Sherman had a vet appointment early Saturday morning. On our way, we passed a yard sale sign on the main street a few blocks from our house. Signs like that rarely stand out to me, but for whatever reason, my Spidey Senses told me I needed to stop at that sale.
Later in the day, coming home from a string of errands, another, similar sign for the same yard sale reinforced my gut feeling that I needed to visit, despite having just south of eight dollars in change, and no other cash.
A series of hand-made signs guided me through the curving streets of our neighbourhood, finally landing me across the street from a lawn covered in items for sale. Saturday was gloriously sunny for October. People browsed and a very friendly lady chatted with whoever was closest.
Most of the goods were picked over by that point of the afternoon, but a shelf I assume was once full of tiny shoes still held a few pairs. They were priced at two dollars each.
I could tell you about all the other stuff that was for sale, the toys and books and bad basement discount art, but those things are really irrelevant.
I bought the cutest of the remaining infant shoes. Here they are:
As she took my toonie, the pleasant woman running the show smiled warmly. Maybe it’s just something someone who has struggled to have children notices, but I also saw her subtly wince. I don’t know if many people would have caught the gentle cringe around her eye sockets, but it registered with me.
She commented that it was hard to sell her son’s things, especially the shoes for some odd reason. Laughing while getting a little watery-eyed, she told me about him trying desperately to cram his feet into these much-too-small shoes the night before the yard sale. When it was clear he was far too big, he said, “Bye, shoes,” and carried on inspecting the rest of his outgrown items.
I told this momma that these shoes would be worn by children who are long-awaited and already deeply loved.
It turns out my almost neighbour is another infertility quest veteran. She became a mom through adoption after a long struggle with biology. I explained that our twins are arriving by
angel gestational surrogate and are expected in January. They are 24 weeks along right now, beautifully healthy and active. Thankfully, the incredible woman carrying them also remains in great health.
Every now and then, I unexpectedly encounter another person who “gets” what we’re experiencing. While I meet these individuals in ways that seem totally random, I feel like the universe sets our paths to intersect, even briefly, to help us navigate the challenges we’re up against. It helps, since those challenges appear “Cliffs of Insanity” huge some days.
I spoke only briefly with that lovely woman who lives only blocks away. Something changed in her face when I shared that her little boy’s shoes are going to worn by babies who also arrived after a long quest. Maybe she needed to connect with someone who was familiar with the road she’d travelled. Perhaps she was there to comfort some of the anxiety I still feel in spite of myself about the things that could still go wrong for our babies.
We had a connection, squinting under the low angle of the four pm October sun.
I felt such a surge of joy as I climbed back into my vehicle, holding the tiny shoes on one finger apiece. You may view my purchase as a gently-used pair of baby shoes, but I see hope and love.
One day, when our babies outgrow those wee leather shoes, I plan to make a point of passing them on to another family who is coming to the end of their quest. It would be amazing if those shoes brought happiness to another hopeful mother.