This post was inspired by Just Waiting for My Turn. She blogged about her secret stash, and it made me remember that I used to have one, too.
A way long time ago, when hubby and I had barely even begun trying to get pregnant, I started collecting a secret stash. It started as a little box. A yellow shirt that after I bought and tried on I realized was too big and didn't fit just right, but would probably look good when I got pregnant. A bedding set I convinced hubby to buy on a trip to Target that was too cute, gender-neutral, AND on sale - how could we pass it up? Pamphlets about birth classes in town. A couple of sleepers, because they were on clearance and so very sweet. A couple of soft blankets with silk edges (I bought 1 for a friend's babe, and they were hard to find so why not get a couple for our own soon-to-be baby). A copy of "What to Expect When You're Expecting" (aka the pregnancy bible). A few of my own old tiny baby dresses that my mom had kept. A board book of "Goodnight Moon". It kept adding up until I had to get a bigger box.
I used to pull that box out and take all the things out one by one, gingerly, lovingly. Looking at them and thinking about "one day". At the beginning of our journey, it was fun to look in there. Imagining what my little girl would look like in my old dresses, how fun it would be to bring her home from the hospital in a dress her momma had worn. Or how cute I would look with a big pregnant belly. I'll even admit to putting on that yellow shirt, standing in front of the mirror, and sticking my belly out as far as possible, just to see what the future would hold. Reading those pamphlets over and over, trying to decide what kind of labor experience I would want (to epidural, or not to epidural?). I'd then carefully fold all the clothes and blankets up, putting everything back in, just so. Smiling at what fun and joy the whole thing (pregnancy and parenting) would be.
As it became obvious that things were not going as planned and there was some kind of problem, looking in the box became a painful reminder of what was talking so damn long, of what might not ever be. And yet I still found myself going to it. To gently finger the silk edges of the blankets. To look for answers of what we were doing wrong in the pregnancy book. Or hold that little white sleeper in my arms, pretending it wasn't empty. I worried that I would never get to read my own baby to sleep at night, nearly memorizing Goodnight Moon because of reading it over and over. That yellow shirt found its way out of the box less and less often. It was more than I could stand.
As our search for "one day" got longer and longer, my visits to the box were often wrought with tears and heartbreak. They were in some way a desperate attempt to make our desire for a baby still feel real. Still feel like a possibility. Because much of the time it didn't feel like that anymore. But in those few minutes, or hour, that I was sitting with that box, there was some hope that our baby would come.
Our "one day" looked different than I expected when I first started my little stash. There was no need for that yellow shirt. Or the "What to Expect" book. Or even the dresses (yet!). But everything else has found its home, its use. My kiddo slept with those blankets for nearly 5 years. Both boys have used the crib set. Both spent a lot of time in the sleepers. Both adore Goodnight Moon (so much so that we had to buy another copy!). Even the pamphlets for the birthing classes were useful, because we ended up attending an infant massage class advertised in one of them.
I wonder where that yellow shirt ever ended up. I guess I probably donated it to Goodwill or something. Though I kind of wish I'd shredded it. Or burned it in some kind of ceremony. A recognition that our "one day" had come. Even if it didn't look exactly like the picture the box and I had start with.
Today's lesson: I think we all need our own "secret stash" for when hope is failing us. Whether that stash be a literal box of items or words of encouragement kept in the heart. Hope is necessary. But sometimes it needs a little boost.