I don't stalk exes all that often. But the other day I happened upon a guy I had been fairly serious with for a while and there he was on Facebook, holding a cute little cuddly baby in his arms.
I was happy for him. Genuinely.
But I also felt an acute sense of 38-year-old-about-to-be-39-year-old emptiness and loss. And yes, I realize how earnest and setting myself up for ridicule that statement is. That's okay, though. It's real, and that's the standard I try to live up to.
I've never felt like I needed children. I've been babysitting since I was 14 and have raised so many children from babies that it was just something that never seemed like a "must" on my life bucket list for me. I felt like my mothering and nurturing was being spread out into the world with any baby or child I came into contact with and that made me immensely happy.
When I got married at 25, I knew ahead of time that this ex definitely didn't want kids. So I thought long and hard about whether or not this was going to be a dealbreaker for me. I had the same attitude then that I have now. If it happens, okay, but if it doesn't seem like it's going to, then that's okay, too.
I quite like that John Lennon quote about life happening when you're making other plans. I figure, I do my best, and that's all you can do. If having a kid is in the cards for me, then great. If not, I'll give love to all the kids and babies and animals who need it along the way.
When I moved into my own apartment in December 2012, I was so excited to find out that I could have a pet. I posted on Facebook about what kind of a dog I might get, and a friend of mine told me that a beautiful pitbull named Samsung was going to be euthanized the following morning if I was serious. Being someone who has always believed in synchronicity and fate and who liked to take chances on things that seem like positive risks, I researched it a bit and decided to go for it and adopt my sweet Sam.
Sam has taught me a lot, including how social and playful and spirited he is with other dogs. He goes to D is for Doggy where he plays with huge Great Danes and teeny tiny little toy dogs alike all day long. He's always been good with other dogs, and I've always secretly wanted to give him a little dog brother.
But when I saw that picture of my ex and his baby, something hit me: If I wanted to add to my own family, I could actually do just that. It was within my power. I could still get the puppy that I had secretly dreamed about before adopting Sam.
So I did just that.
Yesterday at 8:30 p.m., I adopted this little guy. He is a little under four months old, and I love him very much. And last night as he lay on top of my pitbull as we sat in bed and all three of us cuddled, I quite enjoyed what a caricature I was becoming. The chick, nearly 40, with dogs. And I never felt happier.
My mom who is 72 adopted a kitten recently and to hear the youthful joy in her voice every time I've talked to her lately, it's made me go through a cycle of thinking: Want tiny animal, can't get tiny animal, will become caricature of woman with tiny animals, only other people get to have tiny animals -- and repeat.
But yesterday I realized: Why did I think that way? Who cares what other people think? My heart melts holding this little guy and watching him and loving him and seeing Sam sniff noses with him, I think that's the only driving force that I should follow in this life is love and joy.
I haven't told anyone except for one or two people so far, so you are actually hearing it here first, xoJane. Not even my parents or sister know.
(Oh, and in case you are worried: I absolutely promise not to adopt 10 more puppies if 10 more exes suddenly have offspring. This is a one-time deal, I swear.)
I need to name him now, though.
I'm leaning toward "Trip" which comes from my friend Lindsay whose favorite number is 3 which led to Triple which led to Trip. I had another friend suggest, um, "Bad Idea." My initial suggestion was "Ryan Gosling." Or since my rescue pit came with the completely weird name Samsung (I figured since he was a year and a half I didn't want to change it on him, and I mostly call him "Sam") I suppose I could go with Toshiba or Motorola -- AT&T Family Plan? T-Mobile, maybe?
I am fully and totally open to your naming suggestions, but I'll decide by the end of the day so please let me know what you think!
Find Mandy long-form at http://tinyurl.com/stadtmiller.