Greetings to the Ladies Jane --
After an extended absence, rejoining you is a pleasure!
I'm a steadfast Third Wave feminist. I've spent my entire life proving to the world (and myself) that I am the equal of any man in anything that I choose to do. Beginning with schoolyard fisticuffs, I fell in love with high school Junior ROTC, refused to marry young, established a career in a (predominately male) technical field, and have vociferously insisted to anyone listening (and those not) that women have value that has nothing to do with creating new life
Adamantly, ferociously, with the crystal clarity that only true passion brings, I have practiced what I've preached. I refuse to cry outside of my own apartment. When I'm frightened, I snarl. When I'm weak, I attack. When I'm paralyzed, I bark orders at others. When I feel stupid, I boast. Full of bravado and vinegar, I dare anyone, everyone, to call my bluff. Intelligent women older than me have told me, "I'm so jealous! You're your own person: You never gave yourself away."
While battling a sleeping disorder that eradicates many useful hours, I've lived my life with what time I have as my own. My responsibilities are with my friends and parents, not with the husband or child/ren that my culture (and well-meaning individuals) say that I am missing.
The only time one of my girlfriends and I are ever catty is when we praise Glory for the fact that we are childless. We revel in the fact that we still have the luxuries of self-absorbtion and non-bowel-movement conversation. We are snotty towards and gossip about parent who don't control their children and parents who have nothing to talk about besides Johnny's ear infection or Janie's latest goo-goo-ga-ga babbling.
We know your little precious is the most amazingly wonderful thing in the multiverse to you, we do, I promise! Really, that's probably the way it should be, but please, dear God, would you just shut up about it?!
"That is just not going to be us, we actually have something to do with our lives," we snark, as if childrearing is relegated to those without the capacity to do anything else. I always felt a bit guilty for snarking about women whose choices have been different than mine, but not enough to actually stop the snarking. I'm positive that there's a portion of the human animal's social need that yearns for validation so much that even self-provided validation will suffice.
I've been proud to use the courtesy title of "Miss," although at the age of 38 people occasionally double-take when I do. My boss says I look 30. I refuse to change my name if I ever *do* marry. I'm not against the idea of marriage per se', but I am still not sure (while having discussed it with my boyfriend) that I am or ever will be ready for such a thing. I'm a fiercly independent, oddly particular, strongly-willed, and reliable overachieving only child who is used to having things her own way.
Let's say that the arts of negotiation and domestic order are not among my stronger points. :-)
I've been an apartment dweller my entire adult life, and I've found myself daydreaming for the last year or so of a permanent home, of putting down roots, of neighborhood block parties in the kind of place where Girl Scouts ring the doorbell to sell their boxes of yummy goodness every year. I've been daydreaming of older neighborhoods, with narrow driveways and old-growth trees, neighborhoods that have 50 years of architectural styles represented in the little houses lining the streets while the larger city sprawled around, creating little enclaves with their own little newletters and residents who know the family name of the house two blocks over who just bought that sweet new Mazda RX8 . . .
This picture never includes a husband or child/ren. I see the garden, I see the porch swing (and the kitty dozing in it), I see the cute white trim around the round accent-lighting windows, I see the kitchen with it's glorious chrome-trimmed appliances, and I see the window-box with custom cushions, begging me to wile away the sunny afternoon with my Kindle . . .
But I never see the other pieces of the house, of that life, and I've assumed that's because I'm not yet ready to see them. I'm not ready to get married, I'm not ready to be a parent, so those pieces are not yet visible to me.
As a result, I've been thinking that I've just been wanting to put down roots, that I'm finally looking for an adult level of security, stability, and serenity. That my kitty and my project house are what I'm yearning for, what I need. I'd come to the conclusion that this was just a larger, albeit more gentle, form of the insistent nesting urge I experience every time that I have PMS.
I realized just last night that I've been wrong. All at once, a thought leapt up from my subconscious brain and burst into my conscious mind with the stopping power of a close thunderclap:
I want a baby.
What the hell happened to me? Who am I to become?