|On the Shores of Lake Michigan|
A picture, it is said, is worth a thousand words. Though sometimes it is the story the picture doesn't tell that is the most visceral. When you spend a good part of your days and years traveling, your travel memories and your everyday life memories become intertwined. When I play the reel of mental movies in my mind, I often connect life markers with travel experiences. My oldest son said his first sentence on a stairway at the Tower of London. My second son took his first steps in the hallway of a hotel in San Antonio. And so it goes that as we look back at vacation photos, we remember personal milestones at the same time.
After a fun filled day at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, we decided to make a spur of the moment stop on the beach of Lake Michigan across the street. What began as "can we get our toes in the water" turned into a full-fledged swimming trip. Shirts and shoes came flying off, as the kids plunged into the water that was beginning to cool with the coming fall.
With the kids happily playing, Gary and I took a moment to delve into conversation that was hanging heavily between us. From the birth of our first child, we had planned to have four children. In the past, we needed only to look at each other across a room and nine months later we were welcoming a new bundle of wonderfulness. After more than two years of hoping to add to our family one more time, we were still a family of five. Before leaving for a month long business trip to Chicago, I had met with a specialist and learned that we would not be able to get pregnant again without medical intervention.
So, we were at a crossroad. And then one of us finally said the nagging thoughts that we had both been ignoring for weeks. It was time to stop. If we couldn't add to our family naturally, then we would have to find contentment in our family of two parents and three precious boys. The words we said to each other were few, but they were mighty. No more babies.
This picture tells a great story, but the story that it doesn’t tell is the one that is still with me. You can see the three happy boys, soaking up the fun. You can almost feel the slightly cool breeze and the sand on your toes. But can you see the empty spot in the picture? It's right there between the laughs and lapping water. I know that my husband and I are the only ones who can see the silent emptiness created by the decision made that day. But, to my heart the emptiness is vast.
~Every story deserves a happy ending, including this one. Read the part two of this story here.~