Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Conversation

By the time I had The Conversation with Sunday, my wife, five years had passed since we got married, and I had entered graduate school.  Sunday and I were living in a small apartment trying to cover bills.   I was struggling finish a race I’d already started, with people around me screaming that I was going too fast.  As with most students, we didn’t have piles of cash, waiting to be spent.  In fact, finding enough loose change around the apartment to buy a cup of coffee became a cause for celebration. 

In the midst of this lifestyle, we had The Conversation.  If you’ve never had The Conversation, I really can’t explain it to you, except to say, “It’s like bronchitis.”  For me, it burned my chest a little, taking my breath and making me a little dizzy. It brought on a fever.  Really scary stuff, mainly because I am the kind of person who likes to know how to do something before doing it.

I didn’t know how to be a Dad when we got pregnant.  Even though my Dad is great and he exemplified fatherhood, I still couldn’t understand what it’s like to be someone’s Dad.   In fact, I panicked a little when I found out that Sunday was “ready” to have kids. 

From the beginning, she had been the reasonable member of the family.  She knew that we needed a few years together in order to “form a more perfect union,” to steal from the Founding Fathers.  She knew that plopping a baby in the middle of our new marriage would have been disastrous.  (It was tough enough without another immature person in the room.)

After five years of marriage, I had developed a rhythm in my life.  I thought I was running my race the best way I could. 

There I was, working toward goals, loving my wife, and working on becoming a better human being.  I was in the middle of graduate school, trying to make sense of my purpose in life, trying to become the person I thought God had made me to be and then BAM it happened. 

My wife and I had The Conversation. 

It went a little something like this:

Wife:  Honey. 

Me:  shemfneosnrk

Wife:  Honey, wake up.

Me:  It’s two in the morning.  What can’t wait for another four or five hours?

Wife:  Oh, nothing.  Go back to bed.

(You don’t actually believe that, do you?)

Me:  I promise I am awake and I am listening.  

This is the point where I should have pretended to be asleep.  I wasn’t ready for the next conversation.  I wasn’t ready for what she was about to tell me or how I was supposed to react.  I just wasn’t ready.  That’s my excuse.  I didn’t get the study notes.   There was no manual or guidebook for this next step.  I wasn’t ready. 

You could probably talk to her and she’d tell you something totally different, like we’d had this conversation before.  Or that she and I had always planned on children.  Or that I looked like such a great father, especially when I was playing with our nieces and nephews.  She woke me in the middle of the night to tell me that she wanted to “start trying to have children.”  (Translation of “start trying to have children”:  She stops taking the pill and starts wanting to have sex as much as I do). 

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