Back in 2008 I did not know that I would be writing a post like this about my wife, Michelle. Well, for most of 2008 she wasn’t my wife, she was my fiance, but still.
At the time we were very firmly in the “children are a nice idea in concept as long as they belong to other people.” I wouldn’t say we were childfree because that term carries with it a whole raft of negative connotations from the people who identify as CF but instead could be better classified as “child-haters”. Mostly, we enjoyed the presence of children and liked being able to take them, feed them sugar, rile them up, and then send them back to their parents so we could watch the fireworks.
A number of things happened that changed our minds.
Our friends R & L had a son who I will simply refer to as JT (they don’t like having their names out on the net). JT spent a lot of time with us, unsurprising since it wasn’t like they were going to leave him in the car when they came to faire, and I have to say that kid is pretty awesome. Getting to know him, watching him grow up, put a dent in the “kids are nice but I don’t want one” wall. Michelle often said that watching me play with JT made her ovaries hurt in a “ok, if I get to see him [me] like this then I might want one too.”
The second, and largest thing, that changed Michelle’s and my thoughts on having kids was in 2009 when she became unexpectedly pregnant. I think we got knocked up while she was on antibiotics for a cold, antibiotics having a negative impact on hormonal birth control’s effectiveness, because we’d never had any issues before or after when she was on the pill. But, one evening in October, she came down to my desk as I played video games with a look of shock on her face and a positive pregnancy test in her hand and we spent the rest of the weekend discussing if we wanted a baby, if we could care for a baby, and in the end decided it was a yes to both.
To be brief, that pregnancy didn’t end well and there was no child. We know she was a girl and we call her Pod. Her birthday would’ve been next month.
The end of the pregnancy hit us both hard and we fluctuated between not wanting a child and wanting to get pregnant again. I thought about my former child-less existence and we both realized that now we had a baby-shaped hole in our lives, that we’d made space in our family that wasn’t there before and now we felt that emptiness. We talked about it more, talked about our fears and pain and thought about if we wanted to give it another shot.
Obviously, we did because now we have Connor and I think it was probably the second best decision I ever made (after asking her to marry me).
Dad, I’m only plotting to take over the world
Pregnancy was not fun or easy on her and being a parent is not always the most enjoyable experience. A friend of mine asked me what being a parent was like about a month or so after Connor was born and I told him that it was an experiment to see how much you can get done on as little sleep possible. And that’s just my experience, for Michelle things were difficult with being a mom, the food source, and, in the eyes of society, responsible for Connor. Men, in general I think, get more of a pass when it comes to child raising; we’re still seen as the breadwinners and raising a kid is still seen as women’s work (which I think is bullshit but then I’ve been told my opinions aren’t very typical to society).
Michelle also has the added bonus of being the breadwinner for our family. Without going into specifics she makes almost double what I do and she is very, very good at her job. This puts a pressure on her in that she has to work for us to be able to afford the life we have and she, at times, would like nothing more than to just spend the day with Connor. It also takes her an hour or more to get home some nights and it’s not been easy getting to see us for as little as she does sometimes; at times the sacrifice she makes weighs very heavily on her.
In the past year and change my wife has, as we call it, leveled up in so many ways I’ve lost count. She’s responsible, loving, caring. She worries so much about making sure that our burden is shared equally. She is devoted to her family in incredible ways and the amount of love she shows us every day is nothing short of amazing.
I looked through racks of cards and decided that they were all crappy, trite sayings on cheap paper that don’t encompass everything I’d like to say you, Michelle, and this post only comes a little closer. Thank you for marrying me all of those years ago and thank you for being the mother of my child. You are excellent in both roles and I couldn’t imagine doing it with anyone else. I mean, who else would take head-bitey, zombie pictures with me? I love you.