This weekend was lovely—well, yesterday was. Marshall and I had Dutch Bunnies and our respective coffee and tea on the porch, alone, together. I couldn’t believe the beauty that saturated our backyard. The morning light, the towering pines, the clean, clean air. I had had a dream the night before that he was killed in a car accident, and I had to tell Everett, and I woke up so upset. So upset. I clung to him after waking up and it took me ten minutes to stop crying. I cried some more when he let me sleep in the next morning and I saw him in the kitchen. Sometimes, I wonder why so many women voluntarily get pregnant. These dreams are becoming another appendage attaching itself to me, collecting themselves to a solid state, hard to shake off in the daylight.
The day before, I was grumpy. The boys were incessant. I was so in demand. Constant requests, talking over each other, mama mama mama mama. They spun me into a frenzy. I tried to keep my cool and not look frantic but it’s…difficult. I am only one person, I wanted to tell them. I tried starting several conversations with Marshall, and every time we were interrupted by Ian’s whining or a bickering fight. We were each other’s second places. There’s no choice, really. You have to figure out what needs figuring out with the kids.
That night, I finished Rainbow Rowell’s fabulous Landline. I came to the part below, and cried all the way through it.
Georgie was pretty sure that having kids was the worst thing you could do to a marriage. Sure, you could survive it. You could survive a giant boulder falling on your head—that didn’t mean it was good for you.
Kids took a fathomless amount of time and energy. . . . And they took it first. They had right of first refusal on everything you had to offer.
. . . When Georgie and Neal were smiling at each other, it was almost always over [their childrens’] heads.
And Georgie wasn’t sure she’d risk changing that . . . even if she could.
Having kids sent a tornado through your marriage, then made you happy for the devastation. Even if you could rebuild everything just the way it was before, you’d never want to.
Yes, I thought. That is exactly it. This isn’t a brutally self-sacrificial view on parenting—having your identity destroyed by these tiny human beings—it’s just reality. I am a big proponent of taking care of yourself, of taking breaks (even long ones), of investing energy in yourself and your partner. The reality is that those priorities can be so hard to achieve. It’s just…hard. I get angry because there’s not much of me left to prioritize or to give to my partner. That’s all.
One of my best friends, a newlywed, drilled me earlier this year on the idea of starting a family. There’s not much out there on the implications of starting a family, she says. To have kids or to not have kids. She was so earnest. It was refreshing, to really talk about the pros and cons, when so often it’s just assumed that that’s what you do in a long-term relationship—you start having kids.
I was honest with her. How amazing it is, how rewarding. How freaking difficult it is. How helpful it is to know who you are, who you want to be, before you start a family. Because a tornado’s coming, and you’re just along for the ride. ;)