Friday, May 25, 2007

The idea of children, part 2

Back in February, I posted a blog entitled “revisiting the idea of children.” In that posting, I wrote of my fears of having a child – of what it would mean to my career, my sense of self, my peace of mind, and especially my cherished relationship with my husband. I wrote that I was terrified of what the entire process would bring, and that the idea seemed one that I’d need to push into the distant future to have time to prepare properly for the life-changing event it would surely be.

What a difference a few months makes.

It must have been late March or April when I was driving to work, and I started listening really closely to a song that was on the radio. Called “100 Years,” by Five for Fighting, it’s not a new song, not one that’s making waves now, or enjoying any special comeback. But it had been long enough since I’d heard it that I really listened to the lyrics. In the second or third verse, the singer intones, “I’m 33 for a moment – still the man, but you see I’m a ‘they’ – kid on the way, and a family on my mind / I’m 45 for a moment – the sea is high, and I’m heading into a crisis, chasing the years of my life.”

Innocuous, right? The meaningless fluff of pop drivel, no doubt. Those lines had never struck me as anything special before. But that day in the car, they brought tears to my eyes. The idea of preparing to start a family, immediately punctuated with expressions of fleeting time, and heading into a midlife crisis, aware of how much of your life is already behind you … it suddenly became perfectly clear to me that life IS short, that the days and moments of a life do indeed fly by with ever-increasing speed, and that I was somehow ready to embrace the idea of having a child. I was still scared of what it would mean – that hadn’t changed. But the fear was different – it was closer to the excitement you feel before doing something really daring, like heading off for a travel destination you’ve never been to, or getting ready to ski down your first “blue” slope, or eating sushi at a strip mall.

The best thing, though, was the sure knowledge that no matter how afraid I was, I wasn’t in this alone. My husband and I – well, let’s say we’ve been through a lot together over the eight years we’ve been together. My confidence and faith in him is as integral a part of my life as air, food, water. It finally clicked in my mind and heart that when he kept telling me we’d go through this together, that’s exactly what he meant – and that no matter what I’d seen in the families and couples whose lives touched mine, we would do it our way, side by side and hand in hand.

So after months and years of the idea being terrifying and me pushing it away, it had suddenly become terrifying with me embracing it. And just in time, too. Because it was early June when we found out we were going to have a baby.

Stay tuned. There's more coming on this topic.

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