On Friday we took the kids to the state fair. It was a wonderfully sunny day that we filled with with farm animals and dairy wives' ice cream and playing in the kids' zone.
At one point, we were doing who knows what with the kids (probably just trying to move from point A to point B, which inevitably requires several stops for child wrangling) when I was suddenly aware that a couple standing near us was watching us. They were close to our age, a man and a woman with wedding rings on their fingers. From the corner of my eye, I could see them staring as we interacted with the kids. The woman in particular couldn't take her eyes off of Firefly in her mei tai perch. After awhile they walked off and I chalked it up to the undeniable cuteness of my children.
A few seconds later we turned to cut through a back way so that Puppy could check out some farm equipment (tractors! combines!). There was the same couple, locked in an hug, her hands over her face and her head buried in his shoulder. He was stroking her hair as if to comfort her. As we passed by, I heard him say, "Hey. Listen. It will happen for you. It will happen for you one day."
My heart jumped into my throat. I'm sure any reader here can easily guess what sprang into my sub-fertile, adoptive parent mind. Part of me wanted to tell them that I know what it's like to be waiting and hoping. That I know what it's like to be surrounded everywhere you go by the very thing you're missing.
But I also know what it's like to have to stop reading as a favorite blog morphs from an infertility blog to a parenting blog. Or to offer sincere congratulations for a friend's long-awaited pregnancy, then have a good cry when you're finally alone. Sometimes even the people who can empathize are too much to be around when your present is now in their past.
It only took a moment for me to see them and walk by, pushing the stroller forward and leaving them behind. Maybe I was wrong and it had nothing to do with babies at all. But as we passed I was suddenly so grateful for the family I was with.