Babies and Brides
What I Wanted Is Not What I Want
When Kevin left for Spain last fall, I went through a period of intense domestic yearning. I wrote about it a bit here, but I’ll tell you now that it was basically the first time in a long time when I’d longed for a settled life. A house, a yard, a family.
I can see now, of course, that it wasn’t specific to Kevin. Wasn’t The One, obviously, and maybe I just wanted a little stability for a while. Maybe I just wanted to live in a world where I wouldn’t have to move every 6-12 months, could put up jams in my own kitchen and tend my own garden (with chickens and goats). A world where my boyfriend wouldn’t leave for Spain when I was already not 100% convinced about Us, thereby causing me to romanticize and project a whole bunch of dreams and desires onto him that he would, in the end, fail to live up to. Dreams of rings, ceremonies, public commitment…
…but I digress a bit. The point is, I was feeling very much that way, and then I went to California to visit two friends–Laura, who was about to have her baby (Lucia Francis, born 11-11-11), and Whitney, who was beginning the active planning phase of her wedding (July 29th, 2012). So it was baby showers and dress shopping. Seeing what young and married with a baby on the way looks like. Watching a friend get ready to share her entire life with somebody else.
And then it occurred to me that I didn’t want what they had. Not that they didn’t seem happy–they did–but I just realized that maybe their happy wasn’t my happy. I came home to a new nephew, followed by another, and I remained the Auntie. Child-less, spouse-less. Directionless, yes, true, but very helpful.
Except that now it sometimes drains me to be around families, as though ball-and-chaindom were contagious. And I feel a bit guilty about that, I do. Feel guilty for putting myself first. But maybe that’s just the difference between me and my loved ones with loved ones of their own.
In the guest book at Laura and Mel’s shower, I wrote this:
“I used to think love was something instant, yes or no, like a chemical reaction. But as I grow older, I see that love can be something you make together, like a house that you build around yourselves, a place to take shelter.”
* * *
Now, almost a year later, I know even less. Only that this hurts. And that I still don’t want to be anybody’s mother or anybody’s wife.