Do you know the Pinkalicious books? There’s a line in one that goes, ‘You get what you get and you don’t get upset.’ E’s teachers at daycare use it, and sometimes I do, too, when E is complaining about what kind of cereal or toothpaste or socks she has. But, really: WTF? What a crap message. Sometimes what you get is undeserved shit: a dead baby sister? Get upset.

Yesterday after I picked E up from daycare we walked home with one of her best little buddies, a little boy who loves her and wants to marry her. He told his grandmother that he and E were going to get married and have two babies. ‘A boy and a girl?’ his grandma asked. He looked at her, admonishing, ‘You can’t choose Nana. You get what you get.’ (And you don’t get upset.) His grandma laughed as she recounted this, at his wiseness, his affront at her silliness. I smiled, ruefully. No, you certainly can’t choose, can you?

And then a quick coldness rushed through my body and I imagined E all grown up, maybe married, wanting babies of her own and what if everything that has happened to me happens to her, too? What if she has to go through all of this shit, too, just to get the family she’d like (or to not get it)? Just to do what so many others seem to do so effortlessly?

And it does seem like an effortless thing to so many around me: the parents at the playground who seem to be congratulating themselves for managing to have their babies that perfect two years apart; the friend who wanted two girls and got them; the other friend who wanted three kids, but didn’t want to be pregnant three times, and managed to have twins the second go around; the parents at the daycare who are happily pregnant with their seconds, just as planned, just as they chose. You get what you get and you don’t get upset. So easy to say when what you get is what you wanted all along.

Me, though? Despite all my efforts to change things, to choose the family I want, I get what I get. I get what I get, and I’m bloody upset.