January 17, 2007
There's nothing like a gray rainy January day when you are dismantling your Christmas decorations and trying to decide whether to keep all the greeting cards with photos of your friends with their children when you didn't even bother to send out the usual you and Fifi in matching Santa hats to make you reflect on your life choices.
The annual pictorial parade of perfect progeny is the seasonal bragging right of parents to affirm their live giving or adoptive abilities as their friends and families share a collective cooing of "how cute" or "my how they've grown."
That's all fine and good. But I do have to admit I was surprised when my Christmas e-mail greeting from an old boyfriend was the ultra sound pictures of his in utero fetus. At first I couldn't even figure out what it was until I scrolled down to see the entire image. Now either I've missed something in the new revised version of Emily Post or we've just entered a new age of e-greetings but come on, a Christmas ultra sound — really?
I checked up top to see who else received the email since I thought it was perhaps his way to get back at childless ex-girlfriends but since he's French it's hard to tell if all those Micheles are he or she. Of course this was the guy who said, "It is the time," to me (he never quite mastered English) and, even though we weren't married and didn't have a viable support system, suggested we should still embark on the great adventure of having a child. With great respect for the amount of stability it takes to create a happy home I said, "Non."
So with the blurry black and white image on the computer screen came an explosion of emotions which made time stand still. A myriad of accomplishments in a woman's life deserve recognition, whether it is a loving romantic relationship, a successful career, a passion for the arts or humanities, a creative conviction or simply being a kind and compassionate person who roams the planet. But since the beginning of time there has also been something absolutely primal — nurturing life.
I had to ask myself — does a woman miss a fundamental part of the human experience by not being a mother?
When I peruse the family Christmas card pictures which are taken at snow capped ski resorts, beautiful beaches, or now cozy wombs, I realize what we don't see is the "You can't make me," or "I thought you had the camera," "No I thought you had the camera," "And when in all the packing of the kids stuff and making all the arrangements for the house sitter did you think I would have time?" meltdowns which preceded these moments of familial bliss.
The story these snapshots do not tell is of the bone weary tiredness, the learning disabilities, the pull in three different directions at once, the constant concern about the well being of your children in a dangerous world and the knowledge you cannot always be there to protect them. And yet these children become an eternal piece of each mother which lives on.
In response to my ex's e-mail I had the urge to brag about my wonderful career and this amazing short film, well video, that I was making about these wooden deer and this sad girl who then finds a nice guy who also has wooden deer . . . It was about this point in my plot that I felt totally defeated in my ability to translate it all into French.
Instead, as I clicked SAVE on my column and called my film crew to meet me in the woods and not to forget my fake antlers, I took just a moment to drop my expectant ex a note.
"Magnifique! Bon chance."
You can send comments to email@example.com