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08/30/2011

Let me ride on the wall of death one more time

We are all fine after Irene, and thank you for asking. The storm tore up the southern part of our state so badly it makes me cry to see the pictures, and nearby towns were inundated, made inaccessible by rising waters and washed-out roads, but my town suffered only flooded streets and basements.

I expected worse, and I say that not in an eye-rolling-major-metro-jerkwaddy way, but dodged-a-bullet-grateful style. I grew up in south Louisiana, where we took these things seriously enough to tape our windows and fill our bathtubs, and damned if it didn't stick, because there I was bottling up water and charging the emergency lights as if driven by instinct alone. But it has to be nurture, not nature, nothing genetic about it, because on Saturday evening, after we'd stowed the lawn furniture and picked up the toys from the yard, Charlie stayed outside...to water the plants.

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The next day was glorious. If you ignored everything around you and just looked up to the sky, it was like nothing even happened. So that is what we did, on the Ferris wheel at the fair.

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The pills continue to work, making everything absolutely perfect, or close enough, anyway, that I just now sacrificed Curious George to ward off the evil eye. (Actually, I plunged him into the washing machine to rid him of the funk of urine, but don't tell the vengeful gods that.) We don't know yet what will change for Charlie in the classroom, but a lot has changed at home. We now have to tell him only six times to go get his socks, instead of nineteen with a Taser, or at the very least a Sherpa. Entire meals pass by without our having to remind him that if he keeps hopping up and whirling around like that with utensils in his hand, someone is bound to geMotherFUCK there is a FORK in my EYE holy God JESUS the SRIRACHA the COCK SAUCE it BURRRRRNS. And although his impulse control is still sometimes wanting, he is less inclined to explode and more inclined to use words, spoken at more or less normal volume.

Or even in print. The other day I did something he didn't like — normal bullshit parental request, normal bullshit offspring objection — and he stomped off to his room, then returned five minutes later, stopped precisely three steps in front of me, and thrust a slip of paper at me, saying, "I am really mad at you. For more information, visit my web site or request it by e-mail. Here."

Madrage

And he spun on his heel and marched out, no doubt on his way to lambaste me on Twitter for my crap-ass customer service.

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Still thinking about the article I wrote about last time, and your comments on same. I think y'all know me by now, and how staunchly pro-choice I am. That's how I feel about policy, a position many of you share, but it's also my personal inclination; I think "I don't want to have a baby" is a plenty good reason not to, pretty much no matter what. Thanks to a transformative experience of my own, I can't support the notion that women come to such a decision lightly, and I feel compassion for anyone who faces it. I object to Jenny's contention that ART babies are somehow more of a product than, you know, real babies, but I can't think she was wrong in having her "half abortion."

A lot of you expressed disbelief that someone who'd wanted a baby badly enough to pursue ART could then intentionally rid herself of one. I keep coming back, though, to the idea that it's not just the baby some of us want. ("Just," "simply," "merely," "only" — none of those words quite work here; "just" will "simply" have to do.)  If it were, would we go through all we do, to try to have exactly that baby in that particular way?

We each have this vision of what we want our life to be, right?  And then we encounter infertility, and that idea gets jacked all to hell.  Some of us then find we can be flexible in the particulars: Okay, well, shit, but there are always plans C, D, and E.  Some of us find we can't: Adoption isn't for us, or Not with another man's sperm.  But at least at first, to some degree, most of us try to hold to that original picture, as much as our circumstances allow.

That's what I think Jenny and the other women in the article are doing, "merely" clinging to their longed-for vision, however foolish it might seem to others.  I may think they do so with more tenacity than wisdom; I may think the picture they cherish is distorted; I may find their determination a little sad and spooky. But I feel a great deal of sympathy for them, having done the same myself.  To a lesser degree, perhaps — but then again, looking at my archives here, huh, maybe not.

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