Tuesday, October 10, 2006


I’m now a mother of one, who is coincidentally almost two. My husband and I waited exactly seven years to conceive. Thriving, stressed out, overworked career woman, you ask? Sure, I was all those things, but truth be told, those first three years of marriage were a doozy. I remember offering consolation to a newly married friend of mine, “Don’t worry,” I said with a careless wave. “I spent the first three years of marriage wanting a divorce.” “Thank God! Marriage was challenging for you too?!” she said as she exhaled. I had to set the record straight, so as to ensure nothing would be unclear, I spoke slowly. “Noooo, eeeeevvveeerrrry day, of my first three years of marriage I wanted a divorce.” Of course, if my husband had the floor, he wouldn’t be doling out any “Spouse of the Year” awards either. Regardless, we spent the better part of a year and our collective paychecks on a marriage counselor who was probably only half worth it, and yet still somehow got me to, “Okay, I don’t hate you, I shall be vessel to your spawn.”

After three more years of job changes, interstate moves and other inconsequential events in our lives, I did what any woman of my age and dwindling egg count wanting a family could do: I decided it was time to grow a human. Turns out pregnancy was no picnic. While I have several girlfriends who could singlehandedly populate a small village while skipping amongst their very own cartoon birds and forest fauna, it was not to be my fate. Nine months, one giant fibroid tumor, and a delivery that would have made a lobotomy worthwhile later, we had a beautiful new son we call Jack. Unfortunately, after being up 48 hours straight and in need of several epidural fixes later, I was shaking like a drug addict coming down, so when the perky little nurse asked if I wanted to try breastfeeding 10 minutes after my Cesarean, I did the only thing a woman in my condition could do. I motioned to my husband like Don Corleone to his beloved son Michael and requested that he remove “Nurse Gidget” from my presence before I spent the very last ounce of energy I had left on her untimely fate. So, as I mentioned — my son? He’s almost two, and frankly, I still have no idea what I’m doing. In fact, I’ll prove it.

The other day, after our daily inventory of exhausting errands — dragging the poor kid in and out of his car seat between trips — I played out my usual routine. Put him in the backseat so he can climb into his car seat himself — put the things I’ve acquired in the trunk — and return to strap him in. Back in the front seat, I made speedy tracks to our next errand while making an owed phone call to my best friend. As a result, I made an inevitable wrong turn that warranted an under my breath expletive and hasty u-turn. “Whoa!” said Jack. I, otherwise engaged in the phone call, absentmindedly said, “Yea, whoa buddy!” (lest he think I’m not listening). So he says it again. “Whoa!” Not unusual at this age of incessant repetition, so I repeat too. My phone call finishes up five minutes later and my attention turns back to my adorable son. “So Jack, are you hav…Jack?” Car seat: empty. I’ve got to twist my head very nearly 360 degrees to see him, but there he is. Little Jack. In the spot next to the car seat, with his diminutive, barely two year old feet not quite extending to the end of the leather, and holding on for dear life. “Alright,” I thought. “It’s official. I’ve finally lost my mind.” That, and that years from now, when Jack has had incalculable hours of therapy and wants to talk about all the little repressed memories and incidents that have helped to form the man he is, I have a hunch he’ll ask about this particular day. So, I guess I’ll just have to do the only thing a woman in my position could. Sit him down, hold both his hands, and look him squarely in the eyes. “Honey, have I ever told you that your father and I adopted you when you were 11?”