Last night, I finally felt like I was ready to return Ryder’s stroller and some clothes to the store. The idea of returning them really wasn’t the hard part. (Having them out of my eyesight is, honestly, what I needed.) The hardest part was just walking into the store — being in the very place where Sam and I had excitedly made the perfect registry, seeing other mommas toting their bright-eyed babies from one aisle to the next.
It was a big step. I was so proud of myself. My sweet mom came with me since she had been the one to purchase them in the first place. I knew better than try to do it alone. Sam had offered to do it, but I was determined I could handle it. (Yeah, I’m stubborn like that.)
When they asked why I was returning it, I simply said I didn’t need it and they were satisfied with that answer. I thought, “Well, that was easy!” and let out a sigh of relief.
But then they realized the clothes were past their return date since they weren’t a part of the registry. They told us we could still return them as a “no receipt” option, but I know that’s not worth it since you only get the lowest price of sale. My mom asked me what I wanted to do. I broke down. I started crying and all I could get out was “I don’t know but I don’t want to keep them.”
The cashiers immediately understood that something was wrong. All I had to say was “I don’t have a baby” and it clicked. They started apologizing profusely, saying they could easily override it and get us our money back. They were apologizing and I was apologizing right back because I felt terrible for making them feel bad that they made me cry. And, of course, my mom was in tears, too.
They could only give me store credit, which really doesn’t do me any good, but…. I quickly realized that I needed to buy a gift for a soon-to-be-three-year-old little princess’ birthday. Perfect!
So it all worked out. Maybe not as smoothly as I had hoped. But it worked out. And I feel better now that it’s done. Whew!
* * *
If you haven’t been through a similar situation, you may think a task as simple as returning things to a store shouldn’t be a big deal. But it is. It is a very big deal. It’s an event that I never once thought about, even after learning that Ryder wouldn’t make it. I was so stuck in the moment that I wasn’t prepared for the future, even the near future.
There has been a constant battle in my head since I came home from the hospital empty-handed. Part of me says, “Get everything baby-related out of the house. I can’t possibly look at it for one more second.” But the other part says, “No! Keep everything! I NEED it! ALL of it!” My brain doesn’t seem to grasp the concept of compromise right now.
When I posted a snippet of this story on a baby-loss group on Facebook, I was told by a couple of mommas that I was very brave. I think I am much more stubborn than brave. As a matter of fact, I consider myself to be quite cowardly. I would most definitely play the part of the Cowardly Lion if I were traipsing through Oz. But, like I’ve said before, life will go on with or without me. So I might as well put on my mask of bravery and fake it till I make it.
With hope and love,
[Side Note: I’ve heard from many sources that Target is a nightmare when dealing with registry returns. Apparently they don’t extend many mercies in this particular situation either. I haven’t had personal experience with this, though. We had set up a registry there, but hadn’t yet had a baby shower. I just want other loss mommas to be aware and prepared. Never be afraid to contact management or the corporate office if you feel like you’ve been treated unfairly by a place of business.]