I thought having a baby at 42 would stop me from getting old. I just delayed the inevitable.
- I was 33 years old when my first child was born.
- When she was 9 and I was 42, I wanted another child.
I'm driving the same road I've driven for 20 years. I used to turn left at the stop sign, but that has changed forever.
Peacocks run wild in our neighborhood, so on our way home from Mommy and Me, or sports practice, or an AP exam, my daughter would say, "Go Peacock Way," and we'd take the road to see the gorgeous creatures. When my second daughter came along, we shared the wondrous way with her as well.
I'm an older mom
I was 33 when we had our first child. That's older than most parents in the Conejo Valley — Conejo means Rabbit in Spanish, and aptly, in this town, children abound.
Our only child had plenty of love and life for us, and when she was 9, I wanted another one. Maybe because she was tying her shoes and packing her own snacks, or possibly it was nature saying, "Last call sister, now or never." Either way, although I was 42, I wanted another peanut, a punkin, a darling little snuggle bunny.
My husband and I had a strict "No" wins agreement about spawning again, so I said it quickly, "I know it sounds nuts, but I want another baby." He looked at me with surprise and said, "I feel like there's a soul missing from this family."
My OB/GYN told me not to get my hopes up. "Your eggs are old. You'll probably need IVF." Five weeks later I was pregnant.
I thought doing the whole little kid thing again would keep me young
For the next nine months, I worried that I'd made a huge mistake. Swollen and sick, I asked my husband, "Why are we doing this?"
"We don't want to get old," he replied.
We believed going to dance recitals, tending to tantrums, paying for camp and clothing, and sharing our love of art, numbers, and baseball with another human would stretch the time we had left.
Our second girl was sweet and serene. It's as if she said, "Just give me copious amounts of attention and praise, and I'll be the dreamiest baby on earth."
Now she's 14. She'd rather go to a thrift store than see a peacock and listen to SZA than chat with me. She doesn't like baseball, will tolerate a museum, and is good at math, but it doesn't interest her as much as watching influencers style clothes on TikTok.
I am 57 years old. My friends are young. When I look at them, it's easy to believe I look that way, too. But the mirror doesn't lie. And when I refer to "I Love Lucy" or David Cassidy, they often say, "Sorry — who?"
I've only delayed the inevitable
But their kids are also migrating to their phones and friends. Soon we'll be without giggles and snuggles and long, loving talks. When our children graduate, we'll cry together because we know how it feels to be wholly necessary, then not.
Fifteen years ago, the desire to be occupied, needed, and loved beyond measure trumped my budding independence. Now older and thicker and more wrinkled, I've only delayed the inevitable.
So I'll take the trip and write the book. I'll hang out with my husband. I'll do these things like they are my job because, finally, I've aged out of the one I loved most.
Alone in my car, I take Peacock Way. He's there — huge and turquoise with an explosion of plume. For 20 years, he has crossed the street in front of moving cars and stared down dogs. The coyotes leave him be. I'll tell my girls I saw him, the best one — the oldest and wisest of them all.
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