Tuesday, December 30, 2008
It's one of those evenings when my thoughts are just rattling and tumbling with a will of their own, not letting me go to sleep or even rest. This is the time when I usually work on my book...but I don't feel very creative.
Today, a week into the interminable winter break from school, I wasn't feeling well, and Hedgie's friend and his parents came and took her away to have all sorts of fun. Her friend, I'll call him Orson, arrived dressed to the last detail as his latest obsession Sherlock Holmes. The only thing missing was the opium. When they returned Hedgie, five hours later (God bless these people), her arms were full of take-out chicken soup for me, Nancy Drew for her, and, for some obscure reason, a bag of pistachios. I was glad to see her and she was breathless from the magical spell of Orson and his parents. I've mentioned them before, but they are the kind of people with whom I can happily spend a ten hour day and not become tired and irritated, the kind of people who wouldn't bat an eyelash if you had a cigarette, or got tipsy, or too loud, or made an off-color remark about the kids' incredibly toothsome Tae Kwon Do instructor; the kind of people who forget they're in the Museum of Modern Art and lean on a sculpture to relay some juicy tidbit of gossip and then blush furiously when the museum guard shakes his head at them; who like to stop at least twice or three times for snacks, in the course of an afternoon; who can be serious and funny at the same time; in short, my heroes. But all that is just a digression.
Orson, like Hedgehog and actually quite a number of her friends, is an only child. It's been fun, being a family of three. I've enjoyed it immensely. I think we've gotten to know each other and had a lot of fun in our close little triad. I've gone around and around and around about it. I waited till Hedgehog was 8 and now it's time for a new one. With many reservations and an uneven enthusiasm.
The whole thing isn't too bad (one hopes the second time as well): I enjoyed being pregnant, I felt pretty mellow and it was a big nice adventure. Birth was exciting. A baby is cute, once they get past that all-looking-basically-the-same phase where they're like eerie comatose goblins. That's not cute, despite how much parents want to believe it is. But when they fill out with milk and start to make eye contact, but still let you chew a little on their baby cheeks and squeeze their fat middles, well, that's cute. But my mom said a wise thing recently: "The question isn't do you want a baby, but rather do you want another person in your family." Another person could be cool, though I'm not so down with the toddler and preschool stages. 8 months old? Fabulous. 8 years old? Rock n' roll. The intervening years? Rough.
I guess, since Sarge and Hedgie are both desperate for this little addition, I will oblige to the best of my abilities. The first time around, I got pregnant right out of the gate. Literally, the first time I'd ever had unprotected sex in my life, I was pregnant. It made me marvel that nothing had slipped by before that! Now, I'm older--(well, no kidding)--I'll be 39 in a week, and who knows what deposit my eggs have put down already on their cozy rooms in the retirement home. I'm not expecting a quick turn-around, but who knows. And I try not to think too much about semi-geriatric motherhood...I figure bright, loving, capable Hedgie will pitch in. Like "All-of-a-Kind Family"!
I also try not to think too much about practical matters. Where does one put an extra goblin? In the spare bathtub that now houses bags of old clothes awaiting the Salvation Army truck? Under Sarge's desk? In a trundle bed under Hedgie's? And whither the spare cash for such minor sundries as tuition, music lessons, Hebrew School, parties, oh God?! It's best not to look too closely in this case, or one will never take the leap. Blindly stumbling off the cliff seems to work out. There may well be a mossy patch to break the fall, and if not, well, there's always the emergency room. After all, there are a million variables, seen and unforeseen. Parenthood is a wild gamble under the best of circumstances.
Basically, I've concluded that a baby is like a dog, and Sarge, Hedgie, and (maybe) I can offer a nice home to one. So I'm trying to visualize it as a thicket, but not so bleak and forbidding.
We shall see.