At age 29, she found herself noticing the way that young men interacted with their small children. She imagined the way she could love someone with whom she shared a child, romantic love turned familial, an unbreakable bond. She scrolled through the instagram account of one of her favorite actors, and felt her body warm at the sight of photos of him holding his gorgeous blonde three year old in his broad, caramel covered arms. He was Mexican and Italian, with thick features, and very handsome.
She had always wondered if this would happen at some point, in fact she had been waiting for it. In her early twenties she had sat awkwardly silent as her girlfriends chatted about wanting children and she had felt like a foreigner, it just didn’t appeal to her. And yet, she knew that many women felt this procreation instinct kick in at some point. Therefore, she had remained vigilant, alway warily searching for it. Now here she was, looking at photos of young families, and imagining her husband cuddling with a toddler.
She watched a TV show featuring four divorced working mothers, and found herself craving the chaos. The mothers dropped their children at school, and ran to their jobs at which they excelled. They would get emergency calls about forgotten flutes and rush to the school in professional outfits with good hair. They were super heroes, needed in an existential way. They were beautiful and strong and probably had zero time to nurse anxiety about global warming and the meaning of life. Was that why people had children? To make themselves too busy to think?
Shit, she thought. It’s really happening now. She imagined her husband Tim and her raising a child. She would land at the airport only to find him waiting in the car with a carseat in back. “Your turn” he would say. He would look tired, and his clothing would be stained and rumpled. She would smile wearily and pretend to be excited for the next two weeks of lone diaper changing. Then he would get out of the car, kiss her goodbye, and board a plane for his tour. She would load her instruments into the same car and drive home with their now wailing child. A life of alternating single parenthood. An interesting idea, but it didn’t really appeal.
She could give up touring and become an interior designer. She imagined herself stylishly dressed, sipping on a latte as she strolled around a half empty craftsman home with a well-off couple. “We just aren’t sure what color to go with”, the one woman would say. Her partner would chime in “She loves purple but I just think it’s way too much, even for lesbians”. She would sit down at a table and pull out a mood board featuring shiny magazine photographs. “This is what I’m thinking for the color pallet,” she would say. Then she edited this image in her brain, it would more likely be a Pinterest board on a laptop, it wasn’t 1995. In her fantasy her phone rang. “Oh, I’m so sorry, my kid is sick,” she said. “I have to run but I will have all these edits done for you by Thursday!” “Of course! Of course” they would say. “Thank you so much, you’re a lifesaver!”.
Then she imagined herself never touring, never playing songs again, never writing them. She tried to really feel it; a mindset in which she wasn’t committed first and foremost to songs. “I still like to play and write, I just don’t do it as much” she would say to friends over dinner. In reality, she wouldn’t have touched a guitar in months. What would she be rooted around? She would be a planet orbiting a sort of black hole, grounded by nothingness. Her work propelled her, she realized. And songs were above all, her gravitational pull.