Last Wednesday was our ninth wedding anniversary. If someone years ago would’ve ever told me that we would be one of those couples that didn’t celebrate our anniversary on that actual day, I would’ve said “Never”. If someone years ago said we’d only have one child of our own on our ninth wedding anniversary, I would’ve said “Never ever”. Nine years later and one child down, my greatest advice is “Never say never.”
Because, well, life. Nothing has made me more aware of this than my journey to and through motherhood. We celebrated the following evening instead because it was parent’s night at my son’s school. Rather than have someone else put him down to sleep two nights in a row (which basically means letting him stay up way past his bedtime), we decided to combine the two. That’s life.
As visions of what I had anticipated life to look like with at least two kids float through my head, I know how fortunate we are to have our one. He has made our life and understanding of it’s meaning exponentially better. While we are on a quest for baby #2, the reality is we are parents of one child at this point in time. One fucking awesome kid and infertility…which makes it uncertain if we’ll ever have another. That’s life.
To be perfectly honest, the night of our anniversary was what some seemingly would deem a disaster. On an early evening walk, my son randomly threw up his undigested lunch. As I scrubbed him down, in true mom fashion, I started running down the list of what could’ve caused it. No fever. No other symptoms of coming down with anything. Eating, sleeping, behavior all normal. Then it dawned on me, he had hit his head with a wooden mallet earlier in the day at my husband’s jewelry store. There was no lump, bruising or tears, but could it have been a mild concussion? Pretty certain that it wasn’t and that I had even thought to myself not-so-long ago that my kid would never have a concussion (at least not before age 3), I called the pediatrician. I figured better safe than sorry and wanted to run it by them and see what other signs I should look for.
Meanwhile, my husband had gotten stuck late at work. He gave me the ‘I’m leaving in 15-minutes’ text which was the green light to put the steak on. An hour and a half later, he walked into a cold plate of a once deliciously steaming meal and me half asleep in our son’s bed. Oh and a homemade card and unwrapped anniversary gift because we only had girl and baby wrapping. That’s life.
Now as a mother, my greatest parental advice for my expectant friends or friends who don’t have kids is never say never. Literally the moment I think, or worse off, utter the word “never”, it happens. My son has never had an ear infection. Bam! Two back-to-back in a two months span. We were never going to be that couple with a kid ending up in our bed more nights than not. Becoming a parent?! Medicated birth, formula feeding, driving around at 2 am with a screaming newborn, only giving organic baby food made from scratch, taking an antibiotic-if your answer to all of these now is “never”, do yourself a favor and heed my advice immediately.
Coincidentally as I was writing this post, I was eavesdropping as two older aged women, both evidently grandparents, conversed. One went on and on critiquing feeding habits and bedtimes. They went on to question if reflux was even a thing because back when they had kids that didn’t exsist. Before changing their long winded topic, one of the two said one thing that never happened in our house was kids in our bed-it was a non-negotiable. The more I listened the more I thought to myself, I just don’t get the “nevers”. In the end, do they really matter if our children are happy and healthy? Society is so quick to say never do this and never do that which causes us to have these rigid notions of what is assumingly the right thing to do.
For as long as I can remember the “nevers” were engrained in my head. I’d never do this and never do that. Would infertility ever affect me directly? Never. I would never have an only child. And I could never truly wrap my head around why a single person would want a child. As I noticed parents with apparently adopted children or learned of what gestational surrogacy was, I respected and admired it, but it’d never be for me.
Many years later, experience gained, and infertility ridden, I now understand why you can never say never. One might end up adopting, or only having one child, and even being childless by a matter of circumstance and not choice. I would’ve never had dreamt in my wildest dreams that I at some point might be faced with these options, or lackthereof. I’ve learned to never say never because that’s life.
And what a beautiful life it is. The more often I remove the “never’s” from my words and thoughts, the more I realize that this is what life is made of. Both of us were un-phased by that day’s events and would emphatically say it was a nice anniversary because what we’ve learned over the years is its not always the most grandiose parts that make for the best parts of life. While the “things” are nice, they’re nothing in comparison to the “moments”. Nine years ago and childless I didn’t quite know that.