It's Monday night, just after New Year's, and I'm sitting in the kitchen waiting for brownies to cool, drinking my Cherry Coke Zero, and live-chatting with a lady from AT&T to find out why they're making it so difficult to transfer my cell number. She's very pleasant.
Baking cookies and brownies, setting up my own wireless account-- I'm a grown-up, right? But the brownies came from a mix, and the cookies, made from scratch, have the old-lady name of "oatmeal scotchies." The live chat business is the result of a) leaving my parents' family plan, per my dad's suggestion that it would be good to have my own account in case they "move or die," and b) his subsequent reluctance to give AT&T his Social Security number to authorize the transfer. That part makes me feel like a kid. I can't even get an iPhone without my dad's disapproving help. Goddamn.
I told Heather proudly that, in the interest of creating positive energy for the year ahead, I'd used my New Year's Eve sparkler to spell out our chosen baby names. It was a powerful expression of optimism and hope, it seemed at the time, but Heather wasn't impressed. Now that my dad's disapproval, as usual, has sent me into a minor tailspin of self-doubt, it feels pretty weak.
Heather, or any other kind, supportive friend, would point out that I can't be held responsible for AT&T's policies (the nice live-chat lady confirmed that there is no way for me to transfer my number without Dad contributing his SSN), and that my dad's disapproval isn't about me. Fuck that, though: it's because of me that he has to compromise his principles of identity-theft avoidance, and I'm pretty sure I'm going to be at the wrong end of his frustration. It bothers me so much that I'm considering getting a new number altogether. Maybe he'll feel like I've become even more independent by casting off all evidence of our family plan.
My sister was home over Christmas break and began her trip by asking me and Heather detailed questions about our IVF plans over dinner with my parents. I'm pretty sure she reads the blog, so I wondered whether she wanted more information, or Heather's perspective (which, Heather tells me, is sorely lacking in this forum), or if she was trying to incorporate the topic into the family discourse. What I can say for sure is that my dad in no way participated in the conversation, and I don't actually think he's been part of it since the first day when he said he felt I was too young, hadn't been with Heather long enough, and didn't understand how expensive and stressful it would be to have a child. Which made me feel like one.
The bitch of it is that, since before I told him, I was an adult. There is nothing easy about the work it takes to get pregnant-- or get someone else pregnant-- artificially. As of this month, it'll be two years that we've been doing this, with charting and doctor's appointments and researching without end, and I haven't asked my parents for anything the whole time, other than support. Maybe the new phone number will be a fresh start, one more step towards separation from them and one more step towards creating a family of my own. We can't legally get married, but Heather and I can be wed together through the power of AT&T.