Marriage and Kids: Sticking It Out

The Next Family

By: Tosha Woronov

happy couple on wedding day

Several months ago I wrote about my and my husband’s decision to not have any more children. [My One and Only] I wrote a little about his enviable conviction in our choice to stop at one and I wrote a lot about my angst. (Of course, I can probably count on one hand the number of times I stood on the sure side of any important decision. Unfortunately, I just don’t roll that way.)

A big part of my uncertainty rests not at all in wanting a baby now, but in needing (or thinking I’ll need) a child later. Down the road. When there are no more tears to wipe or Cheerios to buy or artwork to organize. When I am suddenly needed…less. What will I do with myself then?

This has always been the part of parenthood that worries me most. L growing up. Growing up, up, up and away.

I know that I’m supposed to welcome L’s growth –foster it, in fact. It’s my job, right? (And no parent believes you should relish or enjoy it, our chicks leaving the nest and all. I’m well aware that I’m preaching to the choir here.)

And I know that it would be freakish if he didn’t want to establish his independence and move on; that the outcome to aim for is to have your child grow up and leave you, but to do so with your relationship intact and strong…so that he eventually comes back. Comes back to share a meal, a slice of his life, his new favorite music, the washing machine.

For six years I’ve felt a disconnect between my husband and me that existed for no other reason than that another bond had taken its place. This baby rocked my world. A love like no other, etc. My husband had to take a backseat.

Until now.

Now that L is really growing;

-and starting to ignore me;
-and becoming annoyed by my inquiries about school;
-and wanting to play games on my iPhone instead of Twenty Questions;
-and not approving of the baseball hat I’m wearing (what the f-?);
-and wanting to go to his buddy’s house instead of “doing art” with his mom;
-and talking about farts rather than my eternal beauty…

Now that these events -these natural and healthy events -are occurring, so is a new disconnect. Between L and me. So guess what?

I’m open to my husband again.

And I wonder if that’s the secret to a marriage surviving kids? Stick it out and allow the connections to form – and break – as they may. Ride it out until it’s just you and your spouse again.

He never stopped being my best friend, an amazing father, a great date. But now I see…he’s my rock.

And he won’t grow up. And he won’t grow away. And if I play my cards right, he just might, with me, grow old.

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