Today my marriage to Dann is five years old. And baby Abe is three months old. And I am exhausted, but so happy.
For a long time Dann and I weren’t sure we would ever be parents. There were a number of reasons, not least of which was the fact that neither of us felt remotely capable of being able to do it well. We had a very serious conversation about the whole idea shortly after we started dating, and I think our mutual reluctance made us more compatible in those early days.
Obviously, some things changed over time (mine was not an unplanned pregnancy), and we’re three months in to doing the best we can and also realizing that probably no one ever really feels like they’re doing parenting well all the time, am I right? (No, seriously, if you’ve done this before, please tell me I’m right.)
When I imagined what life would be like with a baby, I really had no idea. (People say stuff like this about becoming parents all the time, but it’s sort of vague/not very helpful. Like, I was prepared for sleep deprivation once we got home from the hospital and started having to be awake in the middle of the night. I was not prepared for laboring 26 hours through the night and going home from the hospital totally depleted and THEN having to be awake in the middle of the night.) I tend to think I’m fairly pragmatic and I like to be prepared, but this has been a more trying transition than I could ever have imagined. When we found out I was pregnant, Dann and I were thrilled (obviously), but we also had a handful of conversations about the ways we were experiencing grief over our days as a childless couple coming to an end. We love each other, but we also really like each other a lot and have had so much fun as a pair since we met. We knew welcoming our boy would change everything, and we were a little bit sad about it.
Real talk: that sadness still gets to us some days. When we’re at our most tired and our most frustrated and our most helpless-feeling, I think we both long for a time when we weren’t responsible for this tiny human. But then we catch a glimpse of his gummy grin and we’re convinced he’s the best, most significant thing we’ve ever done, that we’d do it all over again in a heartbeat.
If there’s one thing I’ve gained from knowing Dann, it’s a sense of security that allows me to be braver than I think I can be. He makes me confident that I can face my fears, that we really can do hard things. For weeks I asked him if he thought we should just start looking for new apartments in Seattle because I thought moving halfway across the country with a newborn would be too hard. He reminded me every time that living in Denver is what we actually wanted, and that moving halfway across the country with a newborn was possible, even if it was hard. He drove the entire way from Seattle to Denver and when we hit a major rainstorm in western Idaho, he didn’t flinch. At one point during the storm he even chuckled in response to something someone said on the podcast we were listening to. Meanwhile, I was on the verge of hyperventilating/trying not to worry about all the drivers in cars with Idaho license plates that had pulled off the road. I was convinced they knew something we didn’t and it probably meant we were going to die.
We made it the rest of the way to Denver and we’ve been settling in to our life here with a baby since mid-May. We took a weeklong trip back to Seattle a couple of weeks ago and Abe got to fly first class on the way home. Not a bad way to experience the second flight of your life at eleven weeks old. It occurred to me then (because I think a lot about how terrible it would be to die in a plane crash whenever I board a plane) that now, more than ever, I really do want to die where Dann dies. We made the vow to one another five years ago and the more we grow together, the more I hope it’s the way things will end.
Now. Let me tell you about this zucchini bread. This. Zucchini. Bread. I ate it at The Whale Wins with Rachel just after finding out I was pregnant, before food really sounded like a good idea. I liked it so much I told Dann to make sure he ordered it when he went there for dinner with friends a couple of months later. And when we went together to this book's release party at Book Larder, they gave us each a slice and we were convinced we needed to own the book. Then Dann asked for the zucchini bread every week or so for about nine months. I finally got it together to make the bread for his first father's day. But let's be honest, he did most of the work while I fed and changed and wore the baby. It took all day, and I wouldn't have had it any other way.