When I was in high school, I had a boss that used to say "When you assume, you make an ass of you and me" - and I'm reminded of that now as I realize how inaccurate all of my assumptions regarding parenthood really were.
I never thought I'd want to move to the suburbs. I love our trendy neighborhood with our eclectic house and couldn't fathom leaving it to have a typical home in a typical subdivision behind the typical shopping center. Now we find ourselves beginning the process of finding a new home and putting ours on the market. Somewhere along the way over the past four months, we've determined that it's more important to be near a Target, new schools and child friendly chain restaurants. My family lives in a suburb north of where we are now, and it makes more sense to be near them..Merrill's pediatrician is in the same suburb, etc., and so the logic goes.
I always thought having a child meant some changes in your world, but that as a whole you simply had a third person in your midst as you went about your normal routines. Shopping trips would only mean the addition of a stroller, dinner reservations would be for three instead of two, and travel would simply require a second suitcase. Oh, if I only knew how wrong that theory would prove. Even the most mundane tasks such as personal hygiene, cooking, and cleaning become small feats to achieve.
The world I created in my head while I was pregnant included a marriage that would only be enhanced and strengthened once this sweet little baby entered into it. While it is empowering to look at your partner and know you've joined together to create a life, and that you're working together to shape a person's identity, it's also terrifying and paralyzing at times. I've felt more fear than I thought possible in respect to how our relationship may suffer as a result of putting our needs on the back burner and having our bond become an afterthought at times. There is far less time for "we". The conversations revolve around her needs and milestones and the interaction becomes a series of tag-team events. Fatigued bodies and fried minds lead to little in the way of quality communication and affection. It's easy to forget that our love for each other is what got us here in the first place - and it's all too important that we maintain what we have. From the time we began dating, we never really had to work at anything - the relationship flowed smoothly, and falling in love was easy. Things progressed at a comfortable pace, and conflicts simply didn't exist. The realization that we are now in a place of needing to stick together and work at maintaining our bond is unsettling at times.
There are also things I assumed I'd feel that are inaccurate only in the sense that I didn't fathom how deeply they'd go. I knew I'd feel protective towards this baby, and I knew I'd do everything in my power to ensure her safety and happiness. I didn't anticipate how fierce and raw the emotions would be. I never saw it coming...never predicted the intensity of my feelings for her and never prepared myself to be stripped down to the bare bones.
The past four months have been a roller coaster of emotional and physical upheaval...and it's been the most amazing, unreal, and magical ride of my life.