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Sunday, February 4, 2018

How We Got Here-Choosing Parenthood

I once explained to my grandmother that I was not looking to get married or have any children.  This was a teenage pipe dream I had at about 16 when my boyfriends had been lackluster and the prospects were not inspiring.  I told her that instead, I intended to build or buy an enormous house with at least twenty rooms, one of which would house a one lane swimming pool (because I obviously thought that ambition would last forever 🤣).  I could see myself, Richie Rich-style, just chilling my days away playing in all of my rooms solo or with dogs, because that's what introverts dream about; not some lavish wedding reception with people looking at me or planning on babies that would rely on me for their existance.  This was around the time I thought I'd make a good lawyer too because I enjoyed arguing (but honestly what teenager isn't?!) and hadn't figured out that I actually liked some people and enjoyed my hometown so much that I might actually stay there one day and have a family of my own to share it with.  So that was my first life plan.

Fast forward about ten years and the child prospect hadn't improved much.  As far as boyfriends went, I up and married a high school sweetheart who turned out to be more teeth decaying sweet and not long lasting as that marriage crashed and burned a year in thanks to epic and unforgivable infidelity.  I had thought children were a part of that long term plan (I am a big planner as you might have noticed, both short term and long term, and so I said you know what, let's have some kids and see how I enjoy years of not knowing what will happen), but not until we both had #realjobs and a home of some kind nailed down.  Well, Mr. Can't Love Just One Person blew that idea up, and I wandered into my mid twenties experiencing a quarter life crisis that I had not anticipated.

So, heart hurt and feeling professionally stuck after several years of substitute teaching, I was blessed when I met a man who could help me heal my heart and be the partner I didn't realize I needed.  We courted and discussed various marrying challenges that were certain to come our way.  We discussed the obstacles of overcoming first marriage failures, our age difference, whether to have a mattress on the floor or not, and whether or not we saw kids as part of that future.  My mama-hormones were not feeling ready for a while, probably in no small part to still needing to feel settled in this marriage and pursuing some kind of full time job-ness.  That all fell into place not without its bumps as I had the job but then experienced the fun of being furloughed, or laid-off, as the school district closed a building.

I think part of getting ready for parenthood for me was going through these tough changes that would make me more heart-strong, more patient, more understanding and ready for tiny humans who needed that woman and not the one I was at 16 or 26.  I needed to experience other joys and trials before I could do this and do it in any way well or confidently (not that it ever feels well or confident-but as I look back at these first eight months, I realize I'm not doing too bad).  Learning and reflecting is not just a part of my profession, but really a part of my DNA and personality, so I'd like to think that I have taken a good part of my life to learn how to be a good parent, and hopefully, now that the real work is required, I am ready, come what may.

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