i will be 42 years old this fall. today i registered at babies r us for our 5th child. when i sat down at the registry desk a young, cheerful associate handed me a few forms to fill out. i almost stood right back up and left the store. NO! no more paperwork. (this has been my instinctual reaction to any and all forms since going through the adoption process). i didn't leave, but i am certain she noticed me both flinch and gulp. i am sure she saw the sag in my shoulders and probably wondered. i quickly blurted out that i just needed to mark down a few things. this is our 5th. she is already 2 and a half! ...i don't need much. i have other errands to run. it was like she didn't hear me. smiling brightly, she continued to shove the papers in front of me and direct me to page 7 which listed all the things i would need for "bringing home a new baby." no. no. no. i didn't need a breast pump or formula. i wasn't in the market for a bouncy seat or a baby swing. i was registering for a toddler. i ONLY NEED A FEW THINGS. this was getting weird. she looked up at one point and asked if had made a decision on the formula. geesh! again, i almost got up and walked out. but then something came over me. i was here to get things for bella. my friends were planning a shower in her honor and they had asked me to register. and i would. this wasn't weird. this was wonderful. it is wonderful to be almost 42 years old and registering for my 5th child. a child for which we have waited over a year. a child for whom we will travel to the other side of globe. a child for whom an army of friends and family have prayed. i grabbed the scanner from the registry associate, held my head up high, sucked in my (somewhat) flat belly and marched off to aisle number one. i was registering for bella!
when i came back to the desk with my scanner and forms there was a young couple sitting nearby - babies r they! i thought. they had their heads together and he kept rubbing her shoulder. she was quite large with child and this was clearly "their first" - (you can usually tell). i was in no way attempting to listen in on their conversation, but i couldn't help but overhear the continuous debate on the graco versus mcclaren stroller. i couldn't help but overhear when their discussion turned to the color of the highchair and whether it would match their kitchen decor. the young husband had all sorts of opinions. he had obviously been doing his research. i caught them glancing at me a couple of times as i continued to fill out my remaining bubbles and blanks. me. 42 year old me. no large tummy me. i looked up and smiled. i wanted to tell them that i wasn't sure why i was here. i had four kids at home. we are way past babies r us. we are in the big kids section at toys r us nowdays. but here i was. debating with myself over stroller styles. i tried to remember back to when i registered for my first born, emily. was rick with me? did we pour over our form and our choices like these two? probably. perhaps. all i could think while i sat there was, where has the time gone? my first born starts high school in just a matter of weeks. i remember so well standing in the sherwin williams in solon ohio and ordering the pink swiss dot wallpaper for emily's nursery. settling on that pattern for her walls seemed paramount. it had to be perfect. and it was...until we moved 3 months later. i remember the creeping quiet fear of what if it is wrong? what if i it just doesn't work? well, after almost 15 years of parenting, i can say today, that we've made many wrong decisions. there has been plenty that hasn't worked. the pink swiss dot wallpaper was just the beginning. but then we move. then we move on. that is what i have learned. without doubt, it is a sweet time to plan for a child. there is nothing like it. expecting bella has been different in many ways from expecting emily. there are many similarities bewteen adoption and pregnancy. but it has more to do with birth order. it is the difference between expecting the first child and expecting the fifth. we change. even if i was registering for a newborn today, i am pretty certain i wouldn't sign up for a baby wipes warmer or a diaper genie. life just looks different by the 5th. for instance, one of my criterion for choosing a carseat was the dark color. it had to be dark enough to hide the stains of the four other children clambering over it in soccer cleats holding blue slushies.. oh my. yes, life looks different alright.
so all in all, it was one of those errands that caught me by surprise. i had planned to rush in and quickly select a few necessities. i had planned to be quick and efficient - a well seasoned and professional mom. instead, i spent over an hour roaming aisle after aisle. i looked at everything. everything. do you know that they now sell pacifier cases and special wipes for pacifiers? what happened to the 5 second rule? i scanned some pretty cool stuff for bella today....and my ankles weren't swollen, my back didn't ache and i could see my feet...but my heart, well, it was really, really full.