The two little girls see us come into the bowling alley and their faces light up with the childlike smiles I love and yearn for each day. Granted I am holding a shiny present in my hand for them, so that excitement is most likely for the gift and our presence is just an added bonus.
We laugh, we bowl and we chat for the next couple of hours until they open their Christmas gift (better late than never) from Chad and I.
The wonder of what is underneath the shiny holiday wrapping that melts into the joy of the gift they absolutely love is something that will never get old to me.
And, with the direction from their mom, as is required of any elementary age kid, "What do you tell Justine and Chad?"
"Thank you!" they say in unison not even looking up from their new found treasure.
The moments of childfull living I seek to create, work to accept and am beyond grateful for.
After bowling Chad and I head out for a quick bite to eat. Over some chips and guacamole we realize that ever elusive concept of time, realizing that Chad has been at his "new" job for 4 years this March.
"It's gone by so fast," we both agree.
It is then that I realize what next month will be for us.
"Next month is five years since we started our infertility journey." I say through a sense of disbelief and knowing all in the same breath.
Chad replies, "Now that, for some reason, feels like forever ago."
"I know, kind of weird right?" I reply back.
He shifts his focus down to his plate of warm, delicious Mexican food.
"Maybe it is because everything is so different, and in many ways better and healthier." I say with the complete embodiment of the complicated gray.
Because those five years have flown by but only through forever ago; five years ago I placed an ad on a surrogacy website asking for advice and more information. Little did we know what would lie ahead for us. That through the black fog of synthetic hormones, through the desperation of tens of thousands of dollars spent and loans taken out, through the devastating loss of three babies and through the soul crushing and soul completing bittersweet decision to define our own happy ending lay the life we choose to live now.
It has only been through this forever ago, that we were able to create this incredible childfull life we live today. An incredible life laced with forever longing of our babies, like a heavy stone I carry in my pocket always, and with the joy and health we've worked hard to create and maintain.
This is living life in the complicated gray; embracing the mucky space between grief and joy, the dark and the light, to awaken to life in color.*
*Watch for updates here and on my social media as I continue to work on my 2nd book, The Complicated Gray.