I’ve occasionally read posts by people who, after they have had their babies, have wished that they could send a snapshot of their lives today back to their younger selves, a year or two ago, so that they could see that they would be okay, that they would get their “happy ending.”
I read these posts, and wish too that I could take a snapshot of my life now, and send it back in time to show myself when I was "in the trenches," or just at the end of my journey (and the beginning of the next one). I wish that the woman who had been stuck in the trenches, or was enduring loss, or was suffering in those first days, weeks and months after learning I would never have any children, could see the snapshots I’d send now. Could see in fact, the snapshots I’d have sent over the last ten years. I wish those who are now right in the midst of despair could see themselves in the future – happy and fulfilled, not despairing or bitter or sad, not living grey lives of unremitting sadness. I know many of them can’t imagine they’ll ever be in that position. And don’t want to imagine this. But they will.
Still, which ones would I send?
I could send a snapshot of me sitting at the computer, volunteering, helping people who were going through loss and infertility, learning more about myself every day, feeling valued, and having that reinforced by responses like this:
“ … this year was made so much more bearable by your kind and thoughtful and encouraging words.”
I could send snapshots of my travels, perhaps most recently of me hiking up to the Monastery in Petra, at the start of a five-month trip, to show that there is still excitement and adventure in my future.
I could send a snapshot of me (and my husband) meeting Klara (and her husband) for the first time, or of a reunion with my ectopic internet friends a few months later, still close after over ten years.
I could send a snapshot of me chairing the Board of Directors after we had signed a huge contract, feeling relatively confident (never 100% - that just feels like arrogance to me), and managing to herd difficult personalities towards a result I wanted.
I could send a snapshot of me with my nieces, young and old, enjoying their company, loving them, shopping for them, no longer afraid of the feelings they might prompt.
Or I could send a snapshot of my husband and I celebrating our thirtieth wedding anniversary, happy and enjoying life.
Just because we didn’t get the result everyone who is still “in the trenches” desperately wants (to put it mildly), we can still take snapshots to show that a No Kidding life doesn't feel empty or shallow, but rich and fulfilling. Although we can’t send a snapshot back in time to our younger selves, maybe there is as much or more value in these snapshots if we take them and show them to those who follow.