Sometimes, on the soft mornings of the weekend when I’m waking up on my own, curved against my husband, Ruby curled up in blonde ball after we cave and bring her up for a snuggle, I think to myself, I wonder what this scene will look like when there is a baby.
It’s a given that anytime I watch Carl with our friend’s kids – tiny feet puttering after him, the instant attraction and desire they have to play with him, our niece and nephew belly laughing at his antics and their small hands enclosed in his large, seasoned ones while taking a walk – in those moments, there is not a single doubt in my mind that I want to make this man a father. I want us to bring our chubby and hopefully redheaded babies into the world and it makes me excited to think about it.
Then there are the strange in-between times.
I’ll be sitting on the deck, basking in sunshine with a good book and a glass of wine, feet propped up and the only noises surrounding me are the birds and the occasional gust of warm wind. And in that moment, I think to myself, am I ready to give all of this up?
The stack of magazines I can dive into, anytime I want for as long as I want.
The ability to be spontaneous with a trip to the movies, or ice cream at 10pm.
A girl’s night, complete with copious amounts of alcohol, dancing, and late night pizza.
Going to the grocery store on my own or spending as much time as I please shopping around Target.
To just pick up & go and just be 27 years old.
Because before all the “mama’s”, the bottles, the diapers, the crying, the relationship strain while we figure this whole thing out – I am the me of right now. I am selfish and impulsive and unsure if I’m done enjoying “just us” yet; this chapter of Carl and I neatly tucked between newlyweds and what comes next.
I don’t know if I’m ready to have the conversation about the very real possibility that I won’t be able to be a stay at home mom – figuring out how much we need to save and planning for things like strollers and car seats (awesome-note: being the second person to have babies is awesome, I have a Bugaboo coming my way).
Carl on the other hand – he is ready. He is my balance…my calm. He reminds me that we have to put each other first and make our relationship a priority after kids or we’ll watch it disintegrate. My love for being spontaneous and just letting go of caution to the wind and come what may falls short of where he does, so he stands on the opposite end of that gap just encouraging me to come halfway.
There isn’t an inkling of a doubt that he will be an absolutely brilliant daddy. We talk about what features from us we would want to see in our future child, how the nursery will look, the day our kid says their first word. How a little girl with a tuft of red hair would remind him so much of me that there is no way he wouldn’t be wrapped around that child’s finger – how they’ll be fantastic and smart and the absolute best of both of us; learning how to work on cars and camping, fall in love with baking and appreciate the adventure of a good book.
We even have the foresight to laugh when we look at other kids and make promising eyes at each other that, ugh we will never be those parents and Oh our kid will never do that! Knowing fully that we’ll likely be eating our words. It’s okay for now because these future kids are the kids of our dreams and allowed to be whatever we imagine them to be.
It’s not about wanting kids, because I’ve always, always wanted to be a mama. I’ve known it in my soul since I was a little girl that I was meant to be one, I want to be one, and it will be amazing when it happens.
I’ve watched my sister raise two tiny, awesome humans into actual people. I was there when they were born; I’ve wiped away tears, kissed boo-boo’s, and played Lalaloopsy to my heart’s content. I’ve watched these kids soar from toddling, squishy babies to little balls of brilliance – reflecting the best parts of their parents and amazing me at how clever they are for not even gracing double digits yet.
And yet – somewhere else…somewhere deep, something is holding on so tight to how life is right now, fingernails practically digging in.
This life with late Sunday breakfast, swanky dinners in Boston, luxury hours that belong only to us; the nights we talk about life and everything else until the wee hours of the morning, the sleeping in to our heart’s content, the ability to take a shower (alone) for as long and as hot as I want – where does that all go once our orbit moves to accommodate a new planet?
I’ve heard it all more times than I can count – that there is “no such thing” as the right time, how no one is ever ready and if you wait until you’re “ready”, it will be either too late or a big struggle. We have a plan in place, one that Carl thinks will result instantaneously into pregnancy, but I know better – that things rarely happen the way that we plan them.
I think about how amazing it will be to create a family with this man – these creations of cells 50% him and 50% me with enormous personalities that we know nothing about yet. In the same living room where I debate their existence, I think about how our kids will learn to crawl on the carpet, how they’ll throw food all over the kitchen. My heart feels like it will burst when I think about how they will be best buddies with Ruby, and how much she will adore her new brother or sister to play with. I think about how I love them even though I don’t know them yet…trying to anticipate the feeling in my heart that will burst forth when I see our child for the first time. The child that will make me a mother.
I’m excited but intimidated by all the sleepless nights, the crazy amounts of laundry, and just figuring it all out. At least we already have names – that was the easy part. I think about telling my parents and how excited my whole family will be. I think about the moment we find out if it’s a boy or a girl.
It’s a strange tightrope to balance on.
On one hand, I can see myself as MOM with a tiny ball of baby in my arms walking head first into the next chapter of my life. But on the other, that part of me is shakily clinging to the line I’m walking, as if my feet were suddenly covered in oil and all I can do is grasp desperately to what I have.
So in honor of this weird place I am in, I’m making a promise to myself – for when the time of fear is replaced with OHEMGEEITSHAPPENING:
Dear Future Mama-Self,
I promise to, until I catch up to you, soak up all of the amazing, beautiful little moments that make-up the right now. The part of the story where it’s just Carl and I – the two of us navigating marriage. I promise to dive headfirst into the sweet seconds we’re living so I never feel like I missed out on anything or look back with regret because I was present enough while I was there. The nights we’re out too late, the mornings that start later than we intended, the random adventures at the last minute – I’ll enjoy them in your honor. I’ll create beautiful memories for you to look back on when we’re snuggled into the glider nursing a new baby and unshowered. I will kiss the handsome man you married, hold his hand, and make him feel loved. I’ll take more pictures to look back on and always choose the option that wouldn’t be available if we had a baby.
I’ll see you on the other side.