Something kind of monumental happened to me today, something I think is worth mentioning, so here it is: for the first time in literally as long as I can remember, I found out that someone I know is going to have a baby, and I didn't immediately collapse into a blubbering, self-pitying mass of tears and anguish.
It sounds very emo, that last statement, but it is in fact the truth. I can't remember when it started, this desperate need to have a child "of my own," but yet here it is. My biological clock has been ticking since I found out I had one, I guess, and it has affected me in ways I have never really been prepared to deal with.
And since we got married almost ten years ago, I have been to A LOT of baby showers. I must have gone to two or three dozen showers since we started trying to have a baby, and that was only about 5 years ago now. Everybody and their sisters have been having babies -- even couples who hadn't yet met when I took my first dose of Clomid have a rugrat or two already.
We both sort of suspected that it was going to be difficult for us if we didn't get pregnant right away, although we never really talked about it. Fact is, I think I knew it even before then -- my cycles were never regular, never normal, never predictable. It's the reason why I started on the Pill in the first place, so I could expect and control what was so natural for everyone else.
Fast-forward what feels like a million years, and we got The Call about The Placement of The Cupcake. Our lives have been so ordinary since then, and yet so extraordinary in so many ways. We have been given the most awesome gift ever: OUR BABY. Not in the way either of us expected, perhaps, but nonetheless, she is ours now, for as long as she will have us.
But in the meantime, real life has happened to other people. I never said this before, and I never talked about it before, but I almost died a thousand deaths when I found out, right around Christmas last year, that my sister had been pregnant before her car accident. I don't know that I ever adequately expressed my condolences to her, because I was dealing with grief of my own.
How could she do this to me? How? Why couldn't she just wait? Just a little longer? What was her hurry? She's only married two years, she's only 30, what's the rush? Why? How? Didn't she know what a great betrayal this was to me? Why did she always have to be first in everything? When was I going to get a chance to be Number One for a change?
It was all about me, of course, which is stupid and selfish and plain wrong. So, so wrong. And I know she is reading this, and -- I am so much more than sorry. But I was angry, and if I learned anything in my 20-odd years of on-again-off-again therapy, it is that anger comes from pain. I was feeling such pain then. We had just been denied a foster placement, and I felt we were running out of time and hope and opportunities.
Of course we now know how this story ends, or at least where it goes from there. We have the Cupcake, and she has Joey, who is the second most awesome and delicious baby in the whole wide world. There hasn't been much time in the last nine months for us to worry about what isn't -- we are far too busy enjoying what is, what is ours, right there, right now.
I shouldn't be surprised that I have been changed by this whole Great Parenting Experiment. Lots of people have told me that being a mother makes you a better version of yourself. Maybe that isn't what astonishes me so much. Maybe it is something else, something I never really thought about before, because I was too busy being a cynical, self-absorbed wretch:
You can't always get what you want. But if you try sometimes, you just might find that you get what you need.