By: Tanya Dodd-Hise
I’m finding out that life as we knew it is no more. Yes, I know that seems like it would be an obvious discovery, but silly me thought that our lives would be as before, with just a tiny addition. Right? Wrong.
Before Harrison arrived on the scene, we had a lot of freedom, even with a kid in the house. Noah is eleven, self-sufficient for the most part, and visits with his dad every other weekend. If we wanted to take a short getaway trip, we planned them for the weekends that Noah is gone. If we wanted to plan a fun family outing, we planned them for the weekends that Noah is home. We could go to a movie whenever we wanted, or out to eat or out with friends. We had a very precious commodity that I likely will not see for a long time: time to ourselves, just the two of us. For this, it didn’t matter if Noah was here or not; every evening, after nine o’clock when he goes to bed, we had time to be a couple. It was during these hours that we could talk, laugh, watch a movie if we wanted, or snuggle up together. Since Harrison has arrived, these moments have been few and far between, and I’m realizing every day just how much I miss those hours.
Erikka keeps telling me that it will get better as I keep bemoaning that everything has changed and that we’ll NEVER get any time to ourselves again. Don’t get me wrong, I am crazy in love with this little baby girl and wouldn’t trade anything to go back to life without her. I suppose I am experiencing some growing pains, much like a sibling does when adjusting to life with a newer, younger sibling. I’m sure I sound completely selfish to say it, too, but I miss my adult time with my wife. I miss family time that is easy and the only complication in going somewhere was, “Noah, get in the car. No, now. It’s time to go.” Going somewhere as a family now takes some prep time – diaper bag must be stocked, baby in the car seat, make sure she has a clean diaper and is fed and burped, do we have formula, a bottle, her blanket?
So now I feel guilty for even bringing any of it up, and I sound like a selfish ass, right? Surely this is normal. Is it because of my age that I am clinging so tightly to our former, easy-going life? Is it because I’ve been here and done this before, having had Noah when Nicholas was 8 ½ years old? I don’t know. I know that I will adjust and that one day we will have those hours back every day when children are asleep and we can have intelligent, grownup conversations about something other than diapers, spit-up, and feedings. I know that someday soon Harrison will sleep through the night, in her own room, and I will probably miss her being right next to my side of the bed where I can grab her the moment that she cries out. I know that someday very soon my wife will be ready to leave her with someone trusted for a few hours so we can have a date night (which I am looking very forward to, by the way). Patience has not always been one of my strong suits, but I am learning, through all of this, that I have no choice but to practice it. I love my family so much that some days it seems almost too good to be true. I look at our home and this beautiful life that I have been given and wonder what I did to deserve so much happiness – who am I to complain? I couldn’t ask for more than any of this.