Yes, she’s having a baby. But I should explain.
Laura and I are five and half years into this marriage. One of the things that attracted me to her was not her potential for fertility, but rather her intense desire to succeed at whatever it was that she was doing at the time. And parenthood was not on either of our radars. In 2008, it wasn’t that we, as 27-year-olds, didn’t want to be parents. I mean, come on, I’m an Italian Catholic. I should have churned out a half dozen by now. That just wasn’t on our five-year-plan. Now, when I have a five-year-plan, something usually screws it up. If Laura has a five-year-plan, then damn-it, nothing will get in the way of it. So the years came and went. We secured jobs. Income went up. Doctoral degrees were secured. Two introverts as happy as can be, holed up in Kansas, peeking out at the world when we wanted.
Throughout the last five and a half years, though, we would say things to each other like “Well, OUR kids aren’t going to do THAT.” Or our endless conversations about our students would ultimately turn in to a discussion about how we would raise OUR children differently. When I reached 30 years old in 2011, those conversations became awkward. I started to make comments like, “You mean the children we talk about but are never going to have?” Or when we jumped on to one of those discussions about OUR children SOME DAY, we would both awkwardly end the conversation because we knew the years were ticking away and that we eventually wouldn’t be able to talk about the children that never were.
The minute our realtor, Mike, walked us into our new home, those four bedrooms cooed out us like spirits. “I’m ripe for a baby,” the room at the top of the stairs murmured. So naturally I put the dog cage in there. Our story, though, was ending a significant chapter. We knew our parenthood chapter was looming. But we never, not once, had a conversation like this: “So you ready to have a baby?” “Uh, yeah, ready, set, go.” Small smirks, creases of a smile, sauntering through the baby sections at stores — this is how we communicated that we were ready.
And so when I walked through the door that summer Sunday and heard, “Uh, Peej, you need to come upstairs,” I looked up at the landing to see her holding the “stick.” I wondered, in nightdreams, in daydreams, how I might respond to the news. I hoped dearly that it wouldn’t be something like, “WTF! How?!” So when I started laughing and smiling for the next two hours, I knew that kid would be welcomed in our home.
So here we are: She’s 17 weeks pregnant. I’m buying groceries and cooking like a mad man. I’m suddenly a stickler for watching our sugar intake (minus the occasional trip to Smallcakes.) I scold the dogs for putting their paws too close to the fetus bump. And I’m suddenly trying to figure out what kind of adult I want to be, what kind of parent, what kind of disciplinarian. It’s driving me a little bit crazy. But I kind of adore it.