Kids. Kids. Kids. Kids. Kids. Kids. Kids. Pounding in the back of my head.
Tick-tock, Dirk. Tick-tock. Kids, Dirk. Tick tock Dirk. Tick-tock. Kids. Kids, Dirk, kids.
Kids. Kids. Kids. Kids. Kids. Kids. Kids.
When Bonnie and I started trying, everything started being measured in intervals of Kids. The count down to Kids. Every orgasm, Kids. I’d be up early in the morning. Coffee, freshly ground, steeping in a polished steel press. Only Kids, Kids, Kids, before I could press the plunger and have my first Cup. Then a radio interview at Kids, exactly Kids, Kids, Kids from now. Waiting to pour that first cup, just a few more Kids. The second hand on the clock in our kitchen ticking, Kids. Kids. Kids. Kids. Kids. They were coming—it was only a matter of Kids until they arrived.
One kid, two kids. Red kids, Blue Kids. Kids. Maybe two. Maybe twins because that ran on both sides of the family. They were coming, and soon they’d be here, and everything I knew would cease. Everything I knew would explode in the Big-Bang of a new reality.
I didn’t want it to come. I didn’t want kids.
Bonnie and I first scraped the kids issue way back, when Bonnie and I started dating on the internet. It was fine print, then. The stuff you put thoughtlessly on your dating profile. “Want kids? Check Yes or No.” Pro tip: anytime you, if you’re a man filling out a dating profile, always say you want kids. Saying “no” cuts your chances of meeting a woman down drastically. Women—and I’m walking a dangerously generalizing line here— don’t turn to dating sites because they want to find a guy to hook-up with. At least not the kind of dating site you can visit without deleting your browser history after. Women turn to dating sites to find soul mates because the options in their local scene aren’t cutting it. Soul mates have kids. Families. They have those happily ever after’s that have been baked into them by years of exposure to a culture saturated with love stories and gender roles and false promises. Even the most Promethean, counter-counter cultural tiger-woman still has her own biology to contend with. If they don’t say they want kids now, they might later and not even know why. #Chemistry. #Biology .#Hormones. No, no no… if you want to meet a girl online, on a reputable site brokering relationships through 29 points of compatibility, you say you want kids.
But be warned, Casanova, once you check that box, you’d better want kids. Let me rephrase: you’d better want to change everything. Change diapers. Change habits. Give up your binge video gaming sessions. Be willing to get a job, a real job. Spend your beer/toy/fun/vacation/selfish money on whatever that kid might need. You are saying you’re okay with buckets of annoying toys that make annoying sounds that annoy the crap out of you even though you can’t act annoyed. You are saying you’re okay with mommy drama, from your own and from all the others in the neighborhood. You’re saying you want life interrupted. You want uncontrollable change. You want it. You love it. You need it. Because, once you tell her you actually, maybe, kinda, aren’t really sure you really, actually did want kids, you sir, ARE FUCKED.
When Bonnie and I started dating, it was magic. The relationship worked. It sang. It soared and roared. It was a unicorn shot of out a rainbow shot out of a cannon. God those were great days. I can remember outfits and situations and romps and… man; those were great days.
Then we got married and the days were even better. We could have sex! The great and grand prize at the end of the crucible that is practicing abstinence in a sex-saturated world. It wasn’t the theft of kisses and feel-coping anymore, it was the real deal. Glorious and sanctioned. Maturing and evolving love, liken to when a kid trades their sugar obsessions in for complex, nuanced, rich (with earthy undertones and a smooth finish) delicacies. We’d grown, individually and together, and become ready for more.
Work was steady. Trust was abundant. The sex was great. It was time for more.
Everything was wonderful. Perfect just as it stood. No need to change it.
But it was time for more.
More: a fabulously dangerous word. Look at the bright light dangling from the antenna over its head. Watch it dance in front of you. It calls you forward, compelling you on with untold wonders. It snaps it’s jaws down, its teeth mince you, and More gobbles you up.
More. We all define it so damnably differently, even lovers. Especially lovers.
Adventure. That’s what I wanted more of. More trips to Europe. A chance to live abroad. Start a business. Design a children’s book. A house boat? A fresh passport, clean lens, and a charged camera battery. Lets go!
We were a power couple; a unicorn shot out of a rainbow shot out of a cannon. We could do whatever we wanted. We weren’t rich, but neither were we poor. We were empowered, and self-made. Throw us from a plane with a clothes hanger and a bottle cap and we’d McGuyver that shit into world peace. We could be the couple in those modern design magazines. We could be the couple in those house renovation blogs. We could be whatever women think they are when they buy throw pillows at Target. We could be anything; anything in the whole-wide-world.
Or…we could be parents.
That’s what Bonnie wanted us to be: Parents. Parents of children. Human children. The kind everyone else has, but swears are unique and special and wonderful and precious and… boring, expensive, shackling, snot-gushing, sleep-robbing, brake-pumping children.
“You said you wanted to have kids? What changed?”
Sure. I said I wanted to have kids. I checked the box. I checked it because you’re hot. Of course, I wanted to have kids because I wanted to have sex. My stance was not so much a firm *I want kids* as, yeah, kids are great, with their little… littleness, and their being kids and stuff. You’re hot. I’ve been a virgin for 27 years. Kids *Check*
What changed? Seriously? What changed was, I wasn’t a virgin anymore. I wasn’t a broke, minor league, small pond fish. I’d seen and done so much more than I thought I ever would and I didn’t want it to stop. And kids would, in my mind, make it all stop. Yes, Bonnie, I want you to be happy. Yes, Bonnie, I want you to have everything you’ve ever wanted. Yes, Bonnie, I said I wanted kids. But don’t you see, we have everything right now. Great sex, success, life unencumbered, adventure, freedom. Why, oh why do we want to introduce the free radical of children to this perfect cherry blossom of a life?
For Bonnie, that was easy. A child builds on everything I just mentioned. A baby is the beneficiary of all we’ve done. In fact, it’s our ultimate accomplishment. It’s our crowning achievement. It is a glorious transition, evolution, growth—Not destruction. We could live a million adventures and the only thing that could ever have the capacity to record it all would be a child. Our child. The child you promised you wanted.
“So what changed? I need to know because we need to start trying.”
Start trying. Start. That’s where it happened: tick, tick, tick, kids, kids, kids, kids, kids, kids, kids, kids. The countdown to the end of all my selfish things. The invoice for a fantastic relationship. The too-good-to-be-true. The Big-Bang.
“We need to start trying.” Bonnie was very sensitive to the timeline. She works with children with special needs, so when I say she was sensitive to the timeline of having kids, she was sensitive, to the minute, to the second. Sensitive to making sure we tried as hard as we could while genetics were on our side. She spent the bulk of her waking days as a professional helping, healing, nurturing, leading, supporting, and feeling with special needs children. She loves them, with all her heart she loves them. We both do. But she did not, if she could at all help it, want to birth a child with special needs. What mother wants to, by choice, have an unhealthy baby?
It was a predisposed fear. Bonnie knew that the longer we waited the probability of having an unhealthy baby increased. The chances of infertility increased. It was fact. It was the reality. She confirmed with her gynecologist who confirmed it with me. Bonnie knew because it was her business to know. We needed to get started having kids sooner than later because, married at 27 plus a few years to romp put us on the wrong side of the fertility clock. The window was shutting. The odds were stacking. The fear was haunting her. We needed to get started. For her. For us. For the future. For the fear I could see on her face. “please,” she begged, “we need to get started.”
I fought her.
I’m so sad that I am telling you this. I hate myself. I hate myself, so much. I fought her. Jesus Christ almighty I hate myself and I will carry this burden for the rest of my earthly existence and probably beyond.
Bonnie wanted kids even before we started trying to have them four years ago. How much earlier I can’t recall, but years. I always had a reason why it wasn’t time. The same reasons, in fact, for why not having kids was so great, just flipped. Not enough money, not enough time. Too much
adventure volatility in our lives. We don’t know what the future will bring. We don’t know if I’ll get another book deal, radio contract, television gig, anything. “Do you really want to bring a kid into this kind of situation, so full of unknowns?” I’d say anything to put more time on the clock.
And now we can’t have kids.
Unexplained infertility now explained infertility.
Say it. Now’s your chance, so say it. Fuck you, Dirk Hayhurst. You coward. You fake. You sham. You low-life, selfish, scum sucking piece of human garbage. You bastard. Dream robbing, bastard. Say it. Just know that whatever you say, no matter how creative, merciless or longwinded you get, you can’t say worse than what I’ve said to myself.
And I’m still saying it, right now.
By the time I bought into Bonnie’s vision of a family of our own, it was too late. I didn’t know it then, but I know it now. Ironically, we’d find we couldn’t have babies like this: tick, tick, tick, no kids, no kids, no kids, no kids, why can’t we have kids? Why? I don’t understand why we can’t have kids? GOD WHY CAN’T WE HAVE KIDS!?
We’d time Bonnie’s cycle, try for a baby, and it wouldn’t happen. Goddamnit if, even when we were trying, a part of me was glad we were failing. I didn’t want to let go of us in that place, in that life. I wanted it to last forever. Woman marries man hoping he’ll change. Man marries woman hoping she won’t. I wanted our moment to last. Just us. I wanted…I don’t know. I just… I…. It doesn’t matter. Not now. It doesn’t matter.
Bonnie tells me it’s not my fault. She says this because she’s wonderful beyond all human comprehension. She tells me it’s no one’s fault. But I know some days she feels like it’s her fault. She’s upset with her body for not delivering. And I, well, I’m upset with my soul for the very same reason. We hurt. We hurt together. And when you arrive here, in this emptiness, fast, like a unicorn shot out of a rainbow shot out of a cannon, you find out what your marriage is made of:
Two people. One Love. Forgiveness. Resolution. Hope.
I say I’m sorry. I help her up. I brush her hair back. I kiss her forehead.
She accepts. She presses my heart. She stems the bleeding. She starts the tune.
We walk forward.
Thank you for reading. More coming. Please click an ad on the site as it does 3 things: helps me fund the Adoption Quest series, lets me know you like what you’re reading and, hopefully, enables Bonnie and I to put our future adopted child through college.