The day we came home from the hospital with Lily, we were new people. I was the mom. He was the dad. We were confused and frightened and elated - but feeling all of these things separately.
Like many idealistic young couples, we thought we had a pretty good idea of what family life would be like: pregnancy, birth, homelife is bliss, we all go back to work and maintain a "balance" through perseverance. Adam and I had declined all offers of postpartum help, and opted to stay home with her for the first week together. My maternity leave provided me six weeks to stay home and learn to be a mother. Then, our plan was for Adam to work, full time, during the weekdays, while I would work one evening shift and two long shifts on Saturdays and Sundays. On paper, our plan was unbeatable. We could both be full-time, stay-at-home parents and wage earners. We wouldn't have to sacrifice anything! (Enter greed, pride, and a precious sort of ignorance).
After about 5 months of this plan (just about a week ago) we realized that our marriage had fallen and could not get up! We were both learning to be darn good [single] parents - but we had barely spoken to eachother since we came home from the hospital that day. We knew we loved eachother. We did nice things for eachother. Cleaned the house for eachother; washed enough diapers for eachother; made little "to go" meals for eachother; smiled at eachother while pulling out of the driveway. But that was it. Our married life had become little more than a cooperative effort to raise a baby.
Thankfully, we had to go out of town together - the three of us. So, I took the weekend off from work and we went. Once we got to our destination, and got settled, we tried talking. When that didn't work, we tried bickering. When that failed, we tried tolerating eachother. And, finally, we began to realize that our marriage wasn't bulletproof and water resistant. In fact, it had really taken a beating. And though, during this trip, we were about two miles from the pacific ocean, we didn't even make it to the pier. Every chance we had, we were working it out. Conspiring ways we would improve life at home. After the weekend, we boarded the train out of town with a new resolve and a more realistic expectation of how to handle life with our new addition. It may have taken us a few months - but we are getting it.
We have only one more week of this schedule. My boss has agreed to let me off on Sundays. I'll have more to accomplish in the evenings, but we will soon have a family day each week. A day where we all rest well and talk, play and love together. I'm hopeful that our marriage will bounce back - and that we'll have a stronger nest where we can raise our girl.
I'm also thankful that, even when I am arrogantly wrong - and undeserving, God still has grace for me and the strong embrace of love to carry me through life's lessons.