Friday, June 18, 2010

Reconsideration, courtesy of the "Cut and Paste" function

I wrote this entry on Monday evening of this week. Then I decided not to post it, because I thought that perhaps Joel's burnout at work this year and our subsequent fight about him possibly not wanting to have children anymore should be classified as "not bloggable."

What else? Oh, my. Yes. I have baby fever. Since my 31st birthday, it's like my ovaries have realized that they're over halfway finished with their reproductive work on my behalf. It was like a dedicated "Save Our Eggs!" rally in there this month, with my reproductive parts marching up and down with signs and chanting, "One! Two! Three! Four! Whaddaya think this monthly gift is for? Bay-bee! Bay-bee! Whoooooa, baby!"

Joel is not where I am, in terms of readiness, and for the first time, I cried about that. It's silly. The business is not ready, by any stretch of my imagination, to run smoothly with my hand on one wheel while I try to keep a small human alive, possibly with the powers of my boobs. Physically, my surgeon wants me to wait at least another nine months before thinking about trying for pregnancy, so I'm really not in a rush.

But Joel was always more excited about kids than I was, and now, thanks to a combination of impending doom in the New York City schools and him having a bad year teaching a bunch of, um, really challenging students with one eye on the rising sophomores and their reputation for being even more, um, challenging than *this* year's class, and he's... not ready for kids. At all. It scares me, but I'm even more scared about how emotional I am about this.

Over the weekend, Gaby and I filled tons of water balloons for Gwen's pre-nuptial non-bachelorette party/pseudo-shower while singing "Hakuna Matata" and then Katie would held her arms out to me in her crib right before guests were due to arrive this weekend. I got her dressed and changed and gave her the bottle that her mom said would help her transition to wakeful cheerfulness, and she pointed at the rocker, so we rocked a little and she drank a little and we cuddled a little and Joel and I are not leaving for the beach for at least two weeks but already my arms ache to hold Aiden and Kayla as I think about the books I want to write for them about their Uncle Brad and wonder if Aiden would be down with learning about tripods and fireworks since we'll be there over the Fourth of July and he can't get enough of my camera and that makes me think about my dad teaching ME to shoot fireworks on a tripod with long exposures when I was little and and the thought that I might not get that- that unconditional love and a chance to rock children of my own whom I can guide with songs and books and teach about life and grief and love and shutter speeds- well it takes my breath away and makes me feel so sad that I can't even bother to punctuate properly.

So, I think the lack of punctuation there captures my breathless, overdramatic reaction pretty well, but suffice it to say, when I called my mom and she said, "Honey, no teacher wants to even THINK about having kids on the night before the last day of school." So I calmed down a little. Okay, I calmed down a lot.

Also, I should point out that Joel is a loving hardass of a teacher. He teaches in the borough where he was born, raised, and educated, from kindergarten at P.S. 33 to a masters from Queens College. While he's not a physically imposing educator like Morgan Freeman in "Lean on Me," he knows these streets, too. He walks through the lunchroom pulling out kids who are blowing off their lab time so they can hang out with their friends for two lunch periods instead of one. He pushes them, because he wants them to succeed, and because they respond best to tough love. Sometimes that's all they respond to, and even then, there are some kids he just can't reach. He had a great year last year. This year, he thinks he reached five kids effectively, and even though he doesn't say it, that kind of kills him, at little bit.

But then, he got this today on Facebook.

"I just wanted to say that I thank you for helping (Student's Friend) _____ and I during our sophomore year... Even though the first few days we disliked you because you were a mean teacher to us and yea... we grew to understand that the only reason for why you were strict with us was because you wanted us to learn and be smart little kids, and not lazy."

It goes on for a few paragraphs about how she really learned a lot, how other teachers let her down but how she realizes now that her inability to pass the Regents (New York's standard end-of-year achievement testing) was due in part to her lack of effort, and how she's ashamed of that, but no more. She vows to pass them this year and said, "Thanks for your patience and your caring towards us. Thanks to you Mister _____ and I WILL PASS THE REGENTS, =]"

Best of all, she writes, "I think that you would make a great father, if you were to have kids Mister. They would be really smart."

And that right there? Is awesome.


cindy w said...

First things first: if the surgeon says wait 9 months, wait 9 months. Or you know, wait at least 6 months because it might take a few months of trying. And I'm guessing your mom is probably dead-on about the timing with the end of the school year. So who knows? In a few months, Joel might be much more gung-ho on the idea than he is now.

I think that whatever the timing, though, y'all will be awesome, kick-ass parents.

P.S. Morgan Freeman was in "Lean On Me." Edward James Olmos was in "Stand & Deliver." But you were close. (Sorry, I'm a movie nerd.)

Lauren said...

This post is awesome. As someone who does not want kids, I'm really glad there are people like you who do. You guys will be outstanding parents.

shannon said...

You and Joel are welcome to borrow our children whenever you like. :) I'm just saying.

(You will be excellent parents, both of you, when the time is right. The baby ache sucks, though. This I know.)