In Her Words
A Baby Changes Everything
What’s in store for a marriage with a new addition?
-Jennifer Canzoneri, She Likes Purple
I’ve been thinking a lot about Mike and me lately, and come February how so much will change for us. Mike’s not worried, he never is, but long before I ever thought of being a mother, my own mother’s ability to worry constantly coursed through me. I worry about burglars and credit scores and traffic and change among 9 million other things.
Mike and I fell in love late in college, and I would have had it no other way. I was single for a long time before meeting him, and I had finally reached the point where I could envision a life beyond the cheap beer and 8 a.m. English seminars. I began independently planning my future. I wasn’t looking for him when I walked into a small college bar and found him.
There’s no way to give justice to the year and a half we spent together in that tiny Texas town, where we were content and young, and our biggest concern was where to eat a cheap and greasy dinner. I wouldn’t go back if given the choice between then and now, no. As beautiful as that life was, it was sprinkled with uncertainties and insecurities and fights over things we’d never consider fighting over now. We went back and forth between resisting merging our lives together and rushing to give each other keys and drawers and our free time. It was perfect, in hindsight, but living through it was scary and new and terrifying and confusing. There were a lot of late-night talks (good, bad, messy) fueled by Budweiser and jealousy. But as we drove out of town together in August of 2005, in a jam-packed U-Haul on our way to the real world and full-time jobs, I couldn’t stop sobbing. I loved our life. I loved every minute of every day with Mike in College Station, and I was scared that the future wouldn’t hold any fun or love or happiness.
We’ll never get that life back, not even when we visit for football games or weddings or reunions. It will never be the same. The town has changed, updated itself, and so have we. That life lives in our memories (and fuzzy pictures) alone. Sometimes we’ll sit around and talk about those early days, and we’ll both smile and laugh and remember Thursday poker nights and football games and eating lunch together on campus, sharing a sandwich at the underground cafeteria we both loved. We would walk around that campus hand in hand, and I would incessantly worry about our future together and he would incessantly worry that the DVR wouldn’t record Family Guy, but there we’d be, beside each other, together.
When we moved to Dallas/Fort Worth, we moved in with Mike’s parents, and although we were crippled by unemployment and rising gas prices (if we had only known) and looming student-loan payments, we managed to carve out a life together, crammed into the bedroom Mike grew up in. We’d watch The Office on his computer, and we had so much stuff in that little space, my shoes would routinely fall on Molly’s head. When we moved out seven months later, into an apartment with two roommates, I sobbed because his mother would never again be just down the hall from me in the mornings, to hug me good-bye and to remind me not to work so hard. I was afraid our own place would separate us, as odd as that sounds, because we’d never be forced to share a 10-by-10 room again. We spent so much time together, some of it by default, that I wasn’t ready for the change even though the new apartment came with a walk-in closet and a huge garden tub.
You see where this is all going, don’t you? I get paralyzed by change and then the change comes and it’s never, never like I feared. It’s hard, sure, and it’s different, always, but it ends up being my life, and I love it in all its million different forms.
We’ll never get the past back. Come February we’ll look back on the lazy Sundays of today, how we argue about who should get up first and let the dog out and how we play odds-evens for the DVR remote. One day we’ll reminisce on everything we do so naturally today. We’ll miss these days, of course, and we’ll have so much to add from this time to our long list of sweet yesterdays. Many times a day I’m gripped with panic at all that’s changing, even though we worked so damn hard to get to the point where the changes would be just a short six months away and even though these changes are answered prayers of two people who don’t pray very often.
No matter how excited we are (and we are), change is what it is: scary, impossible to really prepare for, new, unknown. We can try as hard as we can to imagine what it’ll be like, but as we’re told 5,000 times a day, you’ll never know until you know.
I do know, though, that no matter how much does indeed change, how much we change, there we’ll be, beside one another, together. Just with an extra set of hands to hold.
It’s not that simple, of course. But in so many ways, it is. It’s exactly why we’ve allowed all the change that has come before, to get us to the point where we’re together, forever. All four of us.
(I’m not yet ready to stop counting Molly.)
Jennifer Canzoneri and her husband, Mike, are expecting their first child in February. Molly is their dog.