Joyful, Odd Course of Events

The reason I’ve been MIA lately is because my son was born on January 5, which was two weeks before his due date. I’m actually glad he arrived early because he weighed 7 pounds and 14 ounces at birth and was 21.5 inches long. Had he waited till his due date, he most likely would have been 9 pounds or more… and I don’t think my body could’ve handled it. I’m not sharing his name here for privacy reasons, but everyone says it’s a nice manly name. 🙂

They say labor pain is the worst pain ever. Now that I have actually given birth, I am allowed to have an opinion on that, but I don’t know if I agree. It was a pretty awful pain, but it is an “organized” pain, if that makes sense. The simple fact that the pain had a purpose made it easier to get through. The weirdest part about it was sleeping between contractions and actually having dreams.

They also say that a child is a source of joy. My child was born with a disease of the intestine that was not foreseen before birth, so we were in and out of the hospital for all of January until today. To make a very long story short, the baby needs to have a colostomy bag until he is 6 months old, at which point he’ll have surgery to fix his large intestine. After that, he will be like any other kid. All of this did not diminish my joy in the knowledge that my son is actually here, that he exists, and that he is a charming little soul. But hospital stays are depressing even without the postpartum hormones, so I can’t say that the entire experience was joyful.

So that was the past month in a nutshell. What an odd course of events. If I were to imagine in 2009 what my life would look like in 2019, I certainly wouldn’t have imagined it like this (in a good way).

First Comes Love…

The inevitable happened. You remember that rhyme you used to sing when you were in elementary school, the one that went “first comes love, then comes marriage”? The thing that, in tradition, happens after marriage has happened to me.

My first thought was that I majorly screwed up, and I internally heard laughter at the joke (which I now relate to completely) that goes “What do you call people who use the ‘rhythm method’? Parents.”* My immediate second thought was “I’m married… isn’t this what’s supposed to happen?” My third thought was about how much tinier our 600 square foot apartment was about to become. Then I tried to stop thinking altogether and called the ob/gyn. It took a couple weeks for the morning sickness to kick in, and I am fortunate that it never got as bad as some women supposedly have it. I never actually got sick, but I got darn near close to it, and I was so tired that all I wanted to do after work was flop down on the couch and sleep (which I did on most days).

The exhaustion lifted slightly after the 12th week or so, along with the nausea. But I still wasn’t able to get happy about the whole situation. I’m Catholic, so I’m supposed to be all joyful about this little soul that God deigned to put in my weak human body. Man, was it hard to be joyful. Every now and then, the joy would come, but the next second I’d be back to kicking myself for what I perceived as ultimately a birth control failure. We should’ve been like one of those couples with great self-control that somehow manages to use NFP successfully for the first five years of the marriage, then has a kid in “God’s perfect timing.” Nope, we’re just regular people after all. The ideals have fallen yet again. So I have been contenting myself with the cliché: “Nobody is ever ready to be a parent. You just do it.”

I’m trying to tell myself that we didn’t fail and that this is in fact a great success (and, you selfish thing, you better think about all the people who desperately want children and can’t have them), but my perfectionist nature is reluctant to buy it. The reality is that now is the time to let go of my perfectionist nature once and for all. I’ve been telling myself that it’s OK if the dishes don’t get done the second after we eat or that the apartment isn’t going to burst into flames if I don’t vacuum exactly on schedule. Or if someone emails me at work, I don’t have to get back to them within the next five seconds. Not to mention that I’ll traumatize my son (and probably my husband, too) for life if I keep being such a perfectionist.

All this life-changing craziness started in April, which means a little more than I’m halfway there. Then in January, we’ll hopefully have a healthy, crying, screaming little creature to be responsible for, for the next 18 years and beyond. Scary? Hell yeah. Fun? Yes, from what I hear. But marriage is my vocation, and with it comes children, as the rhyme goes. So my life’s true mission has begun. 🙂

As a side note, I’m not sure what will become of this blog in the meantime and after January. I’ve been using it less and less, even though the actual desire to write has not left me. I won’t ever delete the blog, but I may not keep my own domain. I’ll try to post every now and then, but I doubt it will be regular at all. I want to try really hard not to be someone who only writes about their kid and/or posts pictures of their kid. If I was a kid these days, I’d be pissed at my parents for posting pictures of me on social media.

*NFP is not the rhythm method, but it still relies mainly on self-control, which fails far more often than we weak humans would like.

Sharing a Computer

This article on Slate brought me back to the mid/late 1990s and early 2000s when my brother and I shared the family computer (which was really my dad’s computer; my mom never had any interest in it). I don’t remember what the computer itself looked like, but I remember that the monitor was one of those huge, ungainly CRT things that my dad pulled out of the garbage at IBM, where he worked. Beside the computer was a stack of floppy disks, another stack of computer game CDs, and an Artemide Tizio desk lamp, on which my brother and I used to hang action figures and small stuffed animals. I remember that my dad hated when we did that because the lamp was expensive. We had Windows 95 back then, and to this day, I still believe it is the best operating system that ever was.

My brother and I spent so much time playing games on the computer, and those are some of the best memories I have. We’d play all day during the summer, and we would attempt to take turns on the computer, which sometimes became a fight that my dad would have to break up. Then I’d go to my room and read when it was my brother’s turn, which, to a great degree, was better than all the silly games we played on the computer.

The article talks about how playing (or working) on the computer was once a shared family past-time but is now a solo endeavor because where there used to be just a family computer, there are now computing devices for every family member. Laptops, cell phones, and tablets all make the Internet portable and personal, so one can easily retreat to his bedroom or another enclosed space with his device, with no need to share it.

Back in the day of the family computer, you had to interact with people to share the use of the computer. You were the audience when your siblings were playing games. Nothing you did was really private because a parent or a sibling could walk up to you at any time because you had no claim over the computer. It belonged to everyone. I think it should still be this way. Computers and the Internet can too easily be used for evil or for aimlessly wasting time. Sharing a computer can prevent “ownership” of the device and remind us that we are still in a world with other people. Maybe those people would like to “play” with us, so we’d be better off turning away from the screen.