Although it's common for a little girl to do, I never really daydreamed of having a child of my own one day.
Except I did, and just never said it out loud.
Even though I carried around three Raggedy Ann dolls -- Fannie, Crannie, and Nannie -- during my pigtail years, I didn't consider them to be my "babies" and I never fed them bottle, burped them or put them down for naps.
Except I gave them little voices and pretended they called me mommy.
And when cancer came a callin' when I was 11 and the white coats informed me that my chances of ever giving birth to a child were nil, I didn't really give it much thought.
Except I cried as I wrote in my little pink diary with the lock on it about how I was missing an "over e" and that meant I couldn't have a baby.
Friends of mine started to have wee ones as early as high school and I still didn't daydream about having a child.
Except I did and it was always a baby girl.
When I married my first husband, we were both on board with never having little ones run around the house.
Except we'd secretly talk about "what if..."
And in 2008, when my ob-gyn told me that I needed to let go of any thought of having children because it was definitely no longer an option, I was totally fine with the whole thing because, well, I never wanted to be a mom anyway.
Except I cried all over again as I wrote in my grown-up moleskin journal with no lock on it about how my missing ovary meant that I was never, ever going to have a baby... for real this time.
Yet, through it all, I carried around a dress. A size 6T circa 1980 Strawberry Shortcake printed pinafore. It had been mine and I held on to it knowing one day I'd... pass it on to a daughter of my own?
This little dress traveled with me from Ohio to Utah. From Utah to Arizona. From Arizona to Oregon. From Oregon to New York. From New York, back to Ohio and then to Albuquerque, New Mexico where it's been for just over three years. This well-travelled dress has been hanging in my closet literally collecting dust.
So, why keep it if I was never going to need it? But then...
The white coats ended up being wrong. Very wrong.
It was an unusually warm morning in March 2010 when I could just feel something had shifted inside me. So, I took one of those cute little blue box tests. It was positive for a baby, baby. My man and I couldn't have been happier.
Except the very next day, I miscarried and I'd wager money that was my little girl -- you know, the one I said I never wanted. The one I had a name picked out for even thought I said I had no intention of being a mom? Yeah, I'm fairly certain Alma Olivia died that day.
And so, I finally, really let go of the idea of ever becoming a mommy.
Except the universe didn't let go and I gave birth to a gorgeous baby boy in February of 2011.
My days are now filled with the laughter of a little one. Oh, the laughter. And oh, the rough and tumble of a little boy.
Acenxion Russell really is the only one I'm going to have, because his birth was hard on this not-so-spring chickadee's body and there were complications and... and... and...
There is still this dress. I know I could save it and put it on him when he's about 5 or so.
Except I'm not sure he'd fancy or appreciate the throwback style.
Who could love this dress as much as I do? Who would understand what this dress means to me? Who could rock this Strawberry Shortcake red like nobody's business?
Except she'd bring it some new millennium flair.
Then it hit me. This is one of the reasons why the universe gave me a best friend -- because she has a daughter who is just the right age and the right size to slip on the vintage pinafore and give it new life in all the ways I dreamed of ever since I was a little girl.
So from Albuquerque to Fargo the dress went...
I now have the best of both worlds.
Except, I don't have to deal with a teenage dating daughter -- good luck, Melissa.