I would have cried at Target if it weren’t for the fact that my heart is already charred and jaded from all the times I have played the lotto and lost (read: every time) even though the guy at the 7-11 where I always buy those tickets said mine were lucky. He also winked at me and said he hoped I would come back soon. So even if I didn’t bring in the big bucks, I know there’s at least one convenience store in West Seattle where I’m not judged if all I buy is a bag of sour patch kids, a vanilla coke and two lotto tickets even though I’m not on meth. I just itch for no reason!
So at Target, I would have cried for a few reasons if I had the emotional bandwidth to do so. First, I would have wept at how lost I was because everything had been rearranged–the electronics by the baby food and the adult food nowhere near the alcohol. Or at least I was too scattered to find it. It was like a casino: no clocks, everyone bleary-eyed and staggering and Blue Oyster Cult playing overhead.
Another reason to shed tears: I bought Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred for the second time, the first copy sent to my sister. I spent money because I’m still gaining weight. Because I’m typing this post instead of exercising. So I am making myself suffer because I’m falling into the trap of what I can eat because I deserve it, not what I should eat because I have the metabolism of a whale. Have you seen those whale bodies? Do you think whales just own it, embrace their massive hulls and are all like, “I’m not plus-sized or zaftig. I’M A WHALE. Deal with it.”
I would have cried in the baby section, somewhere between the shelves of newborn diapers and row of model strollers. The same pastel-colored haven I frequented so often when both Nathan and TJ were little (I almost typed widdle–stop being a tulip, Mona!).
I had stopped for some sippy cups and then it hit me: I’m buying sippy cups, not bottles. Bottles are for babies. I don’t have a baby anymore.
I’m never going to have another baby. I knew this when we were trying for TJ. but still.
I’m never going to return to that section to fill out a baby registry or pick up a stroller and infant seat. All the vestiges of my boys being babies are fading away, each milestone also an end to the babyhood before it.
I’ll never head there for any itty bitty baby needs. I won’t need any more breastfeeding supplies. That chapter closed awhile back, my breast pump sent off to a pregnant mom who politely listened to all the unsolicited advice I had to give about lactating! Latching! La Leche League! Other words that begin with “L”!
Even though this closure was a bit much to handle in the same place that sells bee costumes for dogs, I love the boys, I call mine. TJ is my sweet babbling younger boy. Nathan is my boisterous older son. The four of us are a complete family, ruining the carpet of every family-style eatery we enter. The four of us. There are no other babies to arrive. We are all here.
I love what TJ is growing into, a little drunkenly walking toddler, not an immobile baby. When he sees me enter a room, he screeches and smiles, stumbling toward my waiting arms, reminding me that my heart is still around, still beating louder and louder as if it’s trying to crack through my ribcage and escape.