Monday, May 10, 2010

Sweet Sweet Sweet Divine Thing

I coasted through most of my twenties not thinking about — let alone wanting — children. I buried my motherhood desires so deep down that I didn’t even know they were there. And then Nicole showed up in my life and her love was like a shovel that dug all those feeling (and others) out. Suddenly a life without children simply wouldn’t do. I can still remember the tentative conversations with Nicole about should we? Shouldn’t we? How complex will it be? (Decidedly complex, it turns out). We’re we ready?

We were. Parenthood, for me, was not about “this is the next logical step in life.” It was more about being so in love that I wanted to create more of it. Love building on love. I was ready to stop living the “what should we do this weekend?” life and begin taking turns changing diapers. I romanticized it so much, the whole having children thing. We green lighted Project Motherhood and I waited, not so patiently, for what I still considered a right and not a miracle. This was back when I thought I was the boss of me and that by simply stating “I’m ready” I would be handed a perfect little bundle of baby in 40 weeks. Ha.

Clearly this was not to be an easy or simple path but instead one scattered with miscarriages, false hopes and some of the worst emotional lows I have ever felt in my life. What started as a journey to build a family to share our love turned into me saying can we even be a family without children? Nicole never, ever said that to me, and sometimes I think of the torture I put her through for voicing those thoughts. Thank God I realized that yes, of course we could be a family, the two of us, and realized that I was speaking out of fear and frustration and entitlement, and not conviction. We would have a rewarding and happy life no matter what. But I had to drag myself to that jagged edge and look over it in order to see clearly. This is a common theme in my life, me and my cliff tendencies.

And then, on our last try, our last stab at motherhood, our “let’s just do this final IVF” I got pregnant. I could not wait to be a mother. I knew that it would be a giant responsibility and, with me being such a worrier, a giant exercise of letting go. But still, like I said before, I romanticized motherhood. I pictured long, rambling, sun dappled stroller walks in Central Park; shopping for tiny, adorable and overpriced clothes; blissful nights in bed with a tiny baby nestled between Nicole and I. My vision was so storybook perfect that I am pretty sure I even pictured one of those navy blue old-fashioned prams and silver rattles.

I didn’t picture bouncing on a yoga ball with a squirmy screaming baby in arms because I was tired of walking circles in the apartment. I didn’t picture repeating “sleep begets sleep” to anyone who would listen and talking for hours to mostly disinterested parties about sleep training children. I didn’t picture creating a special sign language with Nicole that indicated which state of drowsiness our children were at. I certainly didn’t picture a sleepy toddler showing up at our bedroom door in the middle of the night, clutching a blanket, book and toy. And yet somehow in those moments, that is when I feel most like a mother.

My life is nowhere near the childless vision I had when I was younger. But those visions, I realize, can be a sort of a caged path that can suck the joy out of life. Had I stuck to that vision, I wouldn’t be where I am now. I am glad I veered. My life is better than I could ever imagine. And to think how I got here is mind boggling. My relationship with Nicole, the lynchpin, was born from a teensy drinking problem; from a mutual friend whose dedication to friendship with both of us created a sort of guarantee that our paths would continue to cross until we fell in love; from a messengered package of Madeleine cookies to Nicole’s office. I could not have planned it if I tried. It evolved in its own way, guided along by a series of choices I made.

So here I am, living the life I never imagined and happy in ways I never expected, celebrating a Hallmark holiday that I thought I never wanted to celebrate and then thought I would never be allowed to celebrate and now think I am lucky to celebrate.


K J and the kids said...

Great post.

I loved how you put it, But those visions, I realize, can be a sort of a caged path that can suck the joy out of life. That's exactly how it happens. Parenting children is so much harder than I think anyone could have ever warned us about. Thinking that it would be wonderful all of the time is insane. Realizing that it's not and still finding joy in it is the only way to survive from one mother's day to the next :)

Anonymous said...

Wow! What a fabulous post! Happy (Belated) Mother's Day to both of you. Your girls are lucky to have such great mums.

Louise in Canada

gypsygrrl said...

i love reading your thoughts ~ i dont comment enough... happy mother's day to you and nicole.

much love,