I often look at old photos of us and remember our lives before children. I look back at those people and I’m happy for them. They were so happy, adventurous, and carefree. They traveled the world. Lived spontaneously. But most of all they loved each other more than anything. They’re different now
When I was pregnant with Danny everyone told us what would happen to our lives. They said things like “enjoy it now because you won’t ______ after baby is here.” The blank space was any number of things. Have time for yourselves. Travel. Have time for each other.
We didn’t believe that children would change us. We should have.
We had our humbling experiences for sure. The first road trip with not one but two diaper blowouts. When our car overheated and we thought to ourselves is this even worth it? But we made it work. We discovered that our road trips no longer consisted of us talking for hours and falling asleep in the passenger seat while Regina Spektor played in the background. They now involved finding new ways of entertaining the baby, making faces, offering snacks, playing Elmo’s song and singing along to the Sesame Street alphabet. We stop at sights we’ve seen a thousand times because this time is different. We’ve seen it a thousand times but now we see it for the first time. This time we’re seeing it as a family. And when Danny falls asleep we still have our conversations but this time they’re a whisper. We laugh quietly so he doesn’t wake as we drive familiar roads and remember the people we were the first time we drove them. We’re different now.
Before children our days consisted of us both working. We would come home and exchange stories. We would have dinner and always end the day with an episode of the office. Or two. We slept in a small bed closely talking until we fell asleep.
Now I stay home. Some days are harder than others. Some days I’m exhausted and at my wits end. Still learning how to be a mother. But we manage Danny and I. We’re learning how to from each other. And everyday at 4:55 we hear the garage door open and Danny screams “Dadda!” As he runs toward the door. And before we can even greet each other Danny is reaching for him. We try to talk about our day but Danny wants to play. And so our evenings turn into chasing baby around the living room. Having dinner and watching half of it fly across the kitchen as it’s flung from a high chair. Turning on the office to watch the best part; Danny dancing to the beat of the piano intro. And everyday I develop a new admiration for my husband. The one who is tired from work but not too tired to give piggy back rides and have ball pit fights. And I admire myself too because although I say I can’t wait for daddy to come home so I can get a break I participate too. And while they finish playing I clean up the house in preparation for tomorrow’s mess. Excited for it.
We head to bed separated by Danny’s sprawled our body. We wait until he’s fast asleep and text each other about our day We tag each other on Facebook posts and try not to laugh out loud at parenting memes. And then he reaches over carefully so as to not wake baby, touches my hand, and texts I love you. Goodnight.
We’re so different now.
But not in the way you may think…Did having children change us? You bet. But not all change is bad. Sometimes change means growth. Sometimes the end of an era is the beginning of a better one. I loved him so much then. But I love him more now. I love him more because he IS more. Hes a father. He changed and so did I.
So yes I look at old photos of us. I look back at the people we were and I’m happy for them, but I look at us now and I’m happier.