So, apparently I was wrong for referring to my trip to Ireland as a consolation prize. Apparently my attitude about that was spoiled and ungrateful, and if that was the sort of thing I considered to be a consolation prize, I didn't deserve it.
Well, here's the thing. It's not a matter of deserving it. It's not a matter of luck, either. I'm going on this trip because I paid for it, simple as that. And if it were a matter of deserving it, I think I do.
Two years ago, I was planning a trip to Scotland. I was going with a small tour group and I was going to leave on July ... 14th, I think. I was going to be there for two weeks at the end of July 2009. I'd scrimped and saved every penny I could from my job and I'd paid all but about $800 of what the trip was going to cost (minus airfare, which I was still saving up for).
Then, of course, I got pregnant. And they told me I was due on June 30th. I knew that, even if by some slim chance I delivered on my due date, and if I chose adoption, there was no way I'd be ready to travel thousands of miles and traipse about the Scottish countryside. I'd be too exhausted, both physically and emotionally.
It was with a heavy heart that I canceled my plans. And it was with an even heavier heart that I was told by the travel agent that, of the $1500 I'd paid, only $325 would be returned to me because I hadn't canceled soon enough. Not only was I not going on my trip, but I was down $1200 I'd never see again. I knew exactly how many hours of work that $1200 represented, and even now the thought of that lost money makes me want to weep. I have never been a spoiled princess. I've worked hard for what I have. $1200 might not be a lot of money to some people but to me it was a small fortune, and it was gone.
Quite a bit of my depression during my pregnancy resulted from the loss of my trip and my money. I was devastated to be out that kind of money. I still am. I threw away all the travel information I'd collected for the trip. I thought at that point that I could never choose adoption, and so I thought to myself that I would likely never leave the country unless it was a few days in Canada to visit my brother.
And I learned to be okay with that. After all, I told myself, I've got my baby. But now I don't. I had the thought yesterday that I didn't care how many people were jealous of my trip, or how quote-unquote lucky I am to be going. I'd rather spend the month of June chasing after an 11-month-old than touring Irish castles. That's what I meant when I said that Ireland isn't what I want most, but it's what I can have, and so I'm taking it.
I spent last June counting down the last days of my pregnancy, getting ready for my baby and swimming for an hour most evenings. I know that if I stayed in town, I'd be thinking about that all month - thinking about it, and missing the excited impatience of being an expectant mother. I think it'll be good to be out of town - out of the country, even. It's not the trip I had planned. But this isn't the life I had planned - not ten years ago, not five years ago, and not even one year ago. It's so rare that life turns out the way we planned it.
But I'm going to try to make the most of things as they've turned out. I didn't get to go to Scotland as planned. Roo is worth a lifetime of trips to Scotland. I wouldn't trade her for a trip for anything in the known universe. She was worth staying home for. She was worth losing $1200. I became a better person when she was born and again when I placed her, and I can't put a price on that.
I'm looking forward to buying a birthday gift for Roo in Ireland. I'm looking forward to her birthday, whether I see her that day or not, because I think the world is a better place with her in it, and that's something to celebrate.