In 1847 Christina Potts Moore had a baby at 50.
In 1857 Margaret Ripple Wirick had a baby at 50.
In 1858 Catherine Elizabeth Rowe Dribble had a baby at 50.
All were by natural conception.
In 2015, singer Sophie B. Hawkins had a baby at 50 by IVF. Her own eggs. I think.
In 2017, Janet Jackson had a baby at 50. She claims it was by natural conception.
In 2016, at 72 years old, Indian Daljinder Kaur had a baby by IVF with donated eggs. In fact, it seems there are a bunch of women over 50 and up to almost 70 (and sometimes over) who live in India who have had babies at seemingly impossible ages.
I thought I was special. But, as my sponsor likes to remind me, best to see myself as a beige used car. Because I have spent my life seeing myself as a Pinto disguised as a Ferrari.
The Crone and The Mother. At the same time. Woven together. I worry about how old I’ll be when my son goes to college. If I’ll still be here. I worry about car accidents and world destruction and cancer and spider bites. I worry about things differently than I did a year ago. I was slightly worried about Climate Change. Now I’m terrified.
I’m terrified about President Trump. I would be anyway, because he’s the Worst Person In The World. In Huck’s Baby Book there’s, of course, a “Current Events Of When You Were Born” section, printed in super fun cartoony squiggly scroll with balloons and kittens (because these kinds of books are supposed to be full of joyous things and memories for our children to cherish) and at the top of the page it asks “Who Is President?” and leaves a line to fill in the name. That day I decided to begin writing in his book, my pen poised above that line, I gripped it tighter as I gritted my teeth. Jamey saw what was happening with me and said, compassionately, “I know…just write the name down and leave it be so.” I felt this impending apology to my son, having to read this someday, knowing that he was born into a world where that joker was voted into the highest office in our country. I would have loved him to have been born during Obama’s presidency. I’d even have taken one of the Bush’s. Which Is shocking. But Trump? The worst.
50 is the middle of 100. Which is what I assume, always, that I will make it to, as if that’s a goal. It seems fitting. A good mile marker. Even numbered. Outpacing the national average. I assume, too, always, that I will make it there coherent and agile, still walking and reading, and, like my own 103 year old grandmother (who had my mother at 42 in the 1940s and this is a fact I quote often to whomever will listen), mentioning things like “Proust must be read in the original French”. I assume I will be alone. At least husbandless and loverless. That used to be a given but now it makes me sad (and given that Jamey is younger than I am, I’m sure he’ll outlive me anyway). That I would out-age everyone in my life. Me with my collection of photos and journals, perhaps a dog, not a small one, and god forbid a Paris Fleamarket apartment collection of cats. No. But I could live in a city again surrounded by youth and noise. Alone. I’d drink again. Martinis this time. Alone. Champagne too. I’d be cranky and arrogant and I’d affect an indiscernible accent. Who would question me? I’d tell stories like my old drunk queeny acting coach Jimmy Tripp would tell in his Chelsea apartment in the crowded living room, walls painted a bold green, red Persian rugs under the black baby grand piano that took up almost ¾ of the room, a silver double decker Samovar cart with crystal jars of red and amber liquid. We few, we happy few would gather there at night for a private session which inevitably ended with Jimmy putting on vinyl 78 records of Rosa Poncelle singing Verdi, and tell us stories of acting with his idol Stella Adler on Broadway. In the 1950’s. That she was known to play pranks, like opening her skirted legs wide to him, the apprentice, stage left, a full beaver shot that the audience could not see, so that he would have to reckon with the hairy, wet, lips-parted vagina of an acting legend and keep his shit together.
My father is dying. Cancer. This came out of nowhere. I knew this would be a consequence of having a baby at my age, that my own parents would be very old. But my father is ageless. He is eternal youth, despite his 82 years. He thought he’d live to 100. So did I.
But he won’t. And he will most likely not be here as this year folds into the next. And my son will most likely never remember him.
It is June. It is Father’s Day and I have flown to my own father with my own son to spend it with him, possibly for the last Father’s Day. I hate having these thoughts, the “lasts” but there they are and I try to pretend they aren’t while advance mourning the whole way through. We laugh and cry and we tell stories from the past and he says, “Now that I have nothing to look ahead to, I will look back in these next few months” and I think, I will write it all down, Dad. Like I always have.