I have been unusually emotional these last few days.
Perpetually on the verge of tears, it feels like my heart is being tugged into my throat. Combine that with a sudden and acute awareness of my mortality and how short life is.
I know, heavy stuff.
My worry is that these feelings have set up shop in my life and don’t plan on leaving any time soon. In fact, if I’m totally honest, I’m preparing myself to live with these exact feelings for the rest of my life. This is what parenthood is…isn’t it.
Before Leo was born, life was just sort of happening around me. Sure we made plans and propelled our life forward, bought a house, made investments, went to the dentist. But I was waiting for something, for a baby and for our family to start, and so I just sort of went through the motions thinking that once we had our baby, then life would ‘really’ start.
Well, he’s here and it has started and now I’m in a panic of how quickly it’s all going to end. I lie awake at night wondering if we should live in Denver or somewhere else, stay in our house or move to the suburbs, breast feed until he’s five or consider 6 months a success. I wonder if earlier that day when I laid him down on his play mat and left him alone for 5 minutes I did irreparable emotional damage.
You know. Things like that. : )
I realize a lot of this is completely normal and let me assure you not nearly as distressing as it sounds. It’s just that I can see so clearly into the future now that Leo is here, the problem is that there are many different futures. How do you choose what’s right? It’s intense!
To make the things that Jon and I dream about possible (a place in the mountains, fun family vacations and experiences, a big ‘forever’ home) he has to work really, really hard. That will likely mean less time at home for him, more Leo duties for me, and more stress all around. The alternative is he pumps the breaks at work, probably doesn’t reach his full potential, and we make ourselves ok with the fact that we’ll never have a place in the mountains or give our kid(s) the experiences we hoped to. Maybe it doesn’t have to be one or the other, maybe we can have both?
Suddenly living in Denver isn’t as straightforward as it has been. Raising kids is going to look a lot different than I imagined not having my family nearby. I am constantly looking at flights home and then have to repeatedly remind myself that we live here. Not there. I can’t have one foot in one place and one in the other, as much as I’d like to. I’ve done that before and it’s torture, but you know what else is torture? Having a 3+ month old that my Mom and Dad have only seen once and that 3 out of 4 of my siblings have never met.
Moving back to Minnesota isn’t necessarily the answer either. Jon would have to give up his career and never know ‘what could’ve been’. We would have to give up living in a climate that we love and all the mountain activities that we enjoy. Would it be worth it though, to raise Leo near close friends and family and give him a similar upbringing to what we had?
I DON’T KNOW!
That’s the problem you guys. I don’t know what the right answer is. Hence the night time paralyzation. The reality is that I’m only familiar with one upbringing, which is my own, and no matter how many options are in front of us, one that I know isn’t going to happen is us moving to Ada and raising Leo in my parents house in a time before the internet and cell phones.
So. It’s going to be different from what I know no matter what.
I realize that he’ll likely be fine (probably more than fine) no matter what. In all honesty, it’s more about Jon and I than anything else. What can we live with? What can we live without? What are our expectations for our own lives and do they have to change now that we have a child?
The truth is, Jon and I need to sit down and get real about what’s really important to us and how we make those things a reality. Honest to goodness I want to make a vision board (don’t tell Jon, I’m going to try and trick him into it) and hang it somewhere so that every day we have a visual reminder of what’s really important. It was tough to map all of that out pre-Leo because you never know how parenthood will change you. Now that he’s here, and we understand more clearly the love we have for him and our willingness to sacrifice for him, we can start coming up with a plan.
Meanwhile, I’ll have to adjust to living with my heart in my throat and do my best to soak up every second of my time with Leo, and be ok with the fact that I don’t have it all figured out just yet (and never will).
Wait, you thought I would actually write a post and not include any photos?
Do you not know me at all?!
“That glass coffee table is a mistake”, they all said.
“You’re going to regret that once you have kids.” they said.
Want to know how I got 30 uninterrupted minutes of laundry, kitchen cleaning and emails done?
How do you like me now?