Even at 44 my lady business runs like clockwork, so precise and every-26-days you could set a watch or bake scones by it.
Sidenote: For those who shy from discussions of the menstrual type (men), herein the monthly activity will be referred to in easier to swallow terms. And sorry for putting that “Red Badge of Courage” image in your head.
My Grand Ole Opry still blossoms regularly in a pink sprinkle and blood work shows the hormones of a teen girl. Chances are I’m past healthy child-bearing years (and remain a staunch safety girl) but most sexually active, hetero women with intact plumbing have the moment of “Could I be…?” while awaiting her monthly Salsa Shakedown. I never really dwelled on baby-head-scented desire. Much like cats that are drawn to and rub furry on humans who don’t care for cats, kids dig me. I like kids, they’re generally funny and open and see the world through different eyes until taught (or forced into) other ways of thinking. But I’d rather lease than own, Auntie vs. Mom. Had a brief spell of the baby fever in my late 20’s but think it had to do more with mostly chaste living and wanting penetration. Not that I haven’t picked out names for my non-spawn; for a boy Elvis, a girl Priscilla, for either Lux (male as in The Cramps Interior, female as a character from the novel "The Virgin Suicides.") I could jump the celebrity bandwagon and join the ranks of Apple Martin(i), Pilot Inspektor, Moxie Crimefighter or Peaches, Pixie and Fifi Trixiebelle Geldolf.
I’m liking Sassafras Molasses. Kash.
I’d be a fun parent (spoken as a women who’s never been one), tough but fair. One who’d encourage jumping hard into puddles after a big rain. I’d fill my home with music and books and heroes like Patti Smith and John Lennon, J.D. Salinger and Jane Austen. Make homemade Valentine cards with loads of red glitter and a crinkled tin foil star for the top of the tree. I’d dress my girls in both leggings and Pat Benatar t-shirts and floaty dresses; my boys in Toughskins and button up plaid shirts with short sleeves and real buttons. And no Crocs. Ever. Crocs are the shoes lining the wall in the waiting room to hell.
I wouldn’t ask my girls to sacrifice more or dream less than my boys. I’d try not to yell much and I’d never hit. I’d hope they grow up kind, and find others kind to them.
Aunt is a good gig, me the cool one who always had gum in her purse, who talked freely about penises and running after big dreams. I got to buy cute outfits and spoil on birthdays (still do). I never had to clean up vomit, just hold hair back after too much drinking at the bachelorette party.
Over dinner Monday the manfriend and I talked family, about the roles of men and women and how daytime TV is reverse-misogynous, showing Mom as the superstar nurturer and Dad the mostly absent provider. A current commercial for Wii Fit Plus called “Working Mom” follows the flow of a beautiful (of course) woman rising before her still sleeping hubby to feed the kid, don perfect fit spandex and pony for a session of Wii Yoga, then into a tailored business power pantsuit and the office where she’s portrayed as a high powered decision-maker. She even picks up groceries on the way home, where Dad sits in front of the flat screen, socked feet up on an ottoman.
I’ve always believed I could have it all - adventure and education and goals and a warm home and a career and a family and a hand to hold. I just never believed I could have it all, all at the same time. Something would undoubtedly suffer. I was a college freshman already living on my own for five years at 21, had both a degree and nearly a decade of work experience at 26, slowly built the career I wanted and owned a home all my own at 34 and now embrace a successful, happy, actualized and content woman of 44. But I never gave time to a relationship, a real one. Until now. I couldn’t fully consider caring for another person, as I'd want to, perhaps until now. I have a family, one built of blood and friends and companions that hold me up and me them and love me exactly as I am. Unconditionally.
And right now.