Having recently had an interesting conversation with a friend who’s expecting her first baby, it got me to thinking about another conversation I had more than a decade ago.
Before I had Cait, I’d once asked a dear friend, if she had it all to do over again, would she still have kids. She hesitated for several long seconds before she answered. That hesitation spoke volumes. She finally said, “Probably not.” I was a little surprised by the answer, but not by her truthfulness. I could always count on her to speak her truth.
As I recall, what prompted me to ask was that I’d just finished reading a well-researched book that cataloged mothers’ ambivalences about having and raising children. It was an eye-opener — both the book and my friend’s answer.
I also remember something one of my brothers had repeatedly told me before I had Cait: “It’s the hardest thing you’ll ever do.”
I nodded, secretly thinking it might be hard for him but it wouldn’t be for me.
I would like to publicly apologize to you, Eric. You were right and I was wrong. This is without question the hardest job I’ve ever loved.
Feeling a little more seasoned and steady on my feet a decade later, if someone were to ask me that same question: would I do it all over again? I wouldn’t hesitate to answer yes. But I wouldn’t lie and say that I haven’t had my moments of ambivalence. Sometimes those moments have been pretty fierce. But they’ve only been moments and they always pass.
The only thing that never passes is how much I love my daughter. I’d never been able to find words to express how much until my own daughter said the words during one of our “I love you as big as” sessions. She opened with, “I love you as big as the ocean.” I countered with, “I love you as big as the sky.” She came back with, “I love you as big as the whole world.” I answered, “I love you as big as the universe.” She trumped that with, “I love you as big as infinity.” And that, folks, pretty much says it all.
I hope for my pregnant friend that she can tell someone ten years from now that she would do it all over again too, because she’s discovered that she also couldn’t imagine living without a love as big as infinity.