Thursday, November 15, 2012

Living in the 1950's

Some days I feel like I'm living someone else's idea of a dream life, something out of the 1950's.

I live in a house with a white picket fence in front. Yes, really. It's a beautiful mid-century home. I can say this without prejudice because the appraiser who came by yesterday complimented us on it. It's not in the most desirable area of town (if it was, it would have cost 3x as much) but I happen to love the diversity, friendliness, and walkability of the neighborhood (91 on The weather is about as perfect as you can get (not too hot, not too cold), I can garden to my heart's content, and the backyard is completely private.

I have a beautiful little boy, a little boy who appeared like magic in my womb after 20 years of angst-free infertility. Babies were never on my bucket list, but if they had been, I would have wished for one like Little Man. He's an easy, happy baby, one who even tries to smile through his tears when he's in pain from gas that won't pass. I'm madly in love with him, and occasionally struggle with the fear that something will happen to him, probably because I've become so intimate with loss in recent years.

I have the love of a good man -- a brilliant, funny, kind man -- who is an excellent breadwinner. We had a couple of lean years during his start-up days but these days we're fortunate enough not to have any financial worries. In many ways our relationship looks very traditional: He goes to work and I stay at home, keeping house and baking gingerbread cookies, greeting him at the door with the baby in my arms and the puppy-cat at my feet. I balance him out, balance his intensity and introversion, and he seeks my opinions and usually heeds my advice. We take care of each other, and it just so happens that we're following traditional gender roles -- for now.

So, here I am, living in my 1950's home, living a 1950's life (minus the Valium). I even wear my grandmother's 1950's aprons sometimes. And I'm acutely aware that this is what my sister Tammy wanted. She wanted the house with the white picket fence and the babies and puppies. The "normal" Leave It To Beaver life we never knew as children. But she, like me, was infertile, and learning that changed her life. She gave up on her dream and pursued something wildly different, and though she succeeded beyond expectations, she was never truly happy with her life.

Me, I'm happy. Probably because I haven't given up on anything. Put some things on hold because of the baby, perhaps, but I don't feel like I'm making any unreasonable sacrifices. The thing I miss most is solitude, and upon reflection, I realize this is something I am giving up on -- for now.

This isn't the life I'd imagined for myself -- that life was a little house on the coast or in the mountains near a body of water, with lots of time to mediate and to read and write, and lots of friends visiting. A quiet life with opportunity for solitude but not lonely. I enjoy my own company too much to ever be lonely.

No, this isn't the life I'd imagined for myself -- but its the perfect life for me, because it's where I am and where I choose to be. Even if it does look a bit like the 1950's ;)

I'm blessed, and I know it.

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