Chapter 8: Maternal Me
Winter in Denver was far more fun than I expected. I enjoyed my job and the creative outlet it afforded, yet I truly lived for the weekends. When I could, which was often, I’d shuttle to one of the nearby mountains with throngs of like-minded snowboarders and skiers. I quickly learned that the only thing better than a day in the mountains was two days in the mountains. For a few weekends, I had the luxury of crashing in some friends’ townhouses closer to the action in their respective ski towns. Teeming with people, the après scene in these places was spectacular and, if I could afford it, I’d partake each and every night of the week. I made a string of new friends during my evenings, and rarely paid for my own drinks. The memories of Chandler were dulling, and I was happy to be on my own, finally.
There’s that damned saying, though, that “all good things must come to an end.” It came with the change in seasons: good thing, ended. The snow banks receded, the trees started budding in anticipation of warmer weather, and I searched in vain for a new routine that would replace the wintertime high I’d get each weekend I went into the mountains. Sure, there’s hiking to be had, but one doesn’t simply get snowboarding’s accompanying adrenaline rush by walking in the woods. As I sat in front of the window of my apartment before heading off to work, I wondered what was missing. I began to sense that I wasn’t missing the thrill and escape. I feared it was something far more fundamental. Finding a new hobby or sport wasn’t going to cut it.
I glanced down at the warm cup of tea in cupped in my hands, as if pouring a hot drink could convince the weather gods to bring winter back. A sudden noise from the street broke me from my trance and I looked up. It was the school bus picking up the neighbors’ kids, who were all huddled together, excitedly waiting to get on board. A few parents were waiting off to the side, talking with each other, but as their kids got on the bus, they stopped their socializing long enough to watch each of their children walking from the front of the bus deeper towards the back, searching for a seat. One girl got on the bus, paused, then abruptly stepped back onto the curb. She raced back into her Dad’s arms, hugged him tightly for just a moment, then turned back and boarded the bus.
My breath caught for just a moment as a wellspring of emotion washed over me. That was it. I didn’t need a never ending winter sports season, and I didn’t need another party. I needed a child. My child. I had never had the opportunity to get very far in that quest with Chandler by my side, since he’d made it very clear early on that he was not interested in having children. I was. This was my time, and I wasn’t getting any younger. Yes, I wanted to love someone again, but mostly I wanted to hold my child in my arms, and help shepherd them through this thing called life.
I put my drink down next to me and touched my palms to my cheeks. I breathed out slowly, deliberately. The “maternal me” thought of what I could do next, now that I knew where I wanted to go.
This story is part of a series of stories I’m writing as part of a commitment to sketch each day of 2016. My #365daydraw project yields an image each month, by popular choice, to serve as inspiration for each chapter.
Read more about my #365daydraw challenge