My wife and I have been married for 19 wonderful years. Just like every other married couple, we have our daily rituals. One of them is our morning coffee. During the week, my wife gets the kids out of bed and moving as I prepare their bags for lunch, their breakfast and our coffee. We always drink it in our upstairs den while watching the morning news. The other day, I asked her about our old apartment, where we lived for the first 4 years of our marriage. I asked her what our morning routine used to be when we were in the apartment. She couldn’t remember. While I have a clear memory of what our apartment looked like, remembering some of the daily minutiae of those first four years is difficult.
I then got to thinking that many memories of the first few years of our married life before our kids came along are pretty foggy as well. I can’t determine if its because we have been married for so long or that once kids came along, our lives had new meaning and I automatically deleted the first six years of our married existence. Sure, I have more detailed memories of major events from the first years of marriage…ranging from vacations to parties we hosted to traumatic events we went through together. The years leading up to the birth of our first daughter solidified our marriage and became its foundation….its bedrock!
I have memories of the freedom of coming and going as we please without any kids. Never having to plan ahead; being spontaneous. Before buying our house, I have memories of living without debt; actually having a nice little nest-egg. We put ourselves first…living almost selfishly as is common amongst some people who don’t have children.
Then Molly, baby number one, came along and changed everything. I had heard from friends who already had children, that our lives would be radically different. Things would never be the same. “Enjoy the freedom while you can”, was a common expression we often heard. I was scared shitless! Not only was I giving up the freedom I had with my wife, but also taking on a responsibility (in this case, two responsibilities) that was absolutely enormous and incredibly important. The responsibility for a human being, who depends on you, learns from you and looks up to you, was daunting.
But, any fear I had about the responsibility or burden of having children was immediately removed when she and her sister entered our lives.
Is it challenging? Is it a huge financial burden? Do we make daily sacrifices and put our children first? Is it exasperating? Do I sometimes long for those quiet mornings in the apartment during a simpler time in our lives? YES!! But the pure joy of having those two girls in our lives makes every mountain we have to climb seem like a foothill!
As for my wife and I….our mutual love and respect is solid. If anything, the 19 years we have been married has zoomed by like a flash. We have had our ups and downs…our battles, our challenges and our victories. But at the end of it all, we were made to be together and our children are a testament to a bond that will endure.