Like a lot of folks, I’m sure, B2 and I began as a fling. We were summer associates (or, baby interns) at our future Manhattan law firms, about to head back to our last year of law school; I was about to spend half of it in Hong Kong, and he was staying in Boston, and we had no idea where we were headed as a couple (and, wait, were we a couple?) But then, sitting on a patio at an Italian restaurant in the East Village on one of our first actual dates, I asked B2 over a plate of squid ink spaghetti where he saw himself in five years. Still in New York, or somewhere else? (I did not win any awards for creative early-dating conversation.) Somewhere closer to home, he told me. Maybe not Hawaii just yet, but California would be nice. Just to be closer to family. I remember this answer so clearly, because I saw myself in California, too; I wanted to be closer to my family, too. It was the first time we talked seriously about the things we cared about, family most of all, and to hear him say that something mattered to him that also mattered so much to me was when our nascent relationship began to feel real. (Also, the thought of eventually moving to Hawaii did not hurt.)
Four years later, in a rare case of Things Actually Going According to Plan, here we are in California. In the same way that we both valued our families, B2 and I have, implicitly, always wanted a family of our own — so it’s fitting that our tiny B3, currently hiccuping somewhere around my right hipbone, was what finally made us move closer to our families like we both planned to years ago. Every month that went by in New York made it harder for us to imagine really taking the bar again and really starting new jobs (or, in my case, just a new office) and really moving all the way across the country, even though B2 was at a firm that consumed almost all his waking hours, even though New York often didn’t feel sustainable. And then this little being came along, and finally woke us up from the inertia of the flawed but familiar. B3 would have been something to celebrate no matter when he came along, and the indescribable happiness that he has brought so far is, I’m sure, only a little bit of what is to come. But, on top of all that, he’s also the reason we followed through on plans that we wanted all along to follow; he has buoyed us through the stress of our old jobs and the transition to our new ones, all the things that come with uprooting ourselves and moving to a city we hardly know, and he doesn’t even know it yet.