Monday, January 31st, 2011 • 2 Comments on Two Roads Diverged And I Walked Both
I feel as if my life took this strange and crazy detour about two years ago. I hit 39, 40, 41… and then boom… by the time I turned 42, I was pregnant. Of course, it was still so early in the pregnancy I didn’t really believe it was real. Not after the previous summer’s miscarriage, not after all the reading and researching I’ve done. I knew the odds were against me, I knew the statistics weren’t in my favor. So even on that 42nd birthday as I shunned alcohol and caffeine, I felt like I was playing at being pregnant.
Oh, but what a change when I turned 43! A five month old babe in arms, I was an entirely different person in an entirely different life, it seemed. And I reeled at how it had all happened. Oh, I know the logistics and the biology of it all, but there I was on a very stable, solid, predictable, controllable path for so very long. And suddenly… boom (again)… new path! One that was less stable, not as solid, unpredictable and uncontrollable. How, I wondered, had that happened? My life had taken this suddenly odd turn into the twilight zone where diapers and formula were a part of my day-to-day existence. The woman who had never previously changed a diaper in her entire life was suddenly, intimately aware of just how much one tiny diaper could hold.
I’ll turn 44 in a few short months. I will be at the end of my second trimester, there will be no alcohol or caffeine again—though I certainly overdid it on both counts on my 43 birthday, as if I knew I’d be denied again this year! And next year… I will turn 45 and be the mother of two young children, my life a cacophony of noise and laughter, toys climbing the walls, potty training underway for Patrick, teething and crawling and all those other first year developments for his brother or sister.
A far cry from my life at 40.
I keep thinking of the Robert Frost poem, “The Road Not Taken”:
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference
I feel as if I spent a good chunk of my adult life walking one path—the path of the childless woman, half of a couple with no other responsibilities or obligations—and at the age of 42, I took the other road. In many ways, I feel lucky to have done it the way I have. To have gotten to be the solitary writer for so long, the wife and partner for nearly 20 years, then to get to have the experience of motherhood and family, to witness the amazing developments in a child who looks so much like my husband—to see that connection between nature and nurture blossom right before my eyes.
I don’t know where this new path will take me, but I’m glad I’ve gotten the chance to walk it.