I never thought I’d be a parent. I honestly didn’t. I am a very selfish person and I was fully aware that selfish people do not make the best parents. In junior high, while other girls were planning their weddings to George Michael and picking out the names for their first dozen children, I was planning my first vacation spot (Ireland or Australia?) and picking out my dream car (a red MG convertible with a white top). None of these things seemed like they would be even a tiny bit enhanced by spit-up and dirty diapers.
I knew full well the joy children could bring. I had been filled to the brim with this “joy” throughout high school as I babysat for the little boys next door. These two children were actually wonderful little boys with all the energy, volume, and dirt that you would expect from a pair of healthy boys. The only thing about them that was unexpected was their preference for being naked and screaming. Especially when in public. A preference, I am told, that lasted them well into their college years. The thing that really shocked me about them was the realization that I had to be completely focused on the two of them the ENTIRE time I was around them. Ummmm, no thanks. It’s fun in small doses, but not as a way of life! I had dreams! I had aspirations! I had absolutely NO desire to memorize the entire Lady and the Tramp movie! (I can still recite the entire thing 24 years later. Thank you so very much, Mitchel and AJ).
I held fast to this decision until The Pastor and I had been married for just under two years. Then, one day, I was walking through the mall and saw a baby. Not to sound cliche, but it actually was like a timer inside of me went off. At 6:58pm I had absolutely no interest in having a baby. At 6:59 I needed a baby. NOW.
Next came the hard part. I was pretty sure that a lifetime of parenting would be a piece of cake compared to telling The Pastor that we suddenly needed a child. (He was not The Pastor at the time, but all the nicknames I would have used at the time probably wouldn’t be appropriate). You see, I had just spent the two years before we were married, and the first two and a half years after we were married convincing him that we didn’t want children. He had come into our relationship wanting two children, a boy and a girl. I had responded by informing him that this was the worst idea ever. I painted a picture of world travel, quiet Sunday afternoons, and lots of daytime romance, none of which would happen if we introduced a child into the picture. This made sense to him. He agreed. Why would we want babies when we could have four wheelers and vacations? Now I had to convince him to give up all of those things so that a tiny human could scream in his ear for hours on end and force us to clean up feces every couple of hours. It was going to be a hard sell.
As it turned out, not so hard. First, I opened with tears. Tears usually put men into a panic. They will do anything to make it stop. Then I explained my dire need for a child. This part was short because I didn’t really have a logical reason to want a child. Finally I closed with an explanation that he would only need to do the one thing he pretty much always wants to do anyway. He agreed right away, almost as if he had been expecting it.
He said “Sure, we can try. I’m all about trying. Just be aware that it can take six months or even a couple of years to get pregnant. We’ll have to try a LOT in the meantime.” I nodded, relieved that he was on board with something I didn’t entirely understand myself.
It turns out, it was a good thing he agreed right away. Four weeks later my doctor informed me that we were six weeks pregnant. I went into shock and started hyperventilating. It’s a good thing I was at the doctor’s office. Then I went home and informed The Pastor. He responded by going for a walk around the block. Really fast. About a dozen times.
It’s not that we weren’t thrilled. It was just like cliff diving. I’ve been cliff diving once. All I remember was stepping off the cliff and thinking Oh crap! I just jumped off a cliff! ON PURPOSE!!! Then I passed out. The feeling of finding out we were pregnant was about the same.
I won’t give you all the details of pregnancy and childbirth because it involved a lot of words like “mucus” and “placenta” and you might be eating. Let’s just say that we ended up with a son.
And two years later, another son.
And a year and a half later, a daughter.
And two and a half years later, another daughter.
And, finally, another son.
Because, unlike cliff diving, it turned out that I actually liked being a parent. Even more than an MG convertible. Even more than trips to other countries. Actually, I’m lying. I have no idea how much I like those trips or that car because I never experienced them. What I did experience was a life filled with stepping on Legos in the middle of the night and not getting anywhere near enough Sleep. It turns out I’m a little less selfish than I thought, because I’ve enjoyed it way more than I ever would have thought possible.
Don’t be selfish and keep me all to yourself! Share this blog! If you do, your hair will be thicker and shinier, your teeth will be whiter, and people will generally find you more attractive! I promise!