I’m not much of a "Squeee!" person.
But I’m glad my going-for-gusto husband, Joe, is. We complement each other like that. I’m the Claire to his Phil, in Modern Family terms. (Really more Mitchell, but you get the point – in our relationship, I’m the straight man. Wait …)
When Joe found out I was pregnant, his eyes lit up; his mouth widened into a little “O!” of happy surprise. “Really?!” he said. It was as sweet a reaction as a girl could hope for.
I found out I was pregnant in the office bathroom after work that day, using a test I had bought at lunch. Three minutes is just enough time to ponder how weird it is that it’s in a bathroom that you find out whether, as The The sang, this is the day your life will surely change, or whether you can just wash your hands and proceed as before.
As it was, the test was positive; I took a couple of deep breaths, and then I did exactly what I’d planned to do after leaving work: I went for a run at the gym.
I knew Joe would be nothing but excited about the news. And I’ve always believed he would be a great dad. I really appreciate that. But I’m also grateful that he would be OK if parenthood wasn’t in the cards for us. We’re both pretty independent, and for several years, I wasn’t sure whether parenthood was something I’d ever be interested in. I’m not exactly a natural caregiver: When I was in first grade and my family moved from one Chicago suburb to another, my parents let my little sister get the dog she had wanted, and they gave me the chance to get a goldfish, like the one my best friend had. I ultimately declined their offer after deciding that cleaning the fish bowl *once a week* was more responsibility than I wanted to bear.
I still haven’t come around to pets, but I’m curious and I appreciate a challenge and I finally think — or at least I hope — that parenthood is something to which I can step up.
This isn’t to say I think I’m prepared. I don’t think anyone can be — sorry, Joe — as thousands upon thousands of online parenting horror stories would make clear. (These always carry the disclaimer that the frustrated, exhausted and traumatized adults couldn’t imagine life without their little monsters — a point nicely summed up here.)
But I’m happy, and grateful. I have an incredible partner at my side, and different though we are, we’re on the same page about the big things. And I’d like to think our support of and respect for one another is one of the best things we can bring to this journey — not just the actual parenthood adventure, but also everything leading up to it. Right now, being on the same page means most of all that we’re excited to share the love with which we were blessed to grow up, and that we have for each other, with this entirely new person (how cool is that?) slated to arrive in August.
Looking forward to meeting you this summer, kid.
PREVIOUS GOING FOR GUSTO COLUMN: Joy, poop and other thoughts on finding out you're going to be a dad for the first time
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