My daughter spotted it first, as kids are apt to do — though she probably didn’t realize exactly what she was seeing, or just how enormous it was.
This is the story of how innocently standing in line at our favorite burrito joint, with nothing more than guacamole and a margarita on my brain, there it was — my unanswered prayer.
My big, glaring, forever-wished-for lifetime prayer.
If you had been watching us, you would’ve seen Daughter and me patiently inching forward.
This food is worth it. You do what you must to get by. Including making conversation with strangers around you.
Who in this case, happened to be a little girl about 18 months old.
We made eye contact, she and I, and engaged in an oh-so-fun game of Hide ‘n’ Seek.
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Her mother’s left thigh was her prime hiding place. This went on for some time. Longer than most adults would engage, I imagine.
But, I’m like that. I like babies. Love them, actually.
I’m that lady who will hold your baby. Jiggle my car keys to keep her entertained on a crowded airplane.
It’s one of the things I did to get by.
All those years I wanted, longed for, ached for a baby.
Left a man I loved when he told me for sure he would never have children because I couldn’t imagine a life where I would not hold my own baby.
This love, this is what Daughter spied last week in the taco line.
“Are you sad you never got have babies?” she asked.
Which, of course, seems like an odd question from Daughter to Mother, unless you know our story.
How her first mom passed when Daughter was only 8 years old.
How I then met her and her dad.
How we all got married and did the legal adoption thing.
And the answer.
The answer, I would’ve been so sure, would’ve been, “Yes. Devastated and incomplete, actually.”
Instead, without thinking, I replied, “I love babies, but I would never trade you for anyone.”
It is so true. Even if I only got a half turn at parenting.
She’s going off to college in a couple of months. She, and our other child, my former Little Sister in the Big Brother Big Sister program who now lives with us.
They are so much more than enough.
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More than I dreamed of.
Such is one of the gifts of life’s strange turns.
Aches and wants of years past lose power, because the answer I didn’t know to wish for came along.
Made things better. Better than better.
Not all unanswered prayers end up this way.
I understand that, Dear Reader.
But enough do that I have to call it out.
From burritos to babies to whatever you are wish for, the wait can be agonizing.
And sometimes, glorious sometimes, the payoff more delicious than you could ever cook up yourself.