Tag Archives: parenthood

One-Year Anniversary: The Best Father I Could Find

21 Dec

Our New Years Day wedding, 2011: nothing short of perfect.

Forgive me while I gush.

One of the most exciting things to me about entering parenthood is that I will be able to look at our daughter – and any future kids we bear – and know that I have given her the best possible father I could find. I will be able to tell her, “I worked hard not to settle, and as a result, you get a great dad.”

The ability to proudly present your children with an outstanding daddy isn’t necessarily something you think about much when you’re dating, but boy does it reassure you when you take those first steps down the never-ending path of parenthood. Especially when you can’t even see your toes as you walk down said path.

Whether your husband is going to be a total douche through fatherhood (and oh so many husbands are) is one less giant thing to worry about when you are days away from ejecting a squirming, screaming, 8-poundish creature from your body and then holding yourself responsible for her well-being for the next 18 years.

It helps, during those anvil-dropping reality checks, to know that you’ve chosen a mate who will hold your hand in the delivery room, change diapers in the middle of the night, be a comforting force during tearful moments (yours and baby’s), serve as a strong, moral compass during the shaky growing-up years and stand up for whatever your family needs through every upcoming stage. It helps to know that you genuinely like the guy.

A year ago this New Year’s Day, George and I were married at a small, stone church in Newton, Mass. It was a gorgeous, sunny afternoon in the 50s, with the perfect blanket of snow left over from a blizzard days before. We couldn’t have asked for nicer weather. No jackets. No pantyhose. No cold, red ears to ruin the pictures.

After a lovely ceremony, we celebrated our nuptials at the All-Newton Music School. Instead of the traditional dance party, we opted for a “cabaret,” where our incredibly talented friends and family performed a series of “acts.”

They entertained us with clarinet, piano, guitar, voice, violin, flute, cello and trumpet. There were original lullabies and a short play and three unforgettable toasts. The food satisfied, the decorations were handmade and stunning, and nearly everybody stayed until the very end. We didn’t spend much money, as far as weddings go, but we’d like to think we provided an original and meaningful affair for everybody there. It will forever be one of our greatest memories as a couple.

While we would have loved a year or two or ten to bask in our romance before bringing children into our family, we also knew we wanted kids and didn’t necessarily want to put it off. We started trying and, as George often likes to marvel, “It worked!”

Now here we are, a year into our marriage, and it looks like we’ll be having our first kid before we have our first fight – although I suppose there’s always room for a good, old-fashioned, “I Hate You Why Did You Do This To Me” temper tantrum during delivery. We’ll see!

And even if I do direct my fury toward my poor husband during those hours of unbearable pain and frustration, I will know that mere moments later, our daughter will be resting in her dear father’s arms, and I will look over and know that she is a lucky, lucky, lucky little girl.

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The Romantic Era: So Far, My Child Is Perfect

21 Dec

Pregnant ... with good intentions.

Editor’s Note: I wrote this on another blog Aug. 6, so some of the info is outdated (e.g. we know now that we’re having a girl)!

I’m 19 weeks pregnant with my first child, which I have come to see as the Romantic Era of parenthood.

With the I Hate My Life, Everything Makes Me Want to Vomit Era well behind me now, and the I Can’t See My Feet, All My Joints Ache Era still in the somewhat distant future, I can sit back and relax in my stretchy pants and empire-waist dresses, eating handfuls of bonbons, without guilt, and dreaming of cuddling up with a snuggly little bug in a onesie who coos when she hears my voice.

Not only am I physically well for the first time in months, but there seems no limit to my fantasies about how perfect and amazing parenthood will be.

Today I told my husband (who actually IS perfect beyond my wildest fantasies) that I imagine us with a child who breezes through the ages of 2 and 3 without ever being remotely “terrible.” And my husband agreed, himself suggesting that perhaps we will have a baby who never cries!

We will simply ask our little one, “Are you hungry?” And he will nod, politely, silently, and we will feed him. A little while later we will say, “Are you tired?” And again, he will nod, and then go down for a long nap without a fuss.

Yeah, right. I know. But in the Romantic Era of pregnancy and pre-parenthood, you can actually let yourself believe these things!

All your questions serve up only the most favorable answers.

Will delivery be torture? No, my experience with childbirth will be miraculously pain-free! Will our child keep us up all night? No, she will be a sleeping prodigy!

We don’t know yet if we are having a girl or a boy, and either seems ideal to us, since we are in the Romantic Era.

If it turns out to be a boy, our son will, of course, grow up to be the consummate gentleman, just like his daddy. Holding doors and saying “please” and “thank you” without prompting. He will be good at sports without ever wanting to run in the house.

If it’s a daughter, she will look adorable in pigtails and be a superb tea-party host to her dolls and stuffed animals. She’ll speak comfortably with adults without ever clamoring for attention.

Our parenting, also, turns out to be flawless in our Romantic Era fantasy.

We imagine that we right all the wrongs of our own upbringings. We will strike the perfect balance of loving and strict. We will always be consistent with discipline and rules. We will put our children first without spoiling them. There will be family dinners every night and no fighting, ever.

Oh, the joys of parenthood when your child is still in the womb!

The only thing that sounds better than the Romantic Era is real life.

In truth, I can’t wait to hear my baby cry. I can’t wait to see my child testing the limits of his world. I’m even sort of looking forward to that annoying phase where they can’t stop saying, “Mommy, Mommy, look at this,” and then you look over and see them doing something totally dumb and unimpressive.

Because as romantic as it is to be 19 weeks pregnant and brimming with idealism, I am so looking forward to the day I hold my baby in my arms and know that she is real — that she is beautifully human and uniquely flawed.

She will have cranky days and character impediments, just like the rest of us. She will keep her poor parents up at night, and there will be many days we want to tear our hair out.

But our child will be unlike anybody we’ve ever known or imagined, and that is what excites us most. He will be perfect because he is not.