This piece was supposed to be easy. “It just wrote itself, ” I thought I’d say. Instead the harder I’ve tried, the worse it’s been. There’s just so much to say, so much of it the things that words can only diminish.
I had planned to write a different piece, but as soon as I realized what day I was writing for, I knew I had to write this piece instead. Today I want to tell you about starting over.
After my fortieth birthday, life became a series of new beginnings. New attitudes, new religions, new outlook on life. Soon my husband and I would start a new life. We had it planned, you see, that when our youngest graduated we would turn the mortgage and the dogs over to the kids. We would buy an old RV and run away from home, go be vagabond hippies, go be something we had never been before – just a couple.
But “life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans,” and isn’t it perfect that line comes from John Lennon’s “Beautiful Baby Boy?”
We did start over, my husband and I. Just not the way we planned.
His name means “gift of God” and he was conceived in the wee morning hours of December 25th, 2006. He wasn’t planned, wasn’t even asked for, but he was given nonetheless, a Christmas present like no other. That’s how I think of him sometimes: The Best Christmas Present In The History Of Ever.
The date of his conception played a big part in my decision to carry out the pregnancy. I had a full list of reasons why I shouldn’t and only a few scant reasons why I should, but at the heart of it all was the belief that I had been given this child as a gift from the Gods I so earnestly believed in.
An accident is something that you wouldn’t do over again if you had the chance. A surprise is something you didn’t even know you wanted until you got it. -Roseanne Conner
It wasn’t that I didn’t know I wanted it. Fact of the matter is I had long since decided I adamantly did not want it. I had made my peace with only having two kids. I had finally gone from a lifetime of mad baby rabies to a WC Fields-worthy glee that I would soon be done. I had been raising kids since I was twenty-one and by forty-two I was over it. I was counting the days until the youngest would graduate and the man and I could run away from home. I wanted my freedom as passionately as I had once wanted pregnancies.
But as much as I didn’t want another gift, the moment it was handed to me I knew I could never give it back.
There are so many more things to tell you about: how physically difficult and scary the pregnancy was, the pain of having it chase my oldest child out of the house (she was dealing with her own bad case of baby rabies and my pregnancy only served to underscore her lack thereof), the nightmare that was postpartum depression/psychosis, the cosmic fuckery that is dealing with the Ferocious Fours and menopause at the same time. But those things will have to wait; they are stories for another day.
Today the only thing that matters is this:
I wouldn’t trade the last five years for all the freedom in the world. Happy birthday, Jonathan.