We moved to California when I was just starting elementary school. My dad got a job driving truck and we rented a cute bungalow in an older neighborhood full of kids. Boy kids (well mostly boys, there were two girls. One was my age and one was older). We all used to play together. The boys were older, for the most part, but let us tool around with them once in a while. Tagging along to the nearby park, riding bikes, playing in the streets - as long as we stayed out of their way we did okay.
My dad was the biggest kid of all. If he got home from work early or if it was a weekend, the boys would knock on our door and ask if my "dad could come out and play?." Football, basketball, catch he did it all.
When I got a little older, say 8 or 9, I stopped playing outside as much. I started trying to fit in with the girls at school more, thinking that is where I was meant to be. I started practicing applying just the right amount of Bonnie Bell lip gloss and just a squirt of Jean Nate. I would arrange my dolls and make my bed. I would organize my new purse, a strappy, little across-the-body bag with a delicate gold snap. From my bedroom window I could see the boys and my dad playing 2 hand touch football in the street. From the kitchen sink window I could see them playing basketball and HORSE in the driveway. Sometimes I even got lifted over the back fence from my dad's hands to my friend Lisa's dad and then Lisa and I would go play dolls in her room or play house in their yard. It was fun, but no matter how hard I tried, I didn't really feel like I fit in with the girls that well. I itched to climb trees, to make mud pies, to run around the back yard playing Cartoon Tag. Don't get me wrong, I still loved to dress up, and smell nice and have super shiny lips and play with dolls but secretly, I really wanted to play football with the boys and my dad too. I got my chance one hot summer evening.
I was sitting on the lawn in my best outfit, purse strapped securely across my body, lips shimmering with a fresh coat of Bonnie Bell Dr. Pepper lip gloss. As the boys and my dad picked teams for a game of two-hand touch football they realized they needed one more man. Then they looked around, I stood up, hands grasping my purse in anticipation. I could feel everyone's eyes settling on me. The boys made a face, my dad smiled. I was in!! I ran out into the street. Yikes! Was I terrible! I could run but I could not catch, so no one threw to me. All around me boys made victorious runs into the end zone to cheers and boos, everyone laughing, everyone a part of the team. Except me.
At one point we huddled up and Dad said he was going to toss the ball to me and he wanted me to run it down to the end zone (the stop sign at the end of the street). Break!
I don't remember much about the actual play except the feeling of my purse slapping against my sweaty back as I ran for my life, a heard of pre-tween, tween and teenage boys chasing me down the street, my dad cheering me on as I crossed the goal line.
Looking back I am sure that they must have let me have that one. I wonder what looks my father had given them to let them know I needed to be given this chance? They were all much faster and could have easily caught me. Looking back at that moment I WAS part of the team. I fit in. I was a part of the cool group. My father had made it happen and I am grateful for it.
I read an article the other day where a woman lamented her 3 year struggle to have a second child. It made me snort a laugh. I don't even fit in with the other infertiles. 14 years. It has been 14 years. And sometimes, I feel like I don't fit in anywhere. I don't fit in with my married mom friends (no kids), I don't fit in with the newlyweds (too old), I don't fit in with the empty nest crowd (no grand-kids, no nest), I don't fit in with my single friends (I'm married).
In those times, it helps me to remember those carefree days and late summer nights of my childhood. Playing outside, kids running around the neighborhood, dogs barking, the smell of soda pop lip gloss and the rumble of Friday Night Cruising on McHenry in the distance. It helps me to remember that my Father in Heaven is also looking out for me. That I DO fit perfectly into HIS plan for my life. That right where I am is where I am meant to be. That HE has been there cheering me on every step of the way too - probably giving a few people
*Laughter is the best medicine right? Why not laugh at my infertility?! I do not mean to offend with any of these posts, it is just a way to let go a little and see the humor in our situation. Please laugh with me!