Here are three things that I know: (1) Marriage, mixed with infertility–like a dangerously exotic drink at a seedy roadside bar–is not for the faint of heart; (2) Family, never having experienced infertility, can be unintentionally hurtful and insensitive; and (3) Life often feels too busy and too full with the years whirling by in a home where the nursery sits empty. And here is one important lesson that a three-and-five-year-old and their four-month-old sister taught me; at the end of the day none of those matters and there’s always a “Cherry” on top.
As part of our adoption process we had to spend the afternoon/evening with a newborn. A dear friend of mine was generous enough to offer her little one up, and we insisted on watching their other two so that they could get a romantic evening out alone together.
By the end of the night I was in love.
I was in love with the way their three-year-old had to first take his shirt off so that he could “box” his brother on the x-box. I was in love with the way their five-year-old soaked in every ounce of me rubbing his back–inquiring into whether we could spend the night–while my husband read bedtime stories. And I was in love with how their four-month-old laughed hysterically at her brothers, and then cuddled in and fell asleep on my shoulder.
I was also however in love with the “Cherry” on top–my husband. Of course I always love him, however the sweetness of this tiny person smiling away as he held her made me only love him more. And so, dubbed “Cherry” by the three-year-old, who was unable to pronounce his name, I found my “Cherry” on top.
Yes, there have been times when infertility felt like just too much to bear. There have been times when I was ready to throw all of the adoption paperwork into the trash–overwhelmed by all that we need to do and all we that we have to share with complete strangers to be dubbed “acceptable parents.” And there have been times when family members have unknowingly deeply hurt me, so immersed in their own joys and never considering how I might feel. Those things are like heavy weights at the bottom of lead boots. They have made me angry, tearful, and exasperated.
Yet in the end, there really is a “Cherry” on top and soon where there was two, there will be three, and nothing else will matter.