It’s funny how our brains connect dots that we don’t even see. I’m thinking there is always a picture, some big picture that most of the time I’m not even aware of. But then at times my brain rings a bell and Ding! Ding! Ding! There’s something I should be considering or be aware of or recognizing. But I’m either having a coping mechanism helping me to ignore it, or (more likely) I’m just too oblivious to notice.
I was surprised a few days ago while I was shopping at Old Navy with Roan for some new back to school clothes. Roan grew about 3 inches over the summer, I’m not even kidding. My boy is a giant. A friendly and kind giant. But a giant who was suffering “High Waters” fashion problems. So we’re looking at jeans and shirts and the like and we then both notice at the same time that they also have Halloween costumes on display. I love Halloween. I love how much thought Roan puts into what he wants to be, how it reminds me of my own good childhood spooky times. But on this day? I saw the costumes, innocently hanging on their “Wow! What A Great Deal!” Display rack and my eyes filled with sad tears. I arched an eyebrow at myself, a little confused that I was what….? Hormonal? Dumb? What is this, allergies? But I felt sad. And I felt nostalgic. And I didn’t understand. Until Roan drew the lines for me, connecting the dots.
“There’s the same costume I bought for my brother last year!”
And with the rush of a million monkeys being released from their cages, all the memories from exactly this time, last year came back. One weird day at Old Navy, right after we’d been told that “maybe….” something could be wrong with our unborn baby boy, but we hadn’t shared this information with Roan yet, and he saw this cute little costume he wanted to buy for his brother, though he wouldn’t be born until after Halloween. I said yes, with my magical thinking believing that if I made plans for this baby’s future, he would definitely have one. But I was wrong; and the ending to his short story was written only a few weeks later.
One year later: Old Navy hasn’t changed their aesthetic too much, and with their exactly same lighting, exactly same music and exactly same costumes hanging on their exactly same display rack, time travelled me back in time for a very bittersweet reunion with myself on the verge of the biggest heartbreak of my life. And then whiplashed me back into the present with Roan’s voice asking me if we had kept that costume, and could we give it to his new brothers? To share?
We kept it, and yup. We can give it to them.
Who knew one year ago that it would all get so heavy so quickly? And who knew that in one year’s time, I’d be pregnant again with the punchline being that it would be twin boys? Who could have predicted that our lives would not happen at all in the way we thought they would be going – but that it would actually be ok? Roan and Anson and I would all still be here, climbing new adventures and building new stories and having so much that we are looking forward to, and that we are happy. Not just ok, not just not-devastated, but really and truly happy. My eyes are open now and I realize that this weather and the smells and flavor of the Fall/Halloween season is going to remind me of a hard time. And it is sad. But it’s also sweet and familiar and a reminder that life is unpredictable but that we are – all of us are- tasked with surrendering to the fact that we have very little control over circumstance, but total control over our willingness to adapt, to accept, and to move forward.