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Показать все книги автора/авторов: Giffin Emily

«Baby proof», Emily Giffin


Many thanks to my family and friends for their love and support over the past year. I am especially grateful to Mary Ann Elgin, Sarah Giffin, and Nancy LeCroy Mohler, who, as always, were there from the very beginning of this story with their invaluable input. I couldn't ask for a better mother, sister, and friend.

Abiding appreciation to my exceptional editor, Jennifer Enderlin, and to everyone at St. Martin's Press, including Kim Cardascia, Sally Richardson, Matthew Shear, George Witte, Jeff Capshew, Andy Lecount, Tom Suno, Gina Wynn, Brian Heller, Christine Jaeger, Jeff Cope, Jeff Willmann, Rob Renzler, Matt Baldacci, Carrie Hamilton-Jones, Nancy Trypuc, Anne Marie Tallberg, Josh Zacharias, John Murphy, Dori Weintraub, Tommy Semosh, Jenn Taber, Christina Ripo, Harriet Seltzer, Christina Harcar, Kerry Nordling, Mike Storrings, Elizabeth Catalano, Kelly Too, and Nicole Liebowitz. Thanks also to Kari Atwell and the good people at H. B. Fenn.

Special thanks to Lisa Reed, Julie Portera, Allyson Wenig Jacoutot, Jennifer New, Eric Kiefer, Brian Spainhour, Selina Cicogna, and Stephen Lee for their friendship and generous contributions to this manuscript. I owe so much to Stephany Evans, a fine agent and an even finer friend. And I am so lucky to have Carrie Minton, the best assistant anywhere.

A warm thank-you to all the gracious book clubs and bookstores I visited, and to readers everywhere who came to my signings or took the time to send me such kind and inspiring e-mails.

And finally, I thank my husband, Buddy Blaha, and our sons, Edward and George, for giving all of this meaning.


I never wanted to be a mother.

Even when I was a little girl, playing dolls with my two sisters, I assumed the role of the good Aunt Claudia. I would bathe and diaper and cradle their plastic babies and then be on my way, on to more exciting pursuits in the backyard or basement. Grownups called my position on motherhood "cute"-flashing me that same knowing smile they give little boys who insist that all girls have cooties. To them, I was just a spunky tomboy who would someday fall in love and fall in line.

Those grown-ups turned out to be partially right. I did outgrow my tomboy stage and I did fall in love-several times, in fact-beginning with my high school boyfriend, Charlie. But when Charlie gazed into my eyes after our senior prom and asked me how many children I wanted, I reported a firm "zero."

"None?" Charlie looked startled, as if I had just confessed to him a terrible, dark secret. "Why not?"

I had a lot of reasons, which I laid out that night, but none that satisfied him. Charlie wasn't alone. Of the many boyfriends who followed him, none seemed to understand or accept my feelings. And although my relationships ended for a variety of reasons, I always had the sense that babies were a factor. Still, I truly believed that I would someday find my guy, that one person who would love me as is, without condition, without the promise of children. I was willing to wait for him.

But around the time I turned thirty, I came to terms with the fact that I might wind up alone. That I might never have that gut feeling when you know you've found the One. Instead of feeling sorry for myself or settling for something less than extraordinary, I focused my energy on things I could more easily control-my career as an editor at a big publishing company, fascinating trips, great times with good friends and interesting writers, evenings of fine wine and sparkling conversation. Overall, I was content with my life, and I told myself that I didn't need a husband to feel complete and fulfilled.

Then I met Ben. Beautiful, kind, funny Ben who seemed way too good to be true, especially after I learned that he actually shared my feelings on children. The subject came up the night we met, on a blind date orchestrated by our mutual friends, Ray and Annie. We were at Nobu, making small talk over yellowtail sashimi and rock shrimp tempura, when we became distracted by a young boy, no older than six, seated at the table next to us. The boy was ultratrendy, wearing a little black Kangol hat and a Lacoste polo with the collar turned up. His posture was ramrod straight, and he was proudly ordering his sushi, proper pronunciation and all, with no input from his parents. Clearly this was not his first trip to Nobu. In fact, I'd have guessed that he had eaten sushi more often than grilled-cheese sandwiches.

Ben and I watched him, smiling in the way people often smile at children and puppies, when I blurted out, "If you have to have kids, that's certainly the kind to have."

Ben leaned across the table and whispered, "You mean one with a bowl cut and a hip wardrobe?"

"No. The kind that you can take to Nobu on a school night," I said matter-of-factly. "I'm not interested in eating chicken fingers at T.G.I. Friday's. Ever."

Ben cleared his throat and smirked. "So you don't want to live in the suburbs and eat at Friday's or you don't want kids?" he asked, as I noticed his slight, sexy underbite.

"Neither. Both. All of the above," I said. Then, just in case I hadn't been clear enough, I added for good measure, "I don't want to eat at Friday's, I don't want to live in the suburbs, and I don't want kids."

It was a lot to put out there so soon, particularly at our age. Ben and I were both thirty-one-old enough to place the issue of kids firmly on most men's list of taboo topics for first dates. Taboo assuming you want kids, that is. If you don't want them, then raising the topic is akin to announcing that you are close friends with Anna Kournikova and that you and she enjoy three-ways, particularly first-date three-ways. In other words, your date probably won't view you as marriage material, but he'll certainly be enthusiastic about dating you. Because a thirty-one-year-old woman who does not want children equals a nonpressure situation, and most bachelors relish nonpressure situations-which is why they target women in their twenties. It gives them a cushion, some breathing room.

On the flip side, I knew I could be automatically disqualified for long-term consideration as I had with so many guys in my recent past. After all, most people-women and men-view not wanting kids as a deal breaker. At the very least, I risked coming across as cold and selfish, two traits that don't top the list of "what every man wants."

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