The things we want the most elude us. That’s the thing that sucks worst about life (assuming you’re fairly prosperous and don’t live in a third world country.)
I had a friend in college I’ll call Lori, and of all of us, she was the one who wanted kids the most.
She had a boyfriend. Some of us thought he could be obnoxious at times, but he wasn’t actually abusive or anything. So we figured, there’s no accounting for tastes.
Then college was over, and Lori went to grad school. There was a different boyfriend, and this time there was an engagement ring. She was in school in my home state. He worked at her family’s business, about 600 miles away.
Grad school ended. She went back home. And found out her fiancé had been seeing another woman.
Her father offered to fire his ass, but she said no. Lori was a class act. I probably would have let my father kill him.
She came back to my home state and found a job with the help of another college friend. She planned to meet and marry a man with money. The main thing she cared about was being able to afford to stay home with her kids.
By this time we were in our mid to late 20s. I was meeting guys at parties and through friends. I wanted that special feeling – the passion, the chemistry, and also the deep comfort and feeling of being known. I wanted that elusive relationship that is both passionate and secure at the same time.
Lori wanted….babies. She was going to attend a church which she knew had a lot of wealthy members. I was dubious about this plan. How many single men go to church? Most churches I’ve seen have nothing but families with little kids, old people, and a few desperate single women. Of course I didn’t say that to Lori.
In any event, an illness in the family took her back to her home state, and she met her second fiancé.
I saw her when she made a visit back to my state. The wedding was going to be at Disney World – because his family was crazy about Disney.
She admitted that he had a bit of a temper. But, she said, she could take the kids and leave the house if he really got going.
Are you starting to see red flags? Because I was. I saw so many red flags I felt like I was at a bullfight.
This is what did it for me: “I’m going to wear my grandmother’s wedding ring. He’s going to use the ring from his first marriage.”
The wedding rings are supposed to be something the bride and groom give to each other. If you have a family heirloom, you have it reworked somehow and give it to your new spouse. Or you give it to one of your children, and they can do this.
And IMHO, you sure as hell don’t reuse the wedding ring from a previous spouse! WTF! Head explosion!
But Lori and I wanted different things. I wanted the right guy – so much that I never did have kids, because I wouldn’t do it without the right guy.
Lori wanted kids enough to have a Disney wedding, to a guy who was reusing his first wedding ring, and she had a contingency plan in case his temper got out of hand.
Lori and I drifted apart, but I heard things over the years.
She was trying to get pregnant. Her husband made the tired old jokes about how this was the best part of his life.
She was doing IVF.
Finally, they adopted a little girl from an Eastern European country.
Why did I tell you this story?
It isn’t just about infertility, or about the irony that some people are infertile and others have more babies than they really wanted, every single year, even with birth control.
I think most of us have one deep, dark, aching need with the power to break our hearts, turn our minds, and utterly ravage us.
For me, it was a relationship with the right man. Not just any man.
That didn’t make me “too picky;” in fact, as I look back, I wasn’t nearly picky enough sometimes. I put up with things no woman should put up with. I dated guys – once lived with a guy – who never even should have gotten my phone number.
I’m older now, and I think I’m stronger and wiser. I’ve learned the hard way that getting in too deep with the wrong guy is a terrible mistake.
I’ve learned that being unattached isn’t always so bad. George Bernard Shaw said it best: “Heartbreak is the end of happiness and the beginning of peace.”
I met a man in 2001 who was compatible mentally, emotionally, and physically. We had six great years. Then things started a slow spiral towards entropy.
I guess when I made all those wishes over the years – wishes on stars, wishes on birthday candles, coins tossed in mall fountains – I should have been more specific. I should have added a clause to my wish that said, “and things will stay good between us until I am no younger than 70 years old.”
Somebody once said to me, “I have a desire to be vulnerable with you…and I’m scared too.”
We all are. Deep down, I think we fear attaining our heart’s desire. And I think the reason is that we live so long hoping for it and trying to get it, that that becomes our way of life – wanting and not having.
What would you do if you actually did get your deepest desire? Are you so used to looking for it that you would have trouble adjusting to the lifestyle change of actually having it?