The Tragic Optimist

what color is hope?

I’ve mentioned before that my yoga classes is a community ed class taught in a classroom at the local high school.  Last month, the blackboard held a series of questions, no doubt as topics for essays or speeches: What does hope look like to you? – color? – shape? – where is it?  The question has lingered in the back of my mind (and in my purse, where I jotted it down one evening before class) because I knew exactly how I’d answer that question, I just had to wait a bit before I could get a picture of it.


Powderhorn Park in Minneapolis

See that barely there, pale yellow-green blur in the trees?  How even though the trees are still mostly barren, you now know that they are indeed going to have leaves?  That even though it may have taken until May, you know that spring is coming and the winter is well and truly over (yes, yes, I know that it is possible for there to be snow in MN in May and June, but I choose to cover my ears and say “la-la-la” rather than think about that ).  That’s what hope looks like to me.  (The picture was taken today – May 3 – at the Heart of the Beast’s May Day Ceremony).

I have a somewhat difficult relationship with hope (as do many people, I’m sure).  For one, the Hope storyline in Xena the Warrior Princess was a stupid and annoying plotline.  But beyond that, there’s such a fine line between the hope that keeps you going, and getting those hopes up and then being disappointed.  Whether it’s the hope that you’ll land that job, find a soul mate, finally conceive a child, carry a pregnancy to term, or that a loved one will recover, or even that a favorite lost item will be found, the fact that the outcomes are not fully in our control means that someone somewhere will be disappointed by their hopes, even if those hopes were realistic, even if they had done everything “right.”  I still haven’t figured out how to remain hopeful without opening myself up too much to disappointment.

Which is all is really-long winded way of saying that Chris and I have decided to start trying for a second child.  And I’m back to wondering how I’ll handle the hopes and disappointments this time around.  It feels different this time.  We have Zoe, and Chris and I are both so very happy being her parents, and I think that provides something of a buffer.  I’m also not sure how much I’ll blog about the whole trying to conceive thing.  I know that last time I wish I’d been much more open about what we were going through, but I never felt the need to share all the details (as much as I do find myself poring over other people’s stories).  But I wanted people to know, and I’m sure it will come up again.



  1. CJ

    It is very different the second time around… at least, it has been so far for me. I’m not really sure how it will be as time goes on, but for now, I take comfort in the fact that I am already living the “mother” role that during our primary infertility I feared I would never know. Although that role may not turn out to be exactly the way I imagined (possibly a mother of one as opposed to a mother of two or more), it is still fulfilling.

    Good luck to you, I hope you’ll be posting very good news soon!

  2. Good luck! I hope that things go well!

  3. Good luck from us, too!

  4. Beautiful picture. I’m hopeful that we’ll have a beautiful spring and summer. And if it decides to snow in June, we’ll focus on the good days.

    And as for ttc #2, I’ll be here cheering you on and being hopeful along with you.

  5. Alison

    Good luck! *hugs and warm wishes*

  6. You are very right. During spring, when the daffodils are blooming and trees are budding out, hope is in the air.

    I hope this TTC journey is an easier one for you. Wishing you the best!

  7. I’m glad you decided to share with us the news that you are going to try for a second one – it will be nice for you to have a ‘sounding board’ of sorts to share your hopes. your dreams, your frustrations with…
    Best Wishes to you guys!! Zoe will make a great big sister – and you are right – she’s a GREAT little buffer for the low times during this cycle called life!

  8. Eve

    Good luck!
    Having two is sometimes more than twice the work of having one, and sometimes less than half. Ours don’t always get along, of course, but they do look out for each other..

  9. I love the idea of picturing hope. I too think of spring (or whenever it is that trees and flowers finally bloom depending on how far north you are!) as hopeful. I’m going to have to ponder this for a while to consider what I think hope looks like. Best of luck on this next journey.

  10. oh wow! love the picture of hope, i think that is an excellent way of representing it

    and yay!! good luck, i will be thinking and praying for you guys 🙂

  11. What a beautifully written post, Ann. Sending lots of good thoughts your way.

  12. share as you need to. Know that we are here for support. Best of luck at becoming that family of four!

  13. geeksinrome

    TTC is def. a less agonizing after you have one, living, breathing, beautiful baby. unless of course #2 takes forever to come around…

    I love that color right before the leaves pop out! what a perfect color for hope.

  14. Eve

    Oooo, you came out! I wish you a speedy journey to #2. You know, I’ll be honest, the journey to #2 has felt sometimes as hard, scary and disappointing as the journey to #1. This has brought me much guilt, since I feel that these feelings mean I’m not appreciating my such-longed for son. What I realized though, is that my son is so wonderful and full of joy, that it’s harder to wait this time. I know what I’m missing this time around. And it still hurts. Again, I hope that you don’t have to walk the long and winding IF journey again, but I’m here if you do!

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