Dh & I just spent a fabulous weekend at his cousin's cottage/lake home, along with BIL & SIL. We're totally exhausted (not to mention stiff & sore from climbing up & down a long and steep set of stone steps leading to & from the lakeside dock...!), but we had a fabulous time. It was the first time since COVID-19 began 18 months ago that we've been away or spent any significant amount of time with anyone outside of BIL & his family (with the small and recent exceptions of that half-hour visit with PND and a couple of hours visiting stepMIL and family). We all get along well with this cousin & his wife, and it was SO NICE to be able to socialize and experience some normalcy again!
All of us were fully vaccinated; dh's cousin works mostly from home, his wife is currently not working, their daughter is away at college (we Facetimed with her), and their teenaged son goes to an expensive private school that follows fairly comprehensive COVID protocols. The wife, SIL & I went on a tour of local artists' studios on Saturday afternoon, with many of the displays taking place outdoors, and masking and social distancing measures firmly in place. The weather was absolutely glorious -- a little chilly (especially after sundown and before noon) but almost entirely clear and sunny. There was food, wine, board games, boat rides, walks down isolated backroads (where we spotted deer and wild turkeys), hot dog and marshmallow roasts (and s'mores -- would you believe I've never had one before?), and lots and lots of laughter. :)
There was also a lot of conversation: about the kids (of course...!), about family issues and dynamics (in both general and specific senses...!), about cottage life, about the corporate world and retirement, about perimenopause and midlife crises and why nobody talks about these things and why women's health issues are largely ignored, under-studied and under-funded.
Sitting on the dock on Sunday afternoon as our visit drew to a close, SIL mentioned Younger Nephew and his wife are seeing a fertility specialist (which dh & I already knew). :( Cousin's Wife mentioned that (as dh & I had suspected at the time) she had struggled with secondary infertility after their first child was born and she was on the verge of seeing a specialist herself when she miraculously got pregnant just before the appointment (of course, right?!).
But that got ME talking too -- a little -- about my own infertility experiences. I agreed with SIL & Cousin's Wife that Younger Nephew and his wife are still young and have time and options, but emphasized that it was a good thing they were tackling the issue now, and also that they shouldn't feel railroaded by the doctor/clinic into doing anything they weren't comfortable with. I even said that we had considered adoption but found it to be a far more complex matter than most people realize, and ultimately decided it was not for us. It wasn't the full story, by far, but still, I don't think I've ever spoken that frankly to one of dh's family members about these things before, not even to SIL.
And, while I didn't speak very much about the childless experience specifically, it did not escape me that it was still World Childless Week. Knowing that thousands of other childless women were being brave enough to go public with at least some aspects of their own stories this past week gave me some courage to reveal a little more of myself to the people around me as well.
I was proud of myself. ;)
You can find more of this week's #MicroblogMondays posts here.