Each year in the office, we have a craft fair in a rather large training room. Coworkers and vendors fill tables and displays with lovely homemade relics and holiday crafts.
Today was craft fair day. I recall how much I loved wandering the aisles last year. What I didn't recall was how many baby items there were. It seemed every table had miniature booties, beanies, blankets, or dolls. A handmade reminder of where my heart and head have been these holidays.
With each step, each finger I stroked across each item, I felt the formation of a lump in my throat. I swallowed hard and smiled merrily at my coworkers, exchanging pleasantries as I fought the good fight within. I admired a crocheted bib and a brightly colored dog-print quilt.
I knew I didn't need any of these items. Why torture myself with a purchase for what isn't? But I loved them. I've always loved handmade gifts. And for some reason today, they were special.
So you know what I did? I swallowed my tears and I bought them. It was the most nervous I've ever been making a purchase, as if they'd look at me with pity for buying a gift for a child I've only wished for. "But they don't know," I reasoned with myself as I made my purchase and returned to my desk. In hindsight, my face was probably an advertisement for my emotions.
I felt a bittersweetness wash over me as I tucked it away at my desk. I ran a finger across the satin binding of the quilt, remembering how much I adored my "bubby" and the countless hours I ran my chunky little digits across the smooth, cool satin trim. I loved that blanket.
I bought a blanket for a baby we don't have. I texted two close friends and my mom, hoping they'd make me feel less crazy. And they did. Reassuringly, they reminded me I was just getting ready for the baby we would someday have.
And someday, somehow, what isn't will turn to what is and I will lovingly wrap that child in this blanket and hold them close to my chest. I will remember when they were just a wish. A wish I bought blankets for, because wishes need a bubby too.