Melanie Dale joins us as the first guest of an Author Series for the month of March. Each author in this series will share the heart of a new book; books ranging from those only available for preorder to books released in the past year. Melanie’s newest book, It’s Not Fair: Learning to Love the Life You Didn’t Choose is now available for preorder! Let’s order it now, so we can discuss it over steaming cups of coffee when it releases August 16! Deal?
Melanie’s first book, Women Are Scary: The Totally Awkward Adventure of Finding Mom Friends, kept me giggling at her authentic wit artistically met with abundant wisdom. This book is currently in the middle of a big ebook sale and can be yours for only $1.99 at all retailers. Just a heads up, friends.
It is an honor to welcome Melanie to my little blog home today! Grab a cup of tea and join us.
“We’re pregnant.” I hear the hesitation in her voice over the phone. She’s ecstatic but hurting because she knows she’s hurting me. I don’t want my hurt to hurt her, too. I’m sick of hurting and being fragile.
Fragile is for teacups. I don’t want to be a teacup. I want to be galvanized steel. (I’m not actually sure what galvanized means, but it sounds strong and it starts with “gal.” I’m a gal, and I want to be GALvanized and strong and stuff. Fragile starts with “frag” and sounds like a swear word from Battlestar Galactica. I’m fragging sick of being fragile.)
I assure her how happy I am for her, hang up the phone, and roll over on the couch, flipping through the channels on the TV, searching for numbness. Another pregnant friend. How many years had I been trying? It wasn’t fair.
Thinking back all those years ago to infertility and depression, that clenched feeling around my heart, I look around at my life now and I’m grateful. After a long and winding journey, my three kids fill the house with shouts and chaotic energy.
And I listen to them talk of unfairness.
Not-fair, not-fair, not-fair, not-fair. It’s like the drum that we march to around our house and every day a new stanza is added to the song. Yesterday’s was, “It’s not fair that the younger kids at school got to eat popcorn and curl up with blankets to read books and we just had to sit at our desks and do our work.” Fifth grade is brutal like that. I tried to explain that it’s exactly fair that older students are expected to do more work, but my extremely helpful insight was met with a grunt and eye roll.
Not fair. I don’t think that means what you think it means.
But we all feel life’s unfairnesses whether we admit it or not. From kids to grownups, we all groan not fair. And it isn’t.
There are new challenges and new things that clench my heart as the hurts and diagnoses pile up around us. The professionals on our team talk about what things are and why it’s hard and how we can help. Infertile Girl has kids now and it’s hard to watch them struggle.
I want a box to check when we’ve finished hurting. Check, done, over. But there isn’t one.
When our lives end up in a place so far from where we thought we’d land, when we watch our dreams whither before our eyes, how do we learn to love these lives we didn’t choose?
Maybe it’s family looking differently than you thought. Maybe it’s illness or vocation or relationship. Something is broken. You might feel broken.
I have felt broken. And now, as a new wave of reality crashes over us, I feel…hope. Not hope that things will change, but hope that we’ll learn to live right exactly where we are, where things are already wonderful. Broken and different and wonderful.
Because even after pavement gets slathered over the gardens we plant, when it seems like the light can’t get in and everything will die, after awhile we start to see the wildflowers spring up between the cracks. Life keeps getting beautiful. We can’t stop it from growing wild and filling in all the holes left from devastating blows.
We breathe again.
We lay down our expectations. And we lay them down. And we lay them down.
Ours lives may be different than we thought they’d be, but they are never boring. “We get to do this,” we whisper.
Melanie Dale is a minivan mama and total weirdo who stinks at small talk. Her laugh is a combination honk-snort, and it’s so bad that people have moved away from her in the movie theater. She adores sci-fi and superheroes and is terrified of Pinterest. Author of Women Are Scary: The Totally Awkward Adventure of Finding Mom Friends and It’s Not Fair: Learning to Love the Life You Didn’t Choose (August 2016), she’s also a contributor for Coffee+Crumbs and an advocate for Children’s HopeChest. She’s been featured on Parenting.com, Scary Mommy, Working Mother Magazine, Deadspin’s Adequate Man, and Today’s Christian Woman. Living in the Atlanta area, she blogs at Unexpected.org about motherhood, orphan care, infertility, and sometimes poo.