The Surprise Baby and Life Beyond

baby after fortyMy fourth, and last child was born when I was 41 years old.  It’s not unusual to see older people having kids, and I know that many people older than that have given birth.  But my oldest son was 20, my other son was 15 and my daughter was almost 10, when he was born.  As is true with all aspects of my life, plans when it came to having kids, went out the window.  I never wanted my kids to be spaced so far apart in age.  And I never wanted to start over in my forties.

Now that my son will be 18 in a few months, I am at a place in my life that I sometimes believed I’d never live to see.  All my kids grown up.  Of course my youngest is no where near being settled in life.  He still has college (maybe?) a career or job to find, and a family of his own to create (another maybe?).  Who knows?  Not me.  I gave up holding too tightly to my expectations of the future long ago.  Crazy and bizarre things happen to me, and I have no control over it.  I just have to go with the flow.

At first, I was quite depressed.  I didn’t want to pick out a baby name or buy a crib (again).  My daughter was going to be our last child.  In fact, to make sure of that, my husband had a vasectomy right after her birth.  That was 10 years before I discovered this surprise.  That’s right, sometimes the big V isn’t so reliable.  Or maybe that was only in my case.  People I knew kept laughing at my situation.  They all thought it was hilarious.  They didn’t know how lousy my marriage was, or that the sleepless nights, school days and homework, driving lessons, and general upbringing would be solely mine.  But I knew.  I’d seen how it played out the previous three times.  And I was so over it, I can’t even tell you.  At a time when I was very much looking forward to having time for me, at long last, those dreams shattered into tiny pieces.

People told me that my new little boy would keep me young.  I don’t think that has necessarily been true, but I do listen to music that most people my age don’t.  I can sing along with Volbeat, Green Day, Linkin Park, and Avenged Sevenfold.  I can listen to electric guitar and drums in the background of my life, and barely notice the noise.  I’ve survived another drivers ed course – that was a tough one – without becoming an alcoholic.  I try not to think about what my son’s friends think when see my gray hair and aged body.  After all, I am probably the same age as their grandmother!

All my friends’ kids are grown and have been for a while now.  They adjusted long ago to life after kids, while I am still looking forward to another high school graduation.  I have never had to deal with empty nest syndrome, and I have no grandchildren, even with three other grown kids.

Life for me has not been easy, and it surely has not been predictable.  With all that has gone on in my life, I have a hard time relating to anyone.  As I head into the last years of my life the only thing I do know is that this boy is my last masterpiece.  My last chance to put another decent human being out in the world.  The painting is almost finished, and it’s looking good.

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