I was sitting in a chair in the living room of our home when the news was delivered to me like a blow to the head. She asked me if I remembered when I was twenty-five and had chicken pox which of course I did, don’t even get me started on that one. There was a chance that having this childhood aliment at that age could cause sterility in adult males but on this day she informed me apparently not in my case. It took a moment to process what she said and I sat there dumbfounded with a blank look on my face still starring at the TV. “Are you saying you’re what I think your saying? Is this your cleaver way of telling me?” Apparently it was and she had confirmed her own suspicion earlier in the day with one of those sticks you pee on. It shouldn’t really be such a surprise she stopped taking her birth control pills back at the end of August when we decided maybe we should throw caution to the wind and see what happens and I guess now we know.
I think really she was ready to take this step a couple years ago and only made little suggestions here and there but never really forced the issue. If there is one thing my wife has learned in nearly twelve years together it was never to try and force me to do anything, it was a sure way to not make what you wanted to happen really happen if you tried to force it on me. Her being the cleaver manipulative woman she was knew this and only dropped her subtle but well placed hints and waited biding her time till I finally came around to her way of thinking. She knew to be successful she had to make it look like it was my idea when in reality it was all part of her own master plan that she hatched years earlier before we even got married seven years ago, possibly while we were still living together, though I had my suspicion this plan was hatched June 8th 1990 the night of our first date.
A blind date set up by a friend of mine I worked with who was dating her best friend who selfishly wanted to piece this third wheel off so he could make some time with his girlfriend, that’s when I was drawn into the plan. Her name was JoAnn and I knew her father already as he was the guy responsible for the coffee machine where I worked and I often spoke to him when he came in every couple weeks to restock our coffee and clean the machine. The only thing I was told about JoAnn by my friend Dave was that she that she was a really nice girl and had big beautiful …eyes yeah that’s it, that was all I needed so I was in.
I was twenty-three and single for a couple years and starting to worry I’d never meet that one special girl. I never went out much other than with a couple friends and being a relatively shy person I wasn’t one for talking to girls in bars. I’d been seeing a girl I went to high school with off and on for quite a few months but for me there was little magic and I was just putting in time till someone came along to light me up. With little other prospects on the horizon I agreed to the blind date, something I’d never done before so I didn’t have the first hand knowledge to know this was doomed to failure, there was no voice telling me to jump out now, don’t worry about the parachute just jump save yourself. So blindly I agreed and hoped for the best fearing the worst but it was just a couple hours of my life I’d never get back I wasn’t giving the girl a kidney or anything radical like that.
When the car pulled up in front of the house I was as nervous as a geek in a sweater his mom had knit for him could be at meeting a new girl, did I think I’d get any action tonight? Not a chance looking like this. Apparently She’d not been given the same opportunity to know she was being set up and sat blindly in the back seat of the car while Dave knocked on the door to retrieve me. I can only imagine the words exchanged by her to her friend Melanie who was in on the fix, having already met me and my sweater weeks earlier at a local bar. First impressions are important and short of staring at her in the back seat as we sat nervously beside each other I avoided eye contact with her and spent more time talking to Dave in the front seat but when I first climbed into the back seat with her and said “hello” I was blown away by her radiant smile and beauty. She had this weird hair thing going on I couldn’t figure out at the time but I was sporting a stupid crappy looking ponytail so who was I to point fingers. Over drinks that night we sat oppisite one another and got lost in conversation after conversation as we had a lot of interests from music to favorite comic strips in common. The whole concept of love at first sight was unfamiliar to me and truly I didn’t believe in such a thing but there was indeed magic and electricity in the air and my stomach didn’t stop it’s nervous flip flops till sometime later that night after we said good bye to one another knowing full well we would see one another again. She wasn’t pissed at her friend for setting her up now and I think it was somewhere around when we were talking about our favorite Beatle song quotes that she hatched her plan of attack.
She’d date this guy for the next ten or so months spending countless hours together then she’d move into his Niagara falls home with him for a couple years while she finished college. Then she’d move with him across the country to isolate him from family and friends. After a year out west when they’d been together five years she’d get him to propose marriage then it was just a matter of time till the trap closed fully on him and she’d harvest his sperm one night and have his baby. It was a cleaver scheme only one a true master mind could hatch and follow through on but she was a woman so that gave her the edge over me and she was patient, I never even saw it coming after all those years.
We still had the formality of the prerequisite doctors visit to confirm hers and the pee sticks suspicion that she was in fact pregnant, there was always the chance this was a great miss understanding and things would return to normal as quickly as they had been upset. The following Friday was set for the doctor’s appointment and I wandered around the house nervous all day awaiting the official word, lets face it those pee sticks are about 99 % accurate so I already knew the out come but it was something to get it from a doctor trained in these things there was always a slim chance she just had a hormonal in balance or some form of cancer. The call came in a few minutes after the appointment that confirmed she was clinically diagnosed as pregnant…. With child…a mommy to be which made me a father to be and I had so little time to prepare.
After years together and seeing friends and family have children I’d shake my head in wonder at the amount of responsibility involved in such an undertaking, I couldn’t believe how grown up these friends of ours where to have children. It was remarkable and I wondered if I would ever grow up myself and take this plunge, every time I thought of it I got scared and retreated like a frightened rabbit. JoAnn was banking on the fact I’d come around. She didn’t want to face the reality of divorcing me and finding someone new to procreate with her if she couldn’t get me around to the idea myself. It was a long trip but I finally got it on my own or at least while sleeping with my dog Abbey, that’s not as creepy as it sounds we were on a camping trip.
After a well-deserved break from work I took off camping just my dog and me and we headed north not knowing where or how far our journey would last. After a week we crossed into Alaska but by the time we were through, emotionally we’d traveled a lot further. I think we were four of five days out when I found myself sitting in the Yukon enjoying the warm summer sun watching Abbey play with a little girl at the next camp site when it really hit me and it hit me hard. There was a family of four next to us and seeing Abbey play with this little girl and her brother did something to me and caused me to well up a moment. I was alone and probably that’s why it happened in the first place had JoAnn been there the spell may not have been cast but I liked the idea that this could be my own daughter playing with our dog as we had a daddy /daughter camping trip. I wasn’t getting any younger and I liked the idea of this, I didn’t think about all the hard or crappy aspects of child rearing at that moment like I was prone to do most of the time always seeing the negative. I just saw a pure moment of a little girl playing with a dog and I was hooked. Had Abbey not come with me I wouldn’t have reached this moment and it was my idea to bring her to spare JoAnn from walking her before and after work everyday and now I had to wonder had she suggested I take her? Was it really my idea or was Abbey part of the conspiracy to trick me into feeling this way. No matter I did and it freed a spirit in me I wasn’t truly familiar with but it put a smile on my face and made the rest of our trip to Alaska very fulfilling. I really couldn’t wait to get home to JoAnn. I needed to let her know after just over twelve years of trying she’d finally broke me and I was both ready and wanted to have children I needed them in fact, my biological clock that I’d been hitting the snooze button on for years finally woke something up in me, you did it girl congratulations I was ready.
Now here I am at thirty-five years old starring down the barrel of a whole new chapter in my life. So far I’d spent over a third of my life with this woman now we’d be sharing ourselves with someone new, an amalgamation of our genes someone wholly new a son or a daughter it didn’t matter because after all this time I was ready to grow up and after only a few months without birth control we’d hit the genetic jackpot my wife was pregnant and I couldn’t be happier.