Let me apologize in advance for a longer-than-usual post. I didn’t write yesterday, so let’s just say that I combined two posts into one, shall we? 😉
Let me start from the beginning, when my history with Nate began. (Because after all, history is said to repeat itself). When Nate and I were just dating, several married couples pushed us to ‘tie the knot already and to experience the joys of married life’. The minute we got engaged, however, these same couples seemingly changed their outlook on things and immediately warned us that the honeymoon stage wouldn’t last long. They’d shake their heads with a confidence that I often took as marital wisdom and would say, “Just wait. Real life will begin soon, and suddenly those quirks you thought were cute are going to annoy the living daylights out of you. Just wait until he starts to leave dirty socks all over the house.”
Which brings up a side note: why is it that when people try to scare you from marriage, they always bring up dirty socks? It’s like no one can think of a more horrific example than dirty socks lying around the house.
Anyway, I felt as though these couples had tricked us somehow. One minute they were trying to convince us that we had to get married as soon as we could book the church… and the next minute they may as well have been handing us business cards for local marriage counselors. I even tried to defend my upcoming marriage once, insisting that I didn’t think marriage was going to be easy… but I sure thought it was going to be worth it. The older woman gave me a knowing smile, then shook her head – almost sympathetically – before saying, “You’re young. You’ll see. Life isn’t going to be the same anymore.”
Then, as with everyone else, she’d end with a half-hearted, “But it will be worth it.”
She might as well have been telling me about her favorite fiber supplement.
Now I’ve been married over five years, which still makes me a marriage newby compared to the veterans who have more than 20 years under their belt. That being said, I can say that life with Nate has only gotten better. Sure, we’ve hit some rough patches, and life certainly isn’t easy sometimes. But the longer we stay committed to each other, the better we know each other. And the more we experience together, the stronger our love grows. I couldn’t be happier, even if sometimes a pair of socks doesn’t quite make it into the hamper.
In fact, we’re about to set out on our biggest adventure yet: parenthood.
And so it begins again… Now that I’m pregnant, many of the couples who had frequently tried to convince me and Nate to ‘start a family already, because it is the most precious thing you will ever do… and your eggs are dying so there’s no time like the present’ have changed their tune. I’m almost of the belief that they tried to convince us to have kids, just because they thought they’d receive some sort of twisted satisfaction in spreading their exhaustion to us. 😉
After all, if they can’t sleep through the night or enjoy a date-night every weekend, then neither should we.
They may as well have went from singing the praises of parenthood to wringing their hands in devilish glee, all while madly laughing with their heads thrown back.
“It’s all over now!” they say. “You’re about to lose your identity… your name… your life. Say goodbye to sleep. To your body. To your mind!”
Oh, and my favorite…
“Don’t worry, it will only get worse from here,” all while they’re laughing at my apparent cluelessness or lack of experience.
A part of me understands where they are coming from, because I realize how I must look. Here I am, me and my tiny baby bump, acting all giddy with excitement; while they look on and think about how naïve I am.
They’ve been up too many hours, spit on one too many times, and chased into the bathroom for solitude once too often. Sometimes, I think my giddiness must make them angry. And while they still assure me that being a parent is worth it, they also don’t hesitate to make it very clear that my life is about to end.
And again, I get it. I’ve yet to wake up all hours of the night, due to a little one crying for milk… again. I can leave my house, whenever I want, without worrying about a babysitter or if I forgot to put on pants that morning. Sometimes, I even have the house to myself. And let’s face it, I am pretty clueless when it comes to babies. I can’t remember the last time I changed a diaper, and I still think that breast-pumps resemble futuristic communication devices.
Oh, I’m so glad these parents can’t watch me and Nate trying to figure out our baby registry. They would have way too much fun.
I suppose there’s a very good chance that one day, while I’m sitting in a dark nursery in the middle of the night to feed a crying infant, I may wonder why I so naively wished this upon myself (at least wished it upon myself so quickly). I may wonder why I longed for the long, sleepless nights and the never-ending days. But I also know that, as I snuggle my little one close, I will feel a love that I never have before. And it really will be worth it.
Sometimes people will try to make you feel naïve just because you’re young. They may try to convince you that just because you haven’t ‘arrived’ yet, there is absolutely no way that you are prepared for what’s ahead. And because you haven’t experienced what they have already, they’ve somehow earned the right to laugh at your excitement and giggle at your inexperience (even if they aren’t intentionally trying to make you feel undermined). But in reality, haven’t we all started from the very beginning, only to learn as we go? Haven’t we all been molded by our life experiences, whether it’s parenthood or even just learning to be a better person?
We’re all works in progress, no matter what our age. We’ve all learned from our past experiences. And in the end, it’s our choice whether we’re going to belittle those coming after us, or whether we’re going to encourage them in the journey they are now on.
I’m not naïve. I know that parenthood is going to be the craziest, most-difficult adventure that I have ever faced. But I hope that I’m one of those glass-half-full parents who focuses more on the good they’ve experienced and learned. (Because trust me, those parents are out there. I’m blessed to have met some of them, and they have no idea how their words of encouragement and positivity have meant).
And I also truly hope that one day, after I’ve been a parent long enough to look back on the journey of bringing a baby into this world, I will smile at an expecting mother and will say, “It is going to be hard… But you’ve got this. And you will never experience an adventure more amazing!”