The Best We Can


I wrote this awhile ago, before I was ready to fess up about our fertility problems but just after the first executive order travel ban was signed. I’m in a better place about all of this now, but I’m visiting NYC today with Ella, and our hotel looks down on the WTC memorial, and I’m feeling this same tension between being so grateful for what I have and so despairing about the damage we humans inflict on each other. Seemed like the right moment to share.


It’s 8:30pm on Sunday night, and this week has already exhausted me.

It could be because I spent Friday juggling a packed work agenda with a strep-stricken toddler. Days when my professional responsibilities are in direct conflict with what I know is best for my family wear me out like nothing else. Days like Friday make me feel like I am fighting an uphill battle for no good reason at all.

It could be because Saturday we missed a much needed and long overdue grown up night out. No way could we leave a fever-y kiddo for the night, and even when she’s sick I’m happy to have extra snuggle time. But we’d been looking forward to a night out together, to help remember we are still people, and we ended up missing a big family function.

It could be because I spent Sunday celebrating my nephew’s first birthday. This was a happy occasion, and I wanted to be happy, and I was so happy for everyone else. But I also spent the party fighting back panic, trying to convince myself that somehow we are going to have another baby. Even though it’s been so long that we’ve been trying, even though I feel like my body has taken such a beating since we got so easily pregnant with Ella June, even though I feel like I have aged 100 years since then. Please don’t let this be over for us, I kept pleading with God in my head, as we sang happy birthday and ate cake and watched a photo montage of Daniel’s miraculous first year. There is no reason to think we are done having children, and still after a year and a half of trying, there is no baby. I do not know what I will do if I can never be pregnant again.

It could also be that it seems our leaders are hell bent on burning this world down around us. Every time I close my eyes, I see a toddler, like Ella, blue skinned, face down in the sand with the waves washing over him. I think of his mother and father, everyone who loved him. I think of his miraculous life, the one he will never get to live. And I think of what terror he must have felt, slipping under the water alone. Ella is afraid of the noise of the toilet flushing, and I think of this child dying with the sound of the ocean roaring in his ears. It burns me to think of this.

We are inhuman for allowing this. Maybe we should all burn for allowing this to continue.

I stand in the kitchen for a moment, numb with despair and futility, staring at my dark reflection in the microwave door. But Jon calls me into Ella’s room to sing a goodnight song. I kiss my daughter’s precious cheek. And I go back into the kitchen to make her lunches for the week. There’s something comforting about seeing all of her food lined up and ready. And in the end, this is all I can do. Feed my family, love my family, pray for my family and for our human family that everything will be all right. That god, however we understand him or her or it, is with us. That we are doing the best we can, and that somehow it will be enough.

Tell me what you think!