One of the hardest things about school papers used to always be the title. I would turn in a perfectly respectable essay or short story or theme paper with no idea what to call it. I know exactly what to call this, and I also know that it's part one in "Variations on a Theme". The first few months of waiting had their challenges, but there was usually something concrete to do. I exhausted the to-do list a while ago; now there's nothing but read travel guides and blogs and message boards. All that pointless obsession doubtless leads to worry.
I woke up today, after 10 hours sleep, groggy and with a stiff neck. Crunchy granola raisin bran and a slice of cold pizza didn't help; but somewhere in the middle of loading the dishwasher so I could find enough counter space to make tea I started to wake up enough to think about what's bothering me.
Our agency has been moving incredibly fast after dossier submission. I'm already busy trying to see if the Scholar's Wife and my Mother can go to Addis with me. This dream of having a child could be a reality so soon. Am I ready for it?
The biggest event in my life lately revolved around catching the train at 5:50am so I could ride my bike 104 miles in a day and trying not to get carsick on the bus trip home. I'm signing up for 20 years of non-stop obligation based on the fluttering of some mothering instinct in my stomach. Someone once told me that you're never ready for marriage. You learn as you go along. Maybe it's that way with children. Sounds like a terribly irresponsible way to approach a major life-change, but maybe it's the way all of life goes.
Some people have praised me for riding a few centuries, and I brushed it off. You just get on your bike and pedal, and even when you're tired and hurting, you just keep going until you reach the finish. Last time I stopped and cried twice. Then I got back on my bike and finished.
Am I ready to be a parent? Of course not. I've got more long rides and hill training to do before it's even time to start. But I know I'm willing to give what's required. That's the start.
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