Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Perfect timing

Tuesday, August 1:

My due date is now one month away.

One. Month.

And I'll be a mom.

Because we're over 35, many people assume either that JP and I tried to have children but couldn't until now, or that we haven't been married that long. (Sometimes I get lucky, and someone thinks I'm actually younger than I am. Sweet, dear darlings!)

A couple people have even had the nerve to ask me if we had to have fertility treatments to make this baby happen. When in all possible situations is it acceptable to come right out and ask someone about their reproductive capabilities? How is that anyone's business?

Mostly, though, people seem surprised JP and I have been married 11 years. Because by this time, people who have children on their agenda have school-aged kids by now. Some have teenagers.

(There is a small minority group made up of family and close friends who figured JP and I just weren't going to have children. Well, we showed them!)

No, the reason for our long wait to have this baby is a rather un-tasty junk food combo meal of work and family history.

JP and I got married just after starting promising new jobs. We lived frugally in a 600-square-foot apartment and then bought a house the following year. Life seemed to revolve around work (and work frustrations) and taking care of the house. We looked forward to weekend trips and outdoors adventures to blow off the stress and have some fun. Kids were far from our minds.

When would we have time for children?

Then JP started working for a new company. It offered a lot of “opportunity” but required him to start pretty much at the bottom, obligating him to work hard and put a lot of energy into being creative in coming up with ways to move up -- and moving up didn't happen as quickly as he'd have liked it to.

How could he support a child?

I also changed jobs. Then I got laid off in a dot-come takeover -- you probably know that tired story. But then I got laid off again. And again. Three layoffs, three years in a row. Depressing. Demoralizing. Demeaning to one’s diploma.

Not a good time to have a child.

While this was going on, for years I wasn’t sure I wanted to have children because they just grew into teenagers who hate their parents and bide their time until they can get the hell out and be on their own. And who needs that? Of course, that was me -- I was the teenager who hated my parents because all four of them (step parents included) were screw-ups who didn’t seem to notice my existence. (Unless, in the case of one parent, I could be squashed under your thumb to satisfy your need for complete control.) Without anyone I’d consider a good parenting role model, who was I to be someone’s parent?

Then a miraculous thing happened: The remaining parent in my life moved away and left me to grow into myself. To “find out who I am,” as some people like to put it. Blissfully parent-free. There was no one to judge me or tell me what I was doing wrong or question my decisions (well, only long distance). I didn’t need them, and they didn’t need me. Perfect.

And I found out that I didn’t really suck. That God don’t make no junk.

That forgiveness is a powerful thing and a sanity restorer.

I re-established a relationship with my mother. I learned to accept my stepmother (even though my father's not in the picture anymore -- because for years, she was my only mother.)

Being part of a family didn't have to be painful.

JP and I watched our friends’ families grow and enjoyed watching their children learn new things. One friend teased me about being a DINK (double income, no kids). They asked when we were going to have children. A health scare made me wonder how JP would remember me if I died, and I wished that I could at least leave him with a child to remember me by (a vain thought if I ever had one!).

Then last Christmas Eve at church, a beautiful family walked in and sat in front of us with their grown children. Amidst the beautiful, soaring music and glow of candles lit in everyone’s hands, I imagined a future loneliness into my soul and felt the piercing hollowness of JP and me being 50, 60, 70 and never having a young person in our day-to-day to fill us with life. JP and I are great together, but how much more rich we’d be with family like the one in front of us! A handsome son to make us proud. A beautiful daughter to bring joy into our old lives. Not a child to ignore or command as my parents did to me, but someone to love and cherish.

Christmas can really stir my imagination, I guess.

Little did I know we were already expecting a son or daughter.

I understand there’s never a perfect time to have a child, as people like to say, because if you wait for the perfect time, there will never be a perfect time.

Our perfect time is now.


Blogger Mamacita Tina said...

Beautiful post. I had my first child at 34. It took a lot of soul searching and changes in my life in order for that to happen. Thank goodness it did, I can't imagine life without my two kids.

4:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well how neat that you've had your time with one another and now you're expecting such a great joy.

To each his own...if you had decided not to, I wouldn't have faulted you. Now I can say though, that it is incredible. Truly nothing like it. No one can describe it, but you'll feel it the day that little one graces your lives.

All the best!

10:22 PM  
Blogger Cristina said...

This was SUCH a beautiful post. I am so excited for you that you are one month away from having your baby. I can tell your baby will be loved and cherished.

12:54 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Hurray! One more month! And you're right to stand your ground on when was the right time for you. I NEVER would have enjoyed my children as much as I am now because I waited to marry and have kids. I was waaay too into my career and life. Now is my time!

6:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a lovely sentiment. Since my pregnancy (#1) was a surprise, I spent a lot of time (after having her) using it as an excuse for why I had such a tough time, but really, there never is a perfect time - I think it happens because it happens.

I'm warm with excitement for you.

8:49 PM  
Blogger LBA said...

Oh, what a beautiful story .. begone tears welling in my eyes !

My husband and I were too, married for 10yrs, doing the DINK thing ( but mainly aiming for some kind of security, which we both craved )

I was 34 when my son was born, and everything too, seemed to be aligned.

This is your time.
You will love it.

7:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is so very exciting, and of course as an Antique Mommy with a wild story of my own, I was just nodding my head with every word of this post. You can't even imagine how awesome (and exhausting!) your life is going to be. You are right - this is your time. Drink up every drop, for it flys by! I can't wait to see the pictures.

4:36 PM  
Blogger Lori said...

Lovely post. I have a lot of catching up to do here. Thanks for your blog comment!

My husband and I are DINKs at the moment, married 4 years and everyone, it seems, has a say in our non-parent status. The nerve of some people really amazes me. I'm sure you know what I mean.

I'll be back soon! And congratulations to you two.

10:57 PM  

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