At the time your fate was deduced to bullet pointed pros and cons on a Grocery list. I kept it folded neatly in the pocket of my jeans, swapping it from one pair of worn pants to the next, ready for additions.
I was 23. Until then, my life had been fairly calculated- predictable, even, given my age. I’d just finished University the spring before, was living in an uninsulated bachelor apartment in an eclectic city neighbourhood, and I was working two minimum wage part time jobs.
I was only 23.
I loved my boyfriend and I loved my friends. Together, the crew of us went out every Friday and Saturday night, and we stayed up late on Tuesdays with Mister Noodles. We ate pizzas on the floor and picked syringes and broken glass out of our backyard on Wednesday afternoons. We wore winter coats and gloves inside our apartment for lack of proper insulation and financial means to heat it.
I had goals and hopes and dreams, for sure- but I was in no rush to go and get them just yet. I was young. I felt young, I acted young, and the world viewed me as such, without a doubt.
And then I peed on the stick, and my life, void of any real responsibility to that point, slipped away, as I held the results in my trembling hand.
And so for an entire month with my secret buried deep inside, your father and I tracked whether we felt positively or negatively about you. And as pros and cons came to me, I jotted them down on either side of the black line- It’s all my pragmatic brain could think to do.
And my heart broke for us three- for not knowing what to do, and for having to make the choice. I never thought I’d be the one. I felt so many things, but first and foremost, I felt shame for feeling unsure. That was the part that hurt- because I wanted to want you, but still didn’t know how. Not at 23.
We still wanted to travel. Still wanted to dance every Saturday night.
I still wanted to figure out me.
But that was no longer my journey, when that winter we collectively agreed you had more positives to offer than not. We had supports, and we had the resilience of youth on our side.
I threw the list away.
To reflect on those days now, as my 20s comes to a near close, it pains me to think you were that list, creased and worn around the ages. I think back to the loneliness of completing that task- despite the fact your father was involved. I can still feel the weight of that paper, sitting square on my right side, in my tattered jeans.
I was so unprepared for how many pros and cons would come.
I didn’t know yet, at 23, what I was capable of. I didn’t know you would be the key to figuring me out.
Despite my insecurities and my desire to put my thoughts down on paper, I think somewhere I knew I needed you. Somehow I knew I could still find me, despite and through you.
And though I struggle with motherhood every day, truly, I do not and have not disputed my need for you in my life since the day the positives won. Your beginning was a challenge, and you are, to this day. You are my test.
I don’t make many grocery lists any more, I’m more of the figure it out at the store type. I rarely come home with what I needed, and yet, I work it out. Maybe that’s saying something. Or maybe I realize, having survived my 20s, life is far more blurred than it is black and white.
I can make do.
Wren, you’ve taught me to embrace the grey. Every day, since 23, when you became a part of me.