I remember so, so many times over the past four years of my fertility journey I would gather up all the strength I had to get out of the house and bring myself to the beach for a healing walk by the shore. Then, as I walked, I would pass adorable family after adorable family and it would break my heart. I would see cute mothers riding their cute strollers with their cute babies and as I would look away to watch the waves crash instead, I would think..."some day that will be me." It's amazing how much that longing consumes you when you are given the idea that you may not ever experience it.
So many tears streamed down my face behind my sunglasses on those days. So many times I would look down and just watch my feet walking forward in the sand so that I wouldn't have to see those moms and feel that heartache. I never once thought that any of those mothers may be having their own world of struggles. I never once thought that this day for them is their one day they are able to get out of the house for some fresh air and that walking in the sand is their sanity, their place of reconnecting with themselves.
I wish I would have known then, what I know now. That way, I might have looked a bit deeper into their story and had seen many mothers who perhaps looked at me with longing..."there she is all by herself on the beach, only responsible for her, so much free time, free time...how I long for what she has." I think it would have helped me to know that during those walks on the beach, I too was holding something so valuable but I was often too depleted and saddened to see it.
Today I took Cedar to the beach alone for the first time. It was early in the morning and my favorite beach is about a 25 minute drive away. I had been looking forward to this moment for years. It was my turn, right? My day on the beach with babe dream coming true.
Well, he cried a lot of the way because there was one burp that decided to wedge itself into his gut about 10 minutes after I put him in the car seat. Damn...I thought I got all of those burps out before we left! So, by the time we finally arrived, he was angry and not at all his Zen self able to appreciate fresh ocean air. I thought for sure once I got him in the stroller and walking, he would doze off into baby-la land. Well, the dirt road down to the beach is pretty intense. Its steep, with a lot of rocks and bumps. How would I know this because I've never needed to take it? I always took the stairs. So, as I took the stroller down the road, holding onto dear life so that it didn't tip over, he totally starts wailing. Wait! I never saw babies cry on their way down to the beach! I thought for sure once we get to the sand, he'd stop...but he didn't, so I decided he must need the rest of his bottle. There was an issue. The sand was damp and wet...you know, like winter beach sand but whatever. I laid my blanket out, plopped myself down and held him to feed him. Oh my...the sun was in his eyes and I didn't have a sun hat for him. So, I am sitting in the middle of the beach, on a blanket with a newborn and my bum getting soaking wet and all these people walking by are looking at me like I am a total rookie and haven't a clue what I am doing. He was wet and cold and annoyed and I was ill prepared. I felt myself on the verge of just bursting into self pity tears but then I took a deep breath and showed him the waves while he finished his happy juice. I propped him up on my chest so that I could put my other hand over his face to block the sun and we finally had our moment of Zen.
After this, I walked him for a bit (see video above) but then quickly got into the car so I could change him (who knew that strollers make you spit up all over everything) and then head home. I thought I was okay but then half way home I just burst into tears. I tried to figure out where all the emotion came from and then I remembered. All those times I walked on the beach longing for what I have now and here I was, having that dream moment and in all honesty, it was totally awkward and uncomfy and I just wanted to go back home. I realized that I had a certain expectation of how it was supposed to be and was trying to live up to that expectation today but failed miserably.
The drive home was a cycle of remembering the pain of my longing for so many years, then feeling guilty for being annoyed by all that transpired and then forgiving myself for having very normal feelings that all new mothers have. I'm trying to find my groove, my center, my Zen, my ability to let go...and I know that will take time.
I cried more today on the couch and I am just letting myself cry. This is a lot. Going from (in)fertility to adoption and the myriad of emotions in between...its just a lot to take in and work through. Thank goodness Cedar-love has the patience of a saint and that we are head over heals for one another. We'll figure it out together.
I'd love to hear stories like I just shared with you. A day when you took your babe out and it was just a comedy of errors. It would help me to not feel so isolated and alone with it all.