Wednesday, November 11, 2015

On worthwhile endeavors and fixed points

A long time ago, when Tad was maybe six weeks old, I was talking on the phone to a very pregnant friend and she asked me, "Is he worth it?" And I paused. And she teased me a little. And I told her to ask me again when I wasn't quite so sleep-deprived.

Almost two years later, I'm still not quite sure how to answer that question. How do you take the utterly delightful human being that he is now (he likes to do things over and over again just to make you laugh, asking "Funny?" to make sure you are enjoying it; and he insists on regular group hugs; and he declares "Wow! Amazing milk!" before he begins to nurse, which I never would have anticipated when I was sobbing my way through those early growth spurts) and weigh it against a year of crippling hormone-induced anxiety and months of equally crippling hormone-induced depression and two years of sleepless nights (he's slept all the way through the night three times so far and we consider that a cause for celebration) and SO. MUCH. SCREAMING? I don't know how you do that, how you decide what's "worth it" or not. I mean, the theological answer is that he's a human being and infinitely valuable and therefore "worth" any amount of suffering and sacrifice but the human answer is that I honestly still don't know if I would have pushed so hard for parenthood had I known just how difficult it was going to be.

But I'm grateful that I wasn't able to make that informed decision, that I could never have believed what the last two and a half years would be like even if somebody told me. I think it's right that he's here. I think it's sort of inevitable that he's here, like the Tenth Doctor always talking about fixed points in time. He's not "worth it" or "not worth it"; he just is, as inexorable as the fires of Pompeii--and just about as good at destroying one's living room.

3 comments:

Sheila said...

This is beautiful. One of my kids was a totally bad decision. Doesn't really matter now -- it's not like I'd go back in a time machine and un-do her, because she's here and I love her and also, she is the absolute cutest thing I have ever seen in my life. I mean, her favorite game is to run away from me, and then come back and kiss me, over and over.

It was a TERRIBLE decision to have her when we did, but I DON'T CARE anymore. We've adjusted and it's cool. I do think if we'd waited longer to have another kid, we wouldn't feel so "done" as we do now and might have had more kids total. But that doesn't really matter either. I don't want two or three more kids who are not her. They don't exist and so I don't love them.

Sheila said...

I so agree. I'm not going to be a perfect mother, but my kids can work out any issues they have later. I'm just not going to make them totally emotionally crippled. High standard, eh? I'm also going to hopefully be AROUND when my kids are older and I'll be able to say, "Hey, maybe you should go to therapy. I'll have your back. It doesn't make me feel like a failure and it doesn't make me think any less of you."

The Sojourner said...

I think your second comment was supposed to go on the next post. :)

Setting the bar at "not emotionally crippled" FTW!