Tenth Year Reunion, Toddler in Tow, Third Trimester

Last weekend we returned to the alma mater, place of my meeting with Captain Dad. Because we share our reunion year, we brought along the tot. And, of course, I have no option but to bring along the unborn one.

Ten year is definitely the baby reunion. I think it may also be the existential crisis reunion, too.

Back in college, we all thought we were going to make a difference.

After all, we were young and bright, with our whole lives stretching before us. We were connecting with one another in long, late night conversations and debates. Our professors, some of the best in academia, actually made time to have coffee and discuss our ideas. And that soon-to-be published poet chatting with that future physicist? Pure synergy in the making. We were beautiful in that way that the young are.

Ten years is long enough for a few of us to have actually taken significant steps towards that brighter future. We now count among our ranks producers and actors with actual television, Broadway, and film credits; a few writers with published books; political operatives who have actually risen above the rank of intern; and others well along the path to possible greatness.

And the rest of us?

I’ve always wanted to be a mama, and my daughter is the light of my life.

But padding through the streets of New Haven on my increasingly swelling feet, carrying almost 50 pounds more than in yesteryear (only about 25 of which is junior’s fault), with one eye on a toddler, making superficial chit chat with people who I used to fancy knew my soul, could be crushing at times.

Captain Dad took great pleasure introducing his beautiful daughter and then, pointing in the direction of my swelling belly, “And this is junior.” And I suppose some of my swelling could have been pride, as well. But “breeding” was not really a major at our university.

We stayed in campus housing and our “roomate” echoed my own anxieties. I thought I would have more to say than I am a mother and a freelance writer. What was it I used to dream, wide-eyed, waking?

And possibly I’m projecting, but on the drunken visages of the few remaining single men, I seemed to notice a dawning disappointment in their lucrative, but ultimately ordinary jobs. With more time for the gym, most of them had shed the initial pounds from rich, corporate dinners they put on before the five year. Their bodies had slimmed and their wallets grown more bloated. But, perhaps the mid-six figures isn’t all it is cracked up to be?

What is the good life? And where will we find it, venturing out of the tower? And, do we have the courage to live it?

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  1. yalechk says:

    you have articulated why I am so scared to have kids. I LIKE to achieve things. Its kind of a high. I am scared that once I have kids, that will be it–I will spend all my time making sure the kid achieves things…only for her (?) to grow up, briefly achieve things, and then….what’s the point? I’ll have the eventually, but the whole thing is far too existentially disturbing for me…

  2. Mama Luxe says:

    But you are kind of missing the point a little…the single people who were moving up the ranks at their firms didn’t seem any more fulfilled, really. Sure, they could get drunk and have random hook-ups, and forget about that feeling.

    There seemed to be a number of people wondering what it was really all about. It isn’t that I don’t have the time to achieve…maybe it is more of a failure of confidence or courage.

    Maybe motherhood just makes you slow down a little and think about these things a little more.

  3. yalechk says:

    well i wouldn’t ever advocate for the single life–the people i know doing that are not happy and not fulfilled. i just don’t feel comfortable or ready to put aside my dreams in lieu of someone elses…I guess i’m just more selfish

  4. Mama Luxe says:

    You’re missing my meaning, though. Maybe YOU feel you would have to put aside your dreams to have children, I don’t know..that’s your own mind.

    But my failure to live out certain dreams isn’t because I’m sacrificing for my children. It has nothing to do with which of us is more “selfish.” It has everything to do with trying to remember what those dreams were and having the courage to pursue them.

    Maybe without kids, you hit the gym more or party more, so you can maybe brush aside these thoughts more, but I don’t think it is just a question of having kids or not having kids. It is a question of, 10 years out, how true to yourself have you been?

    And the others who don’t have children, they aren’t really living their dreams either.

    Did they sit around at 3:30 am and dream about changing the world through consulting? Was that their dream?

    Sure, financially they are successful. But how many truly thought that was their destiny?

  5. Debbie says:

    Wow. This post really spoke to me. I had so much angst in my 20s about whether I was “achieving enough” or “meeting my potential.” I always knew I wanted to be a mother,but it took me until 29 to feel ready. And even then I wasn’t prepared for how life changing that decision was. I worried that I would lose myself. But as I’ve adjusted to motherhood, I feel a joy I never felt before. And I have come to understand that it doesn’t mean sacrificing my dreams. With a supportive husband, I still have time for volunteering, work and even socializing with friends. I read someplace that once you have children your heart lives outside your body. And I think that is true. I’m not as carefree as I was before. My biggest priority is now my son and his well-being. I find that I actually want to spend time with him, so there are no more first class business trips or nights out at the latest cool bar with friends. But I find his smiles, coo and giggles more rewarding than my old carefree existence and my Chairman Preferred Airline status.