First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage, then comes...
Okay, so I know the blog has been pretty sporadic for the last couple of weeks and for that I must apologise. We had a lovely week together as a family, capped off with a dear friend's visit from Berlin and it was nice to unplug for a bit and hang out in a food/wine/movie/Scrabble/comfy pants bubble for a bit. It felt like one long Sunday which, for us, has historically been the one day a week that we spend time as a couple and now as a family: we sleep in , we make waffles (or pancakes or omelettes or the equivalent giant breakfast), we stay in our pyjamas as long as is socially acceptable, throw dinner in the slow cooker and head out for a walk or to a market...not much has changed from before having Hadley to now, we just skip the sleeping in part!
It's amazing how easy it's been to go from a family of two to a family of three and not change our lifestyle too much. Of course we don't go out in the evenings as much (not that we really did anyway, we're both really into being home and cosy) and we tend to slightly plan the day around Hads' naps and routine but other than that, it's been pretty seamless. Hadley is generally pretty portable and easygoing and, except for a recent fear of clean-shaven men (super weird), she stays chirpy and happy and so so curious about everything going on around her.
But six years ago, when Michael and I were in the early days of long-distance courtship and still spending considerable time in German indie clubs and considerable money on beer, cheap flights and extortionate phone bills, if you had told us that in just over half a decade we would be home-owning parents who spend the wee hours of Saturday morning building forts in the living room instead of blearily making our way home...we'd have laughed you out of the room. Due to a number of factors that prevented us from living together for a good 18 months (I won't bore you with the whole story but it was the truest test of a relationship I know having to get to know each other and fall in love essentially over Skype whilst taking as much time off as we could to see each other).
By the time we were married in April of 2011 we were just so relieved to be in the same country, never mind sharing a home! So you can imagine our bafflement when, not a week after our 'planned elopement' in a windmill by the sea, we were bombarded by the first well-meaning relative who asked 'so when are you two going to have some babies??'
We were shocked.
We had been married about 15 minutes.
We'd only just been living together for 4 months.
But, my dearest brides-to-be (and by brides-to-be I mean the ones who haven't made the leap into motherhood yet!) here's the thing: as soon as you get married, maybe/probably at the reception, some lovely relative or friend or random stranger who wandered in will want to know exactly when you plan on putting those ovaries to work and what names have you picked out and WHY AREN'T YOU PREGNANT THIS MINUTE ??
Seriously. As soon as you're married, time is apparently supposed to speed right up and you had the wedding so it's all downhill from here so you might as well make the big (enormous, monumental, life-changing) decision to bring a child into the world together because you're now legally bound to each other and surely that's the whole reason you got married in the first place??
Never mind the fact that maybe it would be fun to be married for a bit first. Or that how/what/if you choose to use birth control is absolutely nobody's business and what happened to the element of 'letting nature decide' without a giant preamble (I'm super guilty, however, of announcing to the world when I was ready to start pro-creating. Seriously, I was so excited). Or maybe, even though you've both mentioned that you'd like kids one day, you haven't really had that big of a discussion yet because it still seemed like a distant future. Or maybe even, you've just decided you'd not interested in having children.
All of these reasons for not answering your nosy but sweet interrogator are 100% right because they are coming from you.
And for all of these reasons and more, we waited.
And during all this waiting we went on beautiful holidays to Crete and Paris and Spain and America. We slept in and ate brunch and went for mid-week martinis and to music festivals. We played drinking games at Christmas and beer pong in our dining room on New Year's Eve. We went camping with friends and on last minute weekends to cute BnBs. We bought a house. We talked. We talked a lot. We learned even more about each other and we argued sometimes and slammed doors and made up.
And as we were coming up on the year of our third wedding anniversary, after a nice stretch of time settling into this marriage malarkey, we took a deep breath and said it out loud and jumped headfirst into the land of couples who had been trying since the beginning of time to expand from two to three. We got lucky and became pregnant after a relatively short period of time and the rest, as they say, is history.
And I know of and am amazed by a world that is only evolving and re-defining marriage and family and parenthood and that we are so so lucky in every aspect of our lives to get to witness this. There is no correct way to be married, there is no right time for children anymore. As a recurring theme on this blog, you know yourself, you know your partner, only you guys can know if and when the planets align and you're ready to make the next big step in your journey together. And that step might be a child but it also might be a home, or moving to a new place, or a pet or even a new interest or hobby.
And if you guys already know that you are ready to take that step and you can just smile at the question, that's awesome too! Only you can know.
Take the step.
Make the leap.
Fall in love, get married...