There's a Gap in Los Angeles at the infamous Grove Shopping Center that is a two story mega Gap, with Baby Gap, Boy Gap, Diane Von Furstenburg baby clothes Gap, Body Gap and the creme de la creme, Maternity Gap. It's quite literally a Mecca for pregnant women and moms, and I have had my fair share of melt downs in this store over the years during my own VERY challenging fertility journey. I've witnessed very pregnant women buying yummy cotton maternity shirts, or baby clothes for their child to be, or just walking around in a pregnant daze with their own personal soundtrack and people smiling from ear to ear while holding the door open for them. For the past five years, while trying to get pregnant, I've left the Gap-azon after buying a cute newborn outfit for someone else's child, in all sorts of states that I'm not necessarily proud of: I've left crying, cursing God, and laughing maniacally at the injustice of life while quietly convincing myself that my life is better than theirs because I have freedom and the ability to go to the movies whenever I want. As if a comparison of one person's life to another is ever a way to live. Needless to say, this particular Gap holds a lot of emotions and memories for me.
Well, the most amazing thing happened the other day at THE Gap.
After a lot of literal blood, sweat and tears and some good fortune, I was now one of the very pregnant women shopping for a cotton maternity shirt, for $4.99 on sale, with horizontal stripes, to fit over my 7 month pregnant belly. My internal soundtrack was a mixture of Adele, The Beatles and a groovy chant by Guru Singh. I wasn't in a daze, quite the contrary, this moment was not lost on me. In fact, I had a smile from ear to ear that finally I was having my Gap moment in the sun. Finally, I was going to be the lady who people smile at "just because" and who folks hold open doors for. I was/am seven months pregnant buying maternity clothes and I wanted to soak up this moment and make it last forever.
This lovely sales associate named Tean asked if I was doing okay and if I needed help, and we struck up a conversation.
"How far along are you?", she asked.
"Seven Months", choking back tears of joy.
"And you're having a girl." It wasn't a question, mind you. It was a statement.
"Good guess, Tean. Yes, I'm having a girl."
Tean then said, "Well, I hope you're going to name her RUBY."
I dropped my striped shirt on the floor and became flushed, "What did you say?"
Tean repeated exactly the same words as before, "I hope you're going to name her Ruby."
I literally couldn't believe my ears.
"Why are you saying that?" I asked her as I let the tears fall, "That's my Grandmother's name and yes, Ruby is a name we are seriously considering. One of two names actually. But we were just waiting to meet her to make the final decision." Tean and I talked for the next hour and had an incredible conversation. She's twenty seven and in the process of adopting two boys. Her sparkly eyes and incredibly open heart made me want to stay at The Gap all day and chat. The bottom line explanation, according to Tean, for this 1 in a billion moment happening is that she has always had spirits hanging around her and that the words, "I hope you name her Ruby" was said by "someone" and she just blurted it out.
Whether it was my Grandmother, who I worshipped with all of my being and who taught me card games, manners and the proper way to snap and prepare green beans, or the little spirit that's been hanging around me for so many years and is now in my belly, or the both of them conspiring and imploring us to choose the name that we've always had in our hearts, Lord knows I don't need much more convincing than that moment with Tean to know that Ruby it is.
At the end of our chat, Tean and I hugged for a very long time, and we actually said that we loved each other as I left. Who does that? The profundity of this moment will never leave me. It's a story I will share with anyone who will listen and especially with my daughter. It's a story of perseverance and never giving up on a dream, facing the incredibly difficult challenges that life throws us as best we can, and to always be open to the miracles around us, big and small, everyday. It's a theme I've written about, even when I wasn't quite sure I believed it. But now, I'm a believer, and in my darkest moments, I will always have THE GAP.
Note to Self: Expect a miracle. For reals.