Hugh with babyLast night at Tuesday Night Bal, one of the guys was talking about his experiences as an attractive young man substitute teaching for middle school kids. In the midst of various comments about little girls in the midst of their first crush, I said that the hottest guy I know is teaching 6th graders this year in A Large City Nearby. As I said this, I got a reaction from Trey that let me know that, until that moment, he had assumed he was the hottest guy I know. And, um, no. Trey is plenty cute and all, but Hugh is in a class all by himself. I had thought that there was no way he could get more attractive, and then he posted photos of himself with his new niece and goddaughter, whom he adores. How can one guy really be that hot? It boggles the mind.

The cool thing is that, beyond his looks, Hugh’s a great guy. He’s Catholic, and he takes his faith seriously. He has a social conscience. His dream in life (since a messed up shoulder destroyed his hopes of a pro-baseball career) is to run a soup kitchen. I’m not kidding. He’s respectful towards women. He’s funny. He extemporaneously quotes Walt Whitman while being completely heterosexual.

And, of course, he’s discerning the priesthood.

Remind me again – why do I have that policy against dating guys who are discerning the priesthood?  Oh, yeah.  Joe.

On Sunday I went to Lucas’s 1st birthday party. His mother, Jessica, used to bring him to swing with her. I would hold him while she danced. I used to tease that he was the best Bal lead I knew. He liked me, always went eagerly into my arms and was content there. Last Spring they moved to Indiana, so I hadn’t seen either one for a long time. They were back in town for a visit, and Jessica was very insistent that I should come to the party. I wasn’t sure – besides the baby-holding bond, Jessica and I were never all that close. But things fell into place, so I went.

The part that packed a wallop was sitting with Lucas on the couch before the present opening. After all this time he still knew me, still came to me, still trusted me enough to cuddle back into my arms and accept goldfish crackers popped into his mouth at regular intervals. He was so soft and warm and solid in my arms. His head fit perfectly into the nook where my arm intersects with my shoulder. He felt so right there. I smiled while I was there, but when I left I was crying before I had my key turned in the car ignition. I cried all the way down twenty miles of interstate to my next destination.

This really took me by surprise. When I was younger I wanted babies, a family, a home of my own, and I wanted them desperately. A husband was kinda an afterthought, what you needed to get the other things. As I got older I let go of a lot of that. I started saying, “If I ever get married…” not When I get married…” This was one of the things I had to accept when I started back to school. Babies are wonderful, and I would have lots of them if I could, but there’s a reason why they say female education is a powerful form of birth control (statistically the birth rate drops dramatically the more education women have). I had thought that I was ok with this, that I had processed and mourned and done all that psychologically healthy stuff. My biological clock may have been ticking, but no one was listening.

Then I hold Lucas lap for ten minutes, and I’m blindsided by the baby hunger like I haven’t felt in years. And I still don’t see this happening for me.  It’s been a long time since I had a guy I could actually see myself having children with. I have years of school to go before I’d really have time to be a mom anyway, and by the time I get tenure I’ll probably be entering menopause. I don’t see any babies in my life.

But I want them.