“I think I’ve accepted it.”
He told me this on the day that the great Maya Angelous passed.
His voice was a rumble against my left ear, as we lay on top of the covers watching the day fade to twilight.
“Accepted what?” I asked, my hand resting on his heart.
“We’re not going to have biological children,” he said.
“What brought you to that?” My voice was scarcely a whisper. I willed my body not to tense. Relax. Deep breathe. This isn’t just about me.
“It’s just … true,” he said, finally. Not over-dramatizing, always careful, he considered his words before they crossed his lips. He didn’t want to hurt me.
I loved him for it. I loved him for loving me. I loved him for making the decision he’d always pretended wasn’t a decision at all: to stay with me, even if it meant never having the biological children he so desperately wanted.
In the same moment I loved him, I hated myself for not being able to walk away and give him back that option.
“Where are you with it… with acceptance?” he asked, hesitant.
I thought of the brown and white striped newborn onesie in my third dresser drawer, the one I’ve moved with us to every apartment and across a state line over the last five years.
I thought of every dream I’d ever had since I was a child and how it had always ended with someone calling me Mommy.
I thought of my husband’s slow grin and how I’d never see it cross the face of my own child.
I thought about how badly I’d like to tear something apart with my bare hands, and how, actually, life had already done that to my greatest dream…
But, all that I said was, “I’m there, too.”
The word “Why?” hung in the air above us as we held one another, but we left it there. If acceptance buys us anything, surely it should be freedom from the unanswerable.
For a few more minutes, we watched the light fade through the fruit trees outside our window, the sun sank behind them and moths gathered to dance in the light of our garden lamps. I wanted to lay there forever, poised in between what might have been and what simply was. Instead, he kissed my forehead lightly, took my hand, and together, we rose.