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.