There have been times that I’ve complained(mostly to myself) about feeling ordinary. A jack of many trades but a master of none – there isn’t much that sticks out that makes me special or different from everyone else. Yesterday I sat outside at a park near the water, admiring the view. An ordinary September day in Charleston in most respects, and an ordinary activity for many. Parents and children mixed in the scenery; parents chatting, children playing. A man serving ice cream. A jump castle. A woman taking pictures. Hugs. Smiles. Face Painting.
Earlier this month we received an invitation in the mail from our fertility clinic, for a party to “celebrate babies”. Liking any opportunity in particular to celebrate (read: show off) OUR babies, I RSVP’d right away. I expected to see some old familiar faces, hand off the babies for our fertility doc to hold and admire (what? they are cute), and possibly see a person or two that I knew in real life who had undergone fertility treatments. I figured it would be an ordinary day. I expected to hang out for an hour or so, eat some ice cream, ask for a photo and head home.
We arrived just as things were starting so other than staff members (and the ever important ice cream guy), the park was relatively empty. The babies were given some super cool hats and we took a family photo.
We chatted with our doc for awhile as others started to trickle in. He was quickly pulled away by a slew of other previous patients anxious to show off their own babies so we sat down and ate while I fed the babies and I watched. Some parents were glowing, some looked exhausted, others looked a bit frantic as one child ran toward the caterpillar while the other took off toward the jump castle (that will be me in the not too distant future). I watched families pose for pictures,hold babies, wipe faces and share stories. I thought about how, to the onlooker, we all looked like ordinary families at an ordinary picnic. And in many ways we were. I obviously don’t know their stories, but I’m betting, like ours, they involved stress, heartache, hope, and fear. I’m betting, like ours, their journey’s to parenthood were anything but ordinary.
Surprisingly, though, I find myself feeling grateful for the experience, even with all of the pain. And not only for the experience but for all of the awesome people we worked with who supported us, rooted for us and celebrated with us.
I’m grateful for the science that allowed us and couples like us to create our families. We were all there that day to celebrate babies and life – the extraordinary way they were brought to us. To celebrate the extraordinary journey’s we took, the extraordinary doctors and staff. To celebrate our extraordinary levels of perseverance and hope. Our extraordinary families.