I found myself in front of a shelf of infant clothing. It seems to be the place I'm drawn to now, whenever I walk into a store, as if I'm on auto pilot and that is where I am led. No thinking, just "there".
I was on a girls trip to New Braunfels. We intended on floating the river, but the weather was not permissive, so we decided to browse the little stores crowded around the block in Gruene. We walked into the little country store filled with river outfits from shirts and bathing suits to river shoes to beer and energy drinks. The six of us scattered into different directions like pool balls cracked with a cue ball.
Very soon I stood there gazing at the shelved walls lined with tiny, colorful shirts. I picked up a tiny pink t-shirt and absorbed the logo into my thoughts, and I dreamed.
I pictured us, my husband and I, with our new little addition somewhere in the middle of a street in China. Curious, smiling Asian faces stopped walking to look at the little girl who would be whisked away to another country in a matter of days. We held her away from us proudly and smiled at her as if she were the sun. She wore a pink t-shirt that identified the town where her parents bought their first pair of river shoes on their honeymoon.. It was bought from the very same store, a special place in our hearts, just like she will be.
I carefully replaced the tiny shirt and walked away, to some entirely different area. It was safer to stare at men's t-shirts than the little kid clothing, by far. My eyes had started to water and I thought I was a few heartbeats away from crying. It confused me. What is this I am feeling? I thought. Just the thought of our future little girl put a lump in my throat every time, and I can't explain why. Joy? Longing? One of the girls suddenly appeared from my right and was talking about a cute cover-up she had found. I blinked my eyes quickly to rid any evidence of emotion; she didn't seem to notice I had almost had a melt down in the middle of the store!
It's a strange thing. Different. It isn't a sadness I feel, it's.. ? No words for it yet. Perhaps it's the hope that we've gained from this process. We will, no matter what, have a child in our home to love and care for. She will probably never know just how much hope we have hinged upon her birth alone. We're waiting for her.
Ten minutes later, I was handed a receipt and I left the store with a plastic bag. Inside was folded a tiny pink shirt.