I was walking around the North Haven Target the other day, enveloped in my own dazed world. I hadn't left the house even once, mired in an excellent book and in political talk on the news and in thinking about how I was starting to feel - at roughly 26 weeks pregnant with my second child - well, really rather pregnant.
I was pushing my cart up one side of the store, passing the grocery section on my way to cosmetics, when I saw this huge plastic jar of Target-brand cheese puffs. They were on sale.
With my first child, it was ice cream. I started many a day by asking my husband if maybe we could go to the local ice cream shop later on after he got home from work. That's how I started my day, and I thought about it 95 percent of the time from then on. Sometimes he would have forgotten by the time he got home, that hastily made ice cream promise, and I'd look at him with real, pure anger behind my eyes. And I'd firmly remind him.
This time, I hate to say it, but it's junk food of the sort I almost never buy for myself. In the first trimester, I longed to curl up on the floor of the grocery store right next to the Pop-Tarts and try one (or many) of each flavor at my leisure, until they kicked me out.
When I saw those cheese puffs I stopped my cart so I could get a better look and thought to myself about the many choices I have - we all have - in this life. I thought about how I could buy those cheese puffs and how, if I did, I'd probably eat most of them in one sitting, because in merely looking at them so intently I was building the potential experience up to a near hysterical level.
I don't know how long I stood there. Two full minutes? Three?
Finally, utilizing reserves of courage I didn't even know I had, I walked away. Right on by and left those cheese puffs behind. I thought about how maybe I'm different now, having been a mother for two years already. That maybe I have more control. Or maybe I just didn't want to be the pregnant woman in checkout with a gigantic tub of cheese puffs, knowing, even if no one else did, that they were all for me.
Whatever the case, I think it's moments like these that I'll remember when I look back on being pregnant. Not so much the sought-after peaceful reveries like those depicted on the box of special pregnancy teas I received as a Christmas present this year, but the times I felt challenged, in small ways and in big ones, and persevered. One day I look forward to telling my child that, yes, feeling him kick and flutter inside me was wonderful, but also that there was this one day I passed by the cheese puffs even though I wanted them so, so badly. And I felt strong.