We took Felicity to the zoo last weekend, and I am not exaggerating when I say that I was the only non-pregnant mother of a toddler on the premises. Evidently I did not get the memo that we were supposed to conceive a second child no later than Felicity's first birthday.
To be clear, I say this matter-of-factly, and without any bitterness. I have generally imagined myself in a family of four, but I would also be perfectly content if it's just us three for the rest of our days. Which is to say, I (usually) think I would like to have a second child, but I am also open to the possibility that it might not happen for some unknown reason, and that's fine with me, too.
We have no reason to believe we can't have another baby, but there's always the possibility that my body has decided, unbeknownst to me, that it's closed for business. And to be totally honest, there are some moments of dealing with a toddler when I think, well, it wouldn't be the END of the world if we only did this once. Plus, a lot of practical realities (apartment space, private school tuition, travel, having time to myself, etc.) would be made easier with a single child. So, you know. I think it will be fine either way. Not to say that I won't, uh, PURSUE the second child; I'm just saying I am PREPARED for and ok with the other possible outcome.
(BOY, did those pregnant mothers of toddlers look TIRED.)
When we were in Montauk and Felicity was tearing around like a maniac and falling into deep despair every few minutes, as toddlers are wont to do, Joe wondered out loud how long it would be before Felicity could "just hang out" -- like, when could he expect that she could sit and READ QUIETLY for a while on her own? After I picked myself up from the floor laughing, I told him it would probably be...well, a GOOD LONG WHILE, and we both looked at each other with deep fatigue in our eyes. Not that this stage isn't fun, because it is! But it is draining. And we are kind of old.
Speaking of which, a girl I knew in high school, who lives down South and is expecting her third child, posted on Facebook the other day that someone had said to her, "How do you manage being pregnant at your age?" She is 36, like me.
I find this greatly amusing, because in our peer group in my part of NYC, 36 is about average-ish for new mothers (especially second- or third-timers). No one bats an eye at 40- or 50-something moms of young kids. To say nothing of the dads! You see dads all over my neighborhood who would be assumed to be GRANDFATHERS in my hometown.
Obviously, there's nothing wrong with either of these norms, I just find it so interesting how someone who would be totally average here is such an outlier in another part of the country (and how some people are completely unabashed about pointing this out TO THE MOTHER HERSELF -- like, hey! YOU ARE OLD. Um...thanks?)
On a totally different note, the other day I was out for a run on one of the first cool, fall-ish days of the year, and out of nowhere the thought popped into my head that maybe I could run the marathon again. Not this year, obviously, but I had that leeetle bit of an itch about doing it in the quasi-near-future. Of course, these things are a bit hard to plan (see above re: possible second child), but at least the desire was there in its most miniscule form.
Given that I currently run no more than 4 miles at a time (with the exception of the half-marathon I barely gasped my way through this past spring, which left me wanting to die by the side of the road), this is but a tiny, absurd thought, and one that I have since mostly laughed off as a side effect of a mild runner's high and too much diet Sunkist. I WOULD HAVE TO BE INSANE TO DO THAT AGAIN, YOU GUYS. But then, I said the same thing about childbirth, and I haven't foreclosed that as a repeat experience.
Clearly, I am somewhat delusional, but then, at my age it could just be dementia setting in.