When I married at age 30, I knew I wanted two kids by the time I turned 35.
I’m a planner. During my full-time working years, my planning was mostly restricted to weekends and typically involved intricately jamming thousands of errands into my two days off.
In accordance with my post-marriage plan, I got pregnant at 32. We bought all of the baby stuff during the second trimester. I didn’t want to be unprepared. I always thought he’d come early, like I did. But in the end, Conor arrived two days late.
Now that I’m a Real Housewife of NJ, every day is full of errands and chores, some more annoying than others (Pouring fifty-pound bags of rock salt into the water softener is way up there). Each day plays out differently, depending on a ton of variables too numerous to list. According to what I need to accomplish, I mentally map out my plan the evening before. I like deciding exactly how my tomorrow will unfold.
I figured having my second and final baby a couple of years later would allow for several advantages. First, the two kids would be playmates. Second, who wants to go back to changing diapers after already being done? Third, by the time they both left for college, I’d still be reasonably young enough to have an entire life afterwards.
It’s not that I always have to have a plan. I’m not an automaton. I love lazy plan-less days or evenings where I can do whatever I want. It’s just that when I have a plan, I get a little bent out of shape if the plan changes at the last minute. And of course, because I don’t have complete control of the universe, this happens fairly frequently.
When Conor was 18 months old, I suggested to Rich that we try for another, which is pretty much the best plan any husband has heard since the first baby was born.
Rich is not a planner. He doesn’t understand why it’s hard for me to get excited about going to a movie if we’ve already decided to go out for dinner. It can take me many many minutes to get on board with a change like that. It’s crazy, I know. Especially since I’m really pretty low-key about most things.
Shortly thereafter, I found a lump in my right breast. The first doctor thought it was benign.
I want to be able to happily go with the flow when Rich spontaneously suggests an alternate plan, to not feel out of sorts.
But it was cancer. I needed surgery, four months of chemotherapy, six weeks of radiation, five years of tamoxifen. After chemo, once I got over my dealth-panic and realized I’d probably live, I was left with this: No second baby any time soon, maybe no second baby ever, since my chances of recovering from chemo-induced menopause were fifty percent. Cancer didn’t give a damn about my baby plan.
Because date night is supposed to be a de-stressor, and I do actually get, at least on some level, that it’s not that big of a deal to swap out dinner for a movie.
Note: We had our second son, Shane, the one we were meant to have, six years later.
Other posts about my cancer experience:
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