On August 25th, or earlier, our second child is coming. Apparently whether we want her or not. Does that sound horrible? Maybe to some of the more sensitive among us, but it’s the truth. There is another human being coming and SHE is going to change a whole lot of things that I’m completely cool with right now. Free time now that Jack’s in school for a few hours? GONE. Current sleep habits and reliance on them? GONE. Current relationship with Jack? GONE. Disneyland on a whim? GONE. Wow. This kid is going to actually steal DISNEYLAND from me! FROM ME!
I hope my sarcasm is bursting through the font on the flickering screen.
Now, clearly, my wife and I both wanted to have another kid. It was not a lightly made decision. Actually, I take that back. It WAS a lightly made decision. There was no real financial discussion. No pro/con list was made. No charts. Not even a single pie chart. We both just knew we wanted to have another child. That, in the short list of experiences we can truly gift to our child, we wanted Jack to have a brother or a sister. When asked I would simply say: “I cannot imagine my life without my brother and sister.” Now, we didn’t take it with out the depth and weight that the decision to have another child has. However, we certainly didn’t micromanage our lives for months or argue about the benefit analysis. We just went with it. If it happens, cool. If not, hell, we’ve already got an amazing son. Oh, and it happened. Apparently, we are both very good at making children.
The most serious discussion about the prospect didn’t even involve my wife, but my friend John. I asked him if he thought I was ready for this and he said no. “You’ll never be ready for this. That’s not the point.”
This was John’s way of saying something I already knew. I don’t have to know how I’m going to do it, just so long as I accept that I will do it. He continued “And if you’re worried about whether or not you can afford it, don’t be. You’ll never be able to afford it. George, you can’t afford the child you have now.”
These sound like grim conclusions in black and white. They are anything but. They are spiritual guidance and a lesson in letting go of my flawed sense that I can control the uncontrollable. And THANK GOD, because I can make myself exhausted once I start erecting the house of cards built on my own illusion of control. I can get tired of imagining how she is going to sleep. I can move the same box ten times if it means making an extra square foot of room. Which recliner should we get for nursing? What is the PERFECT basket for spit up towels and why do all of these photos in ads for baskets for spit up towels look as though absolutely zero spitting up is happening in these pristine, white rooms?!?
Now, perhaps I’m not the model of Zen but I’m doing pretty good for a guy that last time around simply remained blissfully ignorant until it blew the circuit board. Progress can be a beautiful thing when it becomes apparent, and even when it isn’t it’s nice to know that I keep moving forward, using the past as a wonderful place of reference, but not residing in it.
Things are, as my first paragraph dramatically detailed, going to change. But, so what? There is absolutely nothing about my life that I simply want to MAINTAIN. I want to be consistently moving forward and progressing in my own life and my responsibilities in the lives of those I love. Things are going to feel more chaotic than they actually are, and I will probably make a few jokes at the expense of myself and my wife at inappropriate times. We are both going to get stressed out. We are going to be sleep deprived and we are going to, at some points, be angry. More than likely, we’ll start to think that one of us is working harder at this than the other one is. It’s a beautiful little dance that communicating, semi-healthy couples do. We know when we need to address something from our history of letting things go too far for too long. We don’t do that anymore. We’re adults and know that conflict and tension is sometimes the price we pay for being part of the big, bad world. We will eventually find that flow in the chaos and we’ll prosper in that.
This guy Peter De Vries once said something that I find rather appropriate:
“The value of marriage is not that adults produce children, but that children produce adults.”
Time to grow up…again.