31 January 2010

Leaving On A Jet Plane

Today marks the tenth anniversary of my leaving for France.

My what a difference a decade makes!

In retrospect I was a very naive 25 year old. Yes, I had been away to university. And yes, I had traveled away from home. But it was nothing like leaving all that was familiar to live on another continent!

I have blogged quite a bit about my love of all things French. I make my living teaching in French, and (much to Mr. JB's chagrin) our home is decorated with many photos and souvenirs of my travels in France. My eighteen month stay in France wasn't just a long party (although I did quite a bit!). It was my very first experience in spreading my wings without the safety net of my family and friends.

When I think back to the person that I was ten years ago I see myself as being fearless. I didn't think twice about accepting the job offer to teach in Paris. I didn't flinch when I had to look for an apartment in a foreign city. I wasn't even afraid when I had to battle with the French bureaucrats regarding my work permits and visas.

I traveled all over Europe on my own. I saw so many different countries and met many different people. I also wrestled with extreme loneliness. I had never spent so much time on my own before, and I was forced to be comfortable with my own company.

My stint in France taught me so many life lessons. I learned to stand up for what I wanted. I learned to be assertive. I learned that if I worked hard that I would achieve whatever I wanted.

In the past four and a half years of TTC, I have forgotten the strong, self-assured woman that I became ten years ago. I walked the beautiful streets of Paris with confidence. At times I was plagued with horrible loneliness and homesickness, but I figured out a way to work through it.

I know that the past six months have been particularly hard on me, emotionally and physically. My physical difficulties have wreaked havoc on my emotional state and the confidence I had about my body working, has waned on more than one occasion I've seen my friends become mothers and get pregnant, and rather than be filled with hope, I only saw the shortcomings of my empty uterus.

I wish that I could channel the excitement of the unknown that I felt all those years ago. Don't get me wrong, I cried like a baby while the plane taxied on the runway. I shed many tears when I phoned home. I lit a candle every Sunday at Notre Dame Cathedral and I cried while saying the rosary after every mass.

But I got through it.

I hope that ten years from now that I will be able to look back and see how much more I have accomplished. I hope to be able to look back fondly on this time of infertility as a time where I became an even stronger woman.

There is no way that I could've seen what I would accomplish since my stay in France. I don't know if I could've believed the fact that I would have a wonderful husband, a beautiful home and a fulfilling career. I am fulfilled in pretty much every aspect of my life, except for motherhood.

And that's huge.

I have no idea what the next ten years will bring me. I don't know how motherhood is going to happen for me -- be it biologically or via adoption. At this point, I'd like to think that it doesn't matter. I would like to believe that I will be able to realize all of my dreams since they really aren't that "out there." I would also like to believe that I have the tenacity to see it all through.

I can't be scared anymore. My 25 year old self would be shocked to see what a chicken I've become.

I don't want to disappoint her.

p.s. Speaking of fear, I've made my decision.

I'm going to take the grade two position.

There you go, I wrote it. I can't take it back now. ;)


  1. I'm so proud of you!!

    "In our weakness, we are strong."

    You are one of the strongest women I've had the pleasure of meeting.
    While I wasn't in Italy nearly as long as you were in France, I feel exactly the same way about the time I spent there. I completely matured during that time of my life (8 yrs ago). And I believe it helped to strengthen my faith, too.

    I hope your dreams are realized very soon, JB. I know you are already such a wonderful mother in your heart.

  2. Good for you in regards to decision making. I always say it is when we stop making decisions is when we feel trapped.

    I hope that all your dreams come true!

    Enjoying your blog, thanks for sharing!

  3. Good for you on taking the grade two position. I hope this anniversary helps you to remember how strong you are.

  4. I hope all of your dreams are realized!
    Congrats on making the big decision :).

  5. It's so funny that we forget who we once were. When I taught high school I took three groups of kids to Europe and chaperoned them all over the place. Now I am afraid to drive two hours away sometimes. Isn't it funny how life has changed? Sigh.

  6. I am glad you have decided to take the grade 2 job! Exciting!

    It is hard to remember the strong women we were before all this came into our life...

  7. I look back with nostalgia at how fearless I used to be. During the move, I found an old journal (which I never kept with any regularity) from that time & started to read it, but was so surprised to see how scared and petrified I was. I wasn’t as fearless I remember. I think your memories hold onto the good a lot more than they do the bad.

    Great job on 2nd grade! You’ll love it!

  8. Wow - I'm excited for you to teach second grade!! You will do an excellent job preparing them for the sacraments. :)