[note to self: maybe including pics of me from college here]
My well-meaning brother recently asked me,
“You’ve done the math, right? How old you’ll be… when the kid goes to college, etc.”
How does one even respond to this?
“Well, I got married at 38. I was going to be an older mom no matter what.”
I found myself livid in bed later that night. What I wanted to say, what I should have said was:
“Mom wasn’t even alive when I went to college.”
My mom died when I was 14. She was 50. She didn’t even get through my freshman year of high school. She missed my high school graduation, my college graduation, my move from Virginia to New York, my first job, my engagement, and, most recently, my wedding on April 12, 2015. She has missed the births of all four of her grandchildren.
Yes, one ideally has one’s babies as early in life as possible, as far away from 40 as possible but one can still do that and die a sudden and devastating death and miss all of her children’s milestones. I’d much rather be an older mother than a completely absent one.
Would people rather I have had a baby out of wedlock? Or should I have said yes to one of the the first two men who asked me to marry them instead of my wonderful husband? Or should I just have avoided having children altogether?
For a time, I had an awful coworker named Krista. An absolute c*nt. The kind of woman who yells at her mother on the phone every day at work but also claims that her mom is “like, totally [my] best friend.” She was sleeping with her kickboxing instructor, Manuel.
I told her that I said no when my last boyfriend proposed.
“Don’t you want to get married?” she asked.
“Of course I do. I don’t want to marry him.”
It blew me away that she thought not wanting to get married was the only reason a woman would say no. I absolutely should’ve ended that relationship earlier than I did but that doesn’t mean my now-husband and I would have begun dating earlier and thus plowed ahead on the same trajectory on which we ultimately found ourselves, leaving me, of course, to get married and get pregnant months or years before I actually did. Who can say?
If all goes well – a phrase with which my husband and I seem to begin every sentence these days – and I carry this baby to term, I will give birth two months shy of my 40th birthday. Clearly, I’ve made my peace with this and so has my almost 37-year-old husband. We’ve accepted and embraced the fact that we will only have one child and that we will likely be the oldest parents at the birthday party, the playground, the parent-teacher night. We aren’t seeking or requiring anyone’s approval.