I was reading Trinity's post this morning over at Three is a Magic Number about her annual Lick Off, where she and her hubby invite all their closest friends (and their yummiest dishes) over for a pseudo-Thanksgiving dinner. It sounded so yummy and so beautiful and it made me a little homesick for the traditions we had with our friends back in Italy.
My friend Anna (you might remember I've written about her before -- (bravely battled cancer, stood by me through two failed IVFs and is now pregnant right along with me)recently posted on facebook that she was cooking up a Hanukkah feast and that made me feel sad. Every year when we lived in Italy, Anna invited us over for latkes, brisket and challah and I would do my best to make something that was relevant (even though I am not Jewish) and I finally got it right when I made raspberry jam filled cookie balls. After dinner we'd watch Dorian open one of his Hanukkah presents and play Scrabble. It was simple and intimate and just wonderful.
That special dinner was the first of many little holiday traditions we came to love during our time in Italy. We always visited a Christmas market either in Italy or Austria. We always went to the Christmas tree lighting in our town's piazza where we ate fried dough and drank mulled wine. My spouses group would always have a "girl's night out" party and cookie exchange. We attended Greg's squadron and flight Christmas parties. We spent Christmas Eve with another infertile couple. Michelle would make stuffed pasta shells with her killer secret sauce and then we'd head to the nearest decent sized city where we walked around the Christmas Eve market and watch all the beautiful Italians talk and eat and drink. And, though Christmas Day was always sort of lonely because I missed my family, Greg and I had our own little traditions that made it special. And, then the day after Christmas, all our friends would come over to our house, left overs in tow and we'd feast again and then head up the mountain to ice skate and have hot chocolate so thick you have to eat it with a spoon. It was really a magical time and I miss it.
But this is a magical time as well. Not because of where we live or the friends we have (or don't have). This is magical because of this pregnancy. It makes me think of another miracle pregnancy. Being a Christian, I often think of the story of Jesus' birth. Poor Mary "great with child" riding on a donkey and giving birth in a barn.
Anyway, I'm starting to veer from the point of this post, which is this -- when we lived in Italy, we were surrounded by friends who we considered family. We shared wonderful traditions with these friends and every day was magical and adventurous. Then, we moved here to Shreveport, La. and though we have our beautiful house, we have yet to find any friends who count as family and our Christmas traditions are pretty pitiful. Yet, we have this pregnancy and all the joy that it brings and each day brings us closer to meeting our son and seeing his face and starting our new journey as parents.
Maybe the Stones were right. You can't always get what you want. Sometimes, you get what you need. When we were living in Italy in the lowest points of our infertility journey, we were surrounded by the love and support of dear friends and we were buoyed by them and they helped us maintain our sanity and still enjoy our lives even though our hearts were heavy and lonely for a child.
Then, we moved here and we found Dr. V and we got this against-all-odds FET pregnancy and all the joy it has brought, yet we don't have the friendship we'd hoped to find, but maybe we didn't need those types of friendships anymore.
This Christmas represents the start of new traditions for us. Next year, even though my husband is likely to be deployed in Afghanistan, I'll get to start our own family traditions with our son. And, all those traditions we had in Italy will pale in comparison to the years to come.