Wow. It’s been a long time since I’ve posted. I guess that’s what going back to work will do to you. No more waking up at 9 and thinking about all the things you need to do today, which total about 5, and usually included getting a massage or going to acupuncture, and shopping for something you ‘need’. And writing in your blog. Now you wake up and don’t even bother counting how many things are on your to-do list, because there are about a hundred, and they are big things like educate the Future Leaders of America. And the blog gets forgotten.
But I miss it. I find myself reflecting on stuff all the time, and how I might write about it. I even give these ruminations titles, because that is one of the really fun parts. One is called “Whoa-oh, Dream Cheater”. Another is called, “What does it mean when your stepdaughter insists on pooping in the bathroom you are currently showering in instead of using the free bathroom? What does it MEAN???” Maybe I’ll write those posts, or maybe the ideas will die before I get a chance, but dammit, it’s hard to find time.
However, I can’t neglect to write something about turning forty. I mean, big deal, right?
I’ve never been one of those people who had some crazy plan since they were 8 about how their life would go. I know some of these planners, who decided their college major in 6th grade because they already knew exactly what they wanted to be when they grew up. That they would be married by age 28, honeymoon in Hawaii, and buy a house with ‘character’. Then, by their early thirties, they would have 2 children, a boy and a girl, in that order. And wouldn’t you know, fuckety-fuck, this is almost exactly how their life turned out, with a few unforeseen events along the way, of course. Feel free to hate them right along with me.
I didn’t create timelines like that for myself. In fact, I remember knowing more about what I didn’t want for my future more than I remember making plans to get the things I did want. For a long time, I was very iffy about the idea of marriage, and thought maybe I could live without it. I grew up with a single mom, and she seemed to do just fine without a husband, better off really. When I did get married (the first time) to my high school sweetheart 8 years after high school, I was determined that marriage was forever and that there was no way in hell my marriage was ever going to end, no matter what. When he wanted to divorce me, he practically had to beat me off with a stick. I kept stalking him and refusing to give up, because we had said “until death do us part”, and I took that quite literally. It took a phone call from the husband of the woman he was sleeping with to finally realize that if it were “until death do us part”, it was going to be his death if I didn’t let go, and maybe the fucker deserved to live. Maybe.
I knew early on that I didn’t want to be poor, because we were pretty poor growing up. How did I know we were poor? Well, either we switched to using paper towels to using newspapers to using washcloths when we wiped our asses after we ran out of toilet paper either because: a) my mom was too lazy to go the store, or b) we were poor. And we washed our hair with bar soap after we ran out of shampoo because: a) bar soap makes your hair silky smooth, or b) we were poor. I think it was choice b) in both cases. Anyway, I surmised that college was the solution to this poverty thing, so I went. I didn’t know what I wanted to study, I just liked school. One thing led to another, and I walked out of the UW with a Spanish degree, which I didn’t know what do with, except I was sure as hell that I didn’t want to teach it. So, naturally, I got a job teaching pre-schoolers to middle-schoolers Spanish. And I fell in love with teaching, and went on to get my certificate so I could teach general elementary. Go figure. Teaching certainly hasn’t made me rich, but I am not poor. I own a house! I have a 401k! I stockpile toilet paper and shampoo!
In high school I knew I didn’t want to have kids early. A year and a half ago, I went to my high school reunion and opened up my “time capsule” (which was a few photos and a few questionnaires I had filled out in my then-perfect printing). One question was “Where do you see yourself in 5 years? In 10?” I wrote, “You better not be pregnant, dumb bitch!!” I think back then I had a really big fear of kids “ruining it all”. I had 3 siblings, 2 of which I helped raise, and aforementioned single mom, and it was not a life I sought for myself. I was determined to break the pattern of white-trashedness I had grown up with, and I was pretty sure getting knocked up right out of high school would have made that impossible.
Mission accomplished. However, I have always known that I did want children, at some point, and when I hit my 30s it was less of a want and more of a primal, visceral need. Ten years is a long time to live with this unrequited desire, and now, as I turn 40, the failure to accomplish this feels like a heavy, wet blanket weighing me down. Like I said, I wasn’t much of a planner, but I really did count on having a child in this lifetime, and I believed it would happen. Now I am not so sure. And while I am so grateful for so many things I have going on in my life as I approach this new decade, it’s hard to come to terms with this realization. I don’t care how many celebrities are having babies after 40, or that you “know someone who just had a baby, and she’s 43!” 40 is a big “fuck you” age when it comes to women’s fertility in general – most women who are forty either have the children they want, have no children by choice, or simply can’t have children. The odds aren’t good for me, people. So keep your fingers crossed, and I will keep my legs open and we’ll see if I can’t defy the statistics.