The love of my life is shorter than I am, does not have quite as much hair as I'd like, could never be considered a scintillating conversationalist. You're probably thinking this is one of those situations where a whole lot of money or great sex figures prominently. Nope.
We generally grab a bite to eat, watch a video, do a little reading, and call it a night. I suppose when I thought about the future, I imagined a Vera Wang wedding gown (serious décolletage, hold the train) in ivory, followed by a fabulous husband and a whip-smart, funny, delicious baby girl. Given that I never did get that fabulous husband, the ivory Vera Wang seemed like an unnecessary extravagance, but one out of three—especially when the one turns out to be that whip-smart, funny, delicious baby girl—ain't bad. There's no getting around it, Julia Claire Labusch is the love of my life.
That said, let me add that we are fortunate, as she's also the love of her father's life. My sweetheart and I have been together for nearly 12 years, but he lives in Europe and can visit only every couple of months. It's more than a lot of single mothers get—and it's nowhere near enough. So each morning I rise up out of the mire of my own narcissism and set some parenting goals. Sometimes they're lofty: She will attend the ballet, eat organic blueberries, learn Malaysian, and be enveloped in a blanket of unconditional love. Other days my goals are a bit more basic: Please, God, let me just raise this kid so she doesn't end up in a Texas bell tower with a high-powered rifle and a grudge.
Whoever said "One is the loneliest number that you'll ever do" never spent six hours in a steam-filled bathroom with a croupy 2-year-old. But it's not the 3 a.m. fever, the supermarket tantrum, the left front wheel coming off our stroller as I cross Second Avenue, or even the knowledge that this little person has only me for her sole support and emotional nourishment, that makes bringing up a baby on my own so...what's the word? Challenging? Exhausting? Nerve-racking? Heartbreaking? All of the above.
The time I most wish I weren't flying solo is early Sunday morning when I'm making breakfast and this little monkey girl is having a long, deeply passionate phone conversation with a recording that repeats, "If you'd like to make a call, please hang up and dial again." That's when I crave a witness, someone as besotted with her as I am, a person who, like me, just can't believe that something went so completely right.
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