I am putting the final touches on our moving arrangements - we are due to reunite with Mr Bea in Singapore next week - and today, I gave away my boots.

I have to explain to you that these are great boots. I bought them a smidge before IVF Jul/Aug '07 - the one which resulted in our first live birth - and I have continued to like them ever since. They are just so me. Whenever I look at them... sorry, looked at them... it hurts a fraction to speak of them in past tense but I should start doing so... Whenever I looked at them I wondered where they'd been all my life. As someone whose wardrobe has long been plagued by well-meant gifts, hand-me-downs, regrettable shopping choices and Things My Mother Would Like To See Me In, it was refreshing to have something that was so seamlessly connected to the person I believe I really am. I mean, I loved these boots. I just couldn't keep them anymore.

We're moving to Singapore, for one thing. I don't know if you know much about Singapore, but if you know anything at all, what you probably know is that it's stifling, sticky hot. Not really boot-scootin' terrain. More like mould-growing terrain, in fact - with leather goods being a prime target for said mould, as I found out during our first stay before getting rid of almost all of our leather goods. If I'd taken those boots to Singapore they would have done nothing but sit in the cupboard creating housework for me, and I'm too busy for that. Anyone's too busy for that.

"But you could keep them here in case you want to wear them on a visit," MIL kindly offered, as I took them from the cupboard and held them in a sad and lingering gaze. But no. The stiletto heels are not the kind that will allow me to carry my infant or chase my toddler with the necessary ease. It will be several years before I am able to wear such things again, and who knows where I'll be or what may happen in the meantime. I can't hang on to them any longer. They suit me, but not this phase of my life.

I put them in the car and drove them around with me all day on my errands, looking at them whenever I had the chance, wondering if I was really going to do it. Eventually my errands took me to the house of a friend, to whom I explained my situation.

"Show me these boots," he said, and I did. "Wow. They are great boots, and in really good nick, too. I'm actually kind of sorry they're not in my size. Are you really going to give them away?" And I explained my reasoning, the move to Singapore, the kids, and he nodded and agreed that it all made sense. Then he said, "You know where they sell a lot of this kind of thing? The Vinnies at West End." Aha. A charity thrift shop in a trendy suburb where lots of young student and arty types hang out. He offered to come with me.

When we arrived it was raining and Surprise Baby had fallen asleep in her seat, so I gave my friend the boots and let him off whilst I circled the block. Afterwards, he relayed that the shop had had a run on boots lately with the onset of winter, and had completely sold out earlier that day. The girl at the counter had seemed very pleased for the donation and had assured him that they would quickly find a good owner.

I'm not really writing this post for the boots, of course. When I got home, there was a bill for me in the mail, from the fertility clinic, for the next six months' worth of semen storage. We had it stored the first time we moved to Singapore, to help solve any logistical problems with long-distance cycling, and also - secretly - to allay my fear that Mr Bea's sperm count was on a one-way expedition to Zerodom, and we were fast running out of chances. We have never used it. Now that we have two children and a bit more confidence in our sperm count I have to ask myself - why are we holding on to something that is doing nothing but sitting around, unused, creating work (to the tune of $450/year) for us? Are we really so committed to having a third child that we will pay that money over just in case we want to do another IVF cycle and Mr Bea's count drops to zero - both of which, frankly, seem unlikely? The answer - I'm pretty sure the answer - is no. It has always been yes up til now. Up til now, I have always been the kind of person who will spend $450 on that kind of insurance against not having the fullest possible range of family-building options.

I still am that kind of person, really. Just in a different phase of my life.

Even when the answer is obvious, it's hard to let go. I sit here gazing at the bill with the same sad, lingering look I gave to my favourite boots only earlier today, not quite ready to take the final plunge. Maybe I just need to drop in on an old friend who will give me the confidence to go through with my plans. Will you come with me when I phone the clinic?


14 Comments

serenity said...

I'll come with you. Will even make the call to the clinic while you circle the block, if you need it.

Letting go is really hard.

xoxo

BigP's Heather said...

I'm with you.

This is so bittersweet.

Lollipop Goldstein said...

I will figuratively hold your hand -- or at least be there via Skype. It is hard to let go because you know how many what ifs are out there. I would have held onto the boots, but I know it would have been the wrong decision. Your post is filled with such courage.

Lut C. said...

I can imagine it being hard to let go, in both cases. If it helps, it sounds like a sensible thing to do, both times.

Vee said...

I am there too. A difficult decision but sounds very much like it's the right one.

Rachel said...

This was so timely for me to read today. I spent this afternoon - yet again - paring down my closet as we are about to move to a lovely new apartment with ONE closet. One closet that will barely hold 2 carseats (we have no car to store them in), a vacuum cleaner and a breastpump. So basically I need to fit all of my clothes into 2 drawers under the bed. And it took me hours to realize that this is so emotional not because I will have less stuff, but because I am in the process of getting rid of my pre-mommy things. In my pre-motherhood life I had room/time/money to have 10 pairs of heels in my closet. Now one is plenty. Same for pretty dresses, jewelry, etc. And while this is of course what I've always wanted, it's hard to part with the physical remnants of a previous life.

Rachel said...

ps - as for calling the clinic, I honestly don't think that I could do that. I am still stockpiling fully expired drugs because I can't bear to get rid of them.

Somewhat Ordinary said...

Holding your hand!

TheKirCorner said...

I'd come with you for sure...I felt the same way when we signed away the one frozen embryo left...like I had given up the chance of "something"

Letting go ...well it stinks, in every area of your life.

Jess said...

You can do it. I feel much the same. Thinking of actually doing more than using the frozens up now seems like much too much work and not worth it.

It's a strange place to be.

My Reality said...

I hope your move to Singapore has gone well.

Making these decisions is tough. When the time is right, you will buy yourself a new pair of boots.

Rachel Inbar said...

More than a bit behind on reading. Congrats on your move. How are the kids adjusting? It must be so different from the first time, when it was just the two of you...

Sunny Jenny said...

Bea - Congrats on the new little one! Glad you stopped by my blog! I've been hoping you would hear my news somehow! Hope to see an update soon on life with two! :)

Oggy said...

It's very hard to let go and sometimes hard to embrace the new challenges that come with letting go.
Sometimes letting go of old shoes allows us to explore having a new hat! IYKwiM!
Sometimes it doesn't go the way we think it will or should but we make and enjoy times that come for the other things they bring.

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