Handprint On My Heart

I’ve been spending a lot of time in my manager’s office. Not surprising, considering I spend a lot of my time in shared meetings with her over the phone with various vendors. And because my manager’s the one with a door to her office …

Anyway, I truly respect and like my manager. I’ve learned in my past experiences that it’s good to have a leader that fits in with your personality. In other words, we don’t want to be so much alike that we can’t see or think outside of our own respective boxes. But you also don’t want to be so different in personalities that we’d clash over anything and everything.

29180c2198a7b813ae2da6ecb62aa19bLucky for me; I think I might have struck a nice balance with my current manager. Of course I thought the same thing with my last manager, and we all know how that turned out. But in my defense, when I was a supervisor working directly under my ex-manager … we did have a little more of a rapport with each other. It’s only after I stepped down as supervisor to become a worker bee (all for the sake of “reducing stress” as I headed into the wonderful world of IVF, BTW …) that the issues came about. And even then, it was years in the making (including major changes in the overall department and/or personal issues for the both of us) before things took a turn for the worse.

New manager (NM) pushes me in directions I had never gone before and she’s tested my strength as a leader for my team. But in a totally good way. She’s the go-getter; the snap decision maker. I’m also a go-getter; but tend to be more deliberative and analytical. I slow her down enough to think things through; she speeds me up to get me where I need to be. I just hope that this relationship continues to grow and flourish through the years.

heart_handprint_craft_impressionBut this wasn’t the main reason I’m writing today. (Although now is a good time, if ever.) Today as I sat in yet another telephone meeting, I sat there and played with some of the toys she leaves on her desk for us to fiddle around with whenever we talk.*

Next to the mini Zen garden (that her husband gave her to help “relax” … LOL!) is a ceramic piece that her daughter made for her when she was 5 years old. It’s this tiny glazed hand that has little hearts and butterflies on its fingers and her name written on the palm. And every time I sit in that office, I can’t help but put my hand over the little glazed hand. Because: 1) It is. Simply. Adorable. And 2) the texture of the glaze just has this soothing quality to it.

I’m not sure what it was about today. But the thought that I might never be able to hold the small hand of my own child hit me square in the chest. And just like that, I was back to longing for my imaginary child.

Which is crazy, in my mind. Because I know that right now just isn’t the right timing to “go forth and procreate.” Or in my case, move forward with adoption. H*ll, I’m not even sure if I want to pursue the adoption path. Because, quite frankly I’ve been so much more comfortable with the idea of child-free living lately.

mc_3lgAnd yes, I’m sure it’s because of the major changes I’ve made over the past six months. (Has it been that long since the last lowest** point in my IF journey?!) I simply don’t have the time. And I simply don’t have the energy to want to feel as miserable as I did back then. Nor do I have the energy to struggle to break the surface if I ever get that low again.

I’m happy where I’m at right now in my life (although, having Hubby here would make it tons better). I’m happy with my “second chance” to make a “life” out of my life.

It might not be the kind of “life” I dreamed of (creating a baby’s life, being a mother, for example) … but still, it’s my life. The life I chose to move forward with; the one that I have some control over.

So why do I still have these longings? Why does my dream of being a parent still cling to me?

This feeling … this longing, it evokes the same emotions I have whenever I hear this one song from the musical, Wicked:

It well may be that we will never meet again
In this lifetime, so let me say before we part
So much of me is made of what I learned from you
You’ll be with me like a handprint on my heart

— “For Good”

And although the song is referring to the tragic ending of a friendship, I can’t help but substitute the “friend” for the child I may never have. And what I’ve learned from the heartache of my infertility is so much of who I am as a person today.

But despite all that I’ve learned and all that I’ve become … there is this part of me — will always be this part of me — that will have the handprint of my child, whether imaginary or real, on my heart.



* Studies have shown that people tend to be more creative and think clearer when keeping your hands busy. Thus, having simple toys such as koosh balls or even rubber bands in your office (in my case, cubicle) is a good thing.

** As always, if you’re curious … comment below and I’ll email you the password.

6 Replies to “Handprint On My Heart”

  1. Hi Emily,

    This is such a thoughtful and heartfelt post — and it articulates so clearly the depth of this journey — which is such a journey — with all different permutations. I’ve been thinking a lot about the life I have vs. that mythical ‘what-if’ life — and I have to say that after reaching the depths of sorrow for the what-if life, like you, I’ve found myself turning to the life I have with wonder and with a full heart — not that my heart isn’t broken, or that I don’t have those longing moments — I do — and I’m still in this IVF game for now, and so there’s the anxiety there — I guess this is all to say that I understand where you are — and I”m envious of your job — it sounds so exciting and wonderful — I miss the identity I had from my work —

    I’m giving you a big hug Emily. Big hugs.



  2. LOVE Wicked. And I can definitely identify with not knowing if you can go back there. It’s what I’ve been struggling with for a while now.

  3. Emily, you always write the most thoughtful posts.
    I think this is the hardest part – trying to figure out how to keep living life when this shit still hurts. Even knowing that right now we shouldn’t have kids even if we were fertile it doesn’t make it any easier to not dwell on what could be.

  4. I think it’s a good sign–no matter what the future holds–that your heart is still so open to those feelings. They are painful, but very valuable.

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