on Friday, we had a snow day. and a very small special guest.

Theodore is seven weeks old. he’s a jetsetting babe, born in Korea just before Christmas, now circling the globe meeting his grandparents. he has the cutest passport picture in the world.

his parents are good old friends, of ours and of each other. we knew them before they were a couple. they knew us before we were a couple. we go back. and this first baby of theirs was awaited and loved even before i got to put my arms around him Friday and marvel at his tiny feet and froglegs, his fuzzy head.

Josephine delighted in him, bouncing beside his car seat pointing and squealing baby! baby! Oscar made him a special – if possibly slightly dangerous – mobile of Tinkertoys. Dave picked him up in a fussy moment and swung him gently side to side, chuckling at how light he is.

from the corner of my eye, i caught them. it is an unmistakable thing, the posture of your partner – your person – with a newborn cuddled close. my head snapped around to meet them. my heart caught.

the first time i saw Dave hold a baby, Finn was in his arms. tenderly, fearlessly, he cradled him. two pounds and two ounces can take great strength. and big hands can hold the tiniest ones with a gentleness you never thought possible.

he held Oscar the same way, all the long colicky nights we walked the floor, and Posey in her turn. but she leaps in and out of his arms, now, laughing, begging to be spun upside down. her baby days are gone. our baby days are gone.  we’ve been sleeping through the night for a year, now, more or less. so holding Theo, Dave looked utterly different and entirely familiar all at once.

i held my breath, waited for the wistfulness to rock through me and my lungs to fill with longing.

nothing.

i breathed, but it was a sigh of relief. no want. no nothing, except bemusement. well, there you go, i thought. THAT’s what done feels like.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

i went for my annual exam – in other words, ahem, PAP TEST – last week, just after my birthday. the doc who saw me smiled and asked, so what are you using for contraception?

and i had a teensy little panic attack.

for twenty+ years i’ve been answering that question. for twenty+ years i’ve been answering reliably, perkily even. i am deeply eager to appear responsible. i am the Lisa Simpson of pap tests.

given that, the fact that the question caught me off-guard was odd, really. but what happened next nearly convinced me i’d fallen straight down a rabbit hole of 38-year-old dementia. my mind skittered around in my brainpan like a terrier, unable to latch onto anything salient whatsoever. contraception? it said to itself, nervously. it knew there should be an answer, but each time it wandered down the lurid paths where memories of contraception lurk, it came up empty.

sex, yes. protection? oh sweet merciful crap.

terrier brain screamed at me, o mah gods! you’re not protected! and i hyperventilated, spun round in circles, and tried to hide under the itty bitty johnny shirt i was sporting.

CAUGHT, finally, after all these years. i flailed and slumped like i do when Dave notices that the Nibs bags are all empty. i turned the colour of a tomato.

just as i was about to leap off the edge of the exam table and flagellate myself with the speculum, click. i remembered. vasectomy.

oh right. jaysus. permanent contraception i don’t even have to think about is NERVE-wracking.

but even in the moments when i couldn’t remember, i noticed there was no brief candle of hope  for another baby.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Dave rocked Theodore, and the baby fussed and peeped. i smiled, and Dave caught my eye. don’t go getting any ideas, he warned.

nothing is further from my mind, i replied, and i held his eye. it has been a long road, 5+ years of pregnancies and babies and sorrow and colic and hope. it ended, really, a few months back. but Friday, i noticed. and it was good.

then we nodded at each other, and handed that sweet little baby back to his parents. we breathed a big ol’ sigh of satisfaction, and maybe relief, and stepped over an invisible threshold into whatever the hell comes next, together.

did you ever know, suddenly? how did it come about?

or are you still waiting for that feeling? hoping? even without the actual expectation – or even possibility – of fulfillment?