First of all, I can't shop for clothing for myself. For the last six months or so, I have been limited strictly to the maternity section. When I realize I no longer belong there, I am devastated. I don't want to have to take off my stretch panel jeans and maneuver a regular button waistband over my tender and floppy stomach - in a size I am not willing to admit either. I don't want to remember why my maternity pants keep falling down, but how I don't want to stop wearing them. How I want to keep shopping for maternity clothes because I want more than anything to still be pregnant - or at least be able to hold the reason why I wore those clothes in the first place. I'm flabby and gross and I don't even have a baby to show for it. I put my body through the wringer for nothing! Clothes shopping for me is nothing but misery.
Non-clothes shopping isn't much better. Obviously, anything baby related is out, which is difficult to do since every baby department in the world has suddenly increased its size by tenfold in the last month. Looking through the purses, there is inevitably a satchel that could double as a cute diaper bag. Shoes have to be purchased a half size bigger, and if I bend down to put them on, my shirt rides up and reveals the delightful spandex sewn into the top of my pants. Housewares is full of tchotchkes - and what's a popular tchotchke nowadays? Owls. Today at Ross, I did not handle myself well. My shopping buddy zipped off to the dressing room for a bit, and I wandered around in the kitchen items. On the end of one of the aisles was a cute little owl.
When I walked over to look at it and snap a picture, (my sister and I have developed the habit of sharing Kenley's owls with each other when we come across one) I happened to glance down the aisle behind it. What I saw was the beginning of the end. Every few feet, another owl figurine was perched upon the white, metal shelves. I know they are all the rage now and they are going to be everywhere. I know I've said before that I enjoy seeing them because they remind me of her. That is still true. But, today must have been an off day for my sanity because what happened next is not what I'd expected. As I ventured down the aisle, my body vibrated with the hot tingles that attempt to keep back tears, but usually fail. My pulse quickened. My breathing shallowed. Each owl I saw brought forth a muted moan from my lips. I walked up and down that aisle two or three times, my hand on my mouth, looking wide eyed at all of them. For some reason, I had the urge to move all of the owls from their original positions strewn about the aisle and bring them all together. I didn't want them to be alone. So, one at a time, I carefully brought all the owls to the same shelf. I moved the strange golden buddha figurines and the black wooden candlesticks out of the way to make room for my parliament. All the while, hands shaking, tears streaming down my cheeks. Fortunately for me, no one felt the need to shop in this area of the store at this time (or maybe it was because of me, who knows?), so I was left alone to wallow in my insanity. After about 5 minutes, I had rearranged the shelves so that all the unrelated items still had a place visible to shoppers, but the owls were clustered together. What started out as an innocent glance at an end display, ended up like this:
By the time my friend returned from trying on her dresses (three failures, two successes), I was a mess. Being the great friend that she is, she helped me pick out one of the owls to take home with me. Although, I loved all of them, I chose the teal one in the center. I almost bought the two green ones too, but I thought I'd been crazy enough for one day and didn't need to start my hoarding tendencies just yet. A little over a month ago, I would have enjoyed a day out in the shops. Today, I just wanted it to be over. I just wanted to get home where it was "safe" - or where I could at least be insane in privacy.
This is not what I signed up for. The sign up sheet I wrote my name on involved strollers and diapers and wiggling legs. It involved hair bows and peek-a-boo. It did not involve empty arms, a broken heart, and a compulsion to rearrange discount store shelves. Somebody must have switched the lists. I don't belong here. I don't want to be here. I want to go home, where my baby is waiting - and the only thing that makes me cry is the fact "How I Met Your Mother" is still in reruns.