Fidelity

IMG_0260In the beginning. Seven years ago.

It’s happening! It’s already happenning. Danger, danger!

I’m beginning to find babies impossibly lovely. I’ve even volunteered to hold a few in recent days. Just last week I was forced by the cuteness of a teeny, tiny little dress to stop my cart and ogle in the newborn section of Target. Yikes!!!

This is dangerous territory for a few reasons. The first is that we haven’t actually decided to have another. Not officially. My falling in love prematurely with the idea of a family of five spells disaster. I fall hard and am mulish in my commitment to what I love.  And yes, it is very possible to fall in love with the idea of something. In truth, the idea of a thing is often much easier to love than the thing itself. What I’m saying is that I’ve got to watch myself here. Tread lightly.

We talk about a third with a frequency that I imagine is fairly telling given that our conversation time these days is sadly brief, but we’re still thinking. This is because at the core, we are both practical sorts. Practical and risk-averse and more than a little enamored with safety and security. Two children feels comfortably practical; three feels not that way at all. Three means more of everything. More mess and more chaos and more money and more time outside of any kind of career. But…. I can’t stop thinking about it. We can’t stop thinking about it.

I’ve noticed something else lately though. Something beyond the obvious symptoms of a resurgence of baby fever. When my mind is quiet and begins to wander towards this bright baby possibility I immediately hear this song loud in my ears and it feels like a summer seven years ago.

Without the distraction of the academic year I finally had time to focus on what I was doing with my life. Time to think about my (then) girlfriend and what we were building together and how the building was hard from such a distance (we lived in different states) and how we had likely gotten as far as we could get in our current configuration. How I was at the very beginning of my career at a university that was everything I had been working towards for so many years and how her training was far from over. I was thinking about the four long years she was committed to being right where she was. A place that was hours and hours and hours from me.

I spent hours alone in my car that summer. Driving and thinking and crying and listening to that song until I knew what to do next. When I was sure, I wrote her a letter. I gave her the letter in person, but still it was a letter. In it I told her that it was time for me to make a move. That assuming I could find work (a HUGE assumption) I was leaving the city where I had spent my last twenty plus years to continue building something with her. I stumbled all over myself to explain that I could find my own place and in so far as such a thing was possible, my decision was not something she was responsible for. We would not force it just because I had made this move. I was taking that other foot off the floor because it was what I needed to do next. I wasn’t sure what would happen after that, but for maybe the first time in my life, I wasn’t worried.

The seven years that followed have taught me that when you know a thing deeply, you have only to follow along behind it. To listen and trust. Even when that thing seems crazy and impractical and more than a little unwise. Somehow in the space of less than two months following that letter, I resigned from my job, found another one, and moved in with my girlfriend. Thirteen months after that we got married.

So, I’m thinking the idea of this baby is like that. For now my wife and I are driving around in the car, thinking and listening and crying (me). For whatever reason, thinking and crying often go hand in hand for me. We’re giving it some time. Trusting that when it’s time, we’ll know what to do next.

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7 thoughts on “Fidelity

  1. What a ride! I love that story. You’re very brave.

    We haven’t even had two yet, but we often discuss number three also. In our case, my partner would like to experience pregnancy again, which she won’t be able to do if we stop at #2.

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