He always made breakfast for "the good ones." Back when he was a bachelor, the morning-after breakfast was one of Husband Joe's wooing tactics. For the girls he liked, he'd make a show of flipping the omelet high and catching it in the pan (over the sink, just in case).
Nowadays, Joe's girls are spoiled. Baby Kai and I get the omelet treatment every morning, made with eggs laid by our own chickens, and usually a side of sweet potato home fries, sometimes a hot croissant, always fresh-ground coffee. Joe still flips the omelet, but we're outside doing homestead chores and we don't catch the show. Whenever friends or family spend the night or come through before lunch, though, that's Joe's opportunity to elicit the oohs and ahs of yore.
This morning was one of those mornings. Although we didn't mention it, there was an unspoken air of anticipation around breakfast. Our visitors were late, and we wanted breakfast to be hot when they walked in or shortly thereafter, but we also needed to feed the baby and, although we both have flexible jobs, it could not be denied that it was a weekday.
Again, we were casual about it. "We're waiting on those guys, right?" Joe called from the kitchen, as I lugged a cooler from tree to tree, collecting maple sap from buckets.
We weren't wooing our visitors, exactly. If anyone was doing the wooing, it was them. But something very special might come out of this tete-a-tete, and a grand brunch was only fitting.
Let me back up four months, to November. I was about to leave work for the day when I got an email from a friend, M., who lives in Texas. I had played with M. that summer at a Frisbee tournament. A former semi-pro soccer player and a veterinarian, M. also happens to be charismatic and hilarious and immediately likable. M. lived with her girlfriend, another ultimate player, whom I'd heard was a badass but had never met.
The email had no subject. With one arm already in my jacket, I clicked. Then sat back down.
A lighthearted opening, then right to the point: "We're interested in having a baby but have definitely had some challenges in finding good donors," it said.
"As we are both older we have the odds seriously stacked against us statistically and our doctor recommended trying to find a "fresh" donor, i.e. someone local who is available to donate the day of the procedure so no freezing is involved, which typically cuts the odds down even further. So we have been trolling the bars and dark alleys of Austin looking for good young men and surprisingly have not really turned up anyone appealing. So we're expanding our search and would be really interested in hearing what type of situation you guys might be up for."
By the time I'd read this far, I knew my answer was yes. True, I wasn't the person whose say-so this scheme ultimately depended upon, but I had a feeling that as long as I was okay with it, Joe would be, too.
My eagerness to shop my husband's sperm around may sound strange, but to me it seems only natural. We are at the age for making babies; our own baby is the most wonderful creature I have ever encountered; and so whenever lesbian friends who would clearly make the greatest moms brought up the sperm issue, I'd been half-jokingly pitching Joe. Good looks and good health, great eyesight and aim, a head full of long glossy hair, batting a thousand in the department of making perfect babies. Why should they pay for a stranger's sperm when we were all already a kind of big family? Why not make our family bigger, and increasingly strange, and ever more wonderful?
"Believe me, I never expected to have to compose a tactful way to ask for sperm via email," M. wrote, "but I have now written more sperm request letters than Christmas cards."
So this morning, when our visitors rolled up, we sat down to our omelets and piping hot coffee and sweet potato fries and got to know R., whom we'd never met. She was as legit as we knew M.'s partner would be, kind and laid back, tall and gorgeous with a hint of a Texas drawl. She worked with babies for a living, and knew how to slaughter a pig. We told them yes, we want to help.
They're going to keep looking for a local donor, but if that doesn't pan out, they'll fly the three of us out to Austin for a weekend this spring, where there's a clinic, and we'll take it from there.
Life is short. Babies are its finest bequest. Why not?
Becca Tucker is a former Manhattanite who now lives on a farm upstate and writes about the rural life.