I lie on the couch with my legs outstretched across his. We’re watching Criminal Minds, Koda’s sleeping on the rug, and the dryer buzzes in the other room. This is pretty good. I’m okay with this, I think to myself. By 'this', I mean life, and I know I'm fortunate to have this one.
I’d be lying if I said that sometimes I don't feel like something’s missing, however. Can you feel complete, but like a piece is missing at the same time - y'know what I mean? I know it doesn’t really seem to make logical sense and I'm not sure how to explain it exactly, but let me rephrase that question: Can I feel content where I am and with what I have, but still long for something more?
This past Mother’s Day, I felt that little longing pull at my heart strings – a reminder, like countless others, of that one thing I try to suppress, stored in a box in the attic of my mind. Most days I try to keep it in the furthest corner, preoccupying myself with important things, and others quite arbitrary – in the hopes that that box will remained closed until “the time is right” and I am “ready” to open it. The truth is, I don’t know if there ever will be such a thing as right timing, or if I ever will be ready.
In fact, I’m sure of it. The thought of our little bubble of “just us”, the married couple and their dog, someday bursting and never again being what it is now – the “just us”, the being with just each other, the doing just about nothing really special, but loving it all the same – is quite anxiety inducing. And I'm scared to let that go. I'd like to think I'm good at handling change, but this? This is a huge deal. Like, a never-going-back deal. THE change of a lifetime. So these days, it's like I mostly sit at one end of the attic, staring at "the box" opposite and quite away from me.
That box, if you haven't already figured it out (hint: Mother's Day), is the decision to have children.
Maybe you thought it was a bigger deal than that, but I assure you, that is a h u g e deal for us. We've always loved kids, but they weren't ours obviously. That meant we could love them and love our childless life at the same time. Win-win, right?! ;) Well...I'll admit that there has been more than one occasion in which I, at the verge of tears, have confessed my desire to have a kid "right now", and have hated waiting. I wanted to be a mom on Mother's Day; I wanted to feel complete. I knew that it wasn't the right time in our life, but that didn't stop the desire to have children. When we moved into our new house, the baby fever was at an all-time high, folks - and the constant (literally every day) questions ("When are you two going to have a baby?") and unsolicited advice ("Don't wait too long!"/"You should get pregnant now or you'll be too old to have them!") didn't/doesn't help. It isn't always easy to be patient. Even my IUD (Mirena) has a say-so! ;)
To Adam and I, marriage was never a stepping stone to parenthood; it wasn't just an item checked off a list to achieve an ultimate "goal" of having children. Of course, I'm well aware that everything changes when suddenly you become responsible for another human being's life - when that little person becomes our entire world and suddenly everything that was once "just us" is a thing of the past. And, again, I'm not sure I'm ready to let that go. Because although I want to be a mom, I really do love just being a wife to Adam, and we enjoy our marriage sans children. I know that when a son or daughter joins our family, we'll be packing up a life that was once only and happily ours into a box, and storing it away in that attic. I know that over the months that follow of sleepless nights, new routines, and yes, arguments, that box will collect dust, and throughout the years, it'll be buried behind a tower of new boxes, no longer a priority but more like a distant memory. Perhaps we'll even forget about it altogether; because, after all, as many parents will say, we might not "remember life before kids". I don't want to forget, though. Ever.
Sure, there are date nights and short getaways in between the dirty diapers and temper tantrums. Sure, parents don't miss days of the past before their little one came along. To some extent I believe that's true - but what if some of us do? Will we grieve a life that once was, a life of "just us"? Will we yearn for that dusty box tucked away in the attic? Will our hearts ache for the things inside that we exchanged for a new life called Parenthood?
Will we ever be ready for it?
Maybe...but I don't believe we'll ever feel ready. And according to many a parent I know, this is absolutely normal. So why do we go into it even though we know life with our significant other will never be the same?
Because we have confidence that it'll be better, and just as I know I have loved this life of "just us", I know I'll love life as "Us, the Parents, And The Child That Completes Us" in its own completely different, but miraculous and beautiful way.
Is there a major life change ahead of you? Are you nervous about making a big decision?
Let me know in the comments below. Wishing you all the best now and always! ♥
*NOTE: The images used in this post are not my own*
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