We all know that pregnancy leads to addition. A new birth brings an additional person to my house, additional objects onto the floor, and additional tasks to fill each day. It is much more common, however, to be reminded of what we might lose. Sleep, money, and time to ourselves will all become scarce. Hobbies will become a luxury. Some parents have been telling me that recreational time will completely disappear. When I recently told a friend that my wife and I were going to attempt a short road trip with the baby this summer, I was quickly told that this would not be possible. The new baby will make a road trip difficult to manage, and we should rethink this.
I am not so sure. It is difficult to know what to expect in regard to my recreational life. I am not suggesting that my baby will be taking “planking” pictures all over the United States (see photo), but I do expect some adventure. I have several parent friends that have maintained relatively active lives, and others who have become more isolated. Neither of these groups are handling parenthood better than the other. We each handle life’s transitions differently. I have no idea what kind of family we will be. Maybe we’ll be the Brady Bunch. Maybe we’ll live like cave people. That would be cool. I could wear a cool loincloth and grunt at everyone while hunting and gathering in my backyard. In the end, I can only expect that my future life will be vastly different from this one. Nothing else is certain.
I tend to believe that all families are different. Life will change dramatically, but I refuse to believe that my life will be void of adventure. A colleague of mine likes to remind me that the baby gets to join our family. She suggests that while the baby will obviously transform this family, he will also adapt to how we live. If we travel often, he will be able to adjust. I prefer to believe this.
Sometimes I get the impression that people think I am being far too naïve. They are waiting for life to hit me like a truck, and look forward to saying “I told you so.” I am not so certain that this is a bad thing, though. I am fine with being surprised by this. If my wife and I are much less active than expected over the next two years, I will hardly be devastated. Our life, regardless of what it looks like, will be richer.
The point of this little essay is not to say that I am not naïve. The point is that I am not scared of being naïve. Taking guesses at what life might look like will not hurt us, and I would rather be an ambitious dreamer than not. Check back in six months from now, and I’ll let you know whether that road trip worked out. I’ll have pictures.