Jacob was the one to turn 40 this year, but the level of festivities I was compelled to force upon him meant something more than I’m willing to process at the moment. I’m well on my way to 36, old enough to be considered of “advanced maternal age,” but essentially 25 in the reverse dog years of my generation. As we celebrated his very low-key (by request) birthday I noted that I would like to embark upon an elaborate vision quest to ring in my forties. Or at least take a long bath alone. Or sleep for twelve hours between crisp, cool hotel sheets, waking only to order room service.
It wasn’t until I got pregnant that I realized how much I wanted to be alone. Or maybe I finally understood that there are a lot of people in this world who enjoy the company of others more than I do.
This only reads as bitter if you don’t understand that the feral need and desire to absorb my child is so inherent that I’ve forgotten to figure out a decent way to explain that to others.
We have now arrived at the second wave of babies. Last summer was lacking in weddings but there were a handful of divorces. Fall ushered in those 15-week pregnancy announcements, and with them, questions about when Jacob and I might decide to bring another human into our very full household of small dogs and big personalities. Last week when a well-meaning family friend asked about the state of my uterus I replied that I plan on riding the Orient Express on my fortieth birthday and unfortunately that journey is not reasonable while catering to the needs of young children.
This only reads as selfish if you don’t know that I’ve weighed the feeling of wanting another baby with wanting to fund a reboot of my current baby over and over again. Maybe what I really want is to appreciate Frida’s past and present selves from a more well-rested vantage point, but I think that’s what being a grandparent is for. For now, Frida begs to see photos of “baby Free-Free” on my phone and we both attempt to wrap our heads around the fact that she was once in my body, then brand new, and now able to articulate her needs so eloquently that I can hardly believe that she once had gills.
I will spend my entire life shocked that I willed this one person into existence and that she is permanently in on the joke.
I promise I have nothing to complain about.
This is just what it’s like to keep going.