family planning, friends, communication, hopes, fears, concerns, questions, discussion, negotiation, money, new partnership
Ian: Well, um, it all starts with a text message.
Tara: Okay. This is great.
Ian: So, um, Alexis and I have a mutual friend, her name is Jamie. And Jamie is a convener of people, but she doesn’t always seek consent. So, um, what happened in this case is I got a text message, and it said essentially, “I have someone who wants to have a kid. Would you like to have a kid with that person?”
Ian: And I replied “No, that’s crazy,” and she replied, “okay, I’ll get back to you”. And radio silence. So then nothing happens as far as I’m concerned. It’s just one of those lovely moments where Jamie has gone mad and then you never hear about it again. But then six months later, roughly, I get another text message, and it says, “it’s Alexis”. No context, as if the conversation had just continued. And my response was, “it’s Alexis who?” or something like that, and she gets talking about how it’s a mutual friend our ours, Jamie and mine, sister, Alexis. And over the years it’s very likely that Alexis and I have been in several rooms together but just hadn’t met. Just hadn’t met. And unbeknownst to me, and Alexis can get into her part of this afterwards, Jamie had been marketing in the background to Alexis, through a group of people trying to get Alexis to do what she was also not interested in.
Alexis: Yah. So she, same thing, except I didn’t get a text. She spoke to me in person and she was like, “So I think I might have someone who you’d, like, be good parents with. Do you want to meet them and have a baby?” And I was, like, “I’m pretty sure I don’t want to, but thank you for just out of the blue bringing that up. And then yah, and then she was talking – she talked to our common friends all this stuff, so when some of our common friends were also like, “maybe you should meet with him”, blah, blah, blah, I was like – I still thought they were all wrong, but they were all my best friends and sometimes you have to say, if that many people are trying to give you this advice… So I was like, okay, I’ll see what happens. And then I guess that would be when you got the other text message saying, “it’s Alexis”.
Ian: That would be about that time. So Jamie the mastermind in the background is doing all this, and then, um, convinced us to go and have a meal together. And we sat and didn’t talk about having children for an entire meal, because of course we constantly say how you never talk about when you’re going on date “hey, look at our date, look how great our date is”. Um, and Alexis and I agreed by the end of that meeting to sit and talk more about this.
Ian: And, um, and we did so for several months: sat in, um, in a Starbucks which is no longer a Starbucks, across from Sherway Gardens out in Etobicoke. Alexis lived in Mississauga and I lived in Regent Park at the time.
Ian: And, um, we talked about all of our, I guess, hopes, fears, thoughts, um, concerns, questions about being parents. The context of the conversations was about being parents. And, um, how would we behave if, um, if something went right, if it went wrong, around money, all different questions I think that parents don’t always get an opportunity to talk about when they’re going to have children. So in a sense I feel like when he came, all the challenges that I heard other people have, we didn’t have so much. We had an answer for most of those things…
Ian: Or we at least had a way to talk about those things. Um, but that’s jumping ahead. So then we decided that we were going to, um, do this, and then we did this.
Tara: Right. Fantastic. Now you are already in a relationship with Ben?
Ian: Uh, no. That, well, as friends. So…
Ben: I can say it. I can say it. We were, uh, we’d met each other online. We were talking and chatting for years, and then gaps of months, or a gap of years.
Ian: But we never met. We were just talking online.
Ben: We never met, we just basically did modern day pen-paling. Uh, and one day, two years later after the initial sort of introduction, uh, where we encountered one another, we just said, maybe we should just have lunch. Maybe we should just do that. Um, and this was maybe around 2011, I think, in the summer. And so we had lunch. We showed up in this – in this restaurant wearing the same t-shirt, we found out we were both INTJs which is apparently a rare Meyers-Briggs category. So I went, “Oh my God, we have so many things in common”. And we’re both Star Trek fans, and so we, you know, the conversation was quite fun, and uh, things just progressed very quickly at that point and the next spring, um, we were in a relationship together. By that point Alexis was already pregnant with, uh, Joshua?
Ben: Yah, that’s right.
Tara: So when you began a new relationship, it really was being ready to begin to be involved in a family.
Ben: Yah. In fact, um, Ian was, at the time, single and going on dates. I’ll put, you know, I’ll paraphrase your story quickly which was, you know, you were committed to telling people you were dating very early on, and Ian’s story is often, you know, that he would see the warp trails of people leaving the door, fearing this notion of having children, uh, and then he…
Ian: Actually, it became funny. At one point I thought about keeping a compilation book to later tell the story. Yah.
Ben: And, so, later when he told me, my reaction was much less dramatic. In fact, almost indifferent. Um, I thought, okay, sure. I want to be in a relationship with you, and if this includes a baby on its way, uh, my perspective on it at the time was, well, I’m 38, sure! What else would I be doing? Um, and it may not have been right for everyone, but for me it felt like a progression for me that felt like a, uh, something I was interested in and willing to jump in to. I just went head – head-first into it.