Change

I’ve got 3.5 hours before an evening program I plan to attend here at the law school. My trial-level brief is due Wednesday, and while it’s inevitable this will consume my weekend, I have dedicated this chunk of time to getting a good start. I’ve got some new tunes (Neko Case’s new “Middle Cyclone” album), the anticipation of tasty dinner at the program, and nothing distracting around but the internet.

Sometimes I need to begin a productive writing session with a little writing for pleasure. And so here I am. Ten minutes to be me. I think I’d like to talk about Change. (And no, Dad, this has nothing to do with our esteemed President).

I like change. I would even say I thrive on it. I am easily bored and enjoy being out of my comfort zone, at least to a certain extent. I get excited about big life changes, like law school. I was never quite sure how to respond when people used to ask me if I was scared about how hard it would be or what it would be like to quit working. Those just seem like silly questions, concerns overshadowed by the excitement of doing something new for myself, for my future.

But this baby thing…. Now law school at 29 going on 30, that’s change. Having a baby, that’s Change. Unavoidable, really, as my stomach grows and I imagine a tiny person turning around in there, as I have learned it now may do.

Last night my roommate and I talked about her and her soon-to-be-husband’s plans on applying to the Peace Corps. In the short time I have known this couple, I can’t think of anything more perfect for them, and I hope they end up somewhere amazing, doing good work, living life to the fullest, all of that. Traveling, delving into culture and society,  doing new exciting things – these have always been my litmus for living life to its fullest. Family life has never been that goal for me. Being married and having kids has never been a destination for me in life.

Don’t get my wrong. Marriage is good. And I’m excited to have the baby, but it’s also a scary thing for my fiercely independent, do-as-I-please regardless-of-what-others-think mentality. Last night my roommate wondered if the Peace Corps placed people in Mexico, I said, “no, not Mexico…. I hope you guys end up in Peru or somewhere where I can live vicariously through your experiences.” She said “yeah, you could come visit.”

Fab idea, I thought, imagining what it would be like to hike Macchu Pichu and experience another new cuisine. A little later I remembered that my freedom and autonomy peaked in years passed, and soon something, someone, will depend on me to a degree I’ve never fathomed.

This all sounds like a sad story from someone who should be grateful for everything I have. I am grateful – for my life and the opportunities I have and to have gotten pregnant easily and so far, without complication. But letting go of that independence is something that hasn’t been an issue in my marriage, and is just hard for me. I hope it magically changes when the baby is born. I hope I forget, at least temporarily, about wanting to see the world and want nothing but to hang out with my baby.

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3 Responses to Change

  1. Amy G says:

    Baby does change everything. But I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how much freedom I HAVEN’T had to give up! Breastfeeding makes it possible to just get out and do things on a moment’s notice without worry of how long it will take or where you end up. I realize the mall is not the same as Macchu Pichu. But I think as you settle into motherhood, the baby adjusts to you, too.

    I remember seeing a couple with a toddler on a trans-atlantic flight once. The little guy was no crankier than I was after 11 hours in the air. I thought, “I want to do that – travel with my child and expose him/her to the rest of the world.” A friend of mine flies cross-country with her 2-year-old daughter as if they were going to the grocery store. I haven’t been as brave yet, but I also don’t think having a baby is as limiting as I originally had thought. For those of us determined to explore things in the world, having kids is an extra challenge. Yes, there is a whole new set of needs to focus on. But I think you also can appreciate certain aspects of life even more.

    Your independence might get reined in a little. But the things you want change, too. And those that don’t change, I honestly believe won’t slip that far out of your reach.

  2. Jen says:

    Well, it won’t happen magically, but you will still be independent, just in another way. It took me about a year to really start feeling like my old self agin. It’s taken probably two years for me to have the energy to do a lot of what I want to do. That seems like a long time…but in the scheme of things it’s really not. Those first few years are when your child needs your close attention and guidance the most, and then THEY start becoming more independent so YOU can, too. It also depends on the kid. You will travel with your kids and you will see the world with your kids…if that is what you want to do. When I realize that one day my kids will be out of diapers and not interested in playing with their boring old mom, that makes me sad but also happy. We’ll be able to take trips, see things, and experience things together. I saw kids as taking that away from me at first, but now I feel so lucky to be able to enjoy things that much more because I get to experience it all with these people I love so much.

    That said, you’ll might be pissed at how little time you have for yourself at first. I was. And I didn’t like my kid much for the first month or two. I’m not kidding. Sometimes it takes a long time to adjust.

  3. delicioustorts says:

    Thanks to both of you for the comments. I appreciate and value both of your opinions very much. I go through phases of being very excited and very scared – the other day was clearly the latter, but I’m often impressed with what people do with kids as well. To a degree, it’s what you make of it, I know….

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