In order for the light to shine so brightly, the darkness must be present.
-Sir Francis Bacon
While randomly shopping in a local antique village 17 years ago, I walked into a room displayed like a nursery. After a while I saw a small silver lamp with a teapot bottom and a silver lamp shade((cue the theme from 2001 A Space Odyssey)). Immediately I knew it had to have it…and thought it was a sign that I should start buying items for our soon-to-be-baby.
Not pregnant yet, I decided not to open the lamp. So, I kept in its original box in our guest room closet.
Tick tock. Months pass.
We moved a few years later and the unopened lamp came with us. Every time I’d see it, I’d smile….knowing that the lamp would soon be opened for the soon-to-be-baby’s room.
Tick tock. Months pass. Years begin to pass. Then more years passed.
By then, I was about 42 and knew that the baby thing wasn’t going to work out….but wasn’t ready to accept it. So when we moved a few years later, the lamp came with us. At this point, it was muchhhhh more than a lamp. And sat in another closet in another house.
Recently, I stumbled on the lamp, shuffling through the crap that is my guest closet. I brought it to the living room and put in on the dining room table. Massive staring contest. Several minutes. I blinked first.
Hmmmm. What to do, what to do? Keeping it boxed up was getting a little ridiculous. I could give it away, but no one would appreciate the importance of it….to them, it would just be a lamp. But opening it would signify defeat and the end of a dream.
((Staring contest continues))
Screw it. I am opening it.
Craig wandered through the living room about this time. I heard his paces slow when he saw the lamp and I guess he realized what was happening. He didn’t know how long I had been staring at the lamp that night, but certainly knew the significance….and was probably immediately on edge, unsure of how I would handle it.
It was tinier than I remembered….and wayyyyy too ‘foo foo’ for my casual tastes now. But, still beautiful. I was expecting some “a ha” moment, or for the tears to come flooding or for me to get angry at the world again. I was prepared to throw myself into a deep depression of “what ifs” and “we should haves”. But none of that happened. It was just….well, just a lamp. Craig walked through the living room again, carrying a bottled water. He kissed me on the top of my head. Like me, he knew that opening the box didn’t break me.
Like all of us on this journey, I’ve had constant reminders of failed attempts…and had to decide what to keep and what should go away. Initially, I saved everything because I thought it was helping me heal. And maybe it did. But as the years passed, I slowly threw away books on pregnancy and infertility. I threw away a book on baby names. Sidenote: our first choice for a boy name was Brody (the police chief’s name in Jaws)….so we named our chocolate lab Brody. I recently found a journal of tests and failed test results. That got trashed too.
For some reason, though, the lamp had more significance.
It wasn’t something in the stars or a feeling. It was an actual object that signified to me the beginning, then the end of a dream. If my goal is acceptance, then, the lamp was the sign. And the light is now shining brightly.3