Wednesday, November 21, 2012

on Life List item #1

Last week, procrastinating at the computer, Mike started listening to various versions of the Notre Dame Fight Song on YouTube (hey, everyone has a vice).  After a few minutes he found a video of a three year old girl singing the song.  The look on his face said what I knew he was thinking, “one day we could have one of these and teach them this.”  

It’s more real now.  It has been for me for a while.  But for Mike it’s always been this vague, distant thing.  Someday we’ll have kids.  Someday he’ll be a Dad.  But now that the attempt is in the present I’m noticing a change in him.  (I'm sorry, I know, I hate these phrases too: “attempt”, “trying”.  They come with such baggage.  With such uneasy entry into a very personal aspect of someone’s life.  At a party and the topic of babies comes up.  The couple in the room link arms, shares a knowing glance, and says, “oh, well, we’re trying.”  Well, thanks for that.  Because now I’m picturing you guys “trying” and it’s not exactly the image I need as I’m “trying” to eat as many cured meat/cheese/cracker concoctions as I can.  How’s that for a parenthetical aside? Whew.)
So yes, the trying.  Oh, the trying.  The counting of days.  The x’s and o’s on a calendar, the calendar purchased just for this purpose.  For the purpose of tracking the things you need to track when this is the thing you want.  I think of Mike’s two students who recently had babies.  As difficult as it must be for them, evolution prefers it.  Our bodies haven’t caught up to our new world.  The world where you wait to get married, combine finances, wait some more, take that little pill at the same time every night because, god forbid, we’re just not ready.  Wait for an even number year to try because that’s lucky (ok, maybe that’s just me).  But then the even number year turns out to be unlucky and you are thrown into the system of x’s and o’s, of counting and tracking and hoping and waiting.
And all the while you are desperate to tell someone, just anyone, but you don’t know who wants to hear it.  So, instead, you find yourself talking to your brother at 11pm on a Saturday night about trying and not trying too hard and ridiculously hilarious stories that make you feel less alone and weird and then thankful for having the most amazing friend in the guy that was born to your parents four years ahead of you.  Even if the conversation does make you realize that there really are no more lines left to cross in the sibling relationship.

painted wall at the Ace Hotel, home of Camp Mighty
But then there was Camp.  On the first night we played Life List Bingo, a way of meeting the people around us by matching them up with squares on the game.  One of the squares was “Get Knocked Up.”  Suddenly the very personal became very public and it didn’t matter.  I announced to my table that they could use me for that square and then, as the night went on, people came to find me, the girl whose number one Life List entry was to be a mom.  It felt funny ("hey guys, over here, I found Get Knocked Up!"), and true, and no longer something that I had to be embarrassed by.   

But I promise not to speak of this when we're at a party together and you're trying to focus on eating the appetizers.  Promise. 
view from breakfast at the Ace Hotel


  1. I think one of the great things I took away from Camp Mighty is that it's okay to own what you want. I'm so happy to see you doing it here.

    P.S. I'm always ready to listen. So glad I met you at Camp! xo

    1. Thanks, Melanie, I felt the same way about the take aways. It may seem like a funny life list (and, as we joked about in our team meetup on Saturday, not exactly the kind of thing that you guys can help make happen!) but I don't think there's any harm in owning up to what it is I really want. And, since this has always been a very personal (yet public) space, seemed like I might as well share here. So glad I met you at Camp!

  2. As awkward as it is to figure out how to talk about it, it's equally weird to figure out how to respond. Good luck? I don't know!

    Thinking of you guys, in a non-awkward way, I promise!

    1. hah, I know, what to say? There's no way around the awkwardness!