Parenthood and planning don’t always cooperate
By CHRISTIAN PIATT
THE PUEBLO CHIEFTAIN
My wife, Amy, and I found out a few weeks ago that we’re going to have another baby. We’re excited, but already, plans have begun to change.
We had a previous vacation planned to Pagosa Springs before we learned she was expecting. Our favorite things to do in Pagosa are to relax in the hot springs for hours every day, take some naps, have a couple of drinks on the porch at sunset, go out to eat and maybe hit the springs again before bedtime.
The thing is, if you know anything about women in their first trimester, Amy was not up for eating out. The term “morning sickness” is misleading, since the nausea and vomiting aren’t restricted to an exclusively pre-noon activity. She’s also not had a drink since she found out she was pregnant, which is good for the baby, but throws off our vacation routine a bit. Strikes one and two.
I figured at least we could put in some extra hang time at the springs, but the baby messed that up too. You’re not supposed to let your body temperature go above 100 degrees or so while pregnant, so we were relegated to the couple of lukewarm kiddie tubs instead of doing the ones we usually frequent.
Thanks a lot, baby. While we made our way through a re-invented vacation, our son, Mattias, was having some quality time down on his Grandma Suzie’s farm in New Mexico. It’s heaven on Earth, especially for a little boy, but there are plenty of opportunities for mischief.
According to Mattias and his cousin, Miko, Mattias just walked by and said “hello” to one of the farm dogs, and the next thing you know, the dog had him pinned down and was gnawing at his face. By this time, of course, his cries of shock and panic had gotten everyone’s attention and they came running.
By the time they pulled the dog off, Mattias was bleeding from several places on his chest and head. After cleaning him up and calming him down, the injuries weren’t as serious as they could have been, but he did end up with a trip to the doctor, where he got his ear stitched and received a tetanus shot.
“I don’t like that dog one bit,” pouted Mattias. “Send him to Australia.” We had told Mattias that Australia was about as far away as you could get and still be on the planet, so he decided this was a good plan for his canine assailant.
The rest of the Pagosa trip was a delicate balance between trying to enjoy ourselves and not feeling too much like terrible parents for not being there for Mattias. Even during our time of retreat, and even with him being in the most capable care we could imagine, our hearts and minds were somewhere else.
If parenthood teaches you anything, it’s that life isn’t about you any more. We all carry that little child around inside ourselves still – you know, the one that still hollers “Hey, what about me?” when your kid gets the biggest piece of cake, or your vacation plans change, or any countless number of other things that make you realize you’re not really as important and special as you’d like to be.
First and foremost, from now until death, you are a parent. You’re a caretaker, provider, nurturer, teacher, guide, occasional inspirer and reluctant judge. More than fulfilling the dreams for your own world, you lay yourself down for the dreams of others that will come after you, and perhaps for the first time, you begin to think about what the world will be like after you’re no longer a part of it.
There’s something suddenly more important than life itself, though ironically, it is life itself, just not as you pictured it. You feel the pain of others more than you sense your own pain, and all you wish for is to take it on so they don’t have to bear it. There’s more than a small amount of insanity in signing on to parenthood. The pay is terrible too, but the benefits are something else.