I rarely take taxis anymore, but when I do I get extremely nauseous. The minute I enter, maybe even before my feet hit the floor, the bile rises to my throat before I can ask, "can you please roll my window down back here?"
Why do all taxis smell the same? It's not an altogether terrible smell, mostly just the pine tree artificial air freshener that wafts to the backseat where I get car sick from anyway.
I think taxis give me mourning sickness.
It takes me right back to our days of trying to get pregnant and IVF and then the whole being at the hospital ALL THE TIME.
It seems I only take taxis to the hospital or doctor these days. And it's never fun. But when I'm smacked in the face with that taxi scent, I remember so well what it felt like when we were so hopeful. So full of fear and hope and excitement and anxiety and just, wishful thinking.
I never wanted kids.
I remember holding my breath the entire time and looking around the waiting room each time wondering what each person waiting there was hoping to hear. What were they there for? What were they feeling. All these women. All these wanting women. The waiting rooms in hospitals are dreary and full of false beauty. We know that we are all scared. I just want to sit down altogether and hold hands. What would happen if we did that? What would happen if every waiting room incorporated that into the room. What if we gave each other our energy and lessened it's power. Let the dark stuff out and the positive light filled energy into that circle.
What would happen?
I don't know because many people look at me like I'm nuts if I even try to chat while in a waiting room. And rightly so. We are all so scared and alone. When it all comes down to it, we are alone, right?
Sometimes I'd ask. Sometimes they'd ask me. Sometimes we would get so deep in conversation so quickly that we wouldn't hear our names being called until the third time.
We have to keep trying to connect. At least I do. It's what I was put on earth to do. Connection with other humans is the only way out of the darkness. So I keep reaching out, even when it's stupid hard and I don't want to.
All the hopes and dreams in the waiting room. If there were thought bubbles above each person sitting there, we'd see our most intimate hopes and fears encapsulated.
All the devil science happened back there at the hospital. All the times they drew blood and poked me and stuck things inside me and made me sit and wait in a room by myself until they came to give me any news. All the times I played on my phone or tried to work or sat there sweating fear and hope. Riding the elevator filled me with dread. The nearer I got, the more nervous that something would go wrong. I would never say it out loud or give in to that fear, because I was as full of hope and positivity as I was of fear and dread. It was all out of my control.
I never wanted kids.
My whole life, up until getting back together with my love for our second chance and realizing that there is so much more to this life that what I was experiencing, I never wanted kids. Until I did. Until we did. We were edging up on 40 and it was now or never to get going. It was a longing I've never experienced before nor since. It will never not be a part of my story.
Nowadays if I am in a cab, chances are I might be horizontal with feelings. Thinking of all we have. Thinking of all the pain of those who are hurting. Gratitude, sickness, sorrow, hope, remorse, empathy, sadness.
Cabs make me reflect. I remember. I am so grateful.
It's this time of year that reminds me I used to be able to watch all the damn Hallmark movies uninterrupted. Days of binge watching Autumn Vineyard, Autumn Dreams, Autumn Regrets, Autumn Kisses, Autumn Underpants with no time limit. Unencumbered. My husband would watch hours and hours of sports and I would watch these terrible movies. Part of it was the Sunday Blues. Part of it was I would end the night with a sadness and a longing that I didn't realize then was wanting a child. That dull ache. I was wanting more to pour my love and purpose into and while that's different for everyone, for me, it was a child. Just one. That would be amazing.
We were so naive.
For so many it doesn't end the way it did for me. I will always be nervous about what is next. I will always go to worst case scenario automatically when they are sick because that's what you do once you have kids. I will always think of those who went through all I did plus so much more and it didn't work out. It still hasn't worked out. But in so many cases, people get their families, it just looks quite different than what we had in our heads for so long.
Even if it does work out and we get our families, we just never know what can happen. I got my family back, better than ever when I got sober. I've formed friendships with women that I never dreamed possible. I was gifted with my dear, strong, funny husband and he came with an incredible family too. Then we were graced with these two kids. It's a wealth of riches that I am almost embarrassed about. But loss and sickness happen every day. We need to not take any of our good fortune for granted and we need to hold each other close. Terrible things, circumstances, can happen to any of us. We need to remember just because something looks one way today, doesn't mean it's always going to look that way.
We were in Andersonville this weekend. When my husband and I got back together in the late 2000s, we lived in Andersonville. I miss it. It's a very friendly small town part of Chicago where there are couples and singles and families and dogs abound. It's home to a large beautiful LGBTQ population and this great little playlot that brought up all kinds of big feelings as I've never taken my kids there and yet, back when we lived there I thought, WELL HUH. People really have kids and bring them here. Inconceivable (see what I did there?).
The kids and I walked around after the park and I stopped in front of the parking lot where I pointed out our old apartment and I said, "That's where mommy and daddy lived before you two were born."
"Before we were in the hospital?" my girl asked.
"Yes, even before you were made from science, hope and love in the hospital."
"But what did you do all the time?" My boy asked laughingly, as though he couldn't possibly conceive (there's that word again) of us being without them.
I turned around to finish the conversation and saw this:
"What does this say, mama?"
"Is says, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL", I said, choking back all the tears that have ever formed.
"You are beautiful, mama. You are beautiful, Bebe."
"YOU ALL ARE BEAUTIFUL", from a random passerby who made our day better just by being present.
Then I looked at these kids some more. My favorite thing to do. I can't believe we have two. I can't believe they are here. And I can't imagine anything more beautiful in the entire world.
That we get to help guide these little ones to become kind, socially responsible contributors to our society gives me enormous hope. As I am filled with gratitude for this enormous gift, I am also filled with sorrow for those who have lost their children. For those feeling that hole. The longing. I just have to have hope that their story is not over yet.
I never wanted kids.
I've learned to never say never.