We have been on some pretty epic adventures over the 10 years Matt and I have been together. Our first date was in St Maarten, we honeymooned travelling up the East coast of Africa, we celebrated our first anniversary at the top of Macchu Picchu. We have driven rental cars up volcanoes in Iceland, slept in brothels of Thailand, moved to Japan on a whim, and yet none of those seemed daunting at the time. The countdown to the scariest adventure of our lives has begun- in June, we will have our first child. This one will be ours forever, not like those kids that I teach during the day, then say goodnight to and snuggle quietly on the couch with a cocktail.
I have been waiting until now to tell even my closest friends about this new “development”. I have so far been able to hide my growing belly underneath the swaths of winter clothing, and disguise my morning sickness as seasonal illness. Why? Because there is a lot that I need to digest first (literally and figuratively, because man- I can eat). It is hard to internalize the notion of something growing inside of you when you can’t see it or feel it. It is very hard to feel like you’re making good decisions when you don’t quite know what “good” means. I want a giant cup of coffee, a large swig of bourbon, and a huge platter of sushi, but for the first time in my life, I can’t have any of them.
Of course, these are the least of our sacrifices to come. I now sleep whenever I can because I want to remember what it feels like. We are “babymooning” every month or two to travel just the two of us a few times more. I hug the dog in hopes that she will remember these days when she soon feels like the neglected older sibling. But what will it all really be like? I have no idea.
I feel confident that between the two of us, we have a wealth of experiences and a complex array of ideas that will propagate a pretty darn interesting human being. We already have big plans for our offspring- including but not limited to curing cancer, summiting at least two large mountains, and becoming ruler of the the free world. If they want to dabble in aeronautics, that would be an acceptable diversion. However, these dreams are not their own, and will most likely be rejected if forced.
As Matt mentioned in his post Contrarianism, not a whole lot goes as planned, and one of the most important skills is the ability to learn from one’s mistakes. The “figuring out what you want from life” is an ever shifting and confusing journey, and each “mistake” is only valuable once you truly understand its ramifications and make change to veer you closer to your ultimate goal. I am a bit of a contrarian myself, and a lot of mistakes I made growing up were made in response to others’ demands of me. I wanted to find my own way at any cost, and luckily these costs were not too great.
As a teacher, I find the notion of learning through whispers fascinating– this means that a child (and most curious human beings) are more likely to listen closely to something that is being whispered, as this most likely indicates that a) the content is truthful according to the speaker and b) the listener is not directly meant to hear the content. In many cultures with more group-centric family structures, this is the primary mode of information gathering, and I think this is a conpelling way to think about learning. Instead of demanding to be heard and expecting results to follow, the best we can do is whisper and trust that the relevant information will be delivered successfully.
Sure, why not wear your superman costume to the playground today? You look and feel great, so who am I to judge? I will do my best to support your decisions, yet quietly guide you towards what I think is best (which, of course might not be correct either). Instead of preaching, I’ll model what my idea of “good decisions” are, and hope that you eavesdrop on this information. That will be the loudest message that I can deliver.
So everyday will be a new adventure, full of loads of mistakes, but many small satisfying successes as well. I look forward to travelling together.