Maybe I was stuck in some bizarre dream?

PAGE # 58
Approximately 8:45 pm

There was something therapeutic about going up and down the aisles at Babies "R" Us, rushing to find everything before the store closed for the day.  The sheer physicality of it all--running back to the first aisle for a bottle brush, lifting the heavy pack n' play into the cart, sorting through a rack of onesies for the right size--it was good for my mental health.  I needed the distraction; otherwise, I thought constantly of Kendra and felt nothing but anguish.

TJ, who had been happy to accompany me initially, was growing tired.
"I'm beat.  Can we go now?"
"Not yet.  I don't want to have to come back tomorrow," I explained.  "Why don't you look for some Christmas presents for Sara and Lily?  I'm gonna be a bit longer."
TJ sighed, then headed in the direction of the toy department.  A text came in from Tom that read:
"Lily ate more than an ounce and then went to sleep again."
I smiled reading this, mostly because I was happy not to be breastfeeding.  Tom could wake up at night and do half the feedings.  At least that would be easier this time.

Feeling satisfied that my cart contained all items essential to newborn care, I spotted TJ pacing around the front of the store by the check-out line.  He saw my approach and applauded.
"Finally!" he exclaimed.
"You didn't pick any gifts?" I asked, noting his empty hands.
"I'm not in the mood," TJ explained.
"Christmas is in a week.  There's not much time left."
"I was thinking about Christmas," TJ said, "and I think we should invite Kendra and Lily's brothers over for Christmas Eve or something."
We were standing in line, waiting for another customer to finish her purchase.
"I'm not sure how Kendra wants to proceed with things," I said.  "But I think that would be a really nice gesture."
TJ and I started placing our items on the counter.
"Don't you think she misses the baby?" TJ asked.  
"Yes, I think she must."
"Do you think she wants her back?"
"I don't know."
"I think she's probably crying right now."
"Probably," I agreed.  
The drive home from Babies "R" Us took nearly a half hour, and when we pulled into the driveway, I told TJ to carry the bags in and I would walk the dog.  I let Jersey out and put him on his leash without bothering to go inside first.  I needed to cry, I needed privacy, and I couldn't hold in the tears for much longer.

I took Jersey for a long walk that night.  I felt as if someone had died.  And in the darkness, alone with no one but my little dog, my terrible sadness began to collide with feelings of unreality.  I felt as if I were trapped in a dream; perhaps I would wake to discover that there was no baby.  

No Kendra.  

No adoption plan.

I clutched Jersey's leash too tightly.  My other hand was clenched into a fist, with my nails digging into the softest flesh of my palm.  If I could just feel the discomfort--if l could actually feel the jagged force of my fingernails pushing into my own skin--maybe, just maybe, things would start to feel a little more real. 
To Be Continued...


Kellie C said...

It's been two years since our granddaughter left, and it still doesn't feel real.
What a wonderfully sensitive son you have. What a wonderful man he will be one day.

Jennifer said...

Thanks Kellie :)

LisaAnne said...

This story is wretches my heart. Yet I cannot wait to hear the next installment every time.

What an unbelievable sensitivity you have.

You are amazing.

Jennifer said...

Thanks Lisa :)
I'm glad to know people are still reading despite the time it takes me to write. I've been working on this since end of Feb., but in real life, all I've covered is a couple of weeks! Looking back, I cannot believe this roller coaster was compressed into such a short time.

Addison Cooper said...

I know you're writing about a deeply personal experience, so I hope it's not trivial to say that I really enjoy your writing style. You write engagingly and clearly, and because of how you write, I feel like I'm able to come along with you. I believe you'll accomplish much - for your own healing and for others - through this blog.

Jennifer said...

It's never too trivial to compliment one's writing style! Thank you :)