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Yep, Capricorn here, with all the contradictions that come from the goat personality (driven, ambitious, unsentimental, focused on common sense, tends to gravitate towards material reasons/rewards) trying to coexist in some sort of harmony with the fish personality (focused on the arts and spirituality, prefers spiritual or emotional rewards, idealistic). I'd say that these days I'm more fish than goat, but I've definitely had my goatish decades!
I'll be celebrating my forty-mrmph b'day this week, presumably either by taking the day off to hang with a couple of friends, one of whom is a talented photographer and wants to do a Giant Baby Bump photoshoot for her portfolio … or by waddling off to the hospital to relocate the Giant Bump's primary resident to the great outdoors (sorry about the January in New England thing, kid, and welcome to the wonderful world of layers).
Ever since finding out that my due date falls a little more than a week after my birthday, I've been hoping that kiddo will pick a different day and gets a birthday of his own--though I'm told he'll get priority one way or another: The sonographer at the high-risk clinic laughed at me and said, "Mom's birthday stops mattering once baby is here."
For a while, I was all like "Is that true?" and "Yikes!" Not because birthdays are all that big a deal around here, but because one of my recurring fears about this whole process (along with the doozies my sleeping brain has cooked up involving sharks, Nazis and pick-a-plague-scenario) is whether I'll be able to do Mom well and still be Doc Jess. Now that the day is nearly upon us, though, I'm more like, "Bring it on, baby!" Not because I'm dying to be done with the waddling thing, though there's some of that … but because my inner fish is ready to share.
Back in the day, I was a late bloomer and didn't start dating until my senior year of high school. He was (gasp!) a sophomore, though at a different high school. We'll call him TN, because those were (and hopefully still are) his initials--we met at the barn where I boarded my horse and hooked up after a friend did the wing-woman thing, whispering "TN likes-likes you" and "Would you go out with him if he asked?"
It was a surprise, as TN was cute, funny, and a bit of a bad boy, and I had long been typecast as the awkward, four-eyed geek who rarely dressed or acted quite right. So I hadn't been asked out in, well, ever. The age gap was less than you'd think, too, seeing how I had skipped a grade, putting us only a year apart in age. As in, exactly a year. Because we had the same birthday.
It was a sign! (More so than our first date, which involved Howard the Duck. 'Nuff said.)
We celebrated two birthdays together. That first was spent in the heady adrenaline rush of new love. And not just love, but "LURRRRVE", in all caps, shouted to the sky. Because it turned out that we worked. We meshed. Days were brighter, colors sharper, jokes funnier … And I not only got what all those romance novels had been trying to tell me, I felt smug as hell, because I had found my happily-ever-after already, without all the hand-wringing and drama that the characters in those books always seemed to go through.
Or so I thought for the entirety of one long, glorious summer.
Unfortunately, by the time TN and I got to our second shared birthday, we were trying to pretend everything was okay despite my having started college and him having started cooking at a family member's restaurant, and wanting to be there every spare minute he had away from school … when not that long ago, he had wanted to spend every spare minute with me. Neither of us did anything wrong--that would've made it easier, I think. No, he found a new direction, I chased and clung, and the magic just … disappeared.
When the end came I was devastated. Gone were my best friend, the boy who had given me my first kiss (among other things), and all the wild, improbable plans we had made for our shared future. It hurt all the more because we broke up within a week or so of my parents announcing their divorce--they did their best to keep the world solid beneath my feet, but still.
It would be three years before I dated again--almost my entire college career--and nearly two decades before I stopped trying to make it work with guys who didn't threaten my equilibrium nearly enough, and let myself fall fully, stupidly and head-over-heels in love again.
I get it now--the kind of love that I've been writing about for so long, and the struggles it can take to get there. The lessons you learn along the way. How it's important to be your best self with your partner rather than expecting him to fix you, and vice versa. I also know (even if I still want to struggle against it sometimes) that the things I can't control far outnumber those I can. I can't predict where we'll all be a week from now, a month, a year … but my fishy self is okay with that. Worrying about it isn't going to change the outcome, so why not find something to love about each and every day? Especially when we live in such exciting times.
So bring it on, baby! Take my birthday if you like--I'll share. Heck, you can have it. Just come out safe and sound, because your father and I are ready to meet you, love you, and start this new--and wholly unpredictable--adventure.