When asked if I have kids, I typically respond that I have two fur children, my Shih Tzus Frodo and Chewbaca. Oh wait, I almost forgot about Neuron, the most recent furry addition to our family.
Speaking of forgetting, I lost Frodo Christmas morning. It all started with a horoscope. Early that morning, my mom read it to me over a cup of coffee.
"Libra", the horoscope said, "everyone has an off day and today will be one such day, but this too shall pass."
I told my mom she should have lied to me and told me that I was going to have a good day because, for me, prophecies have a way of becoming self-fulfilling.
Later that morning, my mom and I went outside to put the presents in my car. We were going to Annie's house for a Christmas lunch of enchiladas, tamales and beer. My mom pointed out that Frodo and Chewie were sitting in the driveway. We packed the trunk full of presents and went inside.
About thirty minutes and another cup of coffee later, I looked down at Chewie and something clicked in my mind. I flash backed to the image of Frodo sitting in the driveway looking at me with his dark black eyes.
In an echo of "Home Alone", I screamed, "Shit, I forgot Frodo!"
I ran outside and Frodo was nowhere to be seen. I drove through my neighborhood and screamed out Frodo's name like a crazy wild-haired banshee while I clapped my hands out my car window in the hope Frodo would hear.
As I turned the corner back onto our block, I started crying. Right then, a woman came into the street waving her hands. It was our neighbor who lives about six houses down. She had Frodo in her arms. As I walked in the house with Frodo, my mom said, "I thought Christmas was going to be cancelled for a minute there. I can't believe you almost lost him."
"I know, I am a bad mommie," I replied. "I hope I don't ever lose my real kids."
"That is, if you ever have kids," my mom said with a shake of her head. My mom (obviously) wants another grandchild.
Adrian and I want kids (dare I say desperately?), but it hasn't happened. For sixteen of our eighteen years together we were very careful, maybe too careful. It turns out that we could have went wild.
Life is strange. We are both professionals, we have a big house and are finally in the position to be "perfect" parents. But alas, as John Lennon once said, life is what happens when you're making plans.
I see women with babies everywhere, like someone is purposefully shoving a baby store catalogue in my face. As I walked around Victoria Gardens last week, I saw women breastfeeding, men with those papoose looking contraptions strapped across their chest with butterball babies inside and strollers with identical twins.
A little girl with dark curly hair walked by me and I smiled at her. When she smiled back, I got a tight feeling in my chest and thought, this is what it feels like to want.
I am not sure when I started wanting kids. Some of it was seeing my sister Annie with her kids (who are fabulous and that's just a fact). The other part of it was my realization some years ago that that my parents did the best they could with what they had.
It's scary because I am almost forty. Forty seems far too old to have kids. My mom had us when she was in her early thirties and she seemed like an "older" mom to us, especially compared with Mary, my best friend Melinda's mom.
Melinda's mom Mary was in her twenties. Melinda's younger sister Pam was Annie's age. We all hung out in their two bedroom apartment. She made us lunch and we sat around the table telling jokes and laughing. Mary sometimes let us take a sip of Midori liqueur or a wine cooler.
By the time we hit junior high, Jackie and I brought over stolen beers from my dad's fridge and downed them before we walked to the park with Melinda for the weekly nighttime baseball game. Shadows followed behind us because Pam and Annie trailed us around with paper and pen taking notes for information to use for their blackmail side business.
I know what you are thinking. Why are these kids drinking? Drinking was only the tip of the iceberg and the rest is a story for another day.
My mom used to tell me that I would be cursed with monster children because I put her and my dad through so much hell.
I am willing to risk it and pledge to be a cool mom regardless of my age.