Sunday, February 15, 2009

Where have we been?

Good question. I'm glad you asked. Well, we don't have a whole lot to report these days. Jen is busy brewin' up a mini-human, but all of her efforts are pretty much behind-the-scenes.

We actually planned a couple trips this spring so we could get some wild oats sewn before we go on lockdown. I think that's really the thing we have been struggling with these days. We both share some concerns about being parents. Jen's concerns are about losing her own personal identity. This has been an ongoing issue for her. At first she was worried about just being a "womb" for people. That she would stop being anything else in other people's eyes. That's true when she becomes a parent as well. She's afraid that everything that makes her who she is will be affected and I think that's really hard. "I used to be a runner." I used to go to film festivals." "I used to make homemade dog biscuits." If those things don't disappear entirely, they'll at least be altered.

So sayeth the universe, "Say goodbye to the person you were and get ready to be the person you will be, even though you have no idea what that is. Trust me."

For me, I feel like as soon as the kid is born, I'll become my kid's employee. I work, clean, save money, think, read, travel exclusively for the benefit of the kid. We'll stop saving money in our retirement in order to have a college fund. I'll go to work so that my kid can go to a good daycare or be able to have a pass to the science museum. Does that happen? Do you get swallowed by the role you now have as a parent? When Jen and I became a couple, we retained pieces of ourselves even as we joined to form something new. Can you still do that when someone's survival, education, well being, and development are exclusively in your hands?

When the kid is born, it won't be the only birth. Jen gets born into motherhood and I'll be born as a father. So really we're in utero as parents right now. We'll figure it out on the birthday, but until then I think we're all in development. The little person is growing eyelashes, and we're growing a new sense of self and place.

We're trying to move through this phase right now, but we're still a little stuck. It seems (I say "seems" because who the hell really knows) like we know what we're giving up and losing, but we don't know what we're getting in return. Not that it won't be worth it. Of course it'll be worth it... Right? Of course it'll be worth it, but it's really the complete lack of knowledge about what things are going to look like that is really scary. And it's hard not to dwell a little, grieve a little, on the things that we know we are trading in because that's all our brains know. The same thing happened when we bought a house or got a dog. There was some nervousness because we knew what we were giving up (freedom, money, etc). Both of those things have worked out perfectly (as I'm sure the next big thing will as well) and we wouldn't trade either for the world. In my heart, I know we're doing the right thing, but my brain is having a hard time conceptualizing what this will even look like.

It's a real test to trust in the process. The harder you fight, the more likely it is that it'll suck. Release control and have faith and we'll end up in the perfect spot. Exactly where we're supposed to be.

Great advice. Damn it's hard though.


Anonymous said...

Hey, you're not going on lockdown. At least not when you think. You know how you haul Euchre with you everywhere? Well, it's easier with a baby human (you can get into more restaurants, for example). Not that Euchre isn't cute, but you'll be even MORE mobile and free for at least the first year. Until walking (well, maybe crawling). So, schedule trips galore that first year. Babies travel light. They sleep a lot. You'll be set.

And all those of those worries about parenthood? You'll both do wonderfully. Your biggest danger is isolation. As long as you remember that we all want to hold that baby and raise him/her in our village (and all of the other villages that you two are linked to), you've got smooth sailing. Well, until adolescence anyway. I haven't parented that part yet. Here's a 10-year pass. Fondly, Neighbor Margaret

Katherine and Mark said...

I think that you both will do wonderfully in all of this, and, not to put pressure on you, we look to you to be role models in this area. It's just too bad we don't live closer to you, because I would love to run with Jen after she gives birth.

Heather said...

I'm glad you have neighbors like Margaret :)