What Actually Happens

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A milestone birthday.

As we all know, I found out I was preggers with The Kid on my 23rd birthday, in between a trip to the mall to buy a going out shirt (and a pregnancy test just in case because what was the date again?) and the plan to go out to the bars for Thirsty Thursday. Instead I bailed on my friends and drinking 50-cent beers and went to TGIFs with my boyfriend to discuss what two purple lines meant for us and The Future. I made up my mind immediately that if I was going to be a young Mom, then I would give myself the next 10 years to make babies so my 40s could be doing what I was supposed to be doing in my 20s — traveling, rocking my career, and generally being awesome.

Ten years sounded like a lot of time.

But here I am before I know it, at 33 and life looks and feels differently than I thought I would. And that’s ok because 10 years teaches you that there are your plans and then what actually happens.

So at 33 I feel good about my life and how generally awesome it is, even if it is different than what I thought it would look like. My passport never filled up. I didn’t work in fabulous cities and write award-winning journalism. I have a sensible house. I have a stable job. I have a child at the doorstop of angst-riddled tweendom. I feel young and old at the same time. I eye marriage (and birth control) with suspicion. I want more kids but would like to be hitched before that happens this time (if there is a next time — I’m not getting any younger, and if I’m going to procreate, I kind of need to decide soonish, say, 35? 38?).

And then I laugh at myself like I even get to decide what happens and when it happens — have I not learned?

And … This year instead of being done with having babies as my 23-year-old self thought, I watched The Ex and his gf have their own baby this spring. And since the announcement of this baby sister I have navigated a series of heartbreaking and gut-wrenching questions from The Kid:

 

WHY DID YOU EVEN GET MARRIED IF YOU WERE GOING TO GET DIVORCED?

DID YOU EVEN LOVE EACH OTHER?

HOW CAN DAD AND GIRLFRIEND HAVE A BABY WHEN THEY AREN’T EVEN MARRIED?

ARE YOU GOING TO HAVE A BABY?

WHY DID YOU GET DIVORCED IN THE FIRST PLACE?

ARE YOU GOING TO GET REMARRIED?

IS DAD AND GIRLFRIEND GOING TO GET MARRIED?

DO YOU EVER HAVE A WEDDING RING?

WELL I’M NOT HAPPY YOU’RE DIVORCED. WHY DIDN’T ANYONE ASK ME WHAT I WANTED?

 

She often asks questions out of the blue while we are in the car or right at bedtime, and I am caught off guard. I walk away angry and sad on her behalf. The Mom Guilt is relentless. But I let The Kid ask these questions because I don’t know what it’s like to be 9 with two homes and two lives and two of everything except holidays and special occasions where your parents are rarely if ever in the same room.

So I look ahead to my own life, and I wonder some of these very same questions —- Will I get married again? Will I have more kids? Is it worth it? I tell The Kid I don’t have the answers right now. But at some point we’ll figure it out. The answers will reveal themselves.

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2 thoughts on “What Actually Happens

  1. Dee Wilcox says:

    Those are tough questions from a kid. Tough for you, and tough for her, because there’s no way she can grasp what’s going on, or wrap her arms around it. My parents’ nasty divorced was finalized when I was six, and I still don’t understand what happened there. I’m 31. So the answers for your girl may not come, but let her know you’re there, and you don’t know, and you’ll figure it out together. That’s really all she needs.

  2. Beautiful and deep and honest sharing. I was in 8th Grade when my parents separated and i was the go between and babysitter for younger brothers Frank and Gerry. No small feat for a tweenager Trying to find her own way. At least you and A can verbalize the questions. These kinds of uncertainties either destroy us or make us deeper and doers of great good. I see that in the both of you. Hug each other as you do so well And know we and so many others are here for you….and God has so much more great surprises for you. Love you.

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