Went to Barnes & Noble last night.
I really shouldn't ever go into a Barnes & Noble, Borders, Books-A-Million, or whatever other book merchant there is. I can't enter one without picking up two or three books, bonding with them, and then paying full price for them before I leave. I work at McKay Used Books. I can buy anything in the store at cost. Which means, for a best seller, I'll pay maybe three dollars. So I really shouldn't ever go into a Barnes & Noble, Borders, Books-A-Million, or whatever other book merchant there is. But Kelly really wanted to go and it really doesn't take much arm-twisting to convince me.
Despite the cost, I do love an unused book shop. I love books that creak when you open them. I love pages that stick together at the corners because no-one's ever pried them apart before. I love the smell of new books. I love the colorful art of children's books. I love accidentally discovering your favorite author has a new book out. I love seeing old classics being rebound and presented in new ways. I love picking up pristine graphic novels, free of greasy fingerprints. I love the smell of coffee from the Starbucks in the back. I love the low, library-level chatter of excited customers as they compare the books or magazines they've found. But most of all, I love the aisles and aisles of potential. Who knows what new author waits for me just around the corner? That's the one downside to working at a used media store: Everything there has already been discovered -- discovered and discarded.
I found Serenity: The Shepherd's Tale, a prequel graphic novel that goes into the previously untold origin story of Shepherd Book, that mysterious preacher fellow from Firefly and Serenity. Kelly found You Can Adopt: An Adoptive Families Guide, by Susan Caughman and Isolde Motley. Kelly started reading it last night and there was a particular sentence that she read aloud that really summed up my feelings on the subject of parenthood and adoption.
"There is only one good reason to adopt, just as there is only one good reason to bear a child: Your desire to be a parent is greater than your fear."
That is exactly where I'm at, which is sometimes hard to explain to people. Maybe it's hard to explain because it's hard to understand.
I am a fully functional human being. I don't need anybody to be whole. Yet, when I met my wife, I realized I was missing something. When we were married, we became one, my life became full, and I realized I was, for the first time, whole. We've been married five years now and I'm realizing that as wonderful as our life is, we're . . . not quite whole. It's as if something is missing. There's a void only a child can fill.
I don't want it to be misunderstood that something is missing from our relationship. I am very happy with our relationship and am still excited to be married to Kelly. There's nothing about it that I would change. But there is something missing. It's not from our relationship, it's missing from our life, our family.
And as scary as the prospect of being a father is, my desire to be one outweighs it.