Tag Archive: baby

Without Knowing

Reva, about a year after her adoption was finalized.

Reva, about a year after her adoption was finalized.

Sometime around the turn of the millennium, hubby and I took a long day’s drive to travel from Vermont up to Toronto. My father was born there, and although we had lost track of any living relatives, we did visit the graveyard where many of my ancestors are buried.

One marker caught me off guard. David… my uncle. My father’s baby brother, who lived for only a few weeks. I knew the story. When my father and his big brother were somewhere in their early teens, my grandparents had another baby boy. I think they knew late in the pregnancy that the baby would not survive. Of course it was a difficult time for the family; but by the time I was old enough to know the story, it was ancient history.

Seeing his grave marker gave me pause. Here was someone I knew…sort of. He was my uncle. If he had lived, he would probably have carried me on his shoulders or told me all kinds of stories about my father that I’d never hear from his own mouth. Instead, his life was tragically short. He was and will forever be a baby.

Around that same time, I had the odd feeling that there was another baby I should know…or rather, one that I would know. We had been trying to get pregnant, and I’d hoped to give birth in the year 2000. That didn’t happen. But I did have it in the back of my mind that we could adopt a baby, perhaps even one born in the year 2000. Somewhere, out there in the world, was a child that would someday be mine.

A few years later, hubby and I had graduated from college and bought our first home. We spent months going through foster parent training and certification, just to wait an entire year after that with no child placed in our home. We did respite for several children, but none of them were able to be placed with us permanently.

Then one day my hubby came home with the picture of a grinning, toothless little redheaded girl. She was in foster care and would very likely soon be adoptable. She was not in the private foster system we were registered with; she was a ward of the state. It took time, red tape, and paperwork to resolve that, but our six-year-old daughter (born in 1999) moved in with us in 2005. Two years later her adoption was final, and I gave birth to her baby sister.

It feels somehow fraudulent to claim that I loved two babies without knowing them. I love my Uncle David, though he died long before I was born. I loved my daughter before I knew her.

Love knows no boundaries of time or presence.

Love simply is.

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Shelly sat quietly at her cubicle, chained to the phone system by an earpiece and wire that only allowed minimal movement. Her hands worked the crochet hook in her hands, the blanket well within company-mandated standards for “items phone reps are allowed to fiddle with while waiting for a call.”

The call center was a sea of cubicles, but while she was sitting down, she could pretend she was in her own little world. The desk across the narrow aisle was only in use during the morning and early afternoon, by one of the younger reps who, even when she was there, never paid any attention to Shelly. The young woman was planning her wedding, and had no interest in talking about anything that didn’t involve Vera Wang.

“Is she married? I thought she was married. She looks married…”

Shelly pretended she couldn’t hear. She learned so much more that way. The conversation buzzed briefly as two of her co-workers circled around the opposite side of her little island of cubicles.

No sooner had the voices passed then someone a few cubicles over asked “But I thought she was making that for a friend’s baby?”

Shelly couldn’t hear the rest, but she knew the rep in that particular cubicle would have said something like “Shh! She’s right there! She might hear you!” and then beckon the guest closer for a whispered session of office gossip.

A beep in her ear signaled that she had a call coming in. She finished the stitch she was on, pulled the loop out extra long so that it wouldn’t unravel, set her crochet hook down, glanced at the monitor so she knew which number the caller had dialed and, therefore, how she should answer the phone, and then politely did so in her well-rehearsed customer service voice.

Four calls later the call center entered another lull, and she picked up her crochet again. Instead of arranging it so she could continue to work, she smoothed it over her barely swelling tummy.

Tomorrow, I wear the new blouse. The one that fits snugly over not just the blossoming bosom, but the belly too!

Tomorrow, I’ll give them something more to talk about.

This little story was written for the Write On Edge Prompt:

A tiny poem by Robert Frost to inspire you this week:

The Secret Sits

We dance round in a ring and suppose,
But the Secret sits in the middle and knows.

I used to work in a call center. That’s why so many of my characters end up having similar jobs! This one is just a glimpse… totally unrelated to anything else.

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