PAGE # 17
Tom and I were enjoying ourselves. Our meeting was going well. Kendra was pregnant with our future adoptive child and we liked her! Her husband, Johnny, was not the bio dad, but he was great too. I kind of wished it was his baby, but then, we wouldn't be in this situation, about to adopt a baby and all. Or would we be?
Two married couples, a mystery baby girl in belly, no dying dog, and one adoption attorney: We all occupied the same space, at the same time, brought together by specific, albeit unusual circumstances, and it started to feel, well, kind of familiar. Not that I ever placed a biological child of my own for adoption. Not that Tom and I ever suffered through multiple separations. And certainly not that I had ever been pregnant with another man's baby. But on that day, and under the conditions we were in, we started to view Kendra and Johnny as younger versions of ourselves. As if they were just like we had once been; only we took a luckier path, and they, through poor luck or other misfortune, ended up in a bit of a mess.
I think it was Tom who asked the next question, and he directed it toward Johnny, who'd been silent thus far:
"So, what kind of work do you do?"
Johnny sat up taller. He liked this topic.
"I work in my family's business. Since I was a kid," he replied. He gave a detailed description of his responsibilities and latest accomplishments.
"Tom works in his family's business too!" I interjected.
And with that, the two husbands began an engaging conversation. I heard mention of 'career goals' and 'entrepreneurship,' but Kendra and I were focused on our own exchange by that point.
"Was it hard for you to find other friends?" she asked me. "I mean, other young mom friends?" She was referring to the fact that Tom and I had also been very young parents (once upon a time).
I laughed, remembering how other moms often mistook me for TJ's nanny or babysitter.
"Yeah, it kind of was," I said. "Not that many people have kids in their early 20s nowadays. I was always the youngest mom everywhere I went."
Kendra was nodding her head. "Yeah, I don't even know how to talk to the other moms! I feel like they're looking down at me."
I was encouraging:
"Kendra," I said, "if there's one thing I've learned in life, it's that everyone is feeling like she is the odd woman out. I know plenty of moms in their late 30s who complain about Mommy & Me classes feeling like the social equivalent of high school all over again. You just have to be friendly and put yourself out there."
Kendra was listening closely.
"Look," I continued. "Tom and I have friends of all ages. Of course, we have friends our own age, and some are even younger now. But when we were young like you guys, raising a kid, we had no friends our age with kids. But we made it our business to make friends with other parents. We're still friends with those people. We were going to 40th birthday parties in our early 20s, but those were the people we had the most in common with. You don't ditch your other friends, you just wait for them to catch up. And they will. I promise."
Kendra glanced over at her husband, who was saying something to my husband.
"Sometimes I just feel like I missed out on stuff, you know?" she said.
"I see my friends going out, and..."
"They're just out looking for what you already have," I assured her. "In less than ten years from now, it's going to be totally different. It's worth it. Growing up before everyone else. You'll see."
Tom and I looked over at each other. After 16 1/2 years of marriage, I could tell we were both thinking the same thing: Had the universe selected us to help this couple? Were we supposed to help them decide to keep the baby?
We discussed this shared rescue fantasy later, during our car ride home from the attorney's office. Not only was I correct in reading Tom's mind, but by the time we arrived home, we each had the other convinced that our role was to help this couple keep the baby. Of course, we wanted the baby if no one else did. But in all honesty, at that time and in hindsight too, we always had some hope that Kendra would choose to keep her baby girl.
"We could stay in touch with them!" Tom suggested. "Be like extra grandparents for the baby!"
"We're not that old!" I argued. "Maybe we could be the baby's Godparents or something like that."
"You think they really liked us, right?" Tom asked.
"Yes," I said. "I definitely felt a connection."
to be continued...