We’ve only met once. My wusband is friends with your husband. We had brunch together.
You guys seemed like nice people. Young, busy, successful married couple. And you asked us about having kids, and what that was like. It seemed you were trying to get some honest input about it because you were definitely considering it. Maybe you’re feeling that pull in your heart that so many women have had. I sure did.
And we told you some things. But I also didn’t tell you some things.
I’m sorry. I’ve been feeling for some reason like I let you down. I was deep in the dark territory of, ‘say what you think he wants to hear and maybe he’ll stay.’ It was a scary place to be and I wasn’t myself. And you deserve to hear all the things.
We said that it was hard.
And it is. It’s hands down the hardest most important thing I’ve ever done. But it’s not just the long nights, and the endless messes, and the strain on your marriage, and the screaming from the back seat, and the non-stop bodily functions.
There are those days that stretch out forever when your child has a fever, and isn’t himself. There are those moments when you see your child struggling, or you see the struggle coming, and you have to decide whether or not to interfere, or how much, or how. There are painful conversations when you know that you have to be honest, because they can practically read your mind, but how to explain to a child the workings of adults?
But what I didn’t say was this.
Every one of those hard moments, as much as they hurt or suck or drag on forever, they are also beautiful. A million shiny pieces, each one weighing a ton, slowly, painstakingly building the foundation for a beautiful lifetime with the most amazing little human you’ve ever known. And even though they’re hard, they’re also easy. And you’ll do it forever because, the love. Oh gods! The heartbreaking, life-affirming, Earth shaking love!
When that fever breaks and those big eyes look at you with recognition again, and they smile, and you know that they know that you were there for all of it and will be there for all the rest of it.
When the struggle is over and the lessons are learned, you stand a little taller. You both do. And you share the knowing and the memory of what it took to earn that knowledge.
And when you sit on that bed, and hold that little body that isn’t so little anymore, and you talk and cry together, your heart will break a little bit. But it will also grow. Like the fucking Grinch it will grow, and explode, and when the pieces come back together again they will be your best part.
Of course you may need to lock yourself in a bathroom sometimes, either for crying or raging or maybe just to sit on the toilet with no one touching you for a bit. And of course you’ll need a tribe of people who will hold you after you’ve given all your holding to those amazing little love leeches. And you might struggle to make room for yourself in that huge but full heart, or your body might break, or there might be depression and difficulties and awful, painful things.
But I didn’t tell you that I am a better human because of my children. They have taught me more about being alive and about myself and about love and fear and joy than any other thing ever could. And they make me laugh, and wonder, and they are so very wise.
And there is not a single part of my being that in any way regrets the having of those boys.
I say go for it.