Family Divides

As this year progresses, I see my time divided up as one large checklist, full of things I have to do before meeting our baby. Taking time to parse out issues large and small, how we’re going to raise a baby and work, preparing a room in the apartment for the little one, ironing out adoption details (I can’t believe that we have to adopt our own baby), following up with Alaina on the myriad scans and doctor’s visits she has.

Having these months to prepare for the little one has also raised the surreal question: how the hell are we going to get our baby out of my sister and back to our NY apartment? We’ve had lively debates involving the pros and cons of planes versus trains, and there are virtually no pros that I can think of to renting a car and sharing driving duties. As it stands, the idea of getting a sleeper car on a train and spending a week doing nothing but hanging out with JP and our baby sounds like a pretty idyllic way to start our new life.

This brings me to the heart of this post, because as soon as I make plans to move our baby across the country my own heart inevitably plummets when I think that this also means that we will be moving the baby across the country and away from our families and most importantly, from my sister, without whom we wouldn’t have a baby at all. And then the guilt sets in. How can I live so far away and keep the baby from daily contact with all the people who made its very existence possible?

This was a more pressing issue several months ago, when Jeremy first brought up the idea of moving to California. He wasn’t entirely serious and, given that he is starting up a business concurrently to having a child, the timing is less than ideal. None of that mattered: the minute he made the suggestions, something clicked in my head and I couldn’t think of any option other than packing up our much loved apartment, bidding our friends a fond farewell and starting a new life in California. My thinking was, our baby deserves to be near our families and I deserve the opportunity to be a full time mom, at least in the beginning. All true, although nothing in that equation accounted for Jeremy’s professional world (which translates quite directly to his own happiness) and for the fact that he has labored over a decade so as to start his own business. It was not the first occasion to find me pushed to the emotional hilt, but it did mark the first instance in which I felt strongly divided over the disparities between what would work for the family versus for my husband. After a month’s worth of excruciating, tearful conversations with little agreement and non concrete conclusions (during which time I swear Alaina’s pregnancy hormones were transferred to me), we agreed to wait awhile and give Jeremy’s business the chance to be nurtured on the East Coast before we think about trekking out West. It satisfies for the moment, and the panic that initially surrounded the issue has mellowed enough to allow me to look forward to being in Brooklyn for the time being. I still struggle with the longing of wanting to be surrounded by mine and Jeremy’s families, our community, as we raise this child. For the time being however, the interests of the family that we are creating must take precedence. It is a very instructive and, on occasion, bitterly felt lesson but I hope, like I’ve never hoped for anything else, that we will arrive at a solution in the future that will allow us to live life alongside parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins…those who are loved by us and who will love our child more than anything else in this world.


  1. So much of what you wrote reminds me of me when we lived in Seattle and I was pregnant with Evelyn. All I wanted was to leave and go to So.Cal and we couldn't leave Microsoft. We were chained to living in Seattle until we were dismissed. Time has to play its course, and in time, things work the way they should.
    In the mean time I hope you know that there are many people looking after your precious little babe. (Including feeding the little one homemade pizza and loud bouts of Janes Addiction Rock Band!) Just for example of course. :) xoxo

  2. That's good to know! I can only imagine the havoc the two of you wreak, and I'm delighted that the baby is getting such a formidable early music education! xo

  3. And the pull of the transcontinental divide is a tricky one. Remember, I never wanted to come back to the bay area, i was quite happy with leaving here in 1984 and never coming back. It was bowing to the inevitable logic at that particular time when Alaina and i were talking about what we wanted to do that had me saying "yes, ok, i'll come back." Circumstance make not cowards but invertibrates of us all. We twist into positions that would have been unthinkable years earlier, positions that require far more dexterity than downward dog, they require giving up lat night subways and white castles and carefully nurtured dreams from childhhod. Such is adult life, and giving that adult life over to a little schmooly of your own.

    Sophie, by the way, has fallen in love with rock band, and was playing drums to Mountain Song the other night, while her mama sang lead and daddy played guitar. Not a sentence that I ever thought i would type but, hey, there you are.