When you love someone from Buffalo, New York, you really have no choice but to develop some good, old-fashioned, chicken wing-type Western New York pride.

The In Love in New York series was always meant to include a few posts about the city on the lake. From the new craft breweries, to the universal love of everything hockey, I knew that I wanted to talk about the city that was was the backdrop to The Man’s childhood.

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Naturally wearing a Community Beer Works shirt, while posing for a photo at Niagara Falls.

I can’t do it. Not yet.

In the middle of February, The Man and I packed up our little car and drove hour after hour to visit his parents’ for his mother’s birthday. He hasn’t been home for her birthday in years. Maybe that was the first seed for this writing session.

On the refrigerator inside their home, there is the cutest photo of The Man when he was just a toddler, wearing nothing but a diaper and some adult-size aviators, sitting on his father’s Harley. It is nothing shy of the sweetest photo I’ve ever seen. I used to say that I was the cutest toddler of all time, but The Man gives me a run for my money. This may have been the second seed.

The day after we arrived in town, we made our way to visit his best friend. One whom we haven’t seen in more than a year’s time. He and his wife just gave birth to a beautiful boy just shy of three weeks prior.

We reach their new home, and The Man’s best friend and another one of his childhood friends were sitting around, chatting. His wife was there with the little baby, and quickly asked if I wanted to hold him. I rushed to take off my jacket, wash my hands, and scooped up the tiny life in my arms. The boys continue to catch up after a long break, discussing a new baby, a new engagement, and a new career. The best friend’s wife and I sit around and talk about the life change and how it’s going– and for a moment I think this is such an old-lady conversation, something I thought I was years away from having with someone my age. It was a surreal, and yet, genuinely heartwarming at the same time.

The idea of having a child is something that I have thought long and hard about over the years. It is one of those processes in which I ask the typical questions: Would I be a good mother? Is The Man the one who is to be the father of my children? The Man and I aren’t married yet, hell we’re not even engaged, but the discussion of children and our future family has come up. Always as a distant, but eventual thing.

Then reality hits and I recall the first few nights of having Lily, our lionhead rabbit, and I feel the need to shake away the thought of having a baby. I didn’t sleep for fear that my rabbit wasn’t warm enough, safe enough, or have enough food or water. Every time Lily moved in her cage, I jumped out of bed to check on her. She, like a baby, couldn’t tell me what she needed or simply if she was okay. I think I might lose my mind if I have a baby right now.

But, as I sat there with this new mother, holding her baby, a calmness came over me. He was so responsive to everything around him, and was nothing shy of entrancing. He snuggled up until he was comfortable, seemed to respond to his parents’ voices in the room, cried, and then would calm down with me. I loved bouncing around with him when he was cranky, and burping him after his feedings.

I know that the baby is not mine, and it’s easy to love a child or an animal when you know you are giving it back at the end of the visit, but there was a valuable lesson learned here.

This post isn’t about falling in love with a city. I’m no longer thinking about what I would have to give up in order to get pregnant and have a family. While in Buffalo, I fell in love with my future and all of the possibilities held within my life with The Man. While there are still certain steps that need to be taken, I am not as far as I once found myself from planning a family. And I have the latest trip to Buffalo to thank for making me see that.