Call me CrabbyPants. Some years ago—never mind how long, exactly—finding myself long in the tooth and short in childbearing years, I thought it was time to cast about in the world of reproductive technology. So did my husband and thus, being of little means and great hope, and despite the damp, drizzly November of Life we found ourselves in, we sought out a fertility doctor at the University of Connecticut, paid for—thankfully—by our medical insurance. It was that or stepping into the street and knocking people’s hats off, particularly hats of those parents who took their children for granted, pushing their perambulators about with an air of nonchalance and entitlement. It was high time to get to sea (so to speak) as soon as we could. There is nothing surprising about this. Many women, at some time or another, find themselves with very nearly the same feelings.
Oh! But you talk about birth-control! About avoidance of pregnancy. Oh, yes. Here come the crowds, headed straight for the nightclubs, hooking up for the night and expecting nothing to come of it. Strange! Nothing will content them but sex without complications. They must get just as nigh the water as they possibly can without falling in… if you know what I mean. Tell me, is it the magnetic virtue of parenthood that attracts them thither?
But I’ve made my point and while I could make it again and again, in paragraph after paragraph, this is a blog and not a 600-page novel. And though I cannot tell why it was that those sneaky stage managers, the Fates, ensured that one round of IVF did the trick, when others like me were set down for magnificent parts in high tragedies, I became a parent, which is how I find myself today, said Fates having cajoled me into the delusion that it was a choice resulting from my own unbiased freewill and discriminating judgment. Ha! Hormones be damned!
But I don’t mean that. Not really. My son, Jonah, named for the man who found himself in the belly of a magnificent beast—a beast some have pursued cruelly and without justification, to my mind—is my treasure, my fortune, my soul. And yet I find myself, at times, a bona fide Crabbypants, a crank, a—to put it plainly—total fucking bitch. There are times when I long to shout, “Yo, do not talk to me! Make yourself scarce!,” times when I would, indeed, gladly board a ship to nowhere for the soul purpose of pursuing a metaphorical or literal behemoth.
Chief among the thieves of my good humor is the overwhelming idea of Life Itself. Such a portentous and mysterious monster it is. The wild and distant seas we travel in pursuit of some undeliverable, nameless source of Happiness distract us and make us bitchy. We take this out on our children often. And that sucks.
Not wanting to be this person, I succumb to the boy’s repeated plaints of Can I watch something? Can I watch something? though I know there are far richer ways to cast about the waves, biding one’s time. Yet his watching, say, a movie gives me some moments of solitude, time to allow my thoughts to be cradled on the salty, rocking sea, gathering the warming rays of the sun. Soon, I am at peace again, and can gaze upon my child with loving eyes, and not the cold, sharp eyes of a freakin’ harpy.
Is it so for others, I wonder? Or am I alone cursed with a nagging need to experience an ephemeral sliver of solitude? Would that the Fates would instant-message me! But alas, I shall be satisfied with a comment or two, from you, dear Readers, from you.
Photos: Top: Giant Whale Tail © Hui Wang; Bottom: Beluga © Petar Zigich | Dreamstime.com