Saturday, May 08, 2010

I'm Going This Way!

We have known all along that I was pregnant, confirmed in late January. The due date is something like October 6. As of Tuesday, I'm 18 weeks pregnant. I could have waited longer to tell people since mostly the only people I see anymore are work folks, but I was starting to feel bad about it.

Here's the thing: I don't just want to talk about being pregnant. (people who can only talk about their kids drive me up the wall) In fact, so far, I don't really like the pregnancy bit. It's just a necessary means to an end we chose.

I went through most of my life pretty sure I was not interested in having children. And I got a lot of patronizing comments. I would change my mind. (I didn't). My biological clock would start ticking. (It didn't). When I met the right man, blah blah blah. Well, maybe. It was assumed that my lack of interest in children was a mark of immaturity, that I would, at some biologically determined time, "grow out of it" and become obsessed with breeding like everyone said.

It was insulting.

Paul is really good with kids-- he loves them, and they love him back. I think he'd make a great father and I'm excited about that. I think about how much I love my dad, and I think paul will be the kind of dad some kid will love too.

I'm not so sure about myself, but it's not really the point. Kids make me awkward, and they can smell my fear. Babies hold even less interest for me. Don't even get me started about their parents... sometimes the parents are even worse than the little children (something I learned doing large events with Girl Scouts-- sometimes the kids are more patient and understanding than their harpie helicopter parents)

But it's not the point, whether I changed my mind or not. I'm not sure I ever made my mind up. People assumed I would never have kids, but I don't think I ever said as much. Like a lot of things in my life, it's just another path to be on. I still have a pretty nice vision of how nice it has been, and would be, to go without children. It doesn't strike me as an empty place at all. In fact, I have a lot of dreams and goals that lie firmly on this path. I really enjoy my me time-- I think I'm pretty selfish. I want to have the freedom to drop what I'm doing and travel, go on a long ride through the desert on my little dirtbike, take that unmarked road through the Lost Coast, spend my savings on a trip to Italy.

But I can see the other side too.

There will be a different set of dreams and goals and mileage markers on this path-- many I couldn't even imagine. Never one to keep with the comfortable, I am ready to go into the uncharted territory, to slap some sharks. I can't wait to see how we change and grow, and who we become. We'll be the same, but different. I already know who we are now.

When I was in 7th Grade, we had to memorize this poem. I'm sure you've heard it, but unlike me, probably can't recite it in the shower:


Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference

~Robert Frost

Most people think this poem is titled "The Road Less Traveled," and assume the title refers to the teller's picking the more adventurous path that was less known. We're rugged individualists, us Americans, and we often interpret this as a glorification of taking of on an untraveled road, screw those conformists!

Maybe. But maybe, with its actual title, it could refer to the other road, the one he didn't take, the one popularly assumed to be common and pedestrian. I don't know why the one path is always assumed to be common and predictable while the other is the glorified adventurous one, since he says they are really about the same, and equal. I think the point is that he can only take one, and therefor never really know whether the other was as good, better, more adventurous, etc.

He just had to pick one. And that meant there was one he left not traveled.

You just have to pick one too.

I don't get very interested in most poetry, but this one has stuck with me all my life.
I've looked down both of these roads as far as I can, and they both look beautiful and adventurous. This one is just as fair, and having perhaps the better claim, because it's a little less of the same to me, and maybe a little more challenging. In the end, maybe I like Frost, can smugly look back on what a great decision I made. I hope we all can, no matter what decision we made. Either way it must have been the right one. Either way we'll be taken in ways we can't see now, but when we look back on them, we'll be so please we took the "right" path. In truth, either one was just as right, and in general we don't even know what we missed on the other one, but we're absolutely sure it couldn't have held a candle to the one we took. Thankfully we even believe that most of the time. We don't have any other choice unless we want to live our lives in second-guessing and regret (come to think of it, I've known people who spend lots of time sadly pondering about what might have been... LAME!)

I've always gotten the most enjoyment out of my stupidest ideas anyway? Hello Cal24, Sheetiron, Lost Coast without a map!

From 2003.05.17 SHEETIRON

(me after crashing like 6 times in 20 minutes. I should have been crying at this point, as I was clearly totally unable to handle the spot I had gotten myself in. However, I had entrusted James who said I could do this thing, and so I did, regardless of whether I should.)

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