Writing With A Baby
In two very different areas of my life—writing and having a child—I got a late start. For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a writer and even though I knew I was gay, I always thought I’d be a dad some day. Both dreams took decades to become a reality, each for different reasons.
I started writing in college. My school allowed for independent study programs, but it require a bit of leg work. The student had to come up with the program, find an adviser, convince them you were serious and that your project had merit if you wanted credit for your dream class. I managed to do this for a creative writing class. I passed, got an “A” and then focused on law school. I still have many of the ‘original’ stories, each on a yellow legal pads or in black and white note books. But as time and my career became more intense, writing took a back seat. It was only after Mike and I were together a good number of years that he encouraged me to write. Guess he knew more about me than I did.
Having a child proved a bit more labor intensive than writing. For writing all I needed was a good laptop and I was set. Sadly, having a child required much, much more. One of the first considerations, perhaps the first, is what method to use. Adoption can be fairly inexpensive if you go the foster care adoption route. But we wanted a baby—which left two realistic paths; third-party adoptions or surrogacy. I won’t go into the pros and cons of each, but the short story is that surrogacy had a more definitive time-table, you didn’t need to wait for someone to pick you to adopt their child and there was no thirty day grace period where the birth mom could change her mind and take her child back. For us surrogacy was the way to go. The next biggest hurdle was money—surrogacy is, in word, expensive.
The last piece of the puzzle—before the surrogate and the other issues involved in the actual process—was location. Where would we live. At the time we started to get serious about a child, we lived in Virginia, the state that soon after we moved there, passed an anti-gay amendment and didn’t allow second party adoptions for same-sex couples. 😐 Fixing that problem required a move to DC or Maryland. So we sold the house in VA, found a new house, moved in, fixed it up and kept saving.
Fast forward to today, we have a daughter who is biologically one of ours. For those who’ve followed me through the surrogacy process and her first year, I’ve referred to my daughter on-line as ‘lil q to protect her privacy. [Q being the nickname I got on Gay Authors.] Here’s a ‘lil q update.
‘lil q will be a year old in ten days. Her arrival has certainly changed our lives in so many ways, most of them we expected. But I’ll confess, I expected I’d have had more time to write than I find I have lately. Part of that is underestimating how tired an infant/toddler can make me. The other is just sheer stupidity on my part. Why I thought I could just settle in and write after she went to sleep is beyond me. As if all the things I used to do that I have to put off while she’s awake were going to magically get done. Like I said, stupid me.
But, I’m starting to find a bit more balance and a bit more time to write now that she is in daycare. The trade-off is, I don’t see her as much. It’s only been eight days, so I’m not sure if it will feel normal at some point. But for now, I miss seeing her here on my days off. Even with the nanny taking care of her, I still had more time with her when I was off work.
Two days into daycare, she got a cold. Three days later, she had two ear infections. That caused us to miss our first swim class since we started in June. The remarkable thing is she didn’t miss a beat. I only suspected she had an ear infection because she started rubbing her ears. Clearly life is too good for her to be slowed down by an ear infection or two.
Daycare started with her being less than happy when we left. Now? It’s almost like – “Okay daddy, you can go now, I’m going to go play with the other kids or the toys here. See you when you come get me at 5 pm.” But at least she’s always happy to see us when we come get her.
Adjusting to life with her in daycare means I have to make better use of my time to see more of her. So this Sunday, when she stirred, I got her up, dressed her for the day knowing grandma was coming, and they we went out for a walk. One of the great things of living near a major university is walkability. We got in the stroller and off we went for daddy to get his coffee and then a stop at the deli for breakfast. ‘lil q generally is a good eater who will eat regular food. After eggs, yogurt and fruit [which the staff at Jason’s Deli were very accommodating to make for me even though it wasn’t on the menu], daughter and daddy set off for the farmer’s market. One thing I’ve learned is ‘lil q loves her walks in the stroller. She is a curiously little thing who loves to look around.
When we got home we found out Grandma was feeling ill, so no visit. Daddy/Daughter day continued with the mundane task of grocery shopping – which I had planned to do while grandma watched the baby. This is how the afternoon ended. My little angel. 🙂