Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Every time I am ready to break up with the Boy, something happens to change my mind. This time he was saved by a music box. My mom gave it to me a few years ago and it is one of my favorite Christmas decorations. It is a red plastic box with white snowflakes and a sparkly green bow on top. When you press the button, the box opens and a little ice rink pops up. The characters spin around and the ice rink lights up while the song plays. Then the box closes when the song is done.

My nieces and nephews were visiting on Sunday afternoon. After they left, I realized that my music box was broken. The box was stuck open. I know it might sound ridiculous - after all it is just a plastic music box that was made in China - but I was really upset. I tried to fix it myself but I couldn't figure it out. So I called the only person who might know how to fix it.

The Boy had been away for the weekend visiting his friends in Indiana. When I called he was on his way home and had just stopped for lunch about 45 minutes from my house. I told him about the broken music box and he offered to come over later that evening to fix it.

"Or you could just come over right now," I pleaded with him. "It is on your way home anyway."

"Well," the Boy paused. "Ok, I can come over. But only because I can hear you pouting through the phone."

So the Boy showed up at my doorstep a little while later and we proceeded to take the entire music box apart. We discovered that there was a little motor inside that made the box open and shut. There were two wires threaded into the motor, but I noticed that one was disconnected. At least we had figured out the cause of the problem. The Boy went home to take a shower and unpack. Then he came back later with his tools and he fixed the music box.

"Thanks," I said to the Boy. "You saved Christmas." And in the process he also saved himself. At least for another week.

I had reserved Monday as a PTO day in case the Canadian wanted to go shopping, but I still hadn't heard back from him. Instead of going in to the office, I decided to take the day just for myself. You would think that as a single woman, every day is a day for myself. But surprisingly that rarely seems to be the case.

These last few weeks I have been trying to work out more often, so I decided to start my day by going to the gym. Usually I am at the gym in the evenings after work or on a Saturday afternoon. Going to the gym on a weekday morning is a completely different experience. There are senior citizens everywhere. The older ladies were having a hen party in the locker room. And upstairs there were about 30 men and women taking part in a low impact fitness class. I noticed a really old man in the back row falling asleep with his 2 pound weights resting in his lap.

As I walked in circles around the track in this alternate universe, I started to have an overwhelming sense of my own mortality. It occurred to me that at 40 years old, I could conceivably be starting the downward cycle of my life. Or at least the productive years of my life. I kept trying to imagine what I would be doing in 20 or 30 years.

The random songs shuffling on my I-Pod were tuned out by a slow and steady ticking sound. I never believed in the concept of a biological clock until mine started yesterday. Whether I like it or not, I am at the point in my life where certain decisions need to be made about the future.

I have spent my entire life trying not to make any wrong choices, or at least any permanent choices. I have never gotten married or had a baby. The most significant commitment I have made in the past 10 years is buying my house. I am pretty sure that I won't have any regrets about not getting married. And I always thought that if I changed my mind about having a baby I could adopt one.

But truthfully, I kind of agree with the Boy on one point. If I am ever going to go through the stress of raising a child, I would like it to be 100% mine. I want the little brown haired girl with pigtails and bangs. She would always ask to wear dresses and fancy shoes, even in the winter. And she would have a big smile and a kind heart, with just a hint of mischief. It would be clear to anyone within 10 feet of us that she is my child.

Plus, I feel like I should take my shot at engineering the perfect human being. I have watched everyone else take their turn at parenting, so why shouldn't I have a chance. It's not like I think I can do better. Sometimes I just wonder what it would be like.

It is a feeling that I overcome quickly when I start to think about staying up all night, changing diapers, potty training, the terrible two's followed by the terrible three's and sometimes the terrible four's, kindergarten, middle school, soccer games, choir practice, high school dances, teenage rebellion, young adulthood and college graduation. Not to mention the fact that I am missing the key ingredients to make a baby in the first place. The perfect sperm donor and of course, the proper Indian surrogate.

Maybe my biological clock isn't trying to tell me to have a baby. It is just reminding me to consider what my life will be like if I don't. While I often find myself smugly judging those women who are saddled with the responsibilities of caring for their husbands and kids, at least they know what they will be doing for the next 20 years. Meanwhile, I have no clue.

I could say that I am free to travel the world. But I hate flying on planes. And ultimately I prefer the comfort of my own bed. Or, I could be one of those women who is focused on my career success. Yet, as much as I enjoy my new job, I have always known that my job isn't my life.

So far, all I can come up with is that I have remained unencumbered so I can be there to support everyone else. Which sounds like a noble idea, until everyone else moves on with their lives and I am all alone.

What if I spend so much time trying not to make the wrong choices that I end up not choosing anything at all? Maybe I am the one who needs to be saved.


Anonymous said...

Wow - These are big ideas, beautifully put. What makes a life "complete"? And say you do spend 20 years raising kids (and a husband) - and they disappoint you, as people do when they live their own lives. Then what was it all for anyway? Let us know when you come up with the answer, please!!

Anonymous said...

my idea of a "complete" life starts with Oreos and milk. I am a simple girl.