Before David and I got married, we both lived at home with our parents. I had fairly conservative parents and I had to be home by a certain time every night. David and I didn’t live, or travel together, so one of the things I was most excited about in marriage was spontaneity. David and I would often go for long drives to nowhere in particular and stay up eating popcorn and nachos, just ’cause we could.
One of my most favourite memories from our early days of marriage was the morning of March 28, 2015. It was a Saturday, many many moons ago, about seven months into marriage. David and I both woke up at three in the morning and couldn’t sleep. We both tossed and turned for an hour and decided to blame our insomnia on the combination of greasy, carb-y Greek food from dinner that night (the tzatziki/ potato combo just gets me everytime!! ) and maybe one too many glasses of vino. I remember David turning to me and saying, “let’s go for a walk!”, half-joking, half-serious. (If you know us, you know that I’m the safe one, and that David is the adventurous one out of the two of us. He is constantly challenging me and is often trying to push me out of my safe, little bubble. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. But man, is David happy when it works.) “Okay, let’s go!”
So off David and I went, at four am in the morning. We walked and talked and walked for two and a half hours weaving through quiet streets in our neighbourhood. We encountered one racoon and at least three closed Starbucks along the way. At one point, David forced me to jaywalk run across Fraser Highway (“come onnnnn, Joanne…there is literally not ONE car on the road!). Our travels eventually brought us six kilometers from home, to an OPEN Starbucks and a warm Chai tea latte. It was a nice walk, but we soon realized that the problem with walking aimlessly for two and a half hours is that you eventually have to walk home.
Looking back on it now, two years later, I am so glad that I decided to give into David’s crazy idea that morning (and his many other crazy ideas). Mornings like that aren’t as easy to come by when you have a five month old snoozing away in his crib. Mornings/ days are different for us now…much more predictable and wayyy more scheduled. Gone are the days of spontaneous outings and being able to run out the door within minutes. Now everything is calculated before I head out the door (how long am I going out for? How many bottles do I need to pack? Do I have a change of clothes for Jason?). BUT I’m not complaining – the sleepy smile Jason greets us with in the morning, with his soother half hanging out, is priceless and I wouldn’t trade that for ANYTHING.
But that’s not to say that entering into this new season of our lives has been easy (I guess that is with any big change). It has been tough to let go of that spontaneity. Parenthood has rocked our lives (in so many ways!) and has forced us to change our expectations of ourselves, and each other.
If I have learned anything in the last five months of parenthood, it’s that you have to let go of your expectations and just wing it sometimes. Your days aren’t random and unstructured, but they CAN’T be regimented either. Somewhere between month three and four, I stopped keeping lists of everything Jason did. (Literally, I recorded how much Jason ate, how many diapers he was filling, and how much he slept down to the minute that day). It was necessary at one point, but even when it stopped being crucial, I was addicted to writing everything down. I didn’t realize HOW much it was stressing me out…feeling like I failed if he napped less, or ate less than he should have.
Being so list-oriented, it ate at me knowing that I couldn’t get Jason into a neat little box. THAT has been my biggest struggle thus far – I CONSTANTLY have to remind myself that a baby is a baby. You just have to make the best of every day and if things don’t go according to plan today, tomorrow is a new day. Meanwhile everyday, you kind of just hover in this state of trying to get enough sleep, trying to make sure you’re loving your little babe/ your family well, and being on time for things. Somewhere in there, you and your spouse see each other and MAYBE you guys eat too.