Yesterday I stood frozen in a store. The errands that should have taken only a few minutes were now stretching out as I tried to force myself to breath. To slow my heartbeat. To stop shaking. To focus my eyes. To move from the spot I was frozen to. To not block the aisle. To not draw attention.
15 years ago I was newly pregnant. Scared, but hopeful. As the holidays approached I imagined what it’d be like the following year with a baby. How I’d share traditions with the little being who by then would be 4 months old. What I’d give him or her, as it was still too early to know which it would be.
Of course that’s not how it would turn out and that holiday season 15 years ago is the last one I’d spend in a hopeful anticipatory state. Now I spend the holidays demoralized and fearful.
Demoralized because I will never have the holiday experience with my first born child, possibly my only child. Fearful because I know anxiety and panic now trail me at every step. Waiting for an opportunity to make me freeze in my tracks while in the middle of benign errands.
But they aren’t benign, nothing is benign anymore. I didn’t know what to buy my kid. I never know what to buy my kid. I now don’t know what to buy my nieces either. And so I stood in the store unable to move. My ineptitude at being an aunt compounding my ineptitude at being a mother. My heart beat pounding in my ears. My vision blurring. My breathing irregular. Because I can’t even run an errand without my mind and body turning on me.
Adoption. The gift that keeps on giving.