We’d been planning a glorious staycation for weeks.
Massages and floats, mountain hikes and fancy dinners. The works.
Sometimes life has other plans.
We checked into the hospital at 6AM.
Five years and a couple days earlier, we were leaving with a baby.
This time, we learned we’d met our annual deductible and there was no out of pocket.
We laughed with the admissions girl about winning the insurance lottery. Kinda.
Make a left at the admissions desk and the first waiting room is Maternity.
Make a right, and the first waiting room is Oncology.
It’s dark in the tiny little waiting area. The only light comes from the hallway and old TV reruns—Wings and Dear John. An elderly couple sits across from us. Another older gentleman with a receding hairline and tight, gray ponytail sits to our right.
Glancing at the stack of weathered magazines on the end table, I can’t help but notice a sailboat on the cover of the magazine atop the pile.
Cruising World. October 2012.
Exactly five years and five days prior, I sat alone in a brightly lit hallway—not 100 feet away—waiting to be called into the OR to become a father. P was born 29 October 2012.
I knew nothing about nothing that day. Only that every excuse I’d ever had for why I didn’t do everything I ever wanted with my life before that point was bullshit. (Which also meant every excuse I’d have after was likely also bullshit, but I digress.)
I especially didn’t know anything about—let alone have any interest in—sailing.
But now I wondered. Had this issue of Cruising World been sitting right around the corner the whole time? Random as the Universe is, had it been waiting five years for me?
It felt like a time capsule future me left in the wrong waiting room because time travel is hard, yo.
Our 10th wedding anniversary.
Right around the corner from where our little girl was born, almost five years to the day.
A magazine about sailing—the future—published in the past, preserved just for me.
Past, present, and future.
Complete with curled edges, a couple missing pages, and greasy fingerprints on the cover. Filled with missed opportunities, ships that sailed long ago.
A testament to something I still can’t wrap my head around.
A strange significance in something so trivial, it was hardly worth going back the following day to grab that magazine and take it home.
It’s just a stupid, old magazine.
But it was a connection to the past. In this week. In this building. In this hallway. Five years later.
That reminded me the future is not yet written. We don’t know shit from shinola.
I’ll tell you what I DO know. I love my little family.
10 years ago, our journey began.
5 years ago, she joined us.
5 years from now, she’ll be 10.
10 years from now, she’ll be 15.
And this will all be a distant memory.
We’ll laugh about it. About the deductible lottery. About the magazine. About the irony.
We’ll get through this together. Like we have everything else.
This is just another squall. We’ll shorten the sheet at the first gust.