The sliding glass doors of doom

Yesterday, I did the thing recurrent miscarriers ought never ever do. I wandered aimlessly and purposelessly through the aisles of Buy Buy Baby.

I did enter with a mission. I was to buy a gift for our friends who are in the midst of adopting a little boy from South Korea. After more than a decade of infertility, they are now just a short but completely undetermined number of months away from finally bringing home their forever child. And so we are rightfully celebrating them with a surprise new year’s eve shower.

Armed and ready for action, I headed through the giant sliding glass doors of Buy Buy Baby like I have so many times in the last 20 months: shield over my heart, blinders around my eyes, inhaling the deepest breath possible before directly setting out for battle.

Normally, I speed walk directly toward the gift I am intent to buy, not allowing myself a glance in any direction that is not directly in the path of that specific item, before I pay and finally get the hell out of there, operation complete.

Maybe it was because this was the first baby gift I’ve bought in a long time without feeling that tiny twinge of resentment. Maybe it was because these friends have shown me that there are always other ways. Or maybe it was because I simply had nowhere else I needed to be. But, after I located the all-important Sleep Sheep and onesie and my mission was over, my battalion veered off-course.  I found myself walking, looking, and touching. The things I have never ever allowed myself to do before.

I eyed the crib with the bedding I’d want if I had a little girl. I touched the cute little blue bouncy swing I’d want if I had a little boy.  I saw the stroller I’d want if I had two grand to drop on a stroller. And I saw the empty room in my house as something other than an empty room. I saw it with curtains and a changing table and a rocking chair and a cute little dresser with matching pants and tops that say things like “Mommy’s little stinker” and “I only drink milk.”

I saw a mom-to-be and her mom having a disagreement over car seats. She shot me a look as if to say “Isn’t this the worst?” And I resisted shooting her a look to say, “No, really, it’s not.”

After I’d thumbed through the books and stroked the fluffy blankets and held the tiny outfits up to admire, I took the adorable little things meant for somebody else’s formerly-empty room and I paid for them.

And as I walked back through the sliding glass doors, I realized that I didn’t feel any better than when I first walked in. But I didn’t feel any worse. And that, at least, was a good start.

Fortune cookies don’t know shit. And other surprising things.

One year ago exactly, my work catered in chinese food for lunch during a particularly busy week. So naturally, after we all scraped our plates clean of every sort of wonton, eggroll and fried rice available (don’t judge, it was pre-Dragon Lady times) we moved on to the next fried event. Fortune cookies.

A few of us sitting at the big long table in the office decided to go around and read our fortunes out loud. Fortunes promising new friends, revelations of deep secrets, and unexpected riches were all read. And then it came to me.

“Next year, your greatest wish will come true.”

After just coming off of two early miscarriages, I knew all too well what that greatest wish was. And being in the two week wait at the time, I immediately went ape shit inside my brain. What the fuck, fortune cookie?!! I can’t be pregnant this year??!! There’s still 3 weeks left!!!! Why do you have to ruin my life?!!!!

I calmed down a little when my brain quickly rationalized that I could still get knocked up in 2014, but that the birth itself would be this greatest wish thing, which, of course, wouldn’t happen until 2015.

Everyone around the table oohhed and aahhed, speculating as to what my greatest wish might be. Having just gotten married 7 months before and then having promptly moved in to a big new house right after that, there weren’t too many options left to guess. The ladies all eyed me knowingly, if only they actually knew. And the guys all demanded that I tell them what my greatest wish was. So I had to come up with something quick.

“To meet Fred Savage, of course”

Why on earth I chose these words, I have no idea. Maybe because I’d had a dream a few nights before in which Fred Savage broke into my house to bake me a cake. And yes, it was glorious. But the words came out and successfully diverted the conversation to a discussion about why The Wonder Years was the best show ever  and then eventually to a sing-off of the greatest sitcom theme songs of all time.

I’ve had a fair share of fortune cookies in my time. And I usually forget the fortunes. But this one, I remembered. Not only did I remember it, I believed it. 100%. This fortune was just for me. It’s like it knew me and could stare deep into my soul. But not like in a pervy way. And it probably even rewrote itself to say those words exactly the moment it touched my hands.

I mean, hell, at that point no doctor had been able to give me any reason as to why I kept miscarrying and I had nothing else to go off of. So why not trust the the mystic chinese proverbs developed in a factory in Michigan and then stuffed into a sugary piece of tasteless nothing. Why the hell not?

This fortune spoke truth. And so I believed. 2015 would be the year. My greatest wish would come true.

Turns out, that fortune cookie didn’t know shit. Because here I am, on the backside of 2015 NOT knocked up or anywhere close to giving birth. And I didn’t even meet Fred Savage.

What the hell, fortune? I thought we had a thing where we trusted each other, believed in each other and could stare silently at each other for long periods without things getting all weird and stuff.

Turns out, you were wrong all the time. Unless by “greatest wish” you were referring to the opportunity to re-grout our shower floor. And in that case, you were super super correct.