Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Snot and all

"Perhaps it is better to wake up after all, even to suffer; than to remain a dupe to illusions all one's Life."
Kate Chopin, 1899

As a girl, I longed deeply for a sister, and still do to this day, though my mother's childbearing years are long behind her, making a sister impossible, of course. And so as an adult I have made many sister-friends whom I love and cherish beyond words, and this has softened the longing.

Well then I started having babies, and after two effulgent, perfect boys, I thought I was done, done, done having babies, but lo and behold: my heart began to ache for a girl. And the story of me and this girl is a post for another day. In fact, it's probably a book.

I have lived with the fantasy of having a third baby, a girl, for the last two years, despite the fact my husband made it perfectly clear multiple times he was finished having babies. So I started to have a bit of magical thinking about it, like maybe by some stroke of luck we'd wake up one morning, both of us ten years younger with lots of money in the bank and voila! make a baby girl. I twisted and turned in my marriage, my imagination and my longing to see an opening for this girl.

And while there were times over the last two years when half-openings would present themselves, I knew in my heart the timing was wrong and that while having a third baby would fulfill one of my ultimate desires, it would simultaneously crap on some of my husband's greatest desires. And this didn't seem fair or right to anyone involved. And so I passed up trying for that baby. More than once.

But I still kept this weird fantasy alive that something would happen and I'd get that girl I wanted more than my own breathing.

Then we decided definitively we would put the whole issue to rest. We would not have any more children, period. So I got a tummy tuck and am trying to be brave as I wade through the inevitable grief that has come in like a tsunami. I won't go into detail here about how complex and deep this whole journey has been, but one day I will, because it is a great story.

For right now I will just say this: It is so hard when a fantasy dies. It just breaks your heart right open, and you feel like you almost can't breathe. And the grief, it sneaks up on you, like in the grocery store of all places. And you're there in the cracker aisle, hiding your face and and trying not to make any noise while you sob, which makes you snort, of course, which makes you snot on yourself. And then you have a whole new problem, because how in the world are you going to wipe snot off of your face and shirt without one single tissue or diaper wipe or receipt in your purse for God's sake because you got all OCD with the grief and cleaned out your purse the day before like your life depended on it? And now seven people are looking at you as you try to pretend to be very interested in that box of Wheat Thins, and not at all concerned about the string of snot hanging like a stalagmite from your left nostril.

The fantasy must die, snot and all. And it has. And I am hoping beyond hope that something better will come in its place, eventhough I know there will never be anything in my life ever, ever, ever that will top bringing a baby into the world and having the privilege of raising that child. Nothing tops that. Nothing. In any case, I've let the fantasy go, or life has snuffed it out, one. Or maybe it was a little of both.

Whatever comes in its place, it'll be okay. It might even be great. I know one thing for sure: at least it will be real.