With our next meeting with Licensing Rep #2 just about a week away, we have been grateful for the deadline and have been moving through the paperwork involved with this step rather quickly. Reading, signing, making backup copies, digging up house measurements, running bath water over a kitchen thermometer, fire escape plans, work schedules, financial information… it goes on and on. At this point, with a few left to copy, we have over 60 pages of completed forms. So far they haven’t been all that bad. Nothing as complicated or laced with legal jargon as refinancing a house, which has been much appreciated.
Today, a few hours apart and about 50 miles between the two locations, Mr. Something and I got fingerprinted. He ran out on his lunch break. It turns out I didn’t give him one of the forms that he needed for them but the people working the service were kind enough to look up the form and print it for him. I was grateful that they were so accommodating and celebrated a “Thank goodness for the internet!” moment. I made a stop on my way home at our local community college. A fingerprinting service sets up shop in one of the main entryways once a week to provide the service. I was hoping to ask the person if I could take a picture of the process, which is like something from the future nowadays, but she was a bit gruff. (I did run in about ten minutes before she was supposed to close but the whole process didn’t even take ten minutes.)
As I was sitting there waiting for her to enter my information into the computer, a rush of college students were coming into and out of the building. Evening classes start at 6:00? Mr. Something started his college career in that very building. On days I had early or late classes on my own college campus, I would come here and meet him for lunch. We’d shoot pool in the rec center or just steal some moments together during our “busy” college lives. It feels like a lifetime ago. 11 years? We were such different people then but somehow very much the same. Even then we were committed to a future together but what college student can even pretend to know what the future holds? If I could wander those halls and catch a glimpse of the ghost of myself sitting at a table, reading my education textbooks or researching Niccolo Paganini for my music history term paper, killing time before Mr. Something got out of class, what would I say to her?
Our Tiny Human Project has felt so right from the beginning. (Despite the “What the F- are we doing?” moments that Mr. Something and I pass back and forth every now and then.) But a decade ago I wasn’t dreaming of building my family this way. Was I dreaming of building a family at all? I always knew that there were children in my future but I never dreamed of being pregnant, giving birth, having a baby of our own. I’ve often related to other foster families that share that they were “called” to this life. Was there a seed of this calling in that 20 year-old armed with a pack of glitter gel pens struggling to take notes on the history of education in the common area of this very community college building? Even now, hours later, I still don’t know what I’d say to that ghost of me. What pearls of wisdom or insight could I impart? As far as I can see, life is turning out pretty damn good and I got here without a word of advice from future-me. I think I’d merely watch her from afar. I’d watch for the way she’d glance up every time someone came down the hallway, watching for him. I’d watch the way that their eyes would meet and they would greet each other when he finally did come out of class. I’d smile with the secret knowledge of how good things were going to be over a decade later for those two. Not always easy but definitely arriving at something so comfortable and right. Maybe I’d brush by as they embraced and whisper, “You’ve got this.” and return to my warm and happy present.
After I got the fingerprinting lady to chat a little bit, she finalized my paperwork and showed me what I needed to turn into our licensing rep. She sent me away with a, “Have a good evening, Mrs. Something, and good luck.” How am I going to look back on this moment a decade from now? Will I need every ounce of that “good luck” from this stranger? Will future-me have a secret smile, looking back at present-me knowing that it’s just going to get better from here? Or will I be wanting to shout to myself, “Brace yourself! You have no idea what you are getting into!” If it’s any sign, God had his water colors out tonight. This was the glorious sunset that I drove into the rest of the way home. For now, I’ll take that stranger’s “luck”, stash it in my pocket, and enjoy the glorious now.
Added Later: Being pre-digital camera, 11 years ago was a bit tough to find without raiding photo albums and scanning. I did dig up this one though, give or take a few months… (I just love this guy!)