Aspen Princess: Confessions of a childless princess
I need to formally apologize to all my friends who had kids before me.
I get it now: I was a real jerk.
I made declarations like, “I’m not a baby person,” and “I don’t do diaper changes,” as if changing a baby into a clean diaper was like eating gluten.
There are a few incidents in particular I feel especially ashamed about.
I am really sorry, Kathy, that I missed Amy’s first birthday party. I went to 5:30 yoga and totally spaced. I came out of class and then it hit me that I’d gotten my days screwed up and totally forgot. But the truth is, it takes a serious commitment to lose those last 5 pounds: six days of yoga per week plus cardio, at least. That’s the only way it’s going to happen, but you wouldn’t understand that. You’re naturally skinny so you have no idea how hard it is for me. I’ll bring your kid a gift tomorrow. That way, we can hang out without all those distractions —I have so much to tell you about my life!
I’m so sorry, Ashley, that when you told me you were pregnant I cried. It’s just that I was in the middle of telling you that we should go to Europe together.
“We can take the speed train to Paris!” I squealed. I could totally picture us gallivanting around France. We’d wear a lot of black, shoes instead of sneakers, drink espresso out of tiny cups, eat fresh baguettes and croissants and gain at least 5 pounds, but we wouldn’t care because it would be worth it. We’d be giddy with jet lag and stagger through the streets arm in arm, half-drunk with shopping bags and full bellies. Because that’s what life is all about, right?
“I have to tell you something,” Ashley said, searching my face with an expression I couldn’t read.
“What is it?” I replied, thinking that maybe her boyfriend had cheated on her, or better yet, she’d cheated on him. Ashley was beautiful. She was skinny. She had long blonde hair down to hear waist and the flattest stomach I’d ever seen. She had green eyes and dimples and a cleft in her chin, and I absolutely hated her at first for being so beautiful. Then I found out she was a smart, adventurous girl and funny as hell. So it’s understandable that I did sort of thrive on her misfortunes, if for no other reason than it made her more relatable.
“I’m pregnant,” she said.
I didn’t even try to hide my reaction, partly because I was so caught off guard and then so disappointed that I couldn’t control myself. I flopped down onto the bench below the table at the restaurant and started to cry.
“Why are you crying?” Ashley said. “You’re supposed to be happy for me.”
I was supposed to be happy for her? Didn’t she know what she was doing to me?
I’m sorry Suzanne, about that time I showed up for your kid’s christening so hungover that I could hardly keep my eyes open. I know I probably reeked of booze and was lousy company on account of the pounding headache that made it hard for me to focus. I realize I was drooling slightly and probably looked out of sorts, but I had to concentrate on breathing through my nose so I wouldn’t throw up. So that’s why I wasn’t really listening to anything you were saying. I know I probably didn’t give your friends much attention either, but between the noise and all those other babies and toddlers crawling all over the furniture and up the walls, I just couldn’t deal. I’d made a huge sacrifice just being there, what, after the night I’d had. And as soon as you would listen, I’d tell you all about it and then some. I mean, I understood you wouldn’t have much time for me anymore, what, after having twins. But my life was really hard. All your prefect friends were obviously too caught up with their perfect kids and their perfect lives to listen to me. I just didn’t fit in here. You don’t know what it’s like feeling so left out.
I’m sorry Shelly, that I drank six beers at dinner after you told me you were pregnant. I know the waiter started looking at me weird when I stopped asking for another and just pointed at my empty glass with a crazy look on my face like I might start hurtling things at him if he didn’t bring me my drink fast enough. I was in the midst of my fertility struggles and so you see, it really was all about me.
I’m really sorry, Liz, that I missed your baby shower and never got you a gift. I thought if I was invited to one more baby shower I might cut my own ear off just so I wouldn’t have to listen to one more friend talk about poopy diapers or how they didn’t get any sleep last night. I’m so sick of hearing you all complain. Maybe you should have used birth control.
I’m so sorry that I was so self-absorbed all those years and thought the world revolved around me.
One of the reasons Ryan and I were so determined to have a baby wasn’t because I wanted to become a mother or because I wanted a baby per se, it’s just that we really wanted a family.
“What are we going to do when our parents are gone?” I asked him one day. “We’re going to be so lost. We are still our parent’s children because we don’t have children of our own.”
But now I get it. It took me almost half my life to realize it was time to grow the hell up.
The Aspen Princess now spends her days staring at the baby instead of at her navel. Email your love to firstname.lastname@example.org.