I don't know if I'm supposed to make some grand announcement. I certainly won't be going on ESPN for an hour-long special. But I have made my decision. (For those of you who don't follow sports or have any clue as to what I'm referencing, here's the background.)
Nearly six years ago, I called my brothers and sisters and told them, "I'm starting the process to get pregnant!" I told my closest friends, far and near. And I started shopping.
Three years later, I "came out" as a prospective adoptive parent.
After the Takesha nightmare, I took a break. I said I needed a year. But even then, even when I said I needed a year, I think I knew. I think I was letting it sink in for everyone else.
I've done all I can. I've done more than most would have. People tell me that, and in the moment I waved them off, but now....I realize it. I have done more the most.
When a blogger friend -- also single -- was going through the last stages of getting her daughter, she was telling me about the "courtship" with the birth mother. The back and forth, the worrying about saying the wrong thing that might offend, that might make this person change her mind.
I may have been 90% sure leading up to that moment, but in reading that email, in feeling that feeling in the pit of my stomach, I knew. It's not that I can't do this, it's that I no longer want to go through all those fucking hoops.
I don't want to have the second phone line. And the business cards. And the website. And do the advertising. And have the conversations with the attorney. And have the conversations with the birth mother, and worry about every. single. word. I say. Will she like me? Will she think I'm worthy?
And beyond that, I don't see myself as single mother to an infant at 43. When I started this process, way back when, the goal was to be a mom by 38. Certainly before 40, not three years into my 40s.
Over the summer, before my move, I gave almost all of my baby stuff to my friends Molly and Jill, who were both due in June.
They ended up having their babies on the day I left Ithaca (Laila, in my right arm) and four days later, on my second day at my new job (Emily, in my left arm).
And when all of that stuff was out of my house, I was left with one Rubbermaid bin. And that night I slept great.
There was some closure.
Last month, when I pulled my Christmas stuff out of the storage closet, I saw the baby bin. I asked Molly when I saw her a few days later, what should I do with the quilt that I made? And the blanket that my mother made?
I've come to decide that they will go to my next niece's to have their first babies. I'll just hold onto them. But everything else in the bin? What to do with it all?
When I left Ithaca College, I gave "gifts" to people I worked with. It was sort of a tradition there. The knick-knacks that accumulate in your office go to other people. And I was thoughtful in who I gave things to. Peter got my candy dish because he always came into my office, would take a piece of hard candy, put four pieces in his pocket and then take another before leaving. Tina got my Staples "easy" button because as an amazing administrative assistant and friend, she made things easier. And on and on...
And so I pulled the bin in and took everything out. Some may find what I'm doing heart-breaking, but as I wrote to one friend, I'm finding joy in the process of thinking about who gets what. And so one friend who lives in Baltimore and just adopted a little girl from Ethiopia is getting the "my first O's cap" baseball hat and my Princess Tiana Hallmark ornament. Another single mom with one child is getting my Hallmark ornaments that are of a momma and baby snowman (not daddy, just a momma).
There are still a lot -- A LOT -- of Yankees onesies in all sizes, but I think a dent has been made.
And not quite as sad as the Ernest Hemingway story. He once won a bet by crafting a six-word short story that can make people cry.
And so I'm done. No more baby momma drama. No more advertising. No more buying things, which I admit is a hard habit to break.
I find myself in Target or Kohls and see things on the clearance rack and for a brief moment, think I should get it. And then walk away.
And I can still be a mom someday.
Wanted: professional, handsome, kind and funny man, sports fan a must, preferably a widower with two small children.