Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Our Thing

It's a cold winter night in 2009. I am curled up beside Zach in our favorite hangout of all places, the LoveSac. We are getting ready to settle in and watch a television show (or maybe a movie). We are far from engaged, yet I know I will marry him.

"Do you want kids someday?" I ask without reserve.

"Absolutely." Is his reply.

"How many?"

"I'm not sure, I guess we'll just have to play that by ear. Why? How many do you want?"

"Four, or five, or seven. I have always wanted at least four. Two boys and two girls." (How cliche) I tell him and go on to explain how my infatuation with having five or seven kids came from watching 7th Heaven. Awesome. 

I continue, "I have two girl names picked out. I used to have two boy names, but I really just don't like them anymore. I'm not sure."

"I have a boy name. I've had it picked out since high school." Zach readily admits.

I explain to him that I have a thing about names--they have to hold meaning and they have to be unique and I tell him that I really hope I like the name he shares with me. And sure enough, he shares it with me, and I love it. It is unique and it does have meaning and I love it. I proceed to share my names with him. After he agrees with those names, I insist that we come up with another boy name--you know for that 2nd boy. We do and life is good and we settle back in and focus on the television.

Five years later, it's another cold winter night. Before settling in our our favorite spot, the couch, we must first put our little girl to bed. Zach sings her a bathtime song while getting her ready for her bath, we put her in the tub, and we laugh out loud at her squeals, her splashes, and her constant insistance on standing up.  We take her out, brush her teeth, dry her off, put her pajamas on, and say our prayers with her. In our prayers we always include gratitude for our blessings--and she is always at the top of that list. I complete the bedtime routine with a nursing session and then put her down to sleep. After that, Zach and I join each other on the couch to start our evening. But first, JaiseAnn. Even though we just spent the last couple of hours soaking up everything about her, we must talk about her. We must go over the pictures that I took of her that day. She is just the best and we love to talk about that each and every night.

Zach and I don't have much in common. Honestly, there were times when we were dating that I thought, "How is this ever going to work?" We are so very very different. And those differences have been easy to deal with at times in our marriage and they've been challenging at other times. But this parenting is our common ground.

Parenting is something we share a passion for, a love for, and it's something we do really well. together. Before we got married, we bought a house. We purchased our house on one income (mine) in the hopes that since our home was less expensive, maybe someday I would be able to stay home with our kids. (I'm already reaping the benefits of that decision and so grateful that Zach was on board from the beginning.)  When we first started living in our house and until JaiseAnn was born, we referred to our guest bedroom as the room of our future son. We used his name easily and often in our home. before our first child was even born, we were parents. I can see it now.

Zach assisted me during JaiseAnn's birth like a champ, and he helped me with breastfeeding and latching like it was nobody's business. When I wanted to stay home with JaiseAnn, Zach worked with me and we figured it out--or we're figuring it out as we go. I don't have to beg Zach to help out with the bedtime routine, he's as much a part of it as I am. She's our child and we adore her.

For as much as I sometimes wondered how we would ever make it work, I'm glad it does and it has. We have little things in common of course--our love for pizza, our religious beliefs, our favorite television shows, political and moral beliefs, and we share a few of the same opinions on things--but boy. Having a kid together? That's our thing. We were made for it--since the very beginning. 

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