Saturday, January 9, 2010

Infertility and Girl Scout Cookies

There will always be, I think, part of me that associates Girl Scout cookies with infertility.

For many of the six years we broke down along the potholed, bumpy and unpaved road of the infertile, I saw the most amazing, wonderful psychologist who specialized in such matters. I remember thinking, when I first called her, how lucky I was that this woman whose quotes I'd read in articles and who is pretty well-known in the infertility world, was within a 40 minute drive of my house. (There wasn't much to feel lucky about, in those days, but finding her? That's pretty high on the list.)

I owe much - oh, so very much - to this woman. It's fair to say that Betty and Boo might not be here, if it wasn't for her getting us through some of the darkest hours of my life.

And yet, more than a decade later, the Girl Scout cookies still remind me of her.

Her daughter sold them, and I guess she was the Cookie Mom for their troop or something. Our sessions were often held at her home, and on one Saturday morning as I passed through the foyer to her home office, I caught a glimpse of a living room filled with boxes of Thin Mints, Trefoils, and Tag-a-Longs.

The cookies represented, to me, something connected with this journey we were on. Maybe it was remembering my own Brownie days, my own childhood. Maybe the boxes symbolized the hopes that were riding so high, that maybe someday - with a lot of hope and prayer, a lot of medical and divine intervention - that I too would have a living room full of Girl Scout cookies.

And a daughter selling them.

I have that now - in part because I had the hopes, the prayer, the medical and divine interventions, the incredible support of family and friends. And yes, there is much about selling Girl Scout cookies (just like this parenting gig itself) that's kind of a pain, a dose of aggravation that makes me question a lot of things, something I'd rather not do (standing out in the cold selling cookies, for one), packing on the pounds I don't need.

Today's the first official day of Girl Scout cookie sales (email me at peanutboo2 AT gmail DOT com if you want a box or two; they're $3.50 each and Betty and I will ship anywhere within the continental United States). Soon, my dining room will be filled with boxes of cookies. Soon, I'll be standing outside Walmart or Walgreens in cold temperatures, warding off frostbite with a Cinnamon Dolce Latte and offering samples and recipes. (Yes, I'll post some recipes here.)

I will always associate Girl Scout cookie season with those infertile days. Maybe I'm romanticizing this for the purposes of a blog post, but there is something about seeing Betty's excitement about this that makes me want to remember a time when I dreamed a dream, when I asked what if.

When what is now almost wasn't, almost slipped away, and to remember what that was like. To savor each bite that this life offers, even from the less than favored flavors, and how truly lucky we are.

(And because I know that there will, without a doubt, be some crazy yahoo who feels compelled to comment on this post about how I should have been grateful for God's gift of infertility as a message that I shouldn't have bothered procreating, or that I should have adopted, allow me to say this: You don't know my story. You haven't walked in my shoes. Whatever venom and insults you have to fling, I've likely heard it before from the likes of you and believe me, I've beaten myself up enough for the both of us ... so save your foul breath because I'm only going to delete your comment, 'kay? Thank you, drive through.)
copyright 2010, Melissa (Betty and Boo's Mommy, The Betty and Boo Chronicles) If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.


Infant Bibliophile said...

It's hard to believe anyone would think those things, let alone take the time to comment on a blog, but I believe you. I have all of these memories from Girl Scout cookie time when younger too. It's funny how memories like that take on great meaning. My son is allergic to eggs, wheat, and milk, among other things, so it has another sort of representation for me (one of those childhood things he is automatically excluded from, like play-doh, which contains wheat). Not to sound all maudlin; there are work-arounds, like homemade cookies and dough, but I understand how it could have come to represent your larger struggles.

Niksmom said...

This is magnificent! Well, except the small-print "warning" to trolls. That always leaves a bitter taste in my mouth to imagine that people actually behave in that fashion.

Oh, and when you get around to those recipes? Maybe you'd like to be a guest blogger on (Never) Too Many Cooks? (Shameless plug: Our readers would enjoy that post, for sure!

Melissa (Betty and Boo's Mommy) said...

Infant Bib ~ We had Boo on a GFCF diet for about 2 years ... I definitely can understand (and sympathize) with this, and I remember the days of the homemade play-doh well. It's not an easy road, either physically or emotionally, when our kiddos can't eat, or do, what we all sometimes take for granted.

Niksmom ~ would be happy (and very honored) to do a guest post for (Never) Too Many Cooks with the Girl Scout cookie recipes. I think we get our cookies towards the end of the month, so after we do and I try some, I'll be happy to do a post. Thanks so much for asking!

Booksnyc said...

great post - I appreciate your honesty. Isn't it interesting how seemingly insignificant items can get linked to an emotional period in our lives and be forever associated?

Alena said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Stephanie said...

Hi Melissa-
Wow, beyond written so well, your points are well taken. LOVED the warning at the end, I felt like it was something I could have written myself.
Infertility is something each sufferer has to resolve on his/her own. People who fling insults or offer opinions generally shout them from ivory towers, removed completely from our process.
So glad your family is complete.