will remember from a special place of strength, with others who have also had the joy of waiting."