Anyone who knows me well would confidently tell you that I am afraid of getting married and having children. I have been with my guy for a very long time (more than ten years) and according to the state of New York I am actually married… But the idea of going through the motions just stops me in my tracks, and more often than not I just don’t think that much about it. The subject of children on the other hand, is front and center because that is one of the few decisions that as a woman you do not have forever to make. As every year passes I know that the time has come, and that sooner or later it will be do it or miss the train. Sorry…but that is the scientific truth. I am not going to be comforted by the fact Mariah Carey had twins at 40-something. I am NO Mariah Carey.
A good, good friend of mine has had her first baby and from time to time tries to get me to “talk it out” and help me find some sort of peace with my apprehension. Up until recently the best I could come up with was “I just don’t want to be sorry that I never had one.” I could verbalize that I didn’t NOT want one, but I couldn’t find it in me to say, “yes, I want to have a baby.” Then, sometimes the heavens shine a ray of light at just the right time and a moment of clarity appears.
So, I think I have come to a better description of what I, we, were trying to say the other day when you asked me to tell you why I felt I wanted to have a baby. I think I managed to say a half sentence about something like, “being very loving and not so crazy,” and then the bit about “an opportunity lost”.
At some point over the last couple of days I thought back to last Thursday evening, when my sister and I had gone to have dinner with our parents to celebrate my father’s birthday. Under the circumstances it had be done delicately: not to celebrate too much or be too chipper as that would have probably made him break down crying, but not let the day go by without any sort of acknowledgement at all either. So we picked up food and had dinner together, I brought some sunflowers (along with these beautiful little white flowers that I have never seen before, but were so pretty that everyone asked what they were) and my sister brought the most perfect card ever. It was nice…it was perfect.
After dinner my sister and I were standing near the table laughing when my mother, who was standing back by the kitchen, looked over at us and shook her head with a wide eyed look on her face. Seeing the gesture – I made eye contact with her, which was as good as a question, and she answered, “I’m just so amazed that you’re mine. I look at you girls, how you are with us and each other, how beautiful and how funny, and I can’t believe that I made you; that you are part of me…all these years later. Its amazing really, you girls are amazing.”
This thought then led to my thinking about how much I loved my sister and how grateful I was for her, which then immediately led to thoughts of you, and how grateful I was that you were in my life. In one of those “slide-shows” that happen in our brains from time to time, I saw big brown eyes, shiny long brown hair, big silly smiles, a long drive on an amazing coast, climbing out windows with snacks and dogs and a bunny hopping around on the living room floor, a “that smells bad” face as you pulled a moldy pair of shoes out of the deep back corner of your closet in apartment five, running around in that big Victorian in Vermont we had all to ourselves, making faces at each other at the Medeski Martin and Wood concert…then venturing off into the back and looking at the details of the old theater, sitting up at the top of the fire tower, drinking wine….borrowing each others clothes, cooking together, walking together….an infinite number of words exchanged….
I am so much more complete because you exist.
If your mother and father never had you, if your mother never gave birth to you, never worked her way through the baby stage and the crazy times, the exhausting long days and the abrasive teenage years and gave up some of her freedoms, I wouldn’t have you. I thought about that for a long time, and then there it was. Having a child is giving that gift all over again…that someone might be so happy that you exist. That your life might mean so much to someone else…that love, that indescribable feeling of connection and companionship; that is (one of the reasons) why I think I want to have a baby. I imagine, naturally, that I will love my baby with all of my being, but it goes beyond that. It is the idea, the possibility that one person can mean something to so many people, and in turn find people whom they love so much; that amazing journey. If my mom and your mom didn’t do it, we wouldn’t be. Not just you and me, but we.