J and I have a New Year’s Eve tradition. We sit together and recollect/write down our favorite moments from the year gone by, as well as the moments we’re most glad to have behind us. Then we light tea light candles, one by one, to honor each of our relationships. We take turns at this, and with each candle we light we say out loud who the candle is for, and what our intentions are for our relationship with that person (or animal) for the year to come.
I don’t believe the old saying that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Sometimes I think our intentions are the only things that are truly and entirely ours. When I think about my life, I have to acknowledge that what happens in a given situation is determined by so many factors other than me. The intentions I bring to each situation, however, are all mine.
I’ve been thinking a lot about intentions lately. I don’t know what’s going to happen on this journey we’ve begun. I don’t know when, or even if, I’ll get pregnant. I know that (barring tragedy) J and I will have children, but I don’t know for sure how or when those children will come to us. Right now I feel peaceful about the not knowing. I accept what is out of my control. All that I can control are my intentions (and, of course, how true I am to them). I want to start a family with my wife. I know she is my partner in this life, and I will never leave her of my own will. I take the best care of my body I can because I’m preparing it for pregnancy. When or if I am blessed with a pregnancy, I will do all I can to nurture and protect it.
Intentions are the biggest reason I wanted to start this blog. There are so many added hardships to starting a family as a same-sex couple (most of which I’ll no doubt discuss when I’m feeling more cynical), but there’s this one glimmering benefit, which is that it can’t be an accident. Every single child that J and I bring into this family – through birth or through adoption – will be completely wanted. I love that. It’s my very favorite thing about all of this.
So I wanted this blog because I want, once our children are adults, to turn these entries over to them. I want them to know how much they were wanted. I want to track our intentions, to see, in writing, the deliberate choices that will carry us to wherever it is that we’re going. Clarissa Dalloway says of her parties that they are “an offering; to combine, to create, but to whom?” My intention to start a family, to open my body up to the miraculous meeting of sperm and egg, is an offering. It’s the best one I know how to make. I’m not sure who will read this blog in the meantime, or what you’re looking for here (if you’re on a similar journey yourself or if you’re a family member or a friend who cares about us and wants to know what we’re going through), but regardless, these words are an offering of intentions.
The photographs above depict a mug I bought yesterday. I was having lunch (a vegan sandwich so good it deserves its own blog post) with my best friend, C, and we went for tea after at this wonderful little fair trade tea shop in the town where C lives. When I saw the mug, I fell instantly in love. It’s hand made, and the baby elephant and two bigger elephants (the baby’s two mamas, I say) make my heart ache with love every time I see them. J calls it my fertility mug. Considered in those terms, it joins other beloved icons of our intentions to conceive: a South American fertility doll given to us by a couple who have been, at every turn, an inspiration to us (and given to them, a decade ago, by a friend who must have known what incredible parents they would one day be), two strands of stone beads meant to help fertility along, and a necklace I’ve had for years (a gift from my sweet mom), which depicts a woman at three stages of life – the maiden, the mother, and the crone – and which I wear in the hopes that it will help me transition from the first to the second. I won’t pretend that I know what kind of power any of these icons possesses. All I know is that I’ve gathered them out of love, and they are expressions of my desire to be a mother. I drink from my fertility mug, sleep beside my fertility doll, and wear my fertility beads and necklace. These items keep me mindful of my intentions to conceive a child, and of the love (from a wide and expansive community of women) that upholds me as I try.