October 3, 2005
After a nice long swim, I stood dressing the women's locker room. The TV blared above me, an early morning show featuring a family counselor. The camera zoomed in on a new mother: "I have a three-month-old, and my question is, will my marriage ever be the same again?" The woman standing behind me laughed out loud.
Earlier that morning I had been pondering the very issue. In a few months, it won't be just Tom and me. We'll have a third person living with us for the next eighteen years.
That's obvious, I know. You think about these things before getting pregnant. I certainly did. It's just never seemed real until now, and it's scary.
As we wind down our second year of marriage, I realize how fortunate Tom and I have been as newlyweds. We love each other more than we did to begin with. We get along well, communicate well. Our problems have been minor, with arguments center around not leaving cups around the house, not "Where were you last night at 9:00 p.m.?"
My favorite part of each day is when we are both finally home and can eat together, take a walk together, and cuddle together. We have periods of light talk, serious conversation, and comfortable silence. At times, as I lie in bed at night, our bodies pressed close in the tiny bed, I ponder my love for him and feel like the luckiest woman in the world.
(I'll give you a minute here to vomit.)
So what happens when you introduce a crying, pooping, spitting up machine? What happens when our cozy nights are no longer just the two of us? What happens when truly being alone requires a bigillion-dollar-an-hour babysitter?
Tom and I are about to face the greatest challenge of our relationship. If we are not careful, the cares of a child could blind us to the needs of each other. If we are not careful, our marriage might focus on children to the point that when they are gone, we wonder what we are still doing together.
But isn't there the cliche that whatever doesn't break you makes you stronger? I'm hoping that if we guard our marriage vigilantly, sharing a child will only give us greater depth.
I'm reminded of something I read in one of those Ramona books by Beverly Cleary (my absolute favorite series of all time and probably why I love reading today). Ramona sits crying on the stairs, certain her parents love her big sister more than her. Her mother sits beside her and says, "Love isn't like sugar in a bowl that you have to divide among people. It's not something you scoop until it runs out."
The love in our two-person family doesn't have to be divided as we become three. Nope, I'm going to count on the snowball effect instead. The more we add to our family, the bigger the ball of affection.
Though I will say, I'm glad that newborns don't come out talking. It would be really wierd to have three speaking people in the condo.
P.S. I should probably add that my husband thinks that food will put itself back in the cupboard, refuses to close his closet door (how hard is that? really, how hard?), and almost burned down the kitchen last week.