A few years ago, I jokingly declared that I would refrain from reproducing until after my 10-year college reunion. That way, I said (again, facetiously, although of course I’d be lying if there weren’t a tiny grain of vain truth to all this hilarious jokery), I wouldn’t have to worry about losing baby weight or having to remain sober as the Georgetown Class of 2001 reconvened. It wouldn’t be a concern whether some liquor might damage Junior, or Junior’s breast milk supply, and my 100 percent hot, completely flawless body would remain pristine until that date and, obviously, if everything went according to my imaginary plan, everyone would say, “Oh there’s Claire — she looks so great!” (Anyone who’s seen “Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion” knows this is Goal #1, with actual success to brag about being Goal #2, and perhaps having fun and seeing people you like being a distant #3.) My parents didn’t think this baby plan was so funny. “I hope I’m alive by then,” my dad said. (He’ll be 62 by that point and is in perfectly good health; he’s just very dramatic.) “Try not to make yourself sound too shallow,” my mom said when I told her I was writing about this topic.
However, as this date approaches, it actually seems like a good timeline for seriously considering kids, all joking and vanity aside. Physically speaking, a year from now is probably the time to get serious because, while my biological clock is extremely faint (I think it might be digital), more and more of my friends are making happy announcements of recent or upcoming arrivals and it makes me think, irrational as it sounds, Well, if all these other people are doing it …
The whole baby thing, though: it’s scary. I’m not totally sure about it, to be honest. But the time is rapidly approaching where we must decide whether we’re going to give this a shot the old-fashioned way, because it’s not like we have so much money laying around that I can think, Well, if I wait until my insides are no longer hospitable, there are still expensive, medical ways to make a baby happen.
Part of the reason the baby thing (I can’t even call it “having a baby,” that’s how much the seriousness of the topic throws me off) scares me is because I love my life as it is. I love having too many drinks with my husband on a Tuesday night if we feel like it, having time to exercise when I want, and my pointy-pointy coffee table. Some of this stuff will have to be given up, or come second, or a distant third, if a third person comes into our lives, and I’m not sure I’m ready for that. But then, we hang out with a couple who managed to have a kid, do interesting work and maintain personalities and lifestyles we can get down with and I think, That could be us. Or I’ll experience the most fleeting sensation of “Perhaps there’s supposed to be more here. Unless I just want a snack?”
Maybe next year I’ll be ready to reconcile all this. Maybe the reunion will be the great last hurrah of young adulthood. (You know how when you’re in your 20s and you claim you’re in your “early-20s” until you’re 26 and then in your “mid-20s” until you’re 29? Yeah, I’m doing that now. I’m 31.) I will get drunk and probably dance badly and get overly dramatic with my old college friends, probably yell some and smoke a few sneaky cigarettes, and maybe reconnect with my old college love as we (innocently but nostalgically) reminisce about way back when. And maybe those things that I joke about that aren’t really such a joke, my vanity and that old desire to party with my homies, will have settled into a more relaxed, mature form. Maybe, baby, I’ll be ready, by then, to put that behind me. Some of it, anyway.