They told us we’d be sick of each other, that the first year would be the hardest, the first year would be the best and it was all rough from there. They told us it would get good twenty-five years in. They shook their heads and said it would be sanctifying as if sanctification could not hold hands with the very good, only that it would be good if it was hard. They said we would be glad for the company. They told me that sex was for him and I would appreciate other things – like when he does the dishes or rubs my shoulders. They warned us about selfishness, sharp words, wandering eyes. They said we would regret it. They said everything would change. They laughed and said, “Just wait, just wait.”
They were right about some things.
But it has been four years and there are so many things they did not tell us. They did not tell us how it would feel like unfolding. They did not say that some things would not change, things you’d hoped would transform. They said nothing of sitting in silence, of deep contentment. They did not say how it would feel to learn so much and still wonder, wonder all the time. They said we would take each other for granted, yes, but what of when our eyes are opened again and we realize anew? They did not say anything of deep fears, of sitting in silence and wishing yourself away, of wishing yourself to a future moment where you lie next to his sleeping form and all is peace. They spoke nothing of tenderness, like an unexpected benediction. They did not prepare me for the beauty so I am pummeled and bruised by it. I am out of breath by it.
They tell us we will never sleep, we’ll never be alone again. They tell us that the first six weeks are the hardest, the first year is the hardest, it’s easy until you have two kids. They tell us everything will change, now we will always be parents. We will always worry. They tell us how to feed, sleep, change, play, teach. They tell us our lives are over, our lives are just beginning. As a mother, I will realize the depths of my own selfishness. They tell us our capacity to love will be expanded, that we will be tempted to hurt our children. Our ideas of raising a family are too relaxed or too romantic or too stifling. They laugh and say “Just wait, just wait.”
And I keep thinking of all the things they have not told us.