I came across a photo of Aaron wearing the t-shirt and holding the onesie that references our favorite TV show ‘The Office’ this morning, and felt compelled to write the story of how it came to be.
To anyone else, it’s just a cute photo of a to-be Dad posing to show some excitement of the onesie that will hopefully one day be covered in spit up. His shirt reads "Regional Manager", and the onesie "Assistant to the Regional Manager". To me, the to-be Mom who took the photo, it was a moment that I had previously dreamt about, cried about, got angry over, and really eventually gave up on. That seems like a lot for a silly, posed photograph doesn’t it? Let me explain.
We knew going in to our marriage that we may have issues growing our family on our own, so we started trying immediately. Like anyone starting out on that journey, I was SO excited. “This will be easy,” I probably, naively thought. So, before I even tracked my first ovulation to signal it was go time, I got on the internet and started searching for the PERFECT gift to give to Aaron to announce to him that we were pregnant! Wrapping paper, stuffing paper, a book about pregnancy for Dad’s and all. Well, we all know now that pregnancy test came up negative. And so did the next one. And what feels like the 1000 after that. But the shirt and the onesie stayed tucked hidden in my drawer. An item that once made me happy and excited to see, became a harsh reminder of my shortcomings.
I thought about just throwing them away. And then we started IVF. I realized that if it worked and I did get pregnant, it wasn’t going to be a surprise to Aaron. It wasn’t going to be the moment I had once dreamt of, surprising him with a little gift one morning. I would have to bring it out after he already knew of the pregnancy. The thought of it caused me some annoyance, but it would still be a nice gesture anyways. So it stayed tucked away.
And we went through failure, more failure, and more failure after that.
I brought the package out one day to throw it away, but I had never actually taken the shirt and onesie out of the wrapping. So, I opened it up to look at them. Something about holding the onesie sparked something in me. Something like Hope. I decided against throwing them away and tucked it back in the drawer.
Around that time, we were deciding to take a leap of faith with adoption. The idea had floated around, we knew it was something we wanted to go all in with, but we weren’t sure that we could afford it. We eventually decided that money would not be a barrier to starting our family and we took our first steps. As we worked on completing our home study, my mind kept straying back to the drawer these gifts still laid in. I decided it was time, and it ended up better than I had originally planned it to be anyways.
The morning that our home study was completed, I tearfully took the shirt and onesie from the drawer and brought them down to Aaron. A silly little gift that I had been waiting patiently to give to him for two and a half years. He immediately put the shirt on, I made him pose for the picture in our nursery (which is in progress) and life continued.
For me though, it was a weight being taken off of me. It is a symbol of hope that is no longer hidden in a drawer, but out in the open and being worn proudly. Aaron often wears the t-shirt, and every time he does it makes me happy. It makes me hopeful. It reminds me of the empty onesie that we are working so hard, and waiting so patiently to fill.
I cried when I saw Aaron in the t-shirt, and I will cry when I see our adopted baby in that onesie.
What a beautiful reminder of the patience, the pain, the work, the faith, the perseverance, and the enormous amount of love it has taken to fill it with a child.