They come and go, these dreams. Sometimes there won’t be any for months. Sometimes they’ll come every night for weeks. Sometimes I think they are gone for good. But they never go away.
The faces change in the dreams. The bodies are the same; small and hairless. Quick. Open. Bright.
But the faces always change.
Sometimes they are boys. Sometimes they are girls. Sometimes they look like me with green eyes and light hair. Sometimes they look like Jason; brown eyes, wide nose, and those little eyelashes on the wrong side of their eyes.
They are my children with my husband.
They are the children that don’t exist.
They are children that will never exist.
When I married Jason in 2003, it was totally for selfish reasons. I admit it. I loved him and he loved me and that was, in itself, enough. I had been a single mom for five years and I was okay with that. I thought I was doing a pretty good job raising my children on my own. Despite the fact that he lived in my house with me I was still the mom. The Queen. The decision maker. He was Jason, the guy who lived with us. I didn’t assume any of that would change. He would still live with us. We would all call him Jason. I would make all the decisions and rules regarding Boy and Girl Child and he would pay half the bills and have carnal knowledge of me. It would be an ideal situation.
But of course that didn’t happen at all. What did happen was that the day we got married, Girl Child went to Jason and said, “Daddy, can you help me tie my shoelace?”
She had never called him daddy, ever. She called him Jason, same as I did. She and I had never talked about him being her daddy. She, somewhere in her mind, decided that this man would be her daddy. And it was so.
And actually…it was so.
Somehow he actually became the dad. Somehow our finances merged. Somehow he was making sandwiches for school lunches and singing songs to us at dinnertime. Somehow he taught the children things. Important things like math and also things like how to always tell mommy that dinner was good, even if it sucked ass. Somehow we did things like buy a house together and send out Christmas cards with pictures of all of us and even our dog on them.
It was really freaking weird.
But I really freaking liked it.
As a result, I started seeing my husband in other ways. Different ways. Still like a really fun guy that you want to keep around forever but also like a husband and a father and a person that I could have a child with.
After the experience I had bringing the first two children into the world? That was pretty freaking huge. After being left when I was pregnant with twins and giving birth to children who looked like a seventh grade science experiment gone wrong, the fact that I would even consider trying again? Well, it was pretty darn amazing.
But he? Is pretty darn amazing.
And yet, here I am.
So many years later.
I have a two-year old dog, not a two-year old child. I have a calendar which stares at me, pointedly, looking toward my 33rd birthday, only a couple of months away. Not that thirty-three is old. It isn’t. But it’s eleven years older than I was the first time around when everything worked the way it should have for just enough time and all the stars lined up just right and there were two babies in my belly.
And overwhelming me, is the guilt.
The guilt when I look at my husband and think of how broken I am, and how he deserves someone less broken than I. The realization that he did so much more than fulfill his end of the bargain and now he is left with…me.
It doesn’t seem fair.
To his credit he says he doesn’t care. That it never mattered at all. That he, selfishly, married me for me and not for a family and the whole family thing just sort of happened. I guess it surprised both of us. In a good way, mind you, but still it was a surprise.
A really, really good surprise. An amazing one.
One that we would share with another child, could we have one.
But for now, it’s nothing at all.