Monday, May 11, 2009

Desperate housewife

This is what I started and deleted the other day. DH found a short history of a biracial 4 year old child on the provincial adoption waiting list. My immediate thought was no, I want a baby. What about attachment issues with the foster mum, where is her biological mum, questions begat more questions. Maybe, maybe. Another process to begin, more forms, more protocol, more questions. Which way to go?

Then I asked myself, why do I want a baby? Cause everyone else has one? Cause I want to buy cute little clothes and have a baby shower and people over to ooh and aahh, all the other things that I never got to experience as a biological mum of my own? Did I not realize how sleep deprived and crazy I would get worrying about which bisphenol free bottle to use? What about feeding her and bathing her tiny little body, memorizing every crease and detail? Watching her eyes become focused on mine as the one who would love and care for her? What if I left the kid in the car? Have I got what it takes to be a yummy mummy? I don't have a nanny, how am I supposed to get my hair done and go to the gym. What about DH, would he be content with the changes? My mum could coo and hold her - I know she would love her. I know she would accept her.

The other day, mum and I were hanging out at Starbucks. As per usual, I was reading a local paper and she was looking out the window at the people, we'd chat about this and that. A man came up with a child in a stroller and parked it so that the baby was looking in at us through the window. Then the mum came along with a little Yorkshire in her hands. Mum looked at me and said, "Soon, that will be you." Tears welled in my eyes. I wanted to ask her, when, WHEN??! I wanted to believe that she knew something that I didn't.

And yet, my mind wondered to what life would look like if I did have an older child. I could take him or her to preschool or elementary school. I could have a bit of time to myself. We could go on vacation, maybe Disneyland and I wouldn't have to tote around diapers and bottles. We could dispense entirely the conversations about consistency of poo. I could talk to the kid. Help with the homework, teach how to tie shoes. I would have to earn their trust, help them to adjust to not having their present foster parent, maybe a new routine, cook their favourite foods.

Sigh. I'm a desperate housewife. Minus the gold credit card and the fake tits. My professional life is non-existent cause in show business you're only as good as your last job - which for me was a year ago. I am a woman of a certain age in a business that worships the young(er). I cringe but there you have it. I only get really jazzed up creatively when I'm working on a project, but until then.... I work at my joe job, move around the creative irons in fire so to speak, take care of my puppy, my mum, my hubby and do Buddhist activities (which I totally adore). So of course, I've attached my identity to being a mum - you know the MOST DIFFICULT JOB IN THE WORLD. I've got my resume in hand, filling out applications and no one is calling me back.

Hubby and I had a conversation the other night. Well, he did. I got a little defensive, I admit it, but it was because he asked why we had taken so long to get things done. He's been just as frustrated and discouraged by the lack of results. He's pragmatic and more "shit or get off the pot" kind of guy. Me, I'm more like "mmm, maybe I'll shit, maybe I won't, maybe I'll have a coffee, what's that shiny thing over there" kind of girl. Yes, we drive each other crazy sometimes. We should have gone with the US lawyer sooner, should have done our profile sooner, should have gone online sooner, etc. If we had to pull the plug on this, did we really do everything we could have done to make this thing happen? Maybe we didn't move fast enough. We're going to be senior citizens by the time this theoretical child is in high school. We need to start living our lives instead of just "waiting". Maybe we're not cut out for this shit. All true and significant points. It's nothing that I haven't considered. I heard that he was saying that he didn't need a child to "complete" him especially one that doesn't come out of me. He's cried right along with me after each failed IVF attempt. I didn't bring up the fact that at the end of our homestudy, we found that we had to do repair work on our relationship - and I had to work on the size of my ass - so our hot and heavy pursuit was significantly delayed. I know my enthusiasm was certainly dampened. I had become so focused on getting a child or rather NOT having one, that I had conveniently ignored the fallout of infertility and depression. Of course, obsession only works when you're finally successful.

It's a little like the acting profession. It's a highly competitive field and only a tiny percentage make a living out from it. You spend a great deal of time and money on classes, pictures, finding the right agent. The agent is always so excited at first and you get a lot of auditions. If you're not fortunate, you don't book. Other people seem to be working, but not you. Then as time goes by, the auditions get fewer and fewer and you have to figure out how to have a life in between them. Sometimes you get miserable, sometimes you get depressed. When you get a call, you drop everything, all your plans and your whole body goes into alert mode. What time is it, where do I have to go, how do I get there, do I have to cancel work, change plans, buy the right clothes, learn a song, brush up on an accent? Do I have time to find a coach, can I afford it, can I just wing it on my own? Do I stay up late to learn my lines, or get up super early? Then after the audition, you rush back to your joe job, and jump every time the phone rings - is it my agent, please let me get that job so I can quit this shitty job? You wait and wait, sometimes for days. Should I call my agent, what was the feedback? Sometimes, the call never comes. Maybe you start to resent the phone call cause it puts you back into the merry go round again. Maybe you need to find another agent and boy, let me tell you, that sucks. You hear in acting class how so and so is working, who got the job, what film is coming to town that you didn't get in to audition for and you start to question your worth. Your self esteem plummets. How much do you love acting? How long do you do this? Is getting a gig every now and then worth all the sacrifice, the hard work. You watch other friends get good jobs, buy homes and cars and build families. You doggedly pursue your dream and there's enough carrots to keep you going. Don't look now, but those carrots aren't helping you to get over the broken bones from the sticks. But the big break just never seems to come your way, it's not that you're not talented, it's not that you don't care. You just get tired of trying to reinvent yourself, prove yourself over and over and over. A thick resume in another profession might guarantee you respect and reward. But like I said, obsession only counts when you win big time. Then it can be described as dedication.

In both circumstances, I would have made different choices. Certainly speedier choices. If I knew then what I know now. There really isn't a roadmap to follow in these cases. None that I've seen anyway. Maybe I haven't been obsessed ENOUGH.

I'm sensing an end to this, one way or the other.


lassie said...

I wanted a newborn. I mean- REALLY wanted a newborn. That was the only reason we didn't pursue international adoption. Then, out of the blue, our SW told us she had a one year old child who might be a good fit for us. Enter Little Lassie- my light, my joy, but not my newborn. A year after placement (Little Lassie is 2 now) I see our leap of faith was the right choice.

It sounds like acting is a continuous "leaping of faith." I can see how that would be difficult and at times daunting. You know, we dream what we dream. Its not easy to change a dream because reality dealt you a crap hand.

I'm kind of all over the place with this comment, but your post resonates with me on several levels. There is peace in your future. You will find it or it will find you.

OHN said...

Similar but not the the situation of adopting all together. Ok, I will explain that weird attempt of a thought.

When we were on the do we-don't we fence a good friend looked at me point blank and asked "what is it that you are expecting out of this, what is your goal"...I gave her my clueless look and she continued with, "you want to be a parent". Thats it...that was all she said and somehow the fog lifted and I got what she meant.

Personally, knowing what I know now, I (again, personally) would not hesitate to adopt a child older than a newborn. There is so much chaos with babies that disappears when the child is a bit older. Just my 2 cents.

As for the acting...I always thought it would be such fun, then I heard that almost every waitress in NY City is a hopeful actress and I decided that I needed a more steady job :)

Pamela T. said...

You ask and answer some huge questions here.

I totally hear you on the multitude of issues associated with moving forward on the various fronts after being leveled by IF. There's no easy "fast start" program when you've been knocked on your keister.

Just know you're not waiting alone ... we're here to listen.

Wordgirl said...

I so connected with so much of this post -- the personal and the professional --

G and I had a conversation in the same general neighborhood, but tilted slightly -- we were talking more about ambition -- as it related to W and then reflecting on ourselves and he said something like "well, we haven't exactly lit it up, have we?" by which, presumably he meant I wasn't lobbying for some ivy league teaching position and obsessed night and day with writing -- and he wasn't becoming the very tippy-top of his profession -- and yet we're both middling good at what we do, but ultimately we could do no better because we prioritized other things in the end --I like to think we felt we were good enough as we were and didn't have the bottomless need that drives so many -- and in the end, maybe it thwarted us....

I truly believe that when the situation arises that is your own -- your heart will recognize it, there will be no more fear -- and you will know.




annacyclopedia said...

Of course I have no answers for you, but I am so proud of you for asking these questions and delving deep into yourself and your experience to try to figure it out.

I know you will be a brilliant mum, whether it is to a little baby or an older kid. Your ability to connect will bring you through whatever situation comes to you.

And your description of you and your man made me laugh, cause it is so true of me and Manny, too. I can't understand how they can take the shortest path with no angst!