My Beloved and I were out for a very chilly walk this morning, and while navigating icy spots along the trail on which we were plodding, it dawned on me that we are very much alone. In circumstance, I mean.
Amongst our closest circle of friends and family, we are a complete oddity. Within that circle there have been probably 10 children born since Thomas died. And two more are expected in 2010. And outside that circle? Countless births. If you include Facebook friends and neighbours, the number probably rockets into the 20s or 30s, if not more. Easily.
And we're still just the two of us. Always walking along life's slippery paths alone, together.
The thought made me so sad, in a way I probably can't explain. Maybe it's the human need to be truly understood; to have someone say, "yeah, I get it", and know that they really do.
We are endlessly grateful and so incredibly fortunate to have such supportive friends and family who, despite not being in our shoes, regularly offer us limitless support, the warmest kind of comfort, and open-armed acceptance into their child-filled worlds.
But we are not of that world. And I'm always aware of that fact.
I'm aware of it when I don't know if a one-year old can have the chips a three-year old has just given her. I'm aware of it when I say "ass" in the presence of a child and have to clamp my hand over my mouth to keep something even worse from popping out. I'm aware of it when my arms tire after just a few minutes holding someone's baby. I'm aware of it when it takes a parent 15 minutes to explain all the rules to me before leaving me to care for their wee one. I'm aware of it when a crying child I'm aching to comfort reaches for its mother instead.
I'm just always aware that I'm different, floundering about in a sea of experts who do know how often babies need to eat and how much sleep they should be getting and how long nap time needs to be.
And I'm aware that this isn't normal. This is not what anyone expects of a woman, for God's sake. We are programmed to care for children. We are built for it, body and soul. It's just not considered "normal" to be without offspring in tow.
And we, the childless, know that. And so there we are; oddities sticking out like proverbial sore thumbs.
I suppose all this self-absorbed, self-pitying ruminating is part of yet another sort of grieving process.
We've lost all our babies and now we know there are no more children in our future. So the settling in process has begun.
I realize I sound markedly less Pollyanna-esque than I did in July. And I promise I was being honest then, abounding in optimism and fortitude and all that good stuff. But I suspect I was trying to convince myself that what I was saying really was true. Or maybe it even was, back then.
But now, five months later, I know a different truth.
This is hard.
I'll make it out alive. I'll figure this out like I've figured everything else out since life shat all over me and My Beloved.
But fuck me, it's hard.