Tuesday, December 31, 2019

We'll Be Home for Christmas

We actually agreed to not get any Christmas decorations this year and wait until everything goes on sale at the end of the season...but we caved!  I mean, how can people who turn on Christmas music right after Thanksgiving resist the festive lights, evergreen garlands, wreaths hung on the front door, and colorful ornaments?  First, we were just going to decorate the top of the mantle, but then we saw the little Christmas trees who so badly needed a home, and then I forced Wes to get out his woodworking equipment to make wooden trees for our front yard, too.  He surprised me when I got home one day with Christmas lights strung around the brick pillar in front of our house, too.  We even participated in the Christmas Tree Lane lighting ceremony, like true locals.  Just kidding, the true locals hide at home and avoid the crowds!  Anyway, it was a super fun Christmas season, and I'm glad that we gave into the cheesy holiday spirit!  Altadena truly feels like home, now.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Our Last-Minute Journey around the Thousand Island Lake Loop

I never would have guessed that we'd be back in the Eastern Sierra backpacking like two people without a care in the world after becoming homeowners, and especially not after becoming pregnant.  Our lives had changed so much in the past few months that we never bothered to entertain the thought of going on a trip anytime soon.  We barely even got to do one leisurely hike after moving in, even though the hiking trails were more accessible than ever from our new place in Altadena.  In the whirlwind of events, we miscarried at six weeks.  It was crazy because just as we were starting to wrap our heads around the fact that we were expecting, we had to accept the fact that it wasn't happening anymore.  Well, since there was no longer a baby on the way, I figured that a getaway into the backcountry sounded like something that we should prioritize.  It also seemed like a worthy time to take a pause in our fast-paced homeowner life and put the brakes on the rollercoaster of parental emotions.

Even though we both knew that it could happen to us, it was really sad when we experienced the pregnancy loss.  By the time Labor Day rolled around, enough time had elapsed for us to process it.  I've come to focus on the idea that what I have now is always more than what I had yesterday, even if I had a potential baby in my belly yesterday.  It was hard to think this way at first, but it is true.

I, myself, feel stronger as a woman for getting through it, and I feel that I can now sympathize more with those who have struggled or are struggling with pregnancy in general.  This whole unpredictable journey to having a baby can be either debilitating or empowering -- I emphatically chose the latter. The situation has given me an even more fiery drive to stay in control, and savor what the present has to offer instead of over-anticipating the future or fixating on the past.  Life is still beautiful the way it is, so I put the past behind me and found ways to enjoy what I am able to do now, and only now.

As a couple, this was our first time both going through a joint loss.  Despite the sadness, I was pleasantly surprised by the depth that this has added to our outlook on parenthood and our relationship with each other.  Wes was so kind, yet logical, and he helped me to honor the situation rather than resent it during the first couple of days.  Our emotions around starting a family have become more intricate, more mature, and more resolved.  We have, in this unexpected loss, expanded our capacity to be grateful for when we do get our rainbow baby, which I am very optimistic will happen!

Booking our backpacking permits felt surreal.  We got really lucky to get permits for this particular trail, which has been on my bucket list for a while.  Someone must have cancelled, because two spots opened up on this very popular trail that usually gets booked well in advance.  Time to gather that camping stuff and brush up on our hiking endurance and backcountry survival skills!  We were barely finishing up with unpacking, fixing up our house, getting the yard in order, and my body was still adjusting back to its usual cycle.  Even though it felt like we were leaving behind loose ends and unfinished business, I knew that we needed this.

It's always freeing to be out there in the rocks, trees, and lakes, but this time it was something else.  It felt safe and yet adventurous in its own way, and it proved to me that life is still as good as it was before. Wes joked that the only difference now is that we have to live with the fear of our home being burglarized.  Not to worry, when we had a shred of reception, we checked our security cameras for activity.  We also made sure that there were no Labor Day deals that we were missing from our favorite furniture stores!  But other than that, our bodies were surprisingly still in shape, and it wasn't hard to slip into that backpacking mentality.  The trail that we chose was challenging, our packs were heavy, and we hadn't actually hiked long distances for months, but I believed in us!  I also felt glad to be out here, all things considered health-wise.  Most of all, I felt grateful to have a loving, steadfast, and supportive partner by my side who not only knows how to make me laugh, but who I can count on to hang a bear bag, steer us in the right direction, and stop to take as many photos as I want.  The three days went by at a good pace and it was all very rewarding!