Friday, October 8, 2010

Looking into the looking glass

We went to Red Lobster today. Ten dollar coupon. Endless shrimp. Why not, we thought. We sat down at the round table placed for us with just enough space to wedge W's stroller in so it was out of the way. He was on cute baby duty it seemed. He was giggling and squealing with delight. He was playing with his stuffed animals and trying to devour his toes. After a while he got squirmy and I lifted him up, and he grinned and babbled and sucked his thumb. He was Gerber Baby. Brown Gerber Baby. People kept stopping by to coo over him, to chuckle at his giddy joy at everything- the straw, the plate, my hair, everything he saw.

But ofcourse I saw the one couple- in their 40's sitting right across from us. The lady wore a pretty green shawl and had stylish black glasses. Her husband sat across from her with sandy gray hair and his shoulders slightly hunched. They stared at him too, and they smiled- but I recognized the smile. Dammit. I recognized it and I knew there was heartbreak behind that smile. I know I'm assuming. Maybe she is the mother of twelve bouncing boys all too busy to join their parents for dinner, but you know. Sometimes you just know. Because I could see myself from the outside. This couple sitting in the middle of the room, bouncing a baby boy, singing to him while he giggled and cooed- and I know I would have looked over my shoulder and smiled just like that while a million knives stabbed my heart.

Its not like I feel guilty all the time. But moments like this hurt because I see it from their eyes and I want to hug them and I want to say it will be okay- except I don't know that. Except that for some people, its just too late.

Does it get easier? This survivor's guilt?