Published in the Santa Barbara Sentinel under the pen name Elizabeth Rose. Chris is known as “Jason” in the I Heart stories.
“I added you the Netflix account,” Jason said.
My eyes soften and I slump into a goofy grin.
It’s been almost a year since we’ve been together and still when he says or show certain acts of his love, it feels like warm honey poured over my heart.
I log into our account and let out an exaggerated “aw” when, under the Who’s Watching title, I see an orange smiley-faced square with his name and a teal-blue square with my own.
The pre-pubescent aw transforms into a 30-something whoa when I read the square below.
In big, gray block letters set against a bright white background are the letters k-i-d-s.
Lately, the subject has been everywhere.
Even for Netflix, baby’s on board.
Not too long ago, I dropped the bomb on my family that I’m sailing to Mexico.
The news hit them in varying degrees, as can be expected.
My mother fears for safety, my dad tearfully applauds my decision, and my sister is skeptical.
Her skepticism carried over into our first big fight.
I’m not sure what sparked the argument, but the underlying factor was a reaction to our ever-contrasting lives.
It became evident on my last visit home, as I laid on the pillow-top mattress in my sister’s guest bedroom and examined our differencing lifestyle choices.
I’m the oldest by six and a half years, yet she’s surpassed me in the sense of a traditional American adult.
At 27, she married a loving man. They live in a cozy home with a sweet dog, rooted in a picturesque town fewer than 10 miles from my parents. A sweet life indeed.
I moved across the country at age 30, made a living as a freelance writer, and now live on a sailboat indefinitely where the only roots I have are the ones within my soul.
My sister and I made up later that evening, apologizing for words said.
Several days later, we found out she’s pregnant.
She attributes hormones for her end of the argument, but hormones only amplified our true feelings.
Change in our family dynamics had surfaced long before news of the little miracle.
Of course, the happiness for my only sister and her husband is infinite, and the world will only benefit from the duplication of their beings.
But selfishly, I felt relieved.
Relieved the baby news would take pressure was off me to constantly explain my decision to cruise on a sailboat.
The baby news also acts as a flashing red light in my face:
Do I want kids?
One part of me can’t believe I’m at the age to think about kids.
There is so much to do sans children (i.e., world travel, sleep…) and I feel in no way ready for parenthood.
I’d like to put a pin in it for another four to five years.
Think about it then.
Another truth is I’m afraid to go down that road for fear of wanting a child so badly that it may not come true.
The third factor? Children are f*cking hard work.
I still apologize to my mom for my teenage years, and I’ll admit I rely on my parents for more than just emotional support.
And the questions keep coming.
In the very distant past, didn’t people have kids for extra hands on the farm?
Are kids just a narcissistic way to create mini-versions of ourselves?
A wise woman told me while one woman’s destiny is to create a child, another’s is to create art.
We are at the age (30s and 40s) when our bodies want to create.
Yet, it isn’t limited in utero.
To bring beauty into the world – whether through a child or through art and lifestyle – is the purest form of self-expression.
It’s the ability to love something or someone selflessly enough.
And to be brave and vulnerable enough – to show what the inside of our hearts look like.
The timing of the blessed child auspicious.
As one sister begins the adventure of being a mom and the other, a life at sea.
Two women, though miles apart, can bond over the trials and celebrations of creating futures for themselves – in a belly or on a boat.