I met a friend for lunch at work today. This ladies, is one of the few advantages of having gone back to work, I occasionally get to have lunch without having to worry about feeding Baba and risking his projectile vomit everywhere. Just like being a working mum isn’t all it is cracked up to be, I doubt being a stay at home mum is either.
My friend is 39 and she married her husband a couple of years ago. This is his second marriage and he has two sons from his first. My friend, let’s call her Marianne, adores her step-sons. They go on holiday together and she tries really hard to be a great step-Mum. I have no doubt that she is.
But, my friend has always wanted babies of her own. Whilst she adores her step-sons, she can see the bond that they have with their father, their biological parent. She wants to feel and experience that. It is only natural.
Unfortunately, her husband had a vasectomy about a decade ago when he was still married to his first wife. They have tried to have the operation reversed, but he has recently had some tests and they have found out that the operation was unsuccessful. She is devastated and now realising that she may never have children of her own.
She is trying to work out what to do. He, to be fair to him, has said that he will do whatever she wants, that it is her decision. IVF would be an option for them, but she has said that she is not sure that she wants to embark upon the massively expensive and stressful procedure. She has ruled out adoption because for her that would essentially be what she has already with her step sons.
We got to talking about life in general, and how things never turn out quite as you plan. She has had her fair share of broken relationships (in fact, she is an ex girlfriend of my ex partner, the father of my son – isn’t the world a small and incestuous place!) Now that she has found her husband, loves him dearly and sees him as her soul-mate, she wanted for them to have a family of their own together. She wanted the 2.4 children fairy tale.
But life isn’t like that is it? Life always has other ideas. There is a limit to how much you can plan, prepare and script. No one has the fairy tale. And those who appear to, are probably just people we don’t know very well. We don’t know what life is throwing at them, what forks were in the road and what obstacles were in their path.
This sounds like quite a depressing post. Let’s face it, they are my forte! But actually, this isn’t meant to be a depressing post. Not for a second.
I like the forks in the road, the obstacles ahead, the challenges to my road-map. I like them because they are real. Let us not forget that out of our greatest challenges come our greatest achievements. How can we possibly know what makes us happy unless we know what it is like to be sad?
So, ladies and gentlemen, let me tell you now. I don’t want the fairy tale. I don’t want the mapped out existence. It is not enough for me. I want all of the s**t that life is going to throw at me because at the end of my life I want to be able to think back and say to myself: ‘I won’, ‘I triumphed’, ‘I prevailed’, ‘I achieved’. ‘I know what it is to be happy, because life taught me what it is to be sad’.
The fairy tale life would be a life half lived. I chose real life everyday.