What a strange time of year this hiatus between Christmas and New Year is. The house is still decorated for the festive season – albeit tree shedding, flowers beginning to droop – but convention has it that we do not take these trimmings down until Epiphany, 6th January. I’m not sure I can manage that long. Christmas Day was wonderful with nine and a bit (that’s four and a half month old grand-daughter) for lunch. By Boxing Day at the same time we were down to three (and an awful lot of turkey still to get through) and by the evening it was just Walter and me again (and the turkey hadn’t gone away). Boxing Day afternoon was spent glazed out in exhaustion on the sofa. Thank goodness for BBC2’s Jane Austin day; two reasonable films to watch and a documentary in the evening. And yes, I am showing my age.
But by Tuesday I was full of energy again. Walter and I decided to go to the British Museum, walked half way there for the exercise and then spent a delightful two hours gazing at treasures from trips we had taken earlier this year…Lycia in Turkey and Sutton Hoo in Suffolk. But the house was still full of decorations when we reached home and the fridge still overloaded with turkey and other festive fare that we just didn’t fancy any more.
Wednesday afternoon saw Zannah and I cross-eyed with concentration amending her essay on the influence of rationalism on anthropology (my brain hurts). Since then Walter and I have been working…not flat out, plenty of time to make a curry and then soup from the remains of the wretched bird (can’t bring myself to name it), but mostly catching up on outstanding projects, like the bid to the Nuffield Foundation. Two exciting strands to this are a book for 7 – 11 year olds, helping them explore their thoughts and feelings about being donor conceived and a web site for teenagers, where they can post messages and videos, find information and contact each other. Walter is the leader on the Nuffield bid with me interjecting, hopefully mostly helpfully. If we get the money it will mean work for me in writing two booklets, one for parents to help them talk about donor conception with family and friends and the other for family and friends to help them understand what their relative(s) or friends are going through. I’ll also manage the children’s book project, although I’m not the right person to be the author. In the meantime I am doing the absolutely final editing on my booklet Mixed Blessings: Building a family with and without donor help, and helping to review chapters for a new book being written by the co-ordinator of our single women’s group for solo mums and those thinking of taking this route to parenthood. Oh, and in the meantime playing with my new toy, an iPhone 4S.
As reported in an earlier post, I lost my old Nokia ‘phone on a train some weeks ago. I have never been one for gadgets but all three of our adult children have iPhones and I have been impressed with their ability to look up train timetables, use the device as a locator and have easy access to a library of photos, music and information. They seem to make and receive ‘phone calls as well, which is bonus. It is strange, however, to find myself an object of envy from the kids as I am the first in the family to have the latest version of this much desired object. One of my reasons for choosing it was because of Siri, the voice activation mechanism (I’m sure this is the wrong word). I was attracted to this because I am a hopelessly slow at texting and I was told you could dictate messages instead of laboriously typing them out. Well, first attempts at doing this have been hilarious, but ‘she’ (in an Australian accent) is happy to tell me if I will need an umbrella today and is very quick to call one of the people in my contacts list if I ask nicely. Very disconcerting.
We seem to have reached New Year’s Eve and still have two more weird days to go before life can return to normal…but I’m trying to enjoy them rather than feeling discombobulated. One of the presents I received on Christmas Day was a book from Zannah called How To Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran. I can feel the laughter rising inside me as I write about it. This has to be the funniest book I have ever read…but also one with a serious feminist message at it’s heart, and this is what makes it such a winner. It is not for the faint-hearted as Moran tackles the pain and gore of first periods, the glories of masturbation, the need for better pornography as well as the revelation that the modern fad for Brazilians came about not as sexual titilation but because clearer camera shots of penetration could be achieved without a well developed bush getting in the way! It’s the way she writes it though that has me giggling, nee cackling, sometimes with the bed shaking so alarmingly poor Walter is quite put off his sleep. Great stuff and heartwarming also to know that my daughter and I can share an appreciation of such frank material.
Let me finish by saying thank you for reading this post and any others you may have come across. Writing this blog since June 2011 has been great fun for me and I hope a source of information and amusement for you and others. It is odd that loving an infertile man has led to my very unexpected and fulfilling career running the Network and now being Practice Consultant to it. Walter also says that having to adjust to his infertility and having children by donor conception has made him a better person – more able to tune in to the needs of others and be in touch with his own feelings. We are both very much hoping that 2012 will bring funding that will allow DC Network to improve and increase it’s work supporting donor conception families and that we can play our part in that.
Whatever your situation at the opening of this most uncertain of years, I wish you health, happiness and above all hope for a future that brings contentment wherever and however you find it.